A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 26, 2008

Griffin Gets A Cool Do

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, General, guard llamas, llama, shearing — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:48 am

Griffin Shorn

Griffin Shorn


Earlier in the spring when we sheared the alpacas we decided not to shear the llamas at that time.  The llamas had been shorn the previous year and when we had first acquired them we were told that we only need shear them every other year.  The llama fleece is different from the alpaca fleece in that it contains a lot more guard hair and evolved to give llamas a certain amount of protection from the elements.  So initially we thought we would not shear the llamas this year but the thought was always in the back of our mind that if the llamas showed signs of being bothered by the heat we would go ahead and shear them.


Until recently the llamas had seemed fine but over the last week or two we had noticed that Griffin seemed a little uncomfortable.  She was swishing her tail a lot and nibbling at her hindquarters as if something was bothering her.  We had a quick look at her to make sure there was nothing readily apparent and could not see any signs of lice or bugs or any wounds or sore spots.


So yesterday we sheared Griffin to see if that will help her.  The llamas behave quite differently from the alpacas when it comes to shearing.  They seem to behave better if there are fewer people in the shearing area.  I don’t know why that is, but we do find the llamas are much easier to handle for shearing if only Ric and myself are present.  On some occasions Ric has shorn them completely on his own and they did well.


Griffin did well today, although she was not happy about us shearing her rear legs and so we did end up putting a blindfold on her.  We just used a clean old tee shirt, which we folded lengthwise to form the blindfold, the tee shirt was then placed over Griffin’s eyes and was held in place by tucking it into her halter.


As Griffin’s fiber came off (a beautiful Rose Grey fleece it is) we examined the fleece for ticks, bugs or evidence of any unwanted guests, but everything looked normal.  Her tail however was very matted and so we removed what matting we could and sheared her tail down. 


As dry as our spring was I do wonder if Griffin just has a case of dry, itchy skin.  Our alpaca Ma Cushla developed dry skin, which we discovered when we sheared her.  We changed Ma Cushla’s diet to include more fiber nutrients and some feed developed for pregnant and nursing dams and crias.  The change of diet seemed to help Ma Cushla and so we will change Griffin’s ration a little bit and see if it has a as well too.


Of course now we feel that should shear our other two llamas Maya and Inca, so it’s back to shearing again, then we will be well and truly done with shearing – until next year that is!



Blog at WordPress.com.