That went a lot better than we expected.
Those of you who listen to Paca Talk, our podcast, might remember Episode #2, when we talked about what a mess Shearing Day 2008 was. We didn't have a babysitter for our 7-month-old, and had to put her in a playpen in the garage with us after she woke from her nap. She wasn't happy about that and hollered for a long time as we worked. Not a good time.
This year, we put a lot of work into organizing the workflow. This was partly because we added three steps to the routine: we wanted to get weights on all the animals because we now have a livestock scale, we needed to give everyone worm medication, and we needed to trim toenails. These things needed to be done on shearing day because a few of the animals (the "Big Boys" as we call them) are not easily caught in their big, open feild. Whenever we DO get a hold of them, we need to perform some maintenence on them.
Anyway, besides our workflow plan, we also recruited three people to help out: my mother to babysit, a friend to pick up fleece, and another friend who is thinking of buying alpacas. (By the way, volunteering on an alpaca farm during shearing, vet trips, training days, etc. is an excellent way to learn the ropes. I've never heard of a farm refusing this kind of help). The shearer also brought two helpers instead of only one. While this cost us more money, it was worth it because it saved our backs.
Here's a picture to confirm that this is dirty, dirty work:
Here is a picture of the shearers at work:
So, in short, if you have enough people, you can get through shearing day without a whole lot of hassle.
Now I just have to figure out exactly what I'm going to do with 52 pounds of fiber.