John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Shearing

Shearing is usually required once a year. Many alpaca owners fire professional shearers to do this, although it is quite possible to learn to do this oneself.

The growth in the numbers of qualified shearers has not, unfortunately, kept pace with the growth of the national herd in the United States.  This has had a number of negative consequences, not the least of which is high fees for this necessary service.

Alpaca Shearing Day

Small flock alpaca shearing generally runs $25-35 a head, and often entails picking up the expenses of the shearer.  These prices are, in our opinion, unsustainable, and we all look forward to the time that market pressures force the costs downwards.

In the meantime, many small farms have found that banding together is a reasonable approach to cost containment.  A good shearer can do 100 or more animals in a day.  Many times groups of local breeders will bring their animals together at one farm for a marathon shearing day.

Another approach is simply to learn how to shear alpacas yourself.  We learned this skill ourselves, and we have helped others to learn to shear alpacas .

The tools of the trade are relatively few:

  • Power shears, available through a number of outlets. Usually $275 - $400 a set
  • Blades.  A set of combs and cutters runs $25 - $35.
  • Restraints.  A shearing table might cost $2000 or more.  Simple rope restraints can be put together for less than $50

Getting blades sharpened can be problematic.  This seems to be becoming a bit of a lost art. Sharpening equipment can be had for $500 or more.  Alternatively, sometimes a local barbershop can direct you to a local sharpener.

If all else fails, we offer shear sharpening services at a reasonable price. 

 
Alpaca Sales

"When near the buildings I met a white man, in such an unexpected elegance of get-up that in the first moment I took him for a sort of vision. I saw a high starched collar, white cuffs, a light alpaca jacket, snowy trousers, a clean necktie, and varnished boots. No hat. Hair parted, brushed, oiled, under a green-lined parasol held in a big white hand. He was amazing, and had a pen holder behind his ear..."

Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness
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