John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Start Shearing

Alpaca shearing was pretty much a black art when we began, with hardly any information on the subject available. It took a lot of work to gather what information is in these pages. Some came from hands on instruction, but most through experience. It is our belief that this information, first compiled in 1999, comprises the most comprehensive set of instructions on alpaca shearing that is currently available.

If you are planning on shearing your own alpacas, these instructions will be of help. But, experience will be a far greater teacher than anything on these pages. Expect your first dozen shorn alpacas to look like poodles that were shorn in a blender. As with anything, improvement will come with practice.

before-shearingThere are a few things that are highly recommended before you get started:

  • Good Electric Shears
  • Sufficient Combs and Cutters for your herd
  • A Source for Blade Sharpening
  • Lubrication for the Shears
  • A Restraint System
  • A Topical Antibiotic to treat nicks
  • Blood Stop to treat nicks
  • Rescue Remedy to treat stress

The Rescue Remedy may be used on your more hyper-sensitive animals. You may also decide to use some yourself after your first shearing experience. It's OK, it gets better with time and experience. Finally, you will need:

  • Patience
  • Firmness
  • A Good Sense of Humor

The latter may be the most important. Alpacas are intelligent, and they will devise an infinite number of ways to cause you frustration and stress when you are trying to take their fleece. Far better to enjoy and laugh than it is to try to fight the inevitable. Like me, you will probably conclude that they converse in the pasture on ways to frustrate those of us that want to shear.

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"Then five policemen in black alpaca frock-coats and white trousers invaded my precarious privacy, desiring to see my passport..."

- Isabella Bird
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