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News article  2008-06-03 - Sheffield animals given international care by Kiwi clippers

Trim pair: Warrior the Alpaca is given a summer haircut at Quicksaw Farm. Picture: Dean Atkins WHAT a yarn!

A pair of Kiwi clippers travelled halfway round the world to give dozens of Sheffield alpacas a summer makeover.

The shearers from Christchurch, New Zealand, got down to some serious shaving when they scalped 82 alpacas and gave their toenails a trim.

The men, who spend the New Zealand winter shearing animals in the northern hemisphere, were invited to Sheffield by Elaine Sharp, owner of Quicksaw Farm, Ringinglow.

Between them the bonza pair clipped 336kg of alpaca fleece from the animals which will now be sent to a mill.

It is graded according to quality and bagged up with each animal producing 3kg to 5kg of fleece.

Elaine said: "It will be spun into yarn and then it comes back as wool to be sold in the shop at our visitor centre.

"It can then be knitted into scarves, gloves, sweaters, hats and cardigans."

Softer than sheep wool, alpaca fleece is also hypoallergenic - causing fewer allergic reactions.

Dozens of visitors looked on as Alistair and Andy got to grips with the animals during their two-day shearing spree.

Elaine, who has been working with the Kiwi shearers for seven years, said: "They are the best in the business.

"We were amazed at the level of interest from the public.

She added: "They come over every April and go back in September. They spend the summer season going up and down the country shearing alpacas. During his career Andy has sheared 35,000 animals.

"It doesn't look that comfortable for the animals but it is the kindest way to shear them."

Patients at St Luke's Hospice in Sheffield will have some unusual visitors today - alpacas! The South American animals - including a baby - were due to visit the hospice on Little Common Lane, Whirlow, this afternoon.

Article by Polly Rippon, published in the Sheffield Star, 3rd June 2008