Slide joy for alpaca who loses his 7 pound coat in a closed hairstyle to help him deal with the unusual 80F heat
- Steely Dan and 34 other alpacas are shaved to keep them cool all summer
- The alpacas live in Innerleithen, Scottish Borders, much cooler than the natural habitat
- Enthusiasts Stuart Ramsay, 56, and wife Jean, 65, started four alpacas in 2013
Incredible photos show a blissful alpaca who seems to be having a great time while his heavy coat is shaved off for the summer.
The three-year-old South American animal, named Steely Dan, looked totally relaxed when two people removed the 7 pound fur coat, while another collected the wool.
Despite living in Innerleithen, Scotland’s borders – much cooler than their natural habitat – Steely Dan and 34 other alpacas are sheared at Velvet Hall Alpacas to ensure they can withstand the 80F summers.
Three-year-old Steely Dan looked totally relaxed when two people took off the 7 pound fur coat. Shown for (left) and then (right) at Velvet Hall Alpacas in Innerleithen, Scottish Borders
The five-minute shave allows the alpacas to cool, as their coats can be the equivalent of wearing four cashmere sweaters.
Enthusiasts Stuart Ramsay, 56, and wife Jean, 65, who describe themselves as hobbyists rather than professional farmers, started out with four men in 2013 – but they brought in some women and started breeding.
Mr. Ramsay, who works as an engineer, said, “Some are wearing four pounds of fleece, it’s like wearing three or four cashmere sweaters.
Steely Dan has his coat shaved along his long neck by professional scissors
Gritting Teeth: The alpaca seemed to make some funny facial expressions during the five-minute haircut
Despite living naturally in much warmer climates, the South American animals still need to be sheared to ensure they can withstand the Scottish Borders’ 80F summers
Each alpaca is expected to produce 7 pounds of wool this year, totaling over 220 pounds, which is then sent to hand spinners or a reel
“It only takes about five minutes to cut them, it doesn’t take long.
“We started at 8 a.m. and should finish by 1 p.m. They will feel better afterwards.
“We have hiding places for them and let them decide whether to come or go.
“But when the weather is like that, they enjoy being outside, even the little ones their mothers will follow.”
An alpaca is held while the hind legs are shaved to prepare it for summer
The shearer eventually removes the bunch of hair on top of Steely Dan’s head
Another alpaca is seen with its large coat removed while another razor holds its head
After the alpaca’s hooves are tied with rope to prevent them from kicking, their hooves are trimmed
The couple employs New Zealand scissors that come to the UK every summer to shave alpacas off their thick coats, each weighing around 7 to 9 pounds.
Each alpaca is expected to produce 7 pounds of wool this year, totaling over 220 pounds, which is then sent away to hand spinners or a reel so that the fleece can be converted into wool balls to be sold.
Some are also sent to fleece shows that assess the wool and awards are given based on the best quality coats.
Stuart Ramsay weighs fleece from one of the alpacas. Collected one of the many bags of wool
The hardworking group cleans up the wool as the next alpaca prepares to be shaved
Shown here are several wool colors filling a dozen bags, the farm expects to collect 200 pounds of wool annually
The couple first encountered alpacas at a 2011 country show and fell in love with them, and decided to get four more to graze their land and see how it went.
Mr. Ramsay’s father added, “We are not farmers, I am an engineer and Jean works in a hospital pharmacy.
“It was a steep learning curve, but we got some females and started breeding and took it from there.
‘It was really nice.’