The beginning of summer signals the start of shearing on the farm. We have 2 animals who need their annual haircut; the alpacas and the sheep. Both are done quite differently.

Sheep are sheared by sitting them on their bottom and resting their back against the shearer’s legs. They normally start by cutting the belly first and then working round the sides and back of sheep. A professional shearer can cut up to 200 sheep per day. Shearers who “tally” more than 200 sheep per day are known as “gun shearers”. It normally takes between 2 – 3 minutes to shear one sheep. The Guinness World Record for shearing a single sheep is held by Irishman Ivan Scott, who completed it in an impressive 37.9 seconds.

Alpacas, however, are not sheep! They cannot be shorn in the same manner as a sheep as they have a rigid backbone, so sitting them on their bottom is out of the question. There are 2 main ways of shearing an alpaca; while it's standing or laying the alpaca on its side and tying it in such a manner that it is unable to stand until released. Few alpacas are quiet and tame enough to reliably stand still enough to shear so we lay them down to keep them safe.

Some people like to cut fancy hairstyles into their alpacas - our favourite is a dinosaur!