Monday, May 31, 2010

Crazy Cria

I'm always amazed how quickly cria grow up. They stand within hours of birth, start walking, and within days can out run me. Compared to us humans, they are faster learners.

Last night I caught little Copper racing around the pasture. It was already dark and he was quick, so the pictures I got are terrible. Even worse is that the fence is in my way. I didn't want to go past the gate for fear he'd stop his racing game. He'd start out by the swingset, and race down the hill, then end up in the back pasture, only to start all over again. He was having a blast, running at top speed:

Given his color, he really looked like a deer racing about.

I think it's the cooler evening temps that make him start running. I love watching the cria run and play. He could use a playmate, but so far Maddie seems to be holding onto her baby. At this rate, Copper will be huge by the time the next baby comes along.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fiber Festival

This past weekend there was a fiber festival only minutes from my home: the Farm Girls Fiber Festival

Had I been more organized, I would have gotten a booth. But as it was, I have no fiber ready for sale (it's all in big bags, not weighed or anything), no yarn spun, no knit products available. I seem to find homes for any product we do complete, so I don't have a stock pile. I hate to admit it, but I still have some fiber off of Victoria on my spinning wheel that was there before alpaca show season began. While we had our animals shorn a couple weeks ago, the next weekend was the National show, and it seems I've been on the go since before then. We attended four spring shows, Emma has been in soccer and Zack recently started baseball. It seems every night I have something I need to do. My fiber room is a mess.

But, I did go to the festival to check it out and see my spinning friends. Between work and picking the kids' up from school, I haven't been able to attend spinning guild either :( J worked all weekend, so that meant I arrived at the festival with kids in tow. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the kids behaved.

I was very impressed with how busy the festival was. Many more vendors and booths than were at the festival over Labor Day. I can see how this is going to grow each year. I hope to get my stuff together so that I can get a booth come Labor Day weekend.

Expect some posts in the near future about me working on my fiber - sorting, weighing, spinning and knitting. Show season is officially over, so while I wait for cria to be born, I can let the fiber-a-holic in me go crazy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Warm Days

On nice sunny days, even if it is really warm out, it's not uncommon to find alpacas sunning themselves. This is a good thing, in that the sun provides vitamin D, without which an alpaca can develop rickets (we give vit. D injections in the winter months because it is so dark and gloomy here). But, often when I catch an alpaca out sunning themselves, I first worry they look dead! Here is Snowstorm demonstrating the death lay:

I do wonder why they would do this on such a hot day. I was hot this morning (it was already in the 80*'s by the time I took these pictures). But they seem to love it. When I got back from the boys' barn, I found Maddie and Sancha sunning themselves:

Maddie gave me a bit of start because she looked like she might be in labor. Her tail was up and it looked like labor was starting (I swear I saw contracts on her back end). Must have been a false alarm, because after a few minutes she got up, got some water to drink and went back to the barn to munch on some hay. Oh well, this baby will be born eventually. She's on day 351, so not that late, I'm just getting impatient.

After Maddie got up, Kateri took over the sun spot:

After seeing them sunning themselves, I decided to get the hose out to cool them off. Most of our alpacas will come and stand to be hosed down. The trick is to put the water stream right between their front two legs, on their chest/belly. That spot is where they control their body temperature. In the winter, if the cush down, they can keep this spot warm and be warm. If in the summer I cool it off with cold water, they cool down. Here is Victoria getting some cool water relief:

Most of our alpacas will come to be hosed off. So far I can't get Navigator, Greyt, Cafe or Sancha to let me hose them off. So I guess they choose to miss out. The most fun is hosing down Rosco. She does a little tap dance in the water! It's hilarious! I haven't been able to capture that in pictures yet. I should get a video of it.

Looks like all weekend is going to be sunny and hot. I expect several trips outside to hose them down. It's easy work and it gives me an excuse to check on Maddie. I know, I know, a watched pot never boils. But this baby has to come at some point :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Date

We were waiting until show season was over to breed Tehya. She will be 2 years old in July, and is about 130 pounds. She's old enough and big enough to breed (typical breeding age is 1.5 to 2 years old, though some aren't ready until closer to 3, and over 120 pounds). If they aren't ready, they won't show interest, and a pregnancy won't take hold. First, a few days ago, we teased Tehya with a male. Then last night, we brought down her date.

Here is Kateri's Tehya:

We decided to breed her to Our Peruvian Navigator:

Tehya is fawn with a secondary color of brown or black (we don't know which one she received from her mother). Both of Tehya's parents have had grey offspring, so they have a recessive grey gene. It is quite likely that Tehya inherited a recessive grey gene (the type that makes a modern, roaning, grey). Navigator is a classic dark rose grey. I don't know that I would call him a tuxedo grey, because it's not a typical tuxedo, but he clearly has more of a classic pattern (he is not modern grey). I've heard his type referred to as "fancy grey". This type of grey is dominate, he will either pass it on and the cria will be grey, or he won't pass it on.

