Animals at Clanton farm get yearly shearing

Published 4:49 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Serenity Animal Farm, located at 1950 County Road 254 in Clanton, is home to all kinds of animals, including some decidedly exotic species.

Llamas, alpacas and sheep can all be found on the premises, and owner Mark Bagley welcomed a team of specialists to conduct those animals’ yearly shearing early April 3.

“Once a year, this team comes in,” he said. “We put it on the calendar, and they schedule it for us as they hit all these farms across the United States. I don’t really have a choice [on dates], except I know it will be in April. It all depends on how many farms they have and where all they go.”

The wool from the animals, especially the alpacas, is prized for its use in making clothing.

“A lot of people spin it into yarn,” Bagley said. “You can use it to make coats, afghans, socks, shawls. It is one of the most costly and, I guess, best fibers out there.”

Bagley said the team of workers who sheared his animals is a part of a group called Bio Shear Alpacas.

“They have three teams that crisscross the United States,” he said. “One starts in California, one starts in Florida and one starts in Ohio. They never see each other. This team is only hitting one more place in Alabama, then they are going to Mississippi.”

The process of going from an animal with a full coat to a sheared one starts with Bagley and his helpers first corralling the alpacas, llamas or sheep into one side of a chute. The workers then take each animal and flip it onto its side as gently as possible.

The workers then secure the animal’s feet with a rope and pulley system to keep both parties safe.

Along with shearing off the animals’ coats, the team also clips toenails and files down teeth in order to help keep the animals healthy and injury free.

Bagley said it takes the team about three hours to complete its task on his farm.