A Fiber Farm Blog

Shearing Day 2014

Shearing Day 2014 is right around the corner! Right now we are expecting the Shearing Team to arrive around 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, April 12th. We invite you to our harvest day!

Please check this blog or our website before you come out. We are only 1 of 3 farms that our shearing team with work with on Saturday and we always have to be flexible with their time. I will post any changes to the timing (if there are any) on both this blog and our website at http://www.naturalfiberfarm.com.

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Shearing day is the most important day of the year for our fiber farm. It is our day of harvest…the day we have worked so hard for all year. We will be able to hold in our hands all that wonderful fiber…..and see for ourselves how our breeding decisions, feeding and mineral supplements, attempts to keep the barns and pastures clean and our overall herd health has impacted our fiber harvest. And for our alpacas, they get to enjoy the sweet coolness that comes with a freshly shorn body.

We would love to have you come, but please keep a couple of things in mind:

Please don’t expect the alpacas to be on their best behavior. This is a very stressful day for them. They have often been kept in the barn for a day or so to make sure they are dry. We keep both male and females (in separate sides of the barn, of course) but they are close enough to add even more stress to the situation. When the shearers arrive, the alpacas get scared, stressed and just plain mad. Some will be absolutely quiet, some will hum worriedly, some will screech at the top of their lungs. And yes, some will spit at anything in their path. This is not the best time to observe the typically quiet, gentle nature of the alpaca.

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What you can expect to see is an impressive process. Our shearing team is a group of 4 young men who have tons of alpaca handling and shearing experience. They will set up 2 shearing stations in the barn and get right to work.   We can expect them to shear our 38 alpacas in 3 plus hours. As the shearers are working with the alpacas, we are collecting fiber and sweeping up after each animal is shorn. It is definitely something to see.

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Come prepared to be out in the weather. We will shear in the main barn where the animals and shearers will be dry, shaded and have easy access to the animals and electricity. The barn will be crowded with 38 alpacas, 4 shearers, and several fiber collectors all trying to stay out of each other’s way. All spectators will need to watch from outside the barn, so come prepared with what you might need to protect yourselves from the weather and don’t forget to wear shoes that are suitable for a barnyard!

We will have lunch for the shearing team and our guests after shearing is done. The shearing team has a 3 hour drive ahead of them and will shear at another farm before the day is done. We hope they can stay and eat with us, but if not, we will send them on their way with lunch to eat on the road.  We would love to have you stay with us for lunch. Please send us a quick email (or comment below) if you will join us. That will help get a good number as to how many we might have.

While shearing is taking place, Jeff and I will probably not have a minute free to visit with you. Hopefully you can stay around a little while after shearing, enjoy lunch with us and visit.

Please do not bring any pets to the farm. Our dogs are trained to live with our animals and to protect them. There is a lot going on and we sure don’t want any animals to get hurt.

And finally a word about our miniature donkeys Jelly & Jalapeno. They love attention and it will be very hard for them to understand why the alpacas are getting so much of it…..and they so little, on shearing day. We will have them farther out in the pasture, out of the way of the business in the barn. If you don’t mind, take a minute to give them some love while you are here. They are sweethearts and I guarantee, visiting with them will make your day!

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