A local feed store and some alpaca farmers organized a shearing event for today, held in the parking lot of the feed store. It was a great deal- $16 per llama or alpaca, much less expensive than hiring a shearer to come out to the farm to do one animal. I had been wanting to shear Dolly Llama soon, and was dreading trying to do it myself, she was one shaggy monster. So I was thrilled to see a flyer for this event last week.
We’ve had better luck catching her lately. She’s now decided it’s wise to be inside the Electronet with the sheep, instead of residing outside with the obnoxious dog (who is now tall enough now stand on her hind legs like a grizzley bear and chew on the llama’s ears!! :-D). So, now that she’s inside the skinny rectangle, it’s pretty easy to walk her down to one end using a rope barrier, until she’s cornered and caught. And once she’s on a leadrope, she is a perfect lady.
So, it wasn’t too much trouble to snag her this morning; Kirk helped me load her into my van for a little trip to the “beauty parlor.” While she was in the van, I managed to trim her toenails for the first time. I was never able to handle her feet before, but the confined space of the van convinced her she had no choice, and it was easy this time!
The shearer did a great job, she looks very nice now (and much smaller!). There was a vet/alpaca expert there, who offered to trim her teeth down further for me (I was chicken to go down too far when I ground them myself last winter). He used the little saw blade attachment to the Dremmel tool, then the grinder to smooth them; and in minutes, had her teeth looking much better aligned with her dental plate. She was cool as a cucumber through the whole shearing and dental work procedure; and then loaded back into the van with little fanfare. I was amazed at her good behavior!
There were many alpacas there with very fine- and clean-looking fiber. One expert told me that Dolly’s fiber is poor, with too much coarse guard hair, which makes for scratchy garments. (And not to mention she was filthy, who knows when she was last sheared?) I was prepared to just chuck her wool, not knowing what to do with it, and figuring there was no market for it if I tried to sell it. But, then a handspinner approached me and asked if she could have it. She felt confident that she could card out the coarse stuff, and planned to braid that part into strong cord, and spin the finer wool into yarn. I asked her to email me a photo of what she makes out of it- I hope she does! I was glad to see it get used, rather than thrown away, so I hope it works for her!
My parents came down to watch the show, and took a lot of pictures, I’ll share some when I get them. But, the above is a photo I took, as she emerged from the van with her new ‘do. And no more buck teeth! She is styling now!