Saturday, June 7, 2014

Llama Shearing Time!

It’s that time of year! 

The days are getting warm enough and all the boys need to get haircuts for the summer.  While they do fine in the winter for the most-part, summer has dangers for llamas… namely heat stress.  Llamas do not do well in very hot temperatures and wearing a winter coat through the summer is not a healthy thing for them (did you know that llama wool is 6-7 times warmer than sheep’s wool?).

Some people have fancy facilities for their llamas, with great big barns (with running water!), big fans and misting systems – they don’t have to worry as much about shearing their llamas.  My boys were not that lucky to be adopted by any of those people.  The best I can offer them is shady fields, a couple of kiddie swimming pools and a good haircut in the spring.  And they seem OK with it  smile

I was kind of excited to shear this year because I have a new pair of shears – Jakotis, which were recommended on a forum I frequent.  The recommendation was well-founded… I love my new shears!  They were wonderful to work with – much easier than the Fiskars scissors I was using last year.  And no blisters either!  Someday, I might be able to fork out the $300+ for electric shears, but for now, cutting by hand is fine.

I finished up the last guy yesterday and they all did relatively well for their haircuts:

Merllin went first – he had the thickest wool - and did great.  There was a little complaining and a tiny bit of dancing around, but over all he got a gold star!

Allbus went next.  He was giving Merllin attitude about his haircut, so I wanted to bring him down a notch  rolleyes  Amazingly, he did better than Merllin.  Last year, Allbus did NOT want his haircut and obstinately laid down (that’s what llamas do when being stubborn)  Little did he know that he made my job that much easier last year  lol  This year, he stood like a pro.  I was able to get him done pretty fast!

Next came Dalai – he had a ton of wool like Merllin.  I was expecting Dalai to be the easiest of everyone and he ended up being the second worst.  He was really good until I went trim his butt and back legs – he didn’t want anything to do with that…  I ended up putting him in the chute (just a some T-posts with 2x4’s attached on the sides to make kind of a restraining stall) to finish him up.

Olliver was next.  Again I wasn’t anticipating any problems with him, but just like Dalai, he did not want his butt and back legs trimmed.  I ended up putting him in the chute to finish him up and he was absolutely horrible – he wanted out of the chute in the worst way.  It was definitely a challenge to finish him up.

And lastly was Indiana ~sigh~.  I left him for last because I was really dreading working on him.  Last year was a nightmare trying to give him his haircut.  Being the biggest of all the boys and much bigger than me, it’s very easy for him to push me around if he so chooses (fortunately, he rarely chooses to do so!)  I think last year it took me two or three days to get him done, shearing areas in bits and pieces.  However, this had to be done, so I gritted my teeth and got started.  I cannot tell you how surprised/amazed/awestruck/dumbfounded/astounded I was when, after trying to push me around twice, he stood like an angel for his whole haircut  blink  I still cannot believe how good he was!

I think they are all funny-looking without their coats – but of course I would never tell them that.  With their egos, if I did, they would never let me cut their hair again… But I’m sure I’ll get used to the new looks shortly.  Here are the Before’s and After’s:


Merllin - before    Merllin - after


Allbus - before    Allbus - after


Dalai - before    Dalai - after


Olliver - before    Olliver - after


Indiana - before    Indian - after


At the end of April I had attended a fiber clinic that a nearby farm had offered (if you count an hour’s drive as ‘nearby’), which was a  lot of fun and very informative.  While I am giving a lot of the wool away to a friend, who’s sister spins wool, I’m going to keep a big pile for me to play around with…

The smaller bags contain the ‘good’ wool, which is mostly from the barrel of the llama’s body.  The big bag has all the pretty much unusable wool – matted and full of dirt and hay that I couldn’t blow out.  Can you tell which bag belongs to which llama? 

Six bags full!