Friday, May 9, 2008

Alpaca Shear - Before and After

Photos by Beth
This alpaca is Orion, otherwise know as Slammie. His total fleece weighed 5 pounds and 4 ounces. The Prime which is from the top of the back and sides was 2 pounds and 10 ounces and was 4 inches long, Seconds from the hip area and neck weighed 2 pounds and 10 ounces. I don't keep or weigh Thirds (Garden Mulch) which is the fiber from the belly, chest, and legs. The thirds are usually hairy, different lengths, sometimes matted, and quite coarse.
Two people and the shearer evaluate and sort the fiber into plastic bags as the alpaca is shorn. I think I am quite critical because I don't like to take the time to work with low quality fiber. Dave, our shearer, has a motto "If in doubt, throw it out" and I totally agree.
Our total shear weight yesterday for our 11 alpacas was 57 pounds and 12 ounces which gives us an average of 5 pounds and 4 ounces per alpaca. The lightest fleece weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce, and Polaris, our herd sire, weighed in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces.
These statistics fascinate me. I woke up at 3 this morning thinking about it and had to get up and do the weighing and recording.