Anyone have Alpacas?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by texascowboy1979, May 16, 2011.

  1. texascowboy1979

    texascowboy1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Does anyone have alpacas? how do you clean the fleace? Ive shaved them.... and now I have dirty wool. Ive read that I need to wash it in water with sope, but not agitate the water. This is my 1st shaving... so I know Ill learn as I go but wanted to see if anyone had any experience with this.
  2. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    I'll ask my friend as she spins and shears her own Alpacas. I'll have to shear mine soon, but I give the fiber to her..... so I bypass the cleaning process.....
  3. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    I live on a 7-acre alpaca farm (we are helpers on the ranch, but it is not OUR ranch per se). We just sheared last Monday--33 alpacas and a llama! It was quite a process. Man... that alpaca spit smells somethin' awful, doesn't it?

    We can't really do anything with the llama's fleece/fiber. She mostly gets shorn along with everyone else for her own comfort in these hot California foothill summers.

    We are new to all this and have been here less than 2 months, but I have learned a LOT. On shearing day, this one lady came from out of town and had these two big wooden frames with what looked like deer netting (but sturdier) underneath. She spread the frame out between two saw horses, and then she "skirted" the fleece after it was shorn, taking extra care with the show blankets first. As she went through and gently shook the blanket/fleece over the frame, all the grass, dirt, and other detritus that had been caught up in the fiber fell to newspapers that had been spread out on the ground below. Part of the process also included pulling out some hairs with a special name (I can't remember--I'm very new to all this), but they're like straight hairs that are sorta like "baby hairs", and they stick up and cause issues with the machines that process the fiber when it's sent to be processed. She takes her time and does a good job, and when she packs it back up after skirting it, it's ready to go be processed.

    Some local alpaca folks have spinning wheels and spin at least some of their own fiber into yarn. Neither my landlady nor myself has the patience to do that long-term, but I might like to try it once or twice. Never know--I might find out I enjoy it. We certainly have enough fiber sitting around here... you would not BELIEVE...
  4. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    yep she says to make a wooden square with a hardwire cloth bottom to help sift all the dirt off, as you pick through it. When it is very clean you hand wash it in dawn liquid/water then lay it out to air dry.
  5. texascowboy1979

    texascowboy1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the info...
  6. MrsCountryChick

    MrsCountryChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    The stiff straight hairs are called guard hairs:) I'm no expert but have Alpacas & Llama. I've heard of someone who had an old dryer withOut the heating element that would just 'spin' when turned on, so so not air, just cool air circulating... they used that hooked up in their barn to run their fiber thru to clean the debris out of it. It was faster for them to do it that way. The screen way is the typical way to clean & pick the debris out, but you have to be careful of a windy day while you do this. [​IMG] There are Llamas that can have a good quality fiber, but that's not the norm. There is what's called a micron count that goes with the fiber softness. Some people send a sample off to be tested for each animal each year, because the better the fiber the higher worth of the animal, or it's off spring. They are Very beautiful creatures, but they're considered exotic so not everyone knows of them or how to treat them. I <3 mine. [​IMG] I plan to make my Llama's fiber into yarn to create something with it, even if it's just a decoration. He's a Very beLoved animal here & knows many commands:)

    When you go to wash the fiber it's best to get a netted bag, like a lingerie or delicate washing bag. You can find these usually at dollar stores, as many people use them for baby items too. Some have zippers, others have draw strings. You don't want to over crowd the bag, so the fiber gets washed thoroughly. Here is a youtube video that tells of washing alpaca fiber & more. There are I think 4 or so videos. After each one you should be able to click to view the next one. It's very informational. [​IMG] Good Luck! [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 19, 2011

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