This is the second year that I have been part of the ground crew. This means I have an active role with the shearing team. First, a team of folks walk the alpaca into the shearing area, place ropes on their legs, and pull the ropes tight to take them to the ground. It seems harsh, but it is really for the alpaca's safety
Now, it is time for the shearers to start shearing the blanket.
I sweep the fleece after the final pass of the blanket.
After that, the ropes are pulled tight and I made sure that the alpaca's legs weren't tangled. I then moved to the back hip to provide counter presser while the shearers finished the neck and the topknot. At some point in this elaborate dance, teeth are ground and toe nails are cut if needed. Then, we flip the animal over and move it toward us to finish off the legs. I move to the head to make sure the halter and lead is put back on the animal and to help move the animal forward and backwards for the shearer. When the shearer is complete with the animal, he moves on to the the second station while the rope team and I would take off the ropes and let the animal be on their way.
It is very physical work and I am paying for it today. We still have three other animals to shear at the other farm we are boarding next Friday. However, this shearer said they bring their own team and do not need help. It should be interesting to see the difference in the two teams. More pictures to come.