Posts Tagged ‘alpaca photos’

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.


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.

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?

Alpacas and Spot Meet

February 28, 2010

Ever since Spot met chickens and I had to sprint madly across the parking lot at Fox Run Suri Alpacas and into the barn to save one he suddenly had his eye (and just before I grabbed him) his mouth on, I’ve been more than a little nervous about him and the alpacas. True, he didn’t actually injure it. However had I been a nanosecond later, I cannot vouch for his character.

Since then we have dealt with him and my friend Patti’s guinea hens–and he has learned that just because it runs, it doesn’t mean it should be chased–a difficult lesson for a breed (cocker spaniel) that is supposed to flush and fetch birds.

Today, we decided that Spot could not avoid alpacas through all eternity.

The boys want to know what “that thing” is, but there is no panic, only curiosity. Spot held his ground and accepted all of the sniffs offered without offering any hostility. Spot, asked to sit and stay, did except when he collapsed into a heap and just let them check him out. Yay Spot! You are the dog we hoped you would be around alpacas.

So Spot got up and quietly walked away while Allegiance and Cantu watched. Good dog Spot.

House and Barn, Just Add Alpacas

November 20, 2009

I am taking a break from packing and fuming (in a very nice way) because my friends won’t send me any pictures of my house and barn and the apartment over the barn. I think they want to see my jaw drop. I am in Utah and we will be going to Oklahoma around Thanksgiving. My friend the computer genius who sends the photos has been traveling for work for over a month and hence, no pictures for me

Henry, the contractor has been photographing everything but sending pictures is not his thing. I hear little snippets when I ask specific questions, but that is all. Once the trailer is loaded we’re hitting the road and we’ll see everything for ourselves. Until then, the suspense is killing me.

So, if you are wondering why I have not put any pictures on the internet, there is the answer.

In other news, nothing from Betty yet. She was due yesterday.

So here are photos of our three multis to amuse you while we pull our hair out.

Fox Run Suri Alpacas took Caramel Sundae to many shows and her awards are legion.

Caramel Sundae with previous ownersSonnet is a wonderful mother & produces absolutely adorable crias.

Madrigal, her mother's colors but even nicer, due in the Spring

Madrigal is due with her first cria in the spring by WRSR Razor’s Diamond Rio.

Fox Run's Peruvian Sonnet, mother to Madrigal and Cavatina

Sonnet is a fantastic mother and her cria are gorgeous. Madrigal’s fleece is even better than Sonnet’s and Cavatina not only has wonderful fleece, but also must be one of the most photogenic alpacas.

For more information on any of our alpacas, visit Zena Suri Alpacas on

Photos of Black Alpacas while we wait

November 19, 2009

Drusilla--2009 cria

One of the things I’ll be working on once we get to Oklahoma is photographing our black alpacas, especially the true black girls. Does anyone know a secret for capturing the beautiful locks without turning them brown?

We have some stunning true blacks like Jezebel.

We are very proud of our black suris and we are not the only people who appreciate their elegance. Check them out on along with our other alpacas.

Laguna is a bay black.

We adore black suris and true black Mia rounds out the selection with one exception.

Mia is a good mother as well as a good looker.

Our Demelza is our darling, born only two days after we purchased her mother. She is a spunky girl, absolutely full of herself. She has trained us to do many tricks, like giving her an extra portion of grain.

Demelza surprised us by arriving a full month early.

Fall Fest Show for Owners and Alpacas

November 13, 2009

Before I continue entering info on our herd into openherd, I thought I would select a few unposed photos of the show process. Tom and I learned a lot about driving with alpacas–check on them every 100 miles or so. It’s good for them to stop bouncing, there is ample opportunity to make certain they are eating and that there is plenty of clean water. As an added bonus, the driver gets to make a pit stop and the gasoline and coffee levels are topped off.

