Posts Tagged ‘alpaca farm’

Prep for Shearing Alpacas

April 5, 2011

If I had time I would be looking for my photo cord, but the truth is I just don’t. The alpacas are happily letting themselves in and out of the barn in the morning, but the boys didn’t want to stay out or use their three-sided shed last night, so today I had to do door duty for them. Last night was freezing cold but it is 10-15 degrees warmer in the barn this time of year and there is no wind chill. Yesterday we had gusts up to 40 mph but in the afternoon the wind stopped.

Tom and I were watching the news and I said, “What was that?” What it was, was no wind. It’s slated to start again later today. No matter really. The alpacas only mind it when it is cold and when it is warm the suri fleece lifts and they are air-conditioned. We should hit the sunny mid-60s later. The grass has greened up very nicely and with any luck we will get to open the new field this afternoon. They will have access to one of our little half-way house barns as well as the main barn for wind protection and shade and the new field has something else they have not been able to get near–up to this point: It has trees.

Oh, I almost forgot about the shearing in the title. We shear on Friday–how did I ever wind up with shearing on a Friday??? I think this means I have no helpers at all. I hope the shearer brings help. I am trying to concentrate on getting bags and labels and the CDT shots about half of the herd needs ready. We will also give vitamins and weigh both alpaca and fleece I am nervous. Last year’s shearers weren’t so wonderful. Read down in my blog history if you want to know how awful it was.

I feel as though I am going in for a new hairdo myself. I wonder if the shearer does people too. If he does a good job, I’ll ask. Oh, and if you’re in the vicinity come on by and I’ll put you to work.

Alpacas–Johnny and Cassandra

June 19, 2010

Jeepers! It’s HOT! With crias on the ground and the weather in the mid-nineties and the humidity way up, we are counting our blessings that we built where we did. There is an almost constant breeze, frequently a wind, that blows up the ridge from the trees and keeps the barn lovely and cool. The insulation under the apartment and in the overhangs doesn’t hurt either. There is another benefit to living in air-conditioning over the barn.

In the meantime, the crias are growing by leaps and bounds.

Johnny, over 30 pounds now, will be four weeks old tomorrow

Johnny is already 30 pounds and won’t be four weeks old until tomorrow. He already considers himself quite the macho guy. This is one fantastic young boy.

Cassandra is younger by far, but the two of them are starting to play under her mother’s watchful eye. Jenni doesn’t want Johnny to get too rough. She’s growing by about one-half pound every day, despite the heat. Jenni is a very good mother.

Cassandra is only a baby, after all. She looks like a little deer to me. She was born June 14.

Darling Alpacas–Crias are Here

June 15, 2010

What would make a person who likes to travel, who has trouble sitting in one spot, who seldom worries about much, who likes to sleep in get up at 6 a.m.,  and spend three weeks waiting and watching anxiously?

Spring crias. Finally they are here and I am once again breathing deeply and relaxing.

They are wonderful and their mothers have everything under control with little or no help from us. Two were born at Fox Run Suri Alpacas. Those were the easiest since Carla and Don Llewellyn did the watching and waiting and delivering like the experienced alpaca people they are. Carla was here for our first delivery at our ranch here in Zena, Oklahoma, and all Tom and I had to do with the last two was watch in amazement.

More details about our darlings is coming soon, but here are the photos–one birth to go.

Zena's Peruvian Accoyo Topaz

Zena's Peruvian Cullinan

Zena's Peruvian Stage Door Johnny

Zena's Peruvian ZephyrZena's Peruvian Cassandra still wet, but on the ground three weeks late

Zena's Peruvian Cassandra

Advertising Alpacas

May 7, 2010
The Cria Demand Their Grain

The Cria Demand Their Grain

We are working, trying to get our ranch set up for our June 10 Grand Opening. The Grove Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. and we will be officially classified as one of Grand Lake’s official attractions. There are not the same event, but both are part of the promotion of an alpaca ranch. We plan to have a little shop with fleece, yarn, alpaca bears, and finished alpaca products. Whew! So much to do. Eventually we hope that most of the things we sell will be made from our our renewable alpaca fiber. We are biting purposely biting off more than we can chew, I think–but watch us grow.

Alpaca Blog Update–About Comments on “Alpaca Sadness”

May 3, 2010

Thank you to everyone who took a peek and maybe shed a tear yesterday. 111 people clicked on “Alpaca Sadness” and made it the most read blog I have written by far. After sharing it, I felt reconnected with all that is good about people.

Several people commented, saying things that had never occurred to me as I wrote. “It is about the strength of mother love and appropriate that it was written just a bit before Mother’s Day.” Jesse would not leave her cria. She had carried it for ten months and she knew it was hers, alive or dead, for better or worse, forever, eventually she went on without it because there was nothing else she could do.

“It is about friendship and how girlfriends stick with you.” Thanks to Laguna and Tika. You go girls. When I watch the alpacas out in the fields, it is as though they were joined by some kind of invisible floss. They move in groups like ladies going to the powder room (or to the poop pile), hum to each other, watch out for each other, comfort one another. I guess friends are good no matter what your species. I am delighted to see that my beloved alpacas care about each other. For additional information on this, read my earlier blog about alpaca family groups.

