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Thread To Break The Forum Silence



Well, like any intelligent animal, it depends on the socialization they get. They are very sensitive/empathic, so if you can overcome their natural fear (they are prey animals and for whatever reason not so bombastic as a goat, why ARE goats so confident?!) they can be incredibly friendly and companionable.

We love our little Nigerian Dwarf goats for many reasons, but the one that instigated our acquisition in the first place is the incredibly high butterfat content in their milk (10%) which makes them superb for cheese.

The alpaca is good for fiber, and we have a vet that comes around to help us shear him and the llamas, but those three are mainly just companions (and the llamas are guard animals to protect the goats).


I imagine. They’re now popular here as guard animals to protect sheep from foxes and dingoes…which to my mind is a much more integrated purpose, rather than trying to wring a quick profit from their rearing.

I had a couple of pet goats for my daughter (actually a neighbour said “can you take this goat, it’s too naughty” and we did, and she was!), but never had them in kid so did not get to milk them.

I know quite a few shearers, as you can imagine, and there are some specialist kiwi shearers who travel the world shearing llama…it’s an even more specialised art I’m told. They have to be strapped to a board, no?

The sheep in those images are simply caught, one by one, dragged across the boards and shorn held between the shearer’s knees. I have the utmost respect for their fitness as it’s incredible demanding work and many are working into their 60’s…and shearing 200 a day. I must also complement them on their changing attitude to the animals, they were pretty rough in the 70s & 80’s, I’ve had a long break from the game, and was surprised to see how sensitive they were to the animals these days.


We use this:

You can see the (smaller) alpaca version assembled in a link from that page. The llama is restrained from 8 different points with various straps. It’s done very gently and gradually so that by the time the llama can no longer move at all, they don’t really realize what’s happened. You must do it correctly however. Halfway measures will result in a llama half out of the chute, tangled up, and likely injured.

We had a sheep shearer attempt to do it once. He thought he could just manhandle them the way you might a sheep. The idea is that you get them off their feet and then tie them in a stretched position until they can no longer move. Um, no. A male llama can weigh over 500 lbs. You are not going to win that wrestling match. Unfortunately I fear that experience traumatized our poor llamas a bit. Now we know to restrain them completely in a chute designed for the purpose and then proceed with the utmost of gentle care. I’ll never hire a sheep shearer to shear a llama again.


Yeah, a crush (note the cultural language difference!) like that is a much more sensible and less traumatising manner to handle a large animal. Rams (who can weigh 300 pounds or so) are now sedated before shearing, but that’s as much about protection of the humans as of the sheep!

I had the good fortune to see Vicuña in their natural environment on the altiplano in both Peru and Bolivia, and I recently read that the Bolivian government is trying to revivify the Vicuña wool industry. They cannot be shorn manually and traditionally they have been corralled and the wool that is shed or pulled off on vegetation is collected by hand.

Edit again: …which has unfortunately led to them being shot by poachers (they’re protected animals), I was told by a Boliviano with whom I was driving, and stripped of their wool. Humans! :angry:


That is so sad. There are a couple species of Vicuña and they interbreed with llamas, so the distinctions between the 3 can become blurred, I understand. When they look into your eyes (which are at eye level!) you can see the intelligence (both intellectual and emotional) there. Humans indeed.

Mid-shearing humor:


There are Guanaco as well, but the Vicuña is believed to be the ancestor of the Alpaca who is his/her domesticated form. Makes sense.

It’s hard country they exist on. I’ve some images somewhere of 100’s of Alpaca corralled in the high desert 4500m or so in stone corrals. When they’re not yarded they wear little ribbons in their ears and graze on communal grazing land.

They do look unnatural without their wool, sheep also always look a little uncomfortable just shorn, like a suggenly naked human in public!



I apologise in advance for the sheer absurdity of the following clip:



I don’t have much direct experience to share here, as a suburbanite. I will only note that you guys are slowly reshaping my cognitive image of a modular synthesist here. :smiley_cat:


I’ve seen 'em hooof a fox to the point of death, but never a vicar!

I don’t have much direct experience to share here, as a suburbanite. I will only note that you guys are slowly reshaping my cognitive image of a modular synthesist here. :smiley_cat:

Atypical modular synthesists methinks, but then again…atypical farmer, me!


Brian from monome.org is a fellow orchardist. Whenever we email, it’s about 30% music gear related and 70% farming.

Atypical? Sure, but I think there’s a certain DIY aesthetic behind both interests. Or at least, a desire to be involved in the production of things, not just consumption. A need to understand how it’s done from the inside.


True indeed. I’m an (atleast) fourth generation farmer and love the, sometimes maddening, DIY ethos of rural folk. Unfortunately it’s a culture that is dying out in the face of globalism, standardisation and control. All sheep in Victoria (a state of Australia) from this year need to be chipped with a RFID scannable identifying chip, and all births, deaths and movements registered on a centralised database at an individual level and other states are following that trend in the coming couple of years. It’s not uncommon to hear farmers speaking of their stock as “units of production” ie where they once said “I have 1500 head of sheep” they can now be heard to say “I have 1500 units of production”

I was speaking of synthesis in combination with my other occupation as evidence of atypicalness farmingwise…



I’m not accustomed to hearing Terence mentioned in the same breath as “occupation”. Intriguing! But I will inquire no further. :wink:


Wise choice :wink: but i can assure you occupation it is…and no less demanding than farming!


With only 48 hours left before the end of the month my eyes start the incessant dart to the O|D tab looking for notification of a post…the post that contains v0.3.09


Some analog!

I’m canping out at Sony Scoring Stage working on a film soundtrack. Look at these taikos!! :heart_eyes:

And… a 96ch wide Neve!


What’s up with those framed shirts on the wall?


That was the first thing I asked!

It’s a John Lassetter shirt for every Pixar movie score that has been recorded there.


I’m trying to endure listening to Trump’s state of the union speech…tonight would be a great time to release ER-301 firmware v0.3.09 as a salve to the wound…how about it @odevices?




There is no silence in the forum right now, but I’d like to say that tomorrow (6 pm GMT+1) I will be playing at the launch of Powwow in Italy and I’ll have my 301 as a sound source, effector and mixer.

Too bad that the whole rack is black, except for the 301. It would be cool to have a black panel option :slight_smile: