Thursday, June 29, 2017

Table works!

It is official, the shearing table works!  I had Mr. Manners and his sidekick came out early Wednesday morning to help. They had car trouble but called ahead and still made it less than 30 minutes late,  a diligent effort. We grabbed the shears and blades out of the laundry room. They have a little metal briefcase to store them in with all the blades. At this point the blades are approaching the cost of the shearer. I have four sets of blades now and this year I got ceramic cutters which last a lot longer than the steel ones. Unfortunately, they cannot be sharpened. I am going to try all steel next time and see how long they last. I managed to shear three alpaca per set today. We got 7 of the 10 alpaca sheared today. 


AnnMarie got a live action shot of me actually shearing. The boys all think I am crazy for wearing a long sleeve shirt in the summer. After a few hours of dirt and hair flying around my long sleeves started to look good. 
The very first alpaca we sheared screamed the whole time and kept spitting all over the table. I kept making the boys clean it up. They kept trying to pass the buck on that duty. I finally had to tell them to just get it done. They started swapping turns after that. I also did not think to take the harness off and trim up the neck and head so the first animal looks a little worse than the rest. The bald patches were not caused by me. I 

Mr. Manners is sorting the hair. We kept the saddle intact and placed it into gunny sacks and put all the other cuttings into bags to be made into fiber mats. 


The blanket belly strap did not work. It just gets in the way and the dirt piles onto it. Plus the first alpaca got frisky and tore it in half. I just took a knife and cut it off. We just got the alpaca next to the table, two people reach under its belly and grab the table edge then tilt it to a horizontal position.  We tie its head to the eyebolt before tipping the table. It works pretty slick. I then clip its legs to above the knees and then tie its feet together and stretch it out along the main pipe. 




I started to get better with more practice. We also removed the halter so I could clean up their face and neck unimpeded. 


I wanted to get these seven moved into the ram pasture but they would not go. I tried the dogs without any luck. I finally gave a chunk of rope and the halter to the boys and I took a chunk of rope. I got the first one snagged and literally had to drag it kicking and screaming across the bridge. I ended up catching 4 of 7. The sidekick caught the others and Mr Manners caught Zero, Nada, Zip. He will have a chance for redemption on Thursday morning. 
Our farm is the blob in the lower middle of the picture. AnnMarie took this on one of her recent morning walks.