A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 29, 2008

Kanika, You’re a Mess!

Kanika Headshot

Having distributed the loose hay into the shelters and put some outside, we were enjoying watching the girls lying on the hay.  They all sat in a line on top of the hay following the path that it made in the pasture.   Naturally there was some rolling taking place and all in all the alpacas were enjoying the loose hay.

Then it came time to do evening chores and we realized we had forgotten something – Kanika had not being wearing her sheep cover.  The reason we were reminded of this at evening chores was that there she stood covered in tiny little pieces of hay!  The hay almost took her from being a dark brown alpaca to being a light fawn one – it was everywhere!  Kanika’s first fleece is superfine and like all cria fleeces it acts like Velcro, trapping anything that comes in contact with it.

 We had Kanika wearing a fleece cover until just a few days ago, but had taken it off as was getting to small and it looked as if her fleece was starting to felt a little.  Our intention was to let Kanika run around without her fleece cover for a couple of days in order to allow her fleece to relax and not be so felted.

Instead though we were greeted with a cria whose fleece was full of vegetable matter.  Kanika must have had a great time rolling in the hay, but however would we get her fleece clean. We took a couple of steps to try and clean Kanika up.  First we used our Click and Slick wands (see picture below). 

 Click n Slick Wands

The Click and Slick wands were very popular with alpaca breeders around the time that we started in the alpaca business.  The wands can be used to generate static in the fleece, which helps draw the small pieces of vegetable matter out.  You start off by flicking the fleece with the wand with the wavy edge, and then once you have brought the debris to the surface of the fleece you use the straight edged wand to flick the debris off the fleece. 

We stopped using the wands on our show alpacas when we realized that if you used the wands too heavily on the fleeces it destroys the architecture of the fleece and the alpaca does not show at it’s best.  The fleece architecture does bounce back after a few days, but at a show you don’t have that long to wait.

For a situation such as Kanika’s though, and also on shearing day the wands can be useful at cleaning fleeces at least a little.  So gently we used the wands on Kanika yesterday and managed to get some of the vegetable matter out of her fleece. 

Next we put a new fleece cover back on Kanika to prevent more debris getting into Kanika’s fleece.  We will check her fleece again in a couple of days to see how much vegetable matter has dropped off her fleece.  It may be that we need to go over her with the wands again, only time will tell.

I do hope we can salvage Kanika’s fleece, if it is too heavily laden with vegetable matter then the processors will not want it and I will definitely not be able to show it in that state.  Fingers crossed though most of the vegetable matter will fall out over the next few days.

 Of course from Kanika’s point of view she cannot understand what the fuss is all about, all she knows is that she had a good time rolling in the hay.


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