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DSCN7230Biak Bay, William and Mr. Darcy, before their cuts

Alpaca shearing day
is a festive day
for us humans—
a group effort
as Marty Hoffman
and at least some of his children
arrive.
Not so festive for the alpaca:
When we halter them
they immediately they begin humming
their anxiety.

DSCN7234Trizah, Kezziah, Ezekiel, Lazarus

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Marty and the children
lay Biak to the mat first
and as Marty wields the shears,
the children hold Biak’s head
and keep the rope tight on his
stretched legs.

Ann scoops up the soft wool,
a year’s growth,
still warm from Biak’s body temperature,
and keeps the three grades separate
in marked bags.

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When Biak is shorn,
it’s William’s turn. He also
gets a tooth-trimming.
But it is Mr. Darcy,
the youngest, who will undergo
the greatest shedding this year—
not only his fleece;
today is his gelding day.
It is Frank’s (he is a vet)
first alpaca gelding.
We are all a little nervous,
sad. We’ve avoided this surgery,
but Darcy has become very rambunctious
when anyone besides Ann, Frank or I
come into or near the pen. He bucks and
kicks and rears up in a show of his dominance.
It started a couple of years ago,
just with young males. But now,
any visitor stands the chance
to witness or experience
Darcy’s display of alpha-ness.
It was unavoidable
if we wanted to be able to
bring people into the alpaca pen.
Frank performed the surgery
carefully and efficiently
and Darcy immediately
stood as if it was simply
shearing day.

20150416_192906Biak, shorn

20150416_194330Biak and William roll in the grass after shearing

20150416_195521Mr. Darcy, after his ordeal

We expected he might spit
at us, but he didn’t.
We hope that he is less
rambunctious,
but as curious and approachable
as he has always been.