Shearing llamas is different from shearing sheep. The llamas are haltered and tied in a pen where there's not much room to dance around (but they dance anyway). They stand the entire time. Sheep are seated on their fannies for the whole thing.
Andy can shear anything that grows fiber. For the llamas he usually does a "barrel cut" – which means just shearing the midriff from behind the shoulders to the waistband. It kind of looks like a poodle cut. Caitlyn got a barrel cut. I forgot to take my camera to pasture today but will try to remember to take a pic tomorrow so you can see how it looks.
Every few years, a llama's fleece has accumulated so much dust, debris and farmyard ech that everything comes off, head to toe. This year was Crackerjack's turn to get the "full monty". He screamed, kicked and spit prodigious amounts of vile smelling green slime all over the place (but not on us!) the entire time. I felt so sorry for him. I'm sure he'd be really upset if he knew I posted this photo. But I think it makes him look so young and adorable. And so much smaller.
Their fleeces are usable for handspinning – but really nothing special. Aside from the dirt and bits of straw and chaff (llamas take dust baths and when there's no dust, they like to roll in the straw), the fleeces have a fair amount of coarse guard hairs mixed in among the finer fiber. I suppose I could have the fleeces dehaired which would make them nicer, but I'm not sure they're clean enough to make it worth the work. Both Cracker and Caitlyn are far more comfortable now that the days are warming again.
copyright 2009. Barbara Parry. All rights reserved. Feel free to share a link to this website. Please do not take content or images from this website without my explicit written permission. Thank you.