Alpacas need to be shorn annually. This is usually done in spring or early summer so that the alpacas have grown enough fleece back before the weather cools again and so they have their fleece removed before the weather gets too hot. Where you live influences your window for shearing, for example in some coastal areas of NSW where there is not the risk of frost or severe cold, shearing may start earlier than in other locations in NSW. Talk to an experienced breeder in your area to find out when alpacas are typically shorn in your area. Local breeders may also be able to advise you on alpaca shearers that are in or visit your area. When breeders only have a small number of alpaca, it may be beneficial to liaise with other breeders locally to organise shearing simultaneously in order to secure the shearer’s services.
Alpacas are generally restrained for shearing. This is the safest way for both the alpacas and the shearer and is the standard practice in the alpaca industry. If done correctly with the right equipment, it causes no harm to the alpaca. Alpacas can be shorn on a specially built table designed for shearing or on the ground (you will need something placed on the ground to shear on, your shearer can advise you of their preferred options).It is recommended that those new to alpacas talk with experienced breeders about the shearing process, equipment, setups and resources needed, or better still find one willing to have you go and watch their shearing first, many breeders will be open to this. It is also recommended that experienced alpaca shearers are used as they have learned the techniques for shearing and handling alpacas and can also give advice on the requirements for shearing. Discussions should be had with the shearer prior to the first shearing to agree what the service will include as it can vary. Try to book in a shearer as far in advance of your shearing time as possible. Some alpaca shearers have bookings 12 months in advance and it can be very hard to secure an alpaca shearer in some areas if left until peak shearing time.
Shearing and Shearing Shed Guidelines
The AAA has developed shearing and shearing shed guidelines and a Shearing Shed and Pre-Classing Code of Practice which can be found in the member’s area of the AAA website
Shearing during COVID
All alpaca businesses must assess the risks associated with exposure to COVID-19 and implement control measures. For the alpaca industry, shearing is an essential service/practice and unlike shows cannot be cancelled. Therefore the AAA recommends that all farmers assess the risk that COVID-19 presents to the health and safety of yourselves and your workers and implement control measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The AAA has prepared a set of shearing guidelines to assist members and their contractors to stay COVID safe during shearing season. These guidelines and associated documents can be found in the Member’s Portal of this website.
Shearer Business Directory
There are a number of shearers that work around Australia – use this list to find a shearer.