The Bactrian camel grows a thick coat of hair every year towards the end of summer. The thickness of this coat continues to grow until the midwinter when it becomes full and robust.
This coat protects the Bactrian camel from the chilly winter. This attribute is a product of its genetic parent, Camelus bactranus. Camelus bactranus is a camel species found in Siberia and other cold regions in Asia. Camelus bactranus was once bred with the Camelus dromedarius, known for its lustrous hair; this happened centuries ago. The Bactrian camel with its parents’ attributes is the result of this breeding exercise, which means its soft and beautiful hair can be grown in the coldest climates.
The Bactrian camel usually sheds its coat during the spring as the frost prepares to thaw. People who breed this kind of camel are very good at predicting when the camel hair will begin to fall off in their caravans.
Back when Bactrian camel breeders were still nomadic, a person often called the “trailer” was usually assigned to follow the camels in a caravan in other to pick the hair fibers as they fell. However, you’ll hardly find nomadic Bactrian camel breeders these days, and it’s not unusual to see them shearing the camel’s hair if it is not entirely ready for harvesting at the same time.
Bactrian breeders hardly shear their camels, they just wait for one of the animals to shed off all of its hair, and when they do shear them, they don’t touch the area around the hump because the hair in that area has excellent disease resistance properties.
After the hair is shorn off or fallen, the next step is to clean it to remove impurities then have it carded. Carding involves separating the hair fibers into different strands.
Once the carding is done, the next step is to start spinning the wool into yarn. An industrial spinning machine can be used to spin the wool into yarn, but not in all cases. The indigenes of Mongolian Steppes mostly employ traditional tools for this particular job.
After the yarn is spun, it is rewashed before it is worked into textiles. While it is not unusual for some breeders to create their finished textiles, most finished yarns are usually shipped off to major textile factories around the area or abroad.