Last week we bought three more Alpacas – Angelo (the guy with the very hairy legs and long fringe) and Lily are Suris, and little Rowena, who is still on the bottle, is a Huacaya, like Don Carlos. Three-and-a-half-month-old Rowena’s mother died and she was adopted by Lily. When she is all grown-up, we hope that she and Don Carlos would fall in love and start their own family! This new family are all settling in nicely on Landmeterskop, getting used to their new environment and meeting some of the other inhabitants of the farm. This weekend before all our guests arrived, Valerie still had to trim their fringes so that they could at least look our guests in the eye! To learn more about Alpacas and the difference between the Huacaya and Suri Alpacas, read here: https://landmeterskop.com/2013/10/07/meet-don-carlos-a-chilean-noble-now-guarding-sheep-in-the-overberg/
Yes, cutting or shaving the wool off of a sheep (shearing) is very much like getting a haircut! However, shearing requires skill so that the sheep is shorn efficiently and quickly without causing cuts or injury to the sheep or shearer. These days most sheep are sheared with electric shears or shearing machines by professional teams of shearers and wool handlers going from farm to farm. There are however still farmers who prefer to do the job themselves and even use old-fashioned sheep shears.
Sheep shearing always feels like the start of a new year. Maybe because it happens in spring or maybe because we know lambing is coming up next!
It is also a bit of an anxious time. Especially with the extreme weather patterns these days. Not only is sheep without her fleece pretty naked looking, and going from a full thick winter wool coat to almost no coat is a bit of stress anyway.
Sheep cannot be left to go without shearing. The wool continually grows and will become heavy, soiled and unhealthy if not sheared.
The amount of wool clip that comes off an animal and its quality depends on the breed and care of the animal. On average a wool clip from one of our sheep will be around 4kg.