Shearing alpacas is the basis of creating Norlander Alpaca Socks. Our Alpacas are relieved of their winter coats every spring which provides the fiber used in our socks but is also essential to the well being of the animals. Alpacas grow very thick winter coats which is perfect for their native, mountainous habitat but would make them too hot in the Missouri Summer. Alpacas are native to the much cooler, high mountain foot hills of the Peruvian Andes. Our alpacas are born and raised in Missouri and may be used to Midwestern summers but would overheat with their full coats past winter.
Hence, the need for a spring shearing. Straw and debris is brushed from their coats, and then individual alpacas are led to the shearing area. A two person shearing team works on one alpaca at a time, carefully removing the winter coat so the fiber can be turned into magnificent socks! An experienced shearer can remove an Alpaca’s winter coat in five minutes. The alpacas may not love getting sheared but their haircuts are very necessary to their well being (and to our business). They are not harmed when sheared and feel more comfortable after their “haircuts”. An adult alpaca weighing about 150 lbs produces approximately five pounds of high quality fiber.
The Blanket, or where the saddle would go on a horse, is the first part of the alpaca that is shorn. This is the primary, softest fleece on the alpaca. It is used for alpaca clothing close to the skin, such as Norlander’s Alpaca Socks.
The neck, legs and belly are used as “Seconds” which are not quite as soft and vary in length. It is used for alpaca rugs and felt. It can also be spun into yarn.
Alpaca fiber is as soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool. There are more natural colors than any other fiber producing animal and is easily dyed to other colors. Its cashmere-like fleece is enjoyed around the world. And it all starts with shearing the animals’ winter coats. Norlander Sock Company uses our alpacas’ winter fleece to bring your feet comfort and warmth.