Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chris the Alpaca Wrangler...

I spent the day with my wife and our friends at Highland Alpaca in Grove City, PA.  They have a fantastically beautiful farm with over 100 Alpaca.  It is quite an operation.  The main reason for our trip today was to help out with shearing.  Let me tell you this was more of an endeavor that I imagined it to be.  They had arranged for a Shearer to be there and shear 32 Alpaca and we were the assistants (with others who were also there to help).

As some of you know my wife and I have the dream of having Alpaca of our own one day.  So, we are taking every chance we get to gobble up all the experience we can and glean all the knowledge possible to ready ourselves for our next big adventure.

Pictured above is me and one of the Alpaca just after being shorn.  This can be rather stressful for them, as they have to be tied and drawn on the ground so they don't struggle and get hurt, or hurt the people shearing them.  And so, after shearing they usually have to take a minute to get their faculties before being returned to the herd.

The guys that were doing the shearing were very good and rather efficient.  They travel the country for 3 months solid shearing these wonderful creatures.  It can occasionally get messy and the Alpaca, when stressed, tend to spit, which really is just half digested grass and alfalfa.  But nonetheless, it stinks.  The fact of life is, if you have Alpaca you have spit.

One mess that happened to me occurred while I was holding one of the Sires and he decided it was time to pee.  And so he went, all over my leg, which happened to be under him at the time.  You can laugh I did.  It could have been worse.  Spit could've been added to the mix.

Here you can see one of the Alpaca stretched out on the ground during the shearing process.  This does not hurt them in the slightest.  In fact they submit quite nicely and don't really struggle at all.  Minus some of the fussy noises they make and spit they produce.  Spitting and noise is not a constant either.  Some do, some don't.

Rachael and I feel very fortunate to have been included today.  We have learned so much and are very eager to learn more.  And, can't wait to tend to our own herd one day.  There is plenty of information out there on Alpaca for those that are interested.  Also, if inclined, one could browse over to Highland Alpaca's website and take a look at all they have to offer.

I do believe I will sleep like a baby tonight.  I am already sore from all the activity today and know I will sleep great.  There is nothing like putting in a hard day and resting really good because of it.

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