Friday, June 8, 2012
Design: the table is designed to significantly reduce both the labor required to get an alpaca into a shearing position and to dramatically reduce the risk of harm or injury to both the handler and the alpaca.
By using a pneumatic ram to do the lifting and dropping, this table frees up additional labor that is required by the more traditional shearing-on-the-floor method commonly used across the country.
It also allows the shearer to stand upright and so reduces stress to the lower back and knees, thus making shearing more comfortable as well as possible for many older and less flexible alpaca owners—the added benefit is more flexibility in shearing dates and fitting in with shearers’ timetables.
Procedure: the alpaca is walked to the table and pressed against it while the belly strap is passed under the animal and secured. The head is held by the handler, and the shearer moves the lever set under the table to activate the ram and bring the alpaca to the horizontal shearing position. The handler holding the head places the grain bag over the neck and releases the belly strap after the legs have been restrained in the usual way.
Once one side is shorn, the removable neck rest is attached to the table, the grain bag is removed from across the neck, and the alpaca rotated to allow shearing of the other side with the grain bag again placed across the neck. When shearing is completed, the alpaca is rolled to the original position and the belly strap affixed whilst a handler holds the head and the legs released.
Under no circumstances lower the table while the legs are in the restraints.
The shearer then moves the operating lever and the ram retracts, forcing the table to the vertical position at which time the belly strap is released and the alpaca walked away.
Very simple and no undue strain or stress on either the alpaca or the handlers!