Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our Alpacas

It's time to talk about the alpacas we will be getting! We've made plans with Ken and Linda from South Haven Alpacas to purchase 2 of their bred female alpacs and will also get a gelded male in the package. They have been wonderful people to work with. We have had to make a lot of decisions and they were kind to be patient with us. It's been journey to work out starting our business, setting up the farm and figuring out how we will make this all work.

The two females we are purchasing are Victoria and Kateri.

Victoria is a 3 year old dark brown female. The cria she produced this past year was awesome! Her name is Contessa (we did not purchase Contessa, but it does show what kind of quality Victoria is capable of producing). Victoria has been bred to Goldsmith from Hibben Hollow Farms. He is Medium Fawn color.

Kateri is a three year old light brown female. She is also bred to Goldsmith. Her cria from this year is Princess. I believe Princess may be staying with us for awhile since she is not yet weaned from Kateri (same situation with Contessa and Victoria). Weaning usually takes place at about six months of age. Contessa and Princess were born in June so are only four months old.

The girls have both been at Hibben Hollow Farm where they were bred to Goldsmith. Both are currently pregnant. Pregnancy last about 11.5 months, at which point they give birth to a 15 to 20 pound cria (baby)! Given that alpacas are around 150+ pounds themselves, that's a huge baby! Goldsmith is a medium fawn male. Using a color calculator it is most likely the crias produced will be light brown, dark fawn or medium fawn. I'm hoping for light to medium fawn to give us the most variety of color, but browns are nice too. I believe both crias will be due in August of 2008 - it will be baby fever at our farm then! Beware of cria pictures.

And with the 2 girls we will get a gelded male, Snowstorm. He is a 2 year old, white, gelded male. Snowstorm has won several impressive awards. However, there is lots of competition among white alpacas (more so than other color groups). He was at a disadantage due to his color. This led to the decision to geld him instead of becoming a herdshire (stud). I am very excited to be getting him, as I want some white yarn. White can be used as is, or can easily be dye (not sure if I will attempt dying the yarn, but the option is there). He will also be a great companion animal. Being that he is gelded, he can be in with females or males. Initially he will be in with the females, but if we have a male cria next summer we will need a companion for him. Male crias can be with the females until they are weaned (at about six months old). Then they need to be separated, but alpacas cannot be alone, due to being a herd animal. They freak out if they are not with other alpacas (think of a neurotic, separation anxiety dog, but at 150+ pounds!).

Last I heard the alpacas could be coming to our farm as early as the end of this month! We are almost ready, just need to get up fence, gates and have food on hand.

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