Episode 20 – Preparing for shearing

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Show Notes

Join Steve & Sue Heatherington as they talk through five questions to help you prepare for shearing.

  1. When to shear?
  2. Are your fields clean?
  3. Is your equipment ready
  4. I have a shearer coming – what do I need to do?
  5. What am I going to use the fleece for?

1. When to shear

At the right time. If you do it too early, the cold Spring nights can expose your alpacas, particularly if they are old or unwell. Dry weather before and during is necessary for good shearing. Be patient, the right time will come soon.

2. Are your fields clean?

Be careful about the environment your alpacas are in prior to shearing. Removing access to plants like brambles, teasels, gorse etc. can make life easier when sorting fleece and handling the animals.

3. Is your equipment ready?

Clean, sharp and in good order. Don’t leave it too late to get everything prepared.

  • Shearing machine (such as Heiniger Extra)
  • Combs – alpaca comb
  • Cutters
  • SAE 30 shearing oil

4. Shearer coming – what do I need to do

  • Plan to have clean dry animals easy to present to the shearer.
  • power and light easily accessible
  • flat clean area, ideally with rubber mats and points to secure ropes, cover for shearer and alpacas
  • Check with them if they have any particular requirements.
  • tea and chocolate biscuits are usually appreciated at regular intervals

5. What am I going to use the fleece for?

  • Be clear about what you intend to use it for and how it needs to be graded and collected (e.g. individual animals; quality grading).
  • let the shearer know your needs and check their’s
  • Bags and labels
  • Sample bags if needed
  • Storage prior to processing or sale

LINKS

Shearing equipment

Horner Shearing - Sheep Shearing Equipment

Horner Shearing – Sheep Shearing Equipment

Suppliers of sheep shearing machines and equipment. We manufacture our own products as well as offering the full range of Heiniger, Lister and Supershear goods.

https://www.hornershearing.com/index.html

Horner shearing, as well as supplying equipment, provide a fast and efficient sharpening service for combs and cutters. They can also do service and repair of shearing machines.

Rubber Mats

The Mayo Original | Mayo Farm Systems

The Mayo Original Mat has been in use for 30 years and is still in working order. Providing cow comfort and a hygienic system for productive cows.

https://www.mayofarmsystems.co.uk/the-mayo-original/

British Alpaca Society – advice on shearing

Alpaca Shearers | British Alpaca Society

When shearing – your animals should be kept as stress free as possible. Appropriate penning, power facilities, lighting and shelters will make the shearing experience better for both you and your animals.

http://www.bas-uk.com/alpacapedia/alpaca-shearers

Polythene bags

Clear HERCULES PolyMax Bags 24" wide x 36" long 150 gauge

Clear HERCULES PolyMax Bags 24″ wide x 36″ long 150 gauge

Clear HERCULES PolyMax Bags (size: 24″ wide x 36″ long 150 gauge) – Clear 150 Gauge Strong Hercules bags are ideal for a packaging where you need strength – Packed in 250’s

https://www.polybags.co.uk/shop/clear-hercules-polymax-bags_p380.htm

Grip Seal Bag + WOP 5" x 7.5" x 200 gauge

Grip Seal Bag + WOP 5″ x 7.5″ x 200 gauge

Grip Seal Bag + WOP (size: 5″ x 7.5″ x 200 gauge) – Self-Seal (Mini-Grip) Bag with Three Write-On-Panels

https://www.polybags.co.uk/shop/grip-seal-bag-wop_p571.htm

Releasable Cable Ties

[50 Pieces] Reusable Cable Ties, Canwn Nylon Heavy Duty Zip Ties Mini Flexible Cable Tidies Slipknot Straps(White): Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools

[50 Pieces] Reusable Cable Ties, Canwn Nylon Heavy Duty Zip Ties Mini Flexible Cable Tidies Slipknot Straps(White): Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools

Shop [50 Pieces] Reusable Cable Ties, Canwn Nylon Heavy Duty Zip Ties Mini Flexible Cable Tidies Slipknot Straps(White). Free delivery on eligible orders of £20 or more.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B078BXPCB6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

These releasable cable ties come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses but are shared here as an example of the kind of bag sealers that could be used for fleece.

Gather the neck of the bag; fold it over and apply the releasable cable tie; and pull tight.

Comments or questions

If you have any comments or questions about this episode of the podcast please contact me.

What is your favourite shearing time-saver?

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