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ALL THE LATEST NEWS, VIEWS AND STORIES FROM AROUND YOUR LOCAL AREA: JUNE/JULY BLENCOGO FARM ALPACA CRACK!


What tasks do you hate doing? For me, it’s ironing, pairing socks and cutting alpaca toenails. Yup, it’s an actual thing. Alpacas have two toenails on each foot and a soft pad a bit like a cat or a dog - their nails need regularly trimmed. Generally, the lighter coloured toenails need cut more than the darker toenails you get on brown and black alpacas but even they need a tidy up now and again.


While it’s a task I really dislike because it’s not easy and the alpacas don’t generally want you touching their legs - I can get away with not doing it at this time of year because shearing time is upon us and it’s much easier to trim toenails when an alpaca is carefully restrained. There’s no chance of being kicked or spat at AND your alpaca shearer is doing it!


By the time you read this, our boys and girls should be looking skinny and ridiculous after their annual haircut. It’s a fairly stressful couple of hours, capturing each alpaca, sliding them on to a table, making them comfortable and safe, then taking off the several kilos of fleece each animal carries.


The blanket, the bit off the middle, is taken off in a whole piece and bagged as ‘firsts’ with the animal’s name on the bag. The fleece from the head, neck and legs is classed as ‘seconds’ and we generally sell that to a company that uses it to make alpaca duvets and pillows.


Not only is alpaca fleece beautifully fine and dense


(if you get the breeding right), it is breathable, strong, luxurious and doesn’t make you itchy because there is no oil or lanolin in an alpaca fleece like there is with sheep.


We are looking forward to our visit from Ben the alpaca shearer with the usual amount of anticipation, excitement and anxiety. I have no doubt the girls will behave beautifully, while the boys will make a first-class fuss throughout the entire process. Can’t wait for it to happen and will be glad when it’s over because then it’s my favourite time of year… alpaca birthing!


Kim Inglis Jeffries www.blencogofarm.com Blencogo Farm on Facebook


WWW.THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK


ISSUE 432 | 20 JUNE 2019 | 7


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