It was shear fun at Island Alpaca on Saturday

The herd received its spring hair cut to the delight of onlookers

Photo by Ralph Stewart

Island Alpaca in Oak Bluffs held its seventh annual shearing day event on Saturday, April 26.

“It was once again a huge success,” owner Barbara Ronchetti said in an email to The Times.

“Islanders and off-Island visitors came to watch and explore the full process of harvesting the fleece from the herd, and witness the start of the fleece to fiber transition.”

A total of 78 alpaca and one llama lost their winter wool. “The end result was a yield of a hearty 615 pounds of Alpaca fleece, bagged and separated by individual animal, and ready to process into yarn,” Ms. Ronchetti said. “The average harvest per animal was nearly 8 pounds, well above the national average.”

The expert team of shearers included Matt Best from New Hampshire, and his assistant, Nate Trojanski from Connecticut. “The shearers and the crew of helping hands were hard at work for nearly 10 hours, working efficiently and averaging just seven minutes per animal,” she said. “Alpacas are shorn just once a year in the spring. Each alpaca produces between 3 to 13 pounds of fiber depending on age, genetics, environment, and nutrition.”

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