Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creating A Calm Alpaca Shearing Day With Essential Oils

Largest Alpaca Calmly Being Sheared

Shearing is complete for another year for Alpacas At Hum Sweet Hum.  In an earlier blog, I talked about experimenting with essential oils to calm the alpacas during their stressful day.  I put a dab on the palms of my hands of Peace and Calm oil and if an alpaca was extremely frightened would let them take a whiff of my hand.  I also put some on rags as well as some volunteers so when the alpacas were being sheared on the ground and looking overly stressed, we'd lightly place the rag over their faces or near their noses.  The oils appeared to work on some alpacas better than others. 

Alexis is one of my new girls on the farm and more skittish.  When haltering her, she was pretty high strung and then she took a few whiffs of the oils and she didn't care at all what was going on.  The essential oils made a noticeable difference in her demeanor and she laid there about as calm as I have seen with an alpaca.  Misty also was calmed dramatically with the oils.  She normally would have fussed more.  She was extremely zenned out when I experimented with the oils a few days prior to shearing.  It was really quite hilarious to observe her looking almost stoned.  She is my piggiest alpaca where food is concerned and after taking a few whiffs of the Peace and Calm oil, she was letting all the others go to the pellets and treats.  During shearing, I was struck at how calm she was about being picked up to be laid down to the ground for her shearing.  She is a big girl and can be a handful when she is so inclined yet she acted like they could pick her up and carry her anywhere they wanted.  She didn't scream, spit, or pee at all but laid there like she was getting a massage. 

However, there were other alpacas that I saw no signs that the oils did anything for them.  Windsong who when pregnant is a crazy thing when handled.  She will come for carrots and treats but try and handle her and she alarms.  When not pregnant, Windsong will wrap herself around you to get a full body massage.  Her behavior suffers a dramatic change when pregnant.  I don't even need to spit tests or have ultrasounds on her to confirm pregnancy.  Her behavior is an easy indicator. We used the Essential Oils on her and she still spat and alarmed.  She did somewhat calm after the shearing started but not sure if that was due to the oils or she just gave up.  She was highly stressed until I took her halter off in her pasture away from the hullabaloo going on in the barn area. 

Alpacas All Sheared At Hum Sweet Hum

The one the oils did work on was me!  Shearing day is one of my most stressful days on the farm.  It's a lot on my shoulders to keep track of and running from one station to another answering questions of volunteers and filling in a spot that needs someone to work and just make sure everything gets done that is required.  It's a long full day of having to stay focused.  Once the routine of shearing gets going, I calm down more but in the beginning, I feel my stress more and work hard to keep it under check so the alpacas don't pick up my anxiety.  I would take whiffs from my own palms when I felt my anxiety pick up and I could feel my body relax. 

I have only a single day of use so not a huge amount of data to judge with but I would and will use the Essential Oils again and knowing which animals that definitely calm down with its usage is good information for me.  If others use it during shearing, I'd love to hear how it works for you.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cindy! Pam shared your blogger link with me on the shearing process with Young Living essential oils! Wow! So happy you had some great results (we KNEW Misty would go to la-la land!)
    I so pleased that you used the oils for yourself as well during this stressful time - and I agree....it certainly takes the stress for the animals down a notch as well.
    Thoughts of other oils to try are flowing in my brain after reading your blog - oils for hormonal support might be a better tact for your pg females like Windsong. Or oils that might create excitement in other alpacas might calm pg mom's.... like peppermint or blends for raising awareness (Sacred Mountain - yummmm). It takes time to find the right fit for each personality - and you know them best!!!!!
    How fun. So sad to have missed this process. Young Living Essential Oils combined with your energy work are so powerful - it's amazing.
    When do you have time to blog???? I'm so impressed!
    Talk to you soon!
    Marie - the oils queen!