Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Shearing day part two

Shearing day

Shearing day was Saturday April 30, and boy am I tired. We took our animals to Polly’s ranch and had them sheared by Armando [Victoria]. In total, we had seventeen animals shorn, six of them ours, and eleven of them hers. It took five hours and all of us to shear them. Now they look very silly.

We began by taking the boys over to Polly’s the night before since Cabernet cannot stand the young males on the ranch. We had to think of a way to get all of them to Polly’s for shearing. The solution was borrow her trailer and make two trips. We loaded the boys up, easy as pie, and dropped them off at Polly’s barn.

The next morning was not nearly as much fun, although it was not as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. I have been working with all the adult alpacas on haltering a leading a little bit. The book I’ve been using is Marty McGee’s Camilidynamics which works pretty well, although I must say it is one of the worst-edited books I have ever seen. It is so bad that I as a writing teacher can barely read it because I want to mark it up.

But that’s beside the point. I have been using McGee’s techniques to make haltering and leading not-so scary for the girls, and it does work. They are all much better about catching, haltering, and leading than they were when I began. I didn’t have to work much with Cabernet, and she will follow you on a lead really easily. She will even lean into you once you have a halter on her, somewhat affectionately.

I was most afraid that Dawn, our import, would go berserk on us once we had a halter on her because many imports have not been handled. However, Dawn accepts the halter, and even leads reasonably well. Consuella, who was born in Canada, was my biggest challenge.

Consuella is challenging because she is smart and wily. She knows that she is bigger than I am, and she is not afraid of me (which is good, but presents its own problems). Catching her is difficult because she is quick, and haltering her is hard because she likes to throw her head around. Plus, she is not very willing to follow on a lead. However, she will follow her baby. Charles simply picks up Milhouse (who now weighs 40 lbs or so), and Consuella will follow. It’s a cheat, but it got us through the day.

We loaded the girls into the trailer by picking up Milhouse and leading Consuella in. Then we haltered up Cabernet and Dawn and let Dawn follow Cabernet in. It took some doing to get Dawn into the trailer because she didn’t want to go into the people door, which would have required her to step up, so I had to open the ramp in the back…that took a couple of my degrees to accomplish. She went in to be with her herd with a bit of encouragement, though.

Part three is coming soon!

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