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Shearing Day at Rainbow’s End Alpacas

May 24, 2013
The Daily News

NORWAY - It's that time of year again, when all 19 Rainbow's End Alpacas along with 17 animals from friend farms will receive their annual "haircut."

The public is welcome to come and view this big event at the farm.

Shearing is something that is an annual necessity for alpacas. Just like many things humans need to do on an annual basis, shearing is something alpacas don't exactly enjoy but endure each year. It is crucial to an alpaca's health and well being to have their dense, warm fiber removed each year. Alpaca fiber is 5 times warmer than sheep's wool, so you can imagine how hot it would make them during our warm summer months.

Great care is taken during the process. They are gently laid down on padded mats, then have their legs restrained to keep them from thrashing around, which could cause harm to themself as well as the humans working with them.

Each animal handles it differently; some just lie quietly and wait for it to be over while others might scream most the way through it, but they all survive just fine.

With great precision, the actual shearing process takes only about 7 minutes. It is amazing to watch this big fluffy body go in to be shorn and then see this skinny long-necked animal emerge after. Often you will see the animals once rejoined to their friends looking at each other as if to say "who are you?"

Shearing is something the store looks forward to because in a few months this fiber will be turned into beautiful Rainbow's Gold Yarn. The process of turning fiber into yarn begins as soon as it is sheared. Each bag of fiber will be skirted, meaning all debris and vegetable matter will be removed.

As is our practice, it will then be boxed up and sent to a fiber mill of our choosing where it will be turned into yarn, roving or sheets of fiber, then returned and put on our shelves for our visitors to purchase and enjoy. Many visitors who come to our farm and store love the fact that they can take some of our farm home with them. When you come to shearing this year you will find our shelves full of yarn from last year's harvest in a "Rainbow" of colors.

Shearing will be held May 28 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.. We would like to invite the public to come and learn yet another part of alpaca life. There will be a viewing area fenced off where you can see the process as its happening. The store will be open and there will be a demonstration of spinning taking place.

There will be parking in the back fields, so please be sure to drive around back where someone will direct you. Please do not park in front or on the highway.

If you'd like more information please contact us at 563-7034 or lynnv@att.net.

 
 

 

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