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Choosing the best shears for alpacas is very important for your farm as this allows you to carry out a good job for your animals.
This is usually one of the bigger investments you will make as an alpaca farmer and you definitely want to get a good choice for your money.
In this article, I will be showing you
- My top 4 shears for alpacas
- The pros and cons of each one so you are making the right buying decision
- Very important buyer tips that you need to be aware of before making a decision
- Frequently asked questions from other buyers
- And so much more.
The Top 5 Best Shears for Alpacas
- Lister Star Large Animal Clipper – Editor’s Choice
- Oster Clipmaster Grooming Clipping Machine
- Oster Clipmaster Variable Speed Clipping Machine
- Lister Star Livestock Clipper
- Lister Legend Large Animal Clipper
Our Overall Top Pick
Do Alpacas Need Shearing?
Alpacas need to be sheared and regularly because during the lifetime of an alpaca, it can grow as much as 10 to 15 pounds of wool.
It is advisable to shear them at least once a year usually before the end of July depending on your location.
Most farmers I know like to shear them lying on their side and not sitting on their rump like they do with sheep.
You want to make sure that you use the right equipment and shear them annually as not doing so will cause huge distress to your animals.
Is it hard to shear an alpaca?
Shearing an alpaca or any other animal in your farm is quite easy when you have learnt the basics and practiced it for a while.
Like all things in life, practicing regularly will ensure that you become better and get used to shearing them
One thing you need to know is that when you start shearing an alpaca, they are very feisty and will put up some form of resistance.
This is why it is advisable that you shear them while lying down as this way you can easily restrain them and do a good job.
Related: Here is an article I wrote on the best hay feeder for alpacas?
Do alpacas get cold after shearing?
If alpacas are shorn outside late spring or early summer, they can get cold and catch hypothermia.
This is bad and can cause your animals to fall sick and in extreme cases to die.
When you shear them during the end of July, they have the chance to grow a new coat before winter comes and helps protect them against the cold.
So you want to make sure that you take things into consideration while planning your shearing schedule for your animals.
How do you restrain an alpaca for shearing?
Alpacas are very feisty and are known to injure people who have tried to shear them while standing.
To avoid this you want to make sure that they are properly secured before you shear them
Here’s some tips to ensure that you do this properly
- Tie a loop of soft rope with about 15m of slack around the body just in front of the pelvis
- Lift the rear legs and place the feet into the loop under the abdomen
- When laying them down, make sure you use two people standing on opposite sides and drop them down gently
What happens if you do not shear an alpaca?
If you do not shear an alpaca regularly, they become matted and unmanageable.
Alpacas do not shed their fur on their own like dogs or cats. They need to be sheared annually for their own health and welfare.
Not doing this will be putting them under so much stress as they cannot manage the summer heat.
My Review of the 5 Best Shears for Alpacas
1. Lister Star Large Animal Clipper
This is probably the most common and widely used shear for alpacas and other farm animals that I have come across.
It comes with enough power to give your animal a clean shave without any bruises on issues on their body.
It has a ventilated self cleaning head that prevents the blades from overheating and it’s user friendly tensioning system makes it very easy to set the correct blade tension.
It comes with a removable and replaceable air filter which helps with the cleaning and maintenance of the blades.
It also has a 16 foot cord which makes it very flexible and can be used at any location in your farm.
One unique thing about this blade which I absolutely love is the A2F/AC fine blade which has a clipping surface of 3 inches for easy and quick clipping of your farm animals.
- It has enough electrical power
- It is very portable
- Awesome sharp blade
2. Oster Clipmaster Grooming Clipping Machine
This is another very good shear that I use a lot in my farm for alpacas and sheep.
It is a single speed setting shear that delivers excellent result for your animals
Included in your package is a clipping machine with 3 inches head, 83AU top blade, 84AU bottom blade, Durable toolbox case with removable storage tray and blade compartments, Brush, grease and extra intake screen
It is ideal for alpacas, llamas and large animals as the blades are unique and very powerful for full body clipping and precision trimming.
Once oiled, the clipper can stay for about 100 hours giving you that smooth and trim cut that your animals want.
- It has single speed setting
- It comes with extra accessories
- It lasts for a long time after a single oil
- It is quite heavy and can be a bit difficult for the user.
3. Oster Clipmaster Variable Speed Clipping Machine
Similar in size, weight and quality to the Shearmaster Clippers mentioned above, the Oster Clipmaster Variable-Speed Clippers offer shepherds additional control and precision.
Depending upon your usage you can adjust the speed of the cutters from 700 to 3,000 cutting strokes per minute, allowing you to keep your shears running cooler longer and thus improving the comfort of your sheep.
I love that these shears include a rugged 15 foot cord (allowing you to often use them without relying on a tangled extension cord) and the purchase price includes the durable toolbox for storage and a 20-tooth goat comb and 4-point cutter.
These are a great middle-of-the-road choice and are ideal if you primarily use your shears for blocking and trimming sheep for the show ring.
- It has excellent control and precision
- It has a long cord for easy flexibility
- It is easy to use
- It is a bit heavy
4. Lister Star Livestock Clipper
This is a heavy duty clipper and shears for alpacas and livestock that comes with a permanent magnet.
One good thing about this shear is that it maintains a constant speed even in areas where the animal’s coat is thick or dirty
This ensures that your animals do not become injured while shearing them.
It has an overload switch that helps protect the motor from damage in the event of a jam while being used.
It is very light and can be used for along time by the user without getting tired
It comes with removable and replaceable air filters for easy maintenance.
- It has a permanent magnet for easy use
- Overload switch to prevent damage
- It is very lightweight
- It has a long cord for flexibility
- The blades are not very durable
5. Lister Legend Large Animal Clipper
The Lister Legend clippers certainly have their place in the sheep industry and they do work well for show-ring preparation.
What I like most about the Lister Legend Clippers is that they are light-weight (great for kids), quiet (great for sheep who have never been trimmed before) and stay nice and cool during use.
Thanks to the rubber-mounted motor, these are the quietest shears on our list, and the cutters run at 3100 strokes per minute.
In my experience you shouldn’t expect a rubber-mounted motor to last quite as long as one that’s made with metal gears, but the Lister Legend sheep shears will certainly last for several years if properly cared for.
- It is lightweight
- They are very quiet with sharp blades
- It is very durable and lasts for a long time
- It is very heavy
Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider When Buying Shears for Alpacas.
1. The RPM (rotation per minute)
Look for a high RPM. High RPM will make work easier and quicker to accomplish.
The quicker you finish shearing, the less stressful it will be for your animal and the less tiring it will be for you.
2. Shear Power
An excellent electrical shearing tool should have enough motor power to endure more shearing with less heating.
If you choose a shear with less power, you will have to take interval breaks to let it cool down to prevent it from breaking down.
The tools in our review have wattage between 320 and 380 which means they are strong to shear any overgrown heavy long fleece.
3. Blade Tension Adjust
The best shear is the one that has an option to adjust the blade tension.
The blade can be too tight for effecting shearing a heavy sheep fleece.
In that case, then, you need to loosen the blades to shear such a coat or vice versa effectively.
4. Vibration and Noise
A good shear should have less noise and vibration.
You don’t need to stress your animals further.
Shearing them is stressful enough. Find one that has less noise.
Again vibration can increase hand fatigue. A shear with the solid body should be able to absorb much of its vibration and noise
Some of the shears are too heavy to hold for long when shearing.
You need to get a good shearing tool that is light in weight.
When out there looking for the best sheep and goats shears you might come across some that are exorbitantly priced and yet have the same features with others less priced.
Be prudent enough to check on prices to get the best shear that is affordable.