Learn About Shearing

For the same reason that sheep need to be sheared, alpacas also need to be shorn for their health. One reason is that it is a way of reducing the possibility of heat stress during the warmer times of year. Generally, shearing is done once a year. This also gathers the fleece of the alpacas, which can be made into yarn.


Control of the alpaca is a necessary element during shearing because this can provide safety for the animal and also makes it possible for the shearer to be efficient. It is all about positioning and being comfortable with the equipment.

The method shown being used on this video is the “Australian Restrained” system of alpaca shearing, with the alpaca restrained between two anchor points. This is probably the most efficient method developed to date for efficiency and the safety of the animal.

Our shearer is Pat Fitzsimmons. In this video, he is taking off the fleece in a manner that can qualify it as a piece that could be sent to a “fleece show”. This is called “saving the blanket”.

The alpaca shown in this video is Strawberry Hill’s Mira, close to nine months old at the time that the filming was done. As you can see on the video, she has beautiful fleece. Mira was calm and quiet during the shearing process.

The shearing day of this filming was on April 30, 2012.