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I can not stress enough the need to shear your llamas. This is an extremely important part of their care and maintenance. The original home of the llama is in South America where they are routinely sheared each year for their wool. This wool has become a very important end product of the South American llamas.
When we began bringing these animals to the US, not much thought was given to their care, especially shearing, and a lot of these animals died from heat exhaustion. In the South and South Western States, many farms began shearing in a desperate attempt to save the llamas life in an emergency. ( that is when the llama was actually suffering well into heat stress.)
Then some people began getting smarter and thought - as summer approaches, why not shear the animals which had this problem last year. A few people went as far as to try and shear as many of their animals as possible.
The desire for spinning wool, by some llama owners, resulted in a few more animals being sheared. The shearing for the health of the animal and giving relief from the heat, also progressed with show llamas as well, but it was quite hesitantly accepted that a show llama could be shorn and then shown.
In a round about way the llama has benefited greatly from all of these endeavors. Many areas now consider this as routine maintenance, and it should be. Here at Kent Rock Meadows, every llamas has a shearing at least once a year.
On our farm we have every animal receive at least one total grooming, bath, and shearing each year. We begin shearing in March, and our goal is to have them all done by the middle to the end of May - before the very hot season arrives. I feel it is very important to stress to any purchasers the absolute need for a yearly shearing, and we sell all our animals sheared, weather permitting, and we will shear any animals which were purchased in the winter in that next Spring . We feel so strongly about shearing that we have begun a yearly Shearing Clinic for llama owners to bring their animals to our ranch in May & the first weekend in June.
HOW TO SHEAR YOUR LLAMA
To obtain the best results in shearing, your llama should be as clean as you can possibly get them. This is not absolutely necessary, but really helps in the overall shearing process. If you are saving the wool to spin, as we do, your animal should be cleaned thoroughly. Also, the cleaner your animal the less wear and tear on your clipper blades.
Of Llama To Use Wool For Spinning
First blow you llama out. They have an incredible amount of dirt and particles in their coat because they roll two or three times daily. After you have blown them out, begin grooming with your favorite brush and some type of spray. You can find some very good sprays that can help you remove the knots and tangles. This brushing will probably take you several days to complete. After you have completed the cleaning, pick a warm day that will be at least in the 70ís to begin washing them. Blow them out again and do a thorough washing of the wool. Any type of shampoo will work, from llama shampoo to your own personal brand. Then you can rinse out with a conditioner. Be sure and thoroughly rinse the llama, since the smallest amount of soap will stay right there. The drying process can be helped along by blowing the animal out, and then let the llama finish drying naturally in the sun.
Yes, they will immediately run over to their favorites spot and roll in it. Not to worry, when they are dry if you blow them out before you clip, all the recent dirt comes right out.
If the animal is not a heavy wool sometimes you can clip them the same day. Otherwise you will need to wait until the next day to do this. As you can see, this is not a one step process, if you wish to save the wool to spin you will need to put aside several days to prepare your animal.
If you decided to just blow your llama out and it had a lot of knotted and long wool you may need to clip off some of this wool with some large shears made for this type of work. Then you can begin shearing. Your shearing can be accomplished by using scissors, or commercial clippers. The clippers come in various weights and sizes. They can be electric or battery powered. The wonderful thing about the blades is that they can be sharpened and reused.
After you have prepared your llama. Begin you shearing on the back starting at the top. Have a plan or a pattern design before you start to shear. You can set your design by parting the wool with a comb. Cut inside your design, make the pattern smaller than you intend so you donít over cut. It seems to be easier if you begin cutting at the top of the back nearer the head and neck. Think out your design and remember that you can return and finalize the cut by making a V by the neck or a rounded edge there. This doesnít need to be done at the beginning of your shearing.
Use long sweeping motions to shear. Donít cut with short chopping motions. This seems be the most difficult part to learn when you begin to use the electric shears.
If you are shearing with scissors always point the scissors down. As you shear, especially the first few times, cut higher off the skin and gradually you will learn by practice how to lay the shears or clippers on the animal to get the cut you desire. Then you can go back and adjust the desired height of wool you wish to leave on the llama. Wool length that you leave will vary with each person. We like to leave some wool on the animal because of sun burn and insects which bite them.
1. BARREL CUT- This cut is used on smaller llamas or cria. It is a great cut to give quick relief to an animal with the minimal amount of wool being removed. This cut is done around the midsection between the front and back legs.
2. EXTENDED BARREL CUT- I call it an extended barrel cut because the barrel cut seems to have evolved into more hair removal. Shearers began taking the barrel cut and adding more touches to give more air circulation to the animal. The barrel cut is done as usual. Then move further toward the front and back legs removing more wool around the middle. Then going past the abdomen and under the back legs all the wool is removed and sometimes wool off the stifle joint if there is a lot of wool there. ( the joint of the leg nearest the abdomen ). The same is then repeated at the front elbow joint ( the joint nearest the top part of the front leg). This allows for wonderful air circulation under the abdomen and front and back legs.
3. SHOW CUTS- This
cut is great because it now removes all the wool that the barrel cut does and
also removes all of the heavy wool from around the tail and back legs. We
first saw this cut in Oregon over four years ago on female llamas who were bred
and getting ready to deliver, and we came right home and did this cut on our
females. It was several more years before we actually saw this cut in the show
Do your extended barrel cut first, and then begin your angle cut and decide how low you wish to cut the angle on the legs. Then go down around the tail and the buttocks.
4. LION OR POODLE CUT- These cuts leave only a small portion of wool on your llama. It is an excellent cut for a heavy wool llama. You will be removing all the wool from the llama except the head and neck wool. Cut all the wool around the tail and then cut a portion on the leg from the hock joint down to the fetlock. Or in laymanís terms from the knee cap to the ankle. This will make the llama look like a lion when you view him from the front. Shearing this way allows quality air circulation to the abdomen and under the back legs and will keep a male very cool and still be able to look very handsome.
5. TOTAL CUT - This is just as it sounds since everything is removed. Another excellent cut for heavy wooled llamas, or llamas that havenít had a shearing in a long time. Just remove all of the wool on the neck, body, and legs. You can leave a ring around the neck if you like.
CLEANING ELECTRIC CLIPPERS
You will want to take proper care of your electric clippers. Before you start, lubricate the clipper with some lube oil especially made for them. Put some blade wash in a plastic bowel, and use this to clean the blades. As you are shearing, you will notice the clippers will change sound and also slow down. That is the time to place the shearing blades in the blade wash. Do this while the clippers are running, and the blade wash will allow you to flush out the hair which accumulates in between the clipper blades. Plus the wash is a lubrication for the blades.
After the clipping job is all done, clean the clippers. Take apart the clippers and put the screw and spring and two blades in the blade wash. Use an old toothbrush and clean all the parts making sure you brush between the teeth of the blades. Do the same thing to the head of the clippers where the blades go. This will really clean out all the dirt and hair and also extend the use of your blades. Remember, if you are good to your clippers they will be good to you. This will give you a lot of clippings. Anywhere from 15- 18 animals can be sheared if the blades are properly cared for.
The last thing needed to do to the clippers, is a spraying with a disinfectant. Then lay all the parts out on a paper towel and air dry before you put them back together.
Many organisms can be passed from one animal to another. To kill a variety of organisms such as Staphylococcus Ayreus, Samonella, Tubercule Bacilli, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and other organisms, the use of a spray disinfectant on the blades and the parts of your clippers or scissors is highly recommended. There are several excellent products out on the market designed to be used with clippers.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SHEARINGS. DONíT BE AFRAID TO SHEAR YOUR LLAMAS. THEIR COMFORT AND LIVES DEPEND ON IT.
IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE THE WOOL GROWS BACK and THE BARE SPOTS WILL GROW BACK IN A COUPLE WEEKS.
or call - 706 -359/2060