“It’s life and death.” What can I say to expand on that? Life on a ranch is all about life and death and a connection to land, earth and sky and water and weather. It feels good to be here with the gentle, sweet alpacas. Even in sorrow we are truly blessed. As someone told me, it’s important to not pretend that there is never a tragedy and that bad things never happen. Life continues and is affirmed. We are expecting more 16 babies this year. I hope they are all strong and healthy. We will never forget that one.

Thanks to everyone. I’m working on a giveaway for my followers. Fleece, yarn, clothing? Something alpaca. We’d like to share our bounty with you. Watch this space.

Here Kitty, Kitty–waiting for Godot Alpaca

May 2, 2010

April 14 came and went. It’s been blustery, cold, and snowy up in Utah and Kaatakilla (named for the Incan moon goddess) was just not ready. We are still awaiting the birth of her full-Accoyo suri cria. Every day I think to myself, “O. K., today’s the day.” Now it is May 2 and still nothing. The little entity moves around and kicks poor Kat from the inside but refuses to arrive no matter how hard we wait and we still don’t know what color the nursery should be.

April in Utah this year seems to have meant no spring at all. Our house is still on the market and we are trying to decide if a new realtor is the answer or if the one-two punch of bad economy and nasty weather is somehow not his fault. Spring is here in Oklahoma, but not in Utah.

I hear that alpacas can “hold off” a pregnancy and I think I’m believing that’s true about now. Please Kat, one healthy, beautiful cria at your earliest convenience–a boy or girl would be just fine.

Oh, and for those of you who thought this blog would be about cats, here’s Bristol…

Bristol samples alpaca drinking water. Is it better than cat water?

Bristol samples alpaca drinking water. Is it better than cat drinking water?

Happier Alpacas

May 1, 2010

After our sad times, we are moving back into happy times. Two crias are due in Utah (yes, we still have alpacas there), three are due here in Oklahoma, and one is due in Michigan. We have a nice vet in place here and with the recent rain, the fields are green, green, green.

The house and barn look close together from this angle.

The house and barn look close together from this angle.

How do we raise alpacas? Do they take a lot of care? Our idea is to keep their environment as natural as possible but to supplement so they can add to their diet at will. Except for grain. Alpacas will eat grain until they burst, so we monitor their intake carefully.

We currently have four fields, about six acres, and four paddocks with four stalls currently set up in the barn. The alpacas can come and go within reason. On windy or rainy days I always say they are in and out like yo-yos (since they are not terribly fond of that weather. We were fortunate to miss the worst of the storms last night. Tornadoes, thunder, lightning–it all passed to our south and into Arkansas.

The crias try to decide if the grass is greener...

The crias try to decide if the grass is greener...

Usually Carmel Sundae leads the herd in and out. The girls in the next pasture over keep an eye on her for clues about potential danger and Carmel usually sleeps near the barn door in the paddock so she can keep an eye on everyone. I think Divinity misses Zeke, who is across the barn with the soon to be yearlings, so she is usually the first in and the last out. I would like move her in with Demelza her previous cria, but Divinity is a grain fiend and will keep everyone in Demi’s group away from the grain, frequently spitting a spray of that grain as a warning that she gets hers first.

I am wondering what will happen when Caramel Sundae has her cria next month. She will move away from the main herd for a short time and will then be in with the new moms. Can she lead from the sidelines?

Alpaca morning in Oklahoma

Alpaca morning in Oklahoma

Another Dozen Alpacas

March 16, 2010

Sunday meant another dozen alpacas. Can you believe it? Friday we had our first ranch visitors, a lovely couple who brought their grandchildren and compared our house and property to a place they’d been in New Zealand–the green rolling meadows and the porches all around the house, I think, rather than Jay or Grove.

The dozen alpacas hit the ground and never looked back. Utah? Um, hmmm. I think I may have been there once.

This morning the girls headed for the field with wild ecstasy, like they were “strung together,” Tom said, wildly flinging themselves into the field with abandon. Go babies! If joy could be bottled, this was the place to bottle it!

It is wonderful to see them interacting as a herd and the first group did this to a degree, but this seems to be multiplied many times over with the arrival of the second group. I talked about family groups before and, for some of the alpacas this seems very important. Divinity, who is still nursing Zeke, sleeps with him and her daughter from the previous year, Demelza. Divinity’s mother Mindy May is here with her son Cruz. Mindy is our oldest girl and Cruz is currently the youngest.

Sonnet is here with her son SkyKing, but her daughters Madrigal and Cavatina are still in Utah. Since they are maidens, our mentor kept them in case they need assistance and so they can be rebred. I feel badly about this now because Sonnet seems to be looking for them.

While Tevilla’s mother, Dynasti is here, Tevilla appears to be on her own and chooses to spend time with Demelza during the day.

Tevilla, at the alert

Carmel Sundae has two of her three children here. Her son Agassi, the most recent, is in Utah and will be shown this spring. While Fantine and Shira are here, this family group seems to be simply three adults.

One or two alpacas seem to be appointed to watch while the rest eat peacefully. Rhapsody notices a lot even though she is not one of the primary lookouts. When she is in the paddock and we are looking out the windows, she watches us right back. So I guess she watches us watching her watching us…

The boys had one new addition, Ozzy, a gelding. Cantu and Marti, below, express their opinions at his arrival. Everyone, boys and girls, seems to be adjusting fairly well.

So how was your day?