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There are so many alpaca and alpaca-related activities. Below are short descriptions and pictures showing some of the things we do with our animals and their products.
One of our most busiest days of the year is Shearing Day. The "crew" consists of a professional shearer, helpers to work on a variety of tasks with the animals, and a couple of fiber sorters.
The process of shearing goes like this. The helpers lay the animal down on a plywood board, and attach flexible rope to the front and back legs. Then, the helpers gently lay the alpaca down and stretch the alpaca out on the plywood.
The shearer shears one side of the alpaca, then the alpaca is gently flipped over so the shearer can shear the other side. During the shearing, a helper will clip the alpaca's nails and inspect the teeth. Also, another helper will pick up the sheared fiber and take it to the sorting table where one or two people sort the fiber according to grade.
The animal is then untied, stood up, and the shearer does the finishing touches by shearing the tail. If the alpaca's teeth need filing, this is the time it's done.
The alpaca is then led out of the shearing area, and after a few minutes, decides how great it feels to get that heavy winter coat off, and kicks up his heals and pronks away.
In the pictures below, you can see a couple of our alpacas being sheared.
Here is a "before and after" shot to show you that they look like completely different animals once they've been sheared. Don't worry ... the fleece grows back!
Vancouver Island Exhibition
The Vancouver Island Exhibition is held in Nanaimo in August every year, and we always participate and exhibit some of our alpacas. We have a table set up with alpaca information, and speak with many people about the benefits of being an alpaca owner. Best of all, we get to show off our animals! Of course, we have alpaca pellets on hand, and the alpacas love being fed by people for most of the day. Here are two pictures showing our farm exhibit, Jim, and two of our alpacas.
On Gabriola Island, we have two Farmers Markets held during the Spring, Summer and Fall. These markets feature a variety of different artwork and crafts made by our local, creative artisans. This is a picture of me displaying some of our alpaca products, such as yarn, hats, scarves, mittens and teddy bears.
Throughout the year, but especially during the Spring and Summer months, we have the pleasure of meeting visitors interested in seeing our alpacas. We really enjoy this, as it gives us a chance to show off our animals, and to meet new people.
As you will see from the pictures below, the alpacas attract visitors of all ages!
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