It is best to shear alpacas yearly. For Suri alpacas, sometimes their fleece is left on them for longer while they are on a show string, i.e. still going to alpaca shows. Alpacas are sheared in the spring and usually produce 5-8 pounds of fiber. The fiber, or as some call it “alpaca wool”, is about 6 inches long at shearing.
If an alpaca is not sheared annually, they can easily become heat stressed. This excessive overheating can cause sterility in both males and females. Heat stress can also cause fatalities. The beauty of a Suri alpaca in full fleece is a spectacular sight, but one needs to consider the health of the animal also.
If you choose to keep your alpaca in full fleece, we highly recommend that the alpaca is at least “belly sheared”. This shearing process removes the fiber from the underside of the alpaca. We also endorse plenty of shade and fans to help the alpaca stay cool. A simile would be wearing your winter coat in the middle of summer with it unzipped.
For alpacas in full fleece, we use misters on the hottest of days. We place the misters low to the ground and aim them to spray upward. This helps to cool the alpacas. We do not recommend the use of wading pools, although we have found our alpacas love them. Parasites from the alpacas’ feet may get into the pool water. If the alpacas drink this water, they could become infested with parasites.
We at Shootin’ Stars Farm Suri Alpacas shear our own alpacas. Franc Winkley trained us in the Maximum Harvest method of shearing. This technique treats the animals in the most humane way we ever saw used in shearing. We believe that is how our alpacas, and truthfully, all animals, should be treated.
When you purchase an alpaca from us, we will shear it free the first year in exchange for the fiber. Just bring your alpaca to us, and we will treat your alpaca as well as we treat our own. We may be able to shear your alpacas past the first year for a fee, if we can fit it into our schedule. If we cannot shear for you, we have a wonderful network of shearers. We will make every effort to connect you with someone to get your shearing done.
Shootin’ Stars Farm Suri Alpacas can also trim teeth, trim toenails, and give shots.
Current 2013 prices for these services are:
- Shearing – $35 each
- Toe nails – $5 per animal
- CD&T shot – $8 per animal