First and foremost, we appreciate happy help on shearing day. If there is something we can do to make you happier, let us know. We strive to make your day as happy and easy going as possible.
Be prepared! There are many things you can do in advance to be prepared for shearing day. In the picture below, you will notice a fiber sample being given - the customer was ready with the Ziploc bag for it. Having help lined up in advance is also a blessing - in this picture you can see help is active in the background. Fiber bags/sheets for the blanket, neck, seconds, thirds, etc... can also be prepared in advance with names on them. If you are noodling your fiber, have your sheets, cardboard, or plastic ready before we get there.
Make The Best Of It
Sometimes you just have to improvise and make it happen! As shown here, the alpaca is brought to the shearing area in a wheelbarrow:-). Things don't always go as planned, but try to make the best of it and have a good time.
Clean Working Area
We need a clean working area to shear that is well lit. It could be inside or outside. In the picture on the bottom, we are working in a clean and well lit up shearing area. We can shear on almost anything, but the cleaner the better for your fiber. We generally provide plywood, but if you have a tarp to lay down under the plywood that helps things stay cleaner. We will be doing some jobs on a shearing table to make things easier on everyone. As mentioned above, lighting is beneficial and necessary for the shearing process. A source of electricity is also needed to power our clippers; we carry 50' of extension cords with us and will use our generator for shearing, when necessary.
Have Your Animals Ready
Have your animals ready. We ask that at a minimum they be penned up in a small catch pen before we arrive. You can go ahead and get a few haltered and cleaned prior to our arrival. If they have husbandry needs (toes trimmed, shots, teeth floated) one can do these in advance or we can do things for you during the process. Also, If you could train your animals to come and lay down at the shearing stations, that would be awesome!!! (:
Food & Water
Lastly: It is helpful to keep your animals off water for 12 hours before shearing. This ensures dry, cleaner fiber since it won’t be urinated on during the shearing process. This is especially important if you have show blankets that you are planning to show.
It is also helpful if you do not feed your animals on shearing day until after they are shorn. Your animals are less likely to fight and jump around during the shearing process. This also results in less spitting and spit up on shearing day! But sometimes it is good to remember that: "Spit Happens!"