Alpacas stripped for annual Shearing Day

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NORWAY, Mich. (WLUC) - The community watched as these alpacas were stripped of their hair for the annual Alpaca Shearing Day.

The process began around nine Friday morning.

Chief shearer, Pete Hofmann, along with his crew, filed the alpacas in one by one. Then the team tied the animals down and went to work.

"The animals really need to get their fiber taken off for their general health,” said Rainbow’s End Alpaca owner, Mary Lynn Verley. “If the summer gets nice and hot, it really is hard on their bodies and systems to have that much insulation."

"We do this every day in the spring,” said Top Knot Shearing owner, Pete Hofmann. “We start early April and then we go until June.”

Hofmann is the owner of Top Knot Shearing in Montana. He and his team of wranglers travel to different places throughout the Midwest to shear alpacas and llamas.

"So I have two guys that work with me. They're called my wranglers,” explained Hofmann. “They'll bring animals into the shearing area, then they'll get them tied up and secured, using our specialized rope system that we have to keep them safe and secure on the mat, and then I'll come back with my headman and then he'll come in and help me roll the animal as I'm shearing."

Even though this is to help them, some alpacas weren't a fan.

"Some of them like to be vocal,” explained Verley. “None of them are ever hurt during the process. It's just that they are not an animal that really likes to be handled."

While others behaved very well.

"It comes down to personality, some get stressed out and some take it in stride,” said Hofmann.

After they're sheared, Verley admits some animals aren't used to the new feel so they find ways to cope.

"Most of them will look for the nearest dirt pile, and give a good roll and get it all off,” she said.

But eventually, the bare animals come around and enjoy their freer life.

"Generally, they really like it because they finally get cool,” she continued.

Once Verley is finished cleaning the fur, she will send it to a mill in Minnesota. The farm on US-2 in Norway invites people to visit and check out their gift store.

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