Posts Tagged ‘alpaca tour’

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.

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

Alpacas and the Business of Spring

April 7, 2010

Whoa! Time slips by quickly, doesn’t it? Saturday is our first shearing here at Zena. Spring=nude alpacas. There is some lovely fleece out there in the fields that I can’t wait to get my hands on–unfortunately there is a lot of hay in it and picking it out at this point seems to do little good since it magically reappears overnight.

The little ones are pretty much weaned and partly/mostly halter trained just in time for the business in store for us. Saturday is our big shearing day! I almost messed us up good and didn’t find a shearer to come. I had plenty of time and then I suddenly had no time. Fortunately we have been fit into a schedule. Shearing will happen in the evening on what should be a beautiful Saturday–or the crew may wait and do the deed early Monday morning. We are providing a place to sleep and a nice bathroom with shower.  🙂 The crew does not work on Sundays so we will be playing everything by ear.

I have been invited to speak about alpacas to a local woman’s club and we have had our first ranch visitors. We plan to be open for visitors several times a week–this is a big summer tourist area. The local Chamber of Commerce has announced that we are one of the area’s attractions and we had to put up a gate (before we even talked to the chamber) because we were having so many unannounced visitors. And here we thought we were so out of the way no one would ever come. Now we have to announce hours and everything. Come and visit if you’re out our way, far Northeastern Oklahoma–less than 25 miles to Kansas, Missouri or Arkansas.

There will be a grand opening for our business in June and by then, hopefully our shop will be in place. I owe all of you photos–now all I have to do is find my camera. So much to do!

Our first visitors came with their grandparents on a rainy, cold April day. Luckily we have a big barn and a heated office. The boys came to check them out and appointed Marti as their official spokes-alpaca. We will have another group of alpacas coming in June and have half a dozen babies (cria) due this spring.

Please call 804-389-2579 or email zenasurialpacas@gmail.com for information about tours, purchasing alpacas, alpaca products or agisting (boarding) alpacas.