Llama Shearing 2005

When we first got our llamas, we were rather intimidated by things like toenail clipping and fiber shearing.  Neither of us had even owned large animals so we were not the least bit familiar with the whats/hows/whys, etc.  Plus the few times we had trimmed our dogs nails and/or given them a haircut, we had drawn blood!!! Soooooooo, when our boys needed to be sheared in summer 2003, we called on some fellow llama owners to “do the deed”.

Meantime, Cocoa was still sporting her very matted look, so in late spring 2004 we took the plunge and get the mats off. Cocoa was our least trusting (and most ill-behaved) llama. It took us 20 minutes to get her haltered and about 1.5 hours to trim most of the matted stuff off of her.  During that time, Randy stayed up by her head and rubbed her neck and constantly dissuaded her from trying to spit at us, while Janet used her trusty Fiskar’s shears to get the mats off.

The resulting cut wasn’t great but it also wasn’t horrible, and next year we will be able to get some usable fiber off of her.

Later in summer 2003, we got our first two girls and they both had a lot of fleece, much of which was matted and not groomable. In summer 2003, we trimmed the matted stuff off Miranda, and in 2004 we were able to give her a real llama haircut that didn’t look half bad! 

The truly amazing thing was the change in Cocoa’s behavior after we sheared her. BS (before shearing), it was hard to even touch her - she would “give us the butt” if we tried to pet her.  Now, we can walk right up to her and pet her neck and her back.  Haltering takes just a few minutes in a catch pen. Apparently she finally figured out that we were not going to hurt her!

In early summer 2005, we decided to shear Burns, Allen and Cocoa ourselves.  They were, for the most part, cooperative although we did get a bit of attitude from each one!!!

Allen went first because by now we know he will likely be the most stubborn.  We were able to get all the matted neck fiber and most of the body done.  None of our llamas like having their back legs touched, so rather than risk injury to ourselves or them, we have opted for the “big hips” look wherein the entire body is sheared except the hips.

Burns’ beautiful drapey fleece was the next to go.  S’alright - it will grow back!

The after shots...

And finally it was Cocoa’s turn. She was the only one that we had to put in the chute to restrain - not particularly cooperative. But we got it done.

The first few weeks, they all looked as if moths has gotten to them because hand shearing leaves a pretty choppy cut, but as the months go by the haircuts look less and less awful (or maybe we just get used to seeing them that way...).

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