Tom spreads bedding

Tom spreads the cardboard bedding at Fall Fest

The show venue provides a bedding material, which needs to be de-lumped and spread to withing six or so inches of the edge of the stall. We joined in with Fox Run Suri Alpacas and rented two stalls since they only had one alpaca they were showing and we didn’t need our boy Cantu mating with both of our nearly-ready-to breed girls on this occasion.

Tom and Don Llewellyn spread out the alpaca mats

Tom and Don spread out the alpaca mats

Alpaca mats are loosely woven stall-sized coverings that keep undesirable liquid (yes, that’s exactly what I mean) away from your beautiful show animals. Having them also means you don’t need excess hay or straw and you can easily remove beans from the area. Remember to bring hay and that you have clean water. We often buy, or bring water that the alpacas are accustomed to drinking and we bring hay from home since changing hay can cause digestive troubles.

The alpacas are under enough stress without adding to it.

The alpacas are under enough stress without adding to it.

Keeping the fleece clean at home and on the road means that it will have the luster and cleanliness needed to show it off to its best advantage. It’s not so much the bits of hay that are on top, as Cantu is showing as it is ground in nastiness that judges (quite rightly) hate to touch. The white alpaca, Fox Run’s Solaris by Apocalypse and our dark brown boy Fox Run’s Cantu by Nomar took home blue ribbons in the Spinoff as well as in Halter judging.

Solaris, who is for sale and can also be seen on Fox Run’s website and on Alpacanation also snagged the Judges Choice ribbon.

CIMG1566Seven ribbons for four alpacas isn’t very discouraging at all. I guess we’ll be doing more shows.

Alpacas and Us Photos

November 3, 2009

Alpaca SummerInstead of a berserk tirade about all I have to do today, I thought I would put up a couple of photos and try the blog tomorrow.


A few of the dark suris congregate in the barn

Walking with Alpacas

October 28, 2009

The first weekend in November we will be in Loveland, Colorado, showing three of our alpacas, Cavatina, Fantine, and our boy Cantu. Everyone already has a couple of ribbons, ranging from blue through white, for halter shows or fleece, or spinoffs. So why continue with two girls who are ready to breed? (We have noticed their come hither looks focused on the boys.)

The truth is, we are doing this for ourselves, for experience. Tom and I have only physically attended one show, last spring in Phoenix where Cantu earned a blue under the tutelage of Don Llewellyn of Fox Run Suri Alpacas and Demi and I ventured out and took a fourth. But we didn’t own Cantu yet. Don took alpacas to other shows, some for us and some for them.

One of the reasons we wanted to raise alpacas besides their beauty and their winning personalities was that we wanted to go to shows. Now that we are moving to Oklahoma, it is unlikely we will be teaming up with the Llewellyns for most shows.


Tika took a blue and a color championshipCavatina takes a second.

Cavatina with a red.                        Tika with a blue.



So if we want our alpacas to continue their winning ways, we figured we’d better get off our duffs and learn a bit more about shows. Don is kindly taking on the task of shepherding us though another show. The first task is haltering our darlings and reminding them how to walk on lead.

About the time our alpacas were weaned, they learned how to wear halters and be walked. So this time it was fairly easy. We simply selected approximately right-sized halters, approached our darlings in their stall after we had allowed every other alpaca to leave, and showed them the halters. With an arm around the neck the halter is slipped on making sure it is high enough on the nose that the alpaca can breathe easily and buckled on the side with room for a couple of fingers to slip easily between the halter and the alpaca.


Cavatina and Tom

Cavatina with her halter properly fitted and Tom in control

Tom keeps the lead firmly in his left hand, leaving a bit of slack that he controls by holding with his right hand. He talks to Cavatina (probably about political science or the economy) and his voice helps keep her calm. He will never let go of the lead and does not handle the clasp since the wrong motion can release the alpaca. He does not pull on Cavatina, but reassures her so she naturally comes with him. His right hand may allow slack in the lead until she gets the idea.

Since they are quite timid, always walk two of more alpacas together. You want them as calm as possible and the less stress they feel, the easier they will be to walk.

Coming soon, haltering cria.