It’s shearing time.

sheep shearing This has been a busy month on the farm so far.  It is shearing season!

Mid to late spring is usually shearing time. Each year before the warm weather starts our sheep are shorn.  It’s important that they aren’t shorn too early in the year because it’s pretty cold when you go from wearing a thick woolly coat to wearing only your underclothes!

At the same time, we don’t want our sheep being exposed to the hot sun when they have just been shorn.

We also have to take into account the lambing season and the availability of shearers, too.

Yes, shearing time is busy.

It is not just our sheep who need to be shorn, either.  Our alpacas have a thick, woolly coat which requires shearing, too.  Shearing an alpaca is not as easy as shearing a sheep;  they are very talented spitters!

alpaca shearing

It is quite a spectacular sight when, as you stumble out of bed in the morning, you see a hillside dotted with glowing, white creatures.  Imagine how light on their feet they must feel after losing all that woolly weight!

All about Alpaca

Recently we had our alpaca shorn so we thought it a great opportunity to give you an overview of these great animals.  Even though alpaca come from South America including countries such as Peru, Argentina, Chile and the highlands of the Andes, they are suited to many climates and countries such as Australia.  Alpaca are related to llamas but are much smaller as llamas can be around twice their size. 

Alpaca are also relatively easy to manage and maintain which is one of the reasons why the popularity of owning alpacas has grown very steadily over the years in Australia.  Furthermore, the growth in Australia of alpaca farming is primarily due to breeding as well as for the fleece.  The fleece produced by alpaca is similar to cashmere in texture, silkiness and softness which makes it ideal for use in making a range of clothes, blankets and quilts.

Another interesting fact about alpaca is that they have soft pad type feet which means they don’t damage the terrain as much as other livestock which have solid hooves.  If alpaca are well looked after and cared for they will live for approximately 20 years.

Alpaca are also known for their spitting but try not to hold that against them!  They are usually calm and defenceless animals and the main reason they spit is that they are showing their displeasure.  It is their way of saying “no” and asking you to back off just a bit.

Alpaca are gentle by nature and can make good pets.  The next time you visit us come and meet our alpaca.

 

Alpaca at Annie's

Wild and woolly

 

alpaca at annie's

No, I’m shy.

alpaca at annie's

Don’t we look fabulous now?