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June 03, 2005  Using TTeam on Shearing Day


Llama Training

First off let me say that I am so grateful you are out there teaching alpaca owners that there is another way of handling and training.  I am fairly new to the alpaca world, but about 99% of the time when I visit a new ranch, the owner or the ranch hand does the ‘corner and grab’ method.  I cringe every time.  I have used your methods exclusively and my alpacas are amazing!  They are calm, follow me around the pastures and most actually enjoy being petted.  Which gets me to my question -shearing day is coming up and I'm wondering how to incorporate TTeam into shearing day.  It seems to be such an aggressive, scary experience for the animals.  Do you have any advice?

Llama Training


Hello Amanda, thanks so much for you very nice words about Camelidynamics!  I am so pleased that the methods have helped to make your alpaca calm, cool, confident and companionable!  Shearing day is a challenge I know, but there are several things you can do to make it easier for your fuzzy friends.

*   First of all be very very VERY organized.  For example do not make

your alpacas wait in confinement any longer than absolutely necessary.

*  Arrange your barn so that the animals can be herded to the shearing area caught in a small pen and moved to the tarp without having to be haltered.  This is easily done with a combinations of panels, a catch pen and the bracelet technique for moving animals by the head.

*  There should be a minimum of noise and hustle bustle.  No loud music no crowds.

*  People assisting with shearing day should be taught the principals of balance.  There should be one or two dry runs with a person posing as an alpaca so that everyone knows where to move and what happens.

* Tell helpers to minimize stepping over the alpaca's head or moving fleece bags or bins around the alpaca's head.  The calmest and most competent handler should be at the alpaca's head and can do some soothing body work on the ears while the alpaca is being shorn.   Taking some deep breaths will help the animal to breathe and relax too.

*  Animals that are difficult should be shorn first and ideally should be sedated.  An appropriate dose of torbugesic is very safe for alpacas even pregnant females.

*  While it is great idea to catch up on toenail and teeth trimming when the animals are stretched out it is not a good idea in my opinion to give vaccinations or other injections while the animals are being shorn.  Being stretched out and restrained is stressful and mixing stress with injections is not a good idea.  Injections are easy to give without restraint so doing them another time is not a big deal.

I hope these suggestions help make your shearing day a lot less stressful.




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