Tehya has crimpy fleece, with great staple length. She is consistent, with crimp from her legs into her top knot. Tehya isn't as fine as we'd like, and her fleece could use some bundling organization. Navigator is very fine, especially for a grey, and has nice bundles. His fiber characteristics fill in any weakness she has.

Alpacas are induced ovulators, so you do not have to time breeding to meet the female's cycle. The act of breeding, especially the orgling noise the male makes, causes the female to ovulate. Now, for a maiden, sometimes the first breeding is what starts their cycling, so often they do not get pregnant this first time. She and Navigator did breed for 17 minutes, and we did tease her a few days before, so it's possible it will take. But it wouldn't be a surprise if she needs to be bred again. We will wait a few days and try it again. If she goes down to breed, then she did not take. If she spits him off and runs, then likely she is pregnant. This isn't always accurate with a maiden, so we will need to keep monitor of her. Our experienced moms, we have a very good idea of how they act when pregnant vs open. But with a maiden it's harder. But I think we did fine with Maddie last year using this method.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Procrastination's pain

I'm generally not one to procrastinate. I do not work well under pressure. I like to get things done in a timely fashion, usually early, and done well. But, for some reason I had been procrastinating on cleaning out the boy's barn. I could make excuses about our being busy with alpaca shows, and the kids' sports, but I could have found the time.

We came home from Nationals with temps in the 80's. That's hot for here! The barn had to be cleaned out. I had already taken Monday off of work, so that's the day I had to clean out the barn. Temps in the shady barn were over 90*!

It was even warmer out in the sun. Much hotter of a day than I would choose for such a job. But, it was time it needed to be done.

It doesn't look too bad from this view, just a bit of straw/hay on the ground (the hay is the stalky hay that the alpacas don't eat. We don't mind this waste, since they skip over the hay with less nutritional value, and eat the hay with more nutrition. We'd rather they were healthy and ate the good stuff. But it does mean we have to do something with the rejected hay):

But, when I started putting it in the wheel barrow, it was a lot. I stacked a hay feeder on top of the wheel barrow so I could fit more in each trip. The straw/hay isn't heavy, it's more bulky than anything.

I don't know how many trips I made. I lost track some where after load #6, when I wasn't even half done yet.

I did have an audience, the boys in the pen next door kept a close eye on me:

I sprinkled all this straw and hay out in the pasture. If we had lush pastures, then I wouldn't. But we have such sandy soil, we can't sustain grass growth. I've found when I put straw or hay out there, the grass starts to grow again (we did plant grass, several times, so it is there, just doesn't grow well). The straw/hay helps keep moisture by the grass and gives it something to latch onto. Sandy soil drains water so fast and is slippery for roots to take hold. I figure over the years the straw/hay will decompose and create a nice base of soil. The down side is that we do end up having to really skirt our fiber after it's shorn. They say the best skirting is to have a clean barn and pasture. That's ideal for sure!

Here it is, finally completed:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's all in the name....

We still are struggling with the name of our new little guy. When we heard he was brown, and when we saw him with the darkening shades of brown going down his legs, the name Mudslide seemed to fit so well. But, I have a hard time actually calling him that. The name "Copper" pops out at me every time I see his face. I like Copper Canyon or Copper Head, and then call him Copper for short. We still haven't made a final decision. We don't have to decide for sure until he's registered. But I'd like to start calling him something. "Little guy" just doesn't quite do it.

Like most moms, Sancha is pretty protective of her little one. She will even spit and run after us if we mess with him too much. To weigh him, we leave her by the gate, and take him to the scale.

He weighed in at 21 pounds! Two days later he was 22.6, so he's gaining well. We expect he's going to be very big boy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Meet our newest cria!

Sancha had her baby while we were gone at the National show. We aren't sure when exactly she had it. The baby was found on Saturday, late morning, but was already dry, so he had to have been born awhile before. He was either born Friday evening, some time overnight, or early Saturday (while an evening/night birth is rare, it does sometimes happen). I have heard of cria being born during the cooler nights, when it gets as hot as it has been (we have unusually warm weather right now).

We expected a boy, since Sancha seems to always alternate between male and female cria. We were surprised that she finally had color, not her typical white offspring. His color is very bright and shiny. It's hard to tell exactly what color he is. He may even be a dark fawn, or light to medium brown. It's so bright, that it looks lighter, but as it grows in at the skin it may be darker (often the fiber is lightened by amniotic fluid in the womb, this is why a true black might have brown tips). We'll have to watch it as it grows.

He looks like he is going to have a very woolly face (fiber all over his cheeks, chin and up to his nose). We love that woolly look! He also looks like he has nice fiber coverage on his legs. On his front legs, the color darkens almost to black by his feet. He sort of looks like he has boots on.

He has cork screw bundles and looks like he is going to be very crimpy. It's hard to tell fineness on a newborn, and density is difficult to determine when the fiber is so soft at this stage.

For each of our girls we have a theme to name their offspring. For Sancha, the theme is "nature". We initially decided on Mudslide for this boy. I don't know what we will call him for short (we usually end up having a nick name for them). I'm sure a nick name will develop over time.

