Animals are typically sheared in the time period December-April, when the weather is mild. Sheep, introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century, are sheared every two or three years, while the native alpacas are shorn annually if their wool will be used for commercial purposes and once every two years if it will be spun by hand. According to Vidal de Milla (2000), traditionally Andean people held a ceremony beforehand during Carnaval, during which the animal was decorated with brightly colored threads and given alcohol (chicha, corn beer and liquor) to drink.
The most senior person, or yaya, performs the t’ypiy, which consists of tearing the threads. Then people typically perform the shearing in pairs, with the woman holding the animal and the man cutting the wool with scissors or a special knife (Vidal de Milla 2000).
Vidal de Milla, Delia (2000). El arte textil: simbolismo de los motivos decorativos. Cusco: Municipalidad Provincial.