Alpacas in a field

About Shearpac

Shearpac has turned 20, this year!

Our alpaca shearing all started in 2000...

Back then we had a call from a local farm manager, who wanted his alpaca shorn. The only vision I had was from years earlier, seeing a llama  given a makeover with horse clippers!

No problem, I thought, and off we went.

On arrival the farm manager suggested we gather the animals.

A lot of chasing then, a wee while later, we had them ready to go. I watched in awe as the farm manager dragged the first alpaca onto the shearing board. He picked him up, laid him out on the floor and tied all four legs up.

With the alpaca stretched out on its side, board between the ropes to keep his legs apart and a sack covering the animals head to avoid being spat on, he set about his task.

Using a 17 tooth comb, originally designed for goat shearing, he shore up the first side and then down the other. Done!

"What do you think", he asked.

"Different", I replied.

"Come and get me, when you’ve finished", his response and he was gone. We looked at each other, dumbfound.

“Did you see what he did?”

“Ah, no, I thought you had your eyes on that”

“Where did he start?”

“Hmm ... belly?”

So, we started with a hole, made it bigger and five hours later we were done. When I went to thank the manager, with a promise to return the following year, he said, “There’s 600 on this place, can you start tomorrow?”

Enhancing our shearing processes has very much been a case of finding out what works and what doesn't, and evolving our practices as a result.

The 9 Cut Shearing System

Over the years we tried many different shearing techniques, ground and table, with no system coming close to the 9 Cut system we use today and that was first developed by Mark Loffhagen, in 1996.

Using the 9 tooth shearing comb (Mac 9) has many advantages, including prevention of sunburn, and has been designed to leave a ¼ inch of fibre to protect from sun and cold.

Our Approach to Alpaca Shearing

Over the past 15 years we have discovered that setting up two stations for shearing accomplishes several purposes.

Firstly, it allows the Alpaca owners sufficient time to clean up fleece that remains in the shearing area prior to the next animal being shorn. This is important to many Alpaca owners as they are focused on not mixing colors or various fleece together.

Next is that there is less stress on the animals. Because the shearer is working on another animal, this is giving handlers sufficient time to bring the next animal in, lay them down and prepare them for shearing in a slow, relaxing way, without rushing and handling the animals in an uncontrolled manner.

Although it may appear that the shearer is shearing "faster" when there are two stations, this is not necessarily the case. A professional alpaca shearer takes the same amount of time on each animal even if he is shearing one alpaca or shearing 100 alpacas. Your professional shearer will be shearing smoothly and making a clean tidy job on each alpaca, regardless of numbers shorn.

The difference is the Alpaca shearer does not have a break between animals and this often results in more clean and efficient shearing.

We are a leading outfit in the shearing industry and work with the best in the world to always improve and finetune our approach.

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