Your Fleece and Shearing
Prior to Shearing Day – During the year remove debris, dung, twigs, leaves, seeds, hay, and straw from your pastures, dust holes, loafing sheds, and barns. Keep your alpacas in clean areas. The cleaner their areas are the cleaner your fleece will be.
Don’t wash, vacuum, blow, or brush (okay to brush lower legs, tail, and topknot) your fleece if you plan to show it. This can adversely affect the desirable characteristics of the fleece. During health days, training, or other handling, flick off or pick out surface debris and inspect the fleece to decide which you might want to show.
Round up fleece supplies for shearing day. 2 large clear plastic bags per animal. 1 for prime fleece and 1 for seconds. 1 smaller quart size zip lock per animal for a fleece sample. Label bags with animal’s name and date of shearing. If you plan on showing the fleece, use Tyvek, cotton sheets, or anything that will allow the fleece to breath to wrap the prime fleece prior to putting it in the plastic bag. Dryer sheets to deter insect infestation.
Shearing Day – Shear dry. If your alpacas are wet from rain, dew, or fog, let the animals dry. Surface moisture dries quickly, in about an hour. If it’s raining, put animals in a dry shelter or reschedule.
During Shearing – Just before shearing a show fleece, clean the shearing area thoroughly. Vacuum and sweep so prior animal’s fleece won’t contaminate your show fleece. This should be done between each animal anyway, but you may want to take a little extra care before shearing a show fleece. As the animal is being restrained, alert the shearing that this is going to be a show fleece. They’ll be more careful with the shearing job and allow you time to properly wrap and bag the fleece. When using Tyvek, roll the fleece in it wiping the Tyvek with a clean cloth as you roll to get rid of debris. Don’t pull the fleece away from the animal. Gently lift and move it keeping the prime fleece intact while wrapping and bagging. Put a dryer sheet in each prime blanket bag. Don’t use any “good smelling” stuff or insect control remedies as they are against AOBA show rules.