Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alpaca shearing take two!


Mr. President with another alpaca.  He is helping out again on the farm.

This is stubborn.
I had four and a half alpaca left to trim.  The shearer was back from being repaired and the only reason to not get back at it was a lack of help.  Mr. President came to the rescue!  He volunteered to work for me for a few days before heading back to college at the end of the month.  I took him up on the deal, and he is getting paid so it is not super altruistic.  I gave him the good news yesterday that we were going to take care of alpaca.  This is  a new thing for him.  My shearing time is dropping dramatically.  I had it down to an hour with the animal tied down and stretched out.  The big hurdle this time was doing the teeth.  Everyone needed their teeth ground down.  I was still merely envisioning this as I have never done it before.  I had a dog rope toy and a large rubber dog chew bone to keep the alpaca's mouth open while I ground down the front teeth and we cut off the fighting teeth.  They were being a little difficult about opening their mouths but we managed to get the rope toy inside everyone and then cut the teeth.  It sounds funny using the dremel with a grinding wheel. but it works.  I had purchased a survival saw which is wire coated in an abrasive.  This worked fabulous to cut the fighting teeth. 
Our first real challenge was a white alpaca that fought and refused to open his mouth.  We got the rope toy in his mouth finally then he clamped down and laid down.  We could not pry his mouth open.  I trimmed all his toes with him laying there by the gate.  After 20 min his jaw got tired and we worked the big thick rubber bone into his mouth.  His fighting teeth were so sharp they cut 1/4 inch deep gashes into the rubber.  We finished five animals.  Those five, three white alpaca and two black were placed back in the orchard.  The professional victim went back to his private pen but he slipped between the wires again after an hour.  The weird part is none of the other four alpaca are picking on him.  I suspect that will change when we add back the other three that need to be sheared.  Its funny how the dynamics change when certain personalities are placed together.  We spent the last 1.5 hours hauling gravel to the back deck/garden area and installing some more brick walls to keep a nice line between dirt and gravel. 





 
There really is a live animal in there, he just doesn't want to get up.

Chute gates installed.

Chute gate open. 
Mr. President and I installed the gates in the chute also.  I had a certain location I wanted the gates to be installed due to their latch mechanism.  No way was that going to happen.  The gates fit in their respective spots perfectly.  They are not interchangeable.  The corral is now 100% completed!