Shearing: An Alpaca Haircut
Alpacas don't have fur; they have fiber. Shearing the fiber is important so the animals don't get too hot during the Kansas summers. We shear each alpaca every May. We shear a little later then some alpaca ranchers because we want minimal regrowth by the hottest part of summer.
Shearing is also how we harvest the fiber to be used in making garments. Alpaca fiber is considered a luxury fiber due to its soft, silky feel, and it's hypoallergenic and water resistant.
Shearing Is a Multi-Step Process
Time for a Health Check
After shearing, we give the alpacas any necessary shots, check their teeth and trim their toenails. The whole process takes about 30 minutes per alpaca.
Each alpaca is then weighed again to see how much fiber has been sheared. Depending on nutrition, genetics and weather conditions, an average alpaca can shear six to eight pounds of fiber! Males tend to shear more than females. We have one male alpaca who shears around 12 pounds!
Once the fiber is collected, it's cleaned, sorted and graded — all by hand. This is meticulous as it involves shaking the dust out and picking out bits of debris.
The fiber is then sorted by color and grade, boxed up and sent to our industry partners to be processed into the luxurious products we sell in our retail shop.