This is how I think of newly-shorn suri alpacas.
Some people think they are funny-looking when they are newly-shorn.
But as an alpaca breeder, this is one of my favorite moments of the year.
I see how their conformation stands out better when I can see the clean lines of their bodies.
I can clearly see how their pregnancy is developing, whether they are too lean, too heavy, or just right.
I re-evaluate their bone structure, the shape of their head, the proportions of their neck, legs and body.
I see where they may have skin irritations. I can see the coverage of the fleece on their skin.
But what I see most of all is the LUSTER!
It’s the luster that makes the difference with suris. Luster is pretty much the whole point! If we do don’t have luster, then there is no point in having suri.
That shine! That glow when the fiber sits on the skirting table…. when the yarn sits on the shelf…. when the garment is worn under lights….
It’s the same luster that I see on a newly-shorn suri (before she rolls in the dust!). It’s the priceless fleece trait that suri breeders work harder for than anything else.
Luster is the kingpin of all suri traits.
In fact, if a suri has brilliant luster all across their body, they will almost always have the other traits we are looking for—fineness, density, consistency.
Luster is the Holy Grail for suri breeders.
Imagine for a moment having raised these lovely creatures from Day 1, shown them, cared for them, and then, leading them to the shearing mat. The fleece has been of great concern, and now you are about to discover the truth about the fruit of your labor.
The alpaca is stretched out and the shearer makes the first pass across the body…….. you hold your breath…….and then the light hits the fiber close to the skin. A flash of brilliance catches your eye and you step in to look closer. Did you see it? Is it really there?
The greatest reward for your careful breeding and husbandry practices is to see a suri stand up, shake herself, and walk off the mat glowing more brightly than the moon on a clear night. It’s intoxicating.