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

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"He was a big man; his features and even his ample moustache gave a disconcerting impression of rugged integrity,and I remember him chiefly in an alpaca or seersucker coat. Though much less formal, more democratic -- in a word -- than my father, I stood in awe of him for a different reason, and this I know now was because he possessed the penetration to discern the flaws in my youthful character..."

Winston Churchill
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