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Discussion Starter #1
What does everyone think? I'm interested in hearing from sheep farmers as well.
Our summer here in the PNW has been a bust. The spring was so long and now fall is here. I think we had 2 days of summer!

We had to cancel our shearing twice this year due to rain and now I think it might be too late!

The evenings are cool, the weather is moist, and the alpacas seem happy! I saw a couple of them pronging around a few days ago when the morning felt like an autumn morning.

Has anyone skipped an annual shear when the weather was uncooperative before? Is it bad for the animals to go 2 years between shearings?

Thanks
 

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Namaste
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Cath, With no experience in 'pacas but some in llamas I would say you are the best judge of what the fiber looks llike. My guardian llama gelding is sheared every other year but the female, Lashes needs it yearly or she's a matted mess. Also since I'm not familiar with your weather I can only ask rhetorically if it makes much difference to their health, comfort and fiber quality to wait until next spring. I can tell you my Jacob ram hadn't been sheared for 2 years when I bought him and had no problems. Well, hope this helps some, ;)
 

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I would think that as long as the animals are not suffering from heat or their wool is not matted, it should be fine. We do not shear all of our llamas every year...mainly just the medium/heavy wools and anyone that is due with an early fall baby (and anyone else who shows signs of being too hot.) I think your best bet would be to ask other breeders in your area and see what their opinions are. I know we have had a VERY hot last couple of weeks (13 days at above 90 in a row now!) so we have sheared a lot of our llamas.
 

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We have 2 Suri alpacas that were sheared every other year, with this year being a shearing year. I'd say that since this summer is just about over, I wouldn't worry too much about getting them shorn this year anymore, but plan for shearing next year.

The 2 boys we have that went every other year (we got them this year) didn't get shorn until late May and we had some real warm weather before shearing day. We just hosed their bellies and armpits (not their backs because the fleece will hold the heat in and make them warmer) with cool water and kept fans running in the barn to keep them comfortable. We also had buckets of cool water and smaller buckets with water with electrolytes (I got the generic pedialyte at Walmart) for them. We've had the electrolytes out on all the hot days, but you have to dump those buckets every day and clean them out well because of bacteria growth.

Otherwise, I would definitely get them shorn every year. Everything I've read says to shear yearly. I'm still new to the alpaca thing though, so I'm still learning myself :) Do you have huacaya or suri alpacas?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Paula:

We have huacayas: 2 boys, one intact and one not, and 2 girls, 1 open and 1 maiden. Obviously we're hoping the intact male takes the role of herdsire (we lost our herdsire, the intact male's daddy, last winter) with our open female. But so far I don't think he's done the deed.

We have decided to shear after all. Our young girl is starting to get matted, she's turning one in September and her fiber is really thick. We're having the shearer out later this week, he said that he'll leave more fiber on the 'pacas than usual since we're already into fall weather here.

Then we need to decide what to do with the fiber! In the past I've always given it away to local spinners and craftspeople, but a friend just opened a yarn store and told me she would carry our fiber if we get it into skeins. I think I'll start a new thread asking if anyone can recommend a carding/spinning service.
 

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Duchess of Cynicism
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Cath

One thing a LOT of people do not consider is "what happens in Nature?" However, i am sure the PNW is a lot more humid than the mountains in South America!

it is nice you have a shearer that will leave fleece behind. Don't be afraid to gently comb out mats for the animal's comfort. AND, a shop vac, set up for exhaust/blowing goes a long way towards helping to keeps mats and other nasties at bay.
 
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