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At Alpacas of Montana, the herd gets a summer cut on shearing day

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Posted at 1:51 PM, Jun 04, 2024

BOZEMAN — Saturday, June 1 was the annual shearing day for Alpacas of Montana in Bozeman, bringing in an Ohio team of shearers out to the farm to assist in getting the alpacas ready for the summer and the fiber ready to head to the mill.

Amid farm tours, daily operations, and managing the store, owner and co-founder of Alpacas of Montana James Budd emphasizes the importance of shearing day.

“Today is a really big day for us; we look forward to it all year long,” Budd said. “The alpacas can’t wait to get the fiber off when it starts getting warm, but then it allows me to start thinking about what products I want to make with this color or that color.”

Two at a time, the alpacas are led to the barn by a volunteer and then they are carefully placed and safely tethered down by shearing professionals who then begin to take off their fiber.

After their coat is taken off and stored, the alpaca is let loose to frolic in their pasture, as the shearers prepare for the next pair.

“The average alpaca does under 10 pounds of fiber, so it averages about six pounds of fiber, but the big male animals are very, very dense and they’ll give us 10-12, maybe even 14 pounds of total fiber,” Budd said.

After about 100 alpacas are shorn, their fiber gets sent out to the mill, made into yarn, and the workers at Alpacas of Montana get to work on their products.