Here he is, sired by our own Apollo, born from Sancha:

We are debating what to name him. We like Mudslide, but I also like Copper Head (call him Copper for short), or Copper Canyon. Sometimes names are hard to figure out.

Edit to say we did decide on a name: Our Copper Canyon, nick name is "Copper".

Back home from National

I feel a little let down by Nationals. Most shows we go to, I feel like I learned something. I don't feel like I learned that much. Maybe I expected too much. I thought since it's Nationals, I should see so much. We had someone tell us that Nationals really turns into a glorified regional show. For the most part, it's all the local farms, with a few who travel cross country. I do see what they mean. I do also think that even the local farms, only bring their best. We weren't the only one to bring only the top ones from our farm (but then the really big farms do this at every show, they only take the top 10% as it is). So the competition is more fierce. I also feel like we didn't get useful feedback from the judge. We only had full fleece huacaya females there. Many people there had complaints about the judge for them. I am not quick to criticize a judge. I feel it's a difficult job, and sometimes it sounds like people don't like the judge only when their own animals place poorly. But, I do feel like we didn't get useful feedback, and the reasoning didn't make much sense. It changed with each class, so you never knew what he was looking for. From what we have heard, this is only the second show he has ever judged. It seems like a judge for the Nationals should be a senior judge, or at least one with lots of experience. We heard that it may have been an over reaction to the judges last year, who were senior judges, but were very political and not well liked because of that. J wonders if maybe we didn't learn as much at this show because we had our kids with us. He pointed out that we didn't get our hands on as many animals or go into too many pens. We have learned so much doing that at other shows. We did feel like a small fish in a very big pond.

On Sunday, Pocahontas was the last of our group to show. She was in the class of indefinite dark (she has grey fibers, so isn't brown, but not enough grey to be considered rose grey). Her show record:

Awards Received
Reserve Color Champion - Best of the US Alpaca Show, Columbus OH Level IV

1st place - Best of The US Alpaca show, Columbus OH (Diana Timmerman) Level IV Indefinite Dark

1st place - Indiana Alpaca Invitational, Ft. Wayne IN (David Barboza) Level IV

2nd place - The Great Midwest Alpaca Festival, mixed class of multis and indefinites, Level IV

Here she placed 3rd. Now, I can see that going from a level IV show to a level V may have that much more competition that this could be the case. But, the judge went on and on about her fiber, how it has great character and how wonderful it is. Then he said "she is in an awkward growth stage" and that is why she got 3rd. I don't see how she changed that much since three weeks ago at the last show. And there, the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival, she only got 2nd because we didn't trim her teeth (see my write up about that show: being there, day one, Tehya, Pocahontas, and wrap-up).

We did get to see our boy, Tucker! We had no idea the farm who co-owns him with us had him at Nationals. We actually stayed a bit longer because we were thinking of buying a little boy, and stayed so we could see his fiber (he was in the composite class and his fiber was not available until after he showed in shorn). While waiting for that boys' class to show, there was Tucker! The kids and I ran over to hug him. We miss Tucker. He always greeted me at the gate each morning.

I did have a very informative conversation with Andy Merriwether from Nyala Farm Alpacas (he is the author of some of the articles on genetics that I linked to in a past blog post). This was actually the most informative thing I learned all weekend. I had a chance to ask him about Pocahontas, the only one born on our farm that I had not predicted her color. While talking with him it was like all of the sudden a light bulb went off inside my head and I got the difference between a grey color (classic) and roaning (the modern grey). I was right about the tuxedo grey (classic) being dominant and the roaning (modern grey) being recessive. But what I finally understood better is that the reason it doesn't matter if there is grey in the alpaca's background. If it's recessive, it may have never shown up before, and they could still carry the gene (you need 2 of them for it to show in the animal). If you knew for sure the grey in the background was a roaning grey, that might matter, but over the course of time, people have registered these animals differently. The roaning grey in years past likely would have been registered as brown or black (like Po many years ago would have been considered a contaminated brown). So just because Pocahontas has a tuxedo grey great grandsire, doesn't matter. He was a tuxedo grey, which is dominant. If he passed on the grey gene, then his daughter would have been grey (she's white) and her son grey (he's black) and then Po would have the grey. Since none of the ones in between are grey, that grey gene was not passed on. But, somehow both her parents had to have a roaning grey gene, that they both passed on. It may or may not have shown in their background. I'm sure I'm not explaining this that well, but I did feel like I suddenly understand it better (as I've stated before, I'm not good at explaining things, I would never be a good teacher). His suggestion would be to breed Po to a classic grey or another roaning grey, to produce a stronger grey (to bring out more grey than she has). This makes a lot of sense.

Here are pictures of our pen at the show:

We were in a second room (which we knew when we registered for the show, the main room was sold out by the time we registered). I didn't mind that much being separate, a lot of farms were there. But most people referred to that room as "the dungeon" because it was a lower level, with no windows and felt cave like.

The main room is the same as it was at the Indiana Show, except with 4 rings.

We had planned to have the girl's shorn after they showed. However, people were waiting in line for 5+ hours for shearing! So, we came home with them in full fleece. It doesn't help that it was in the upper 80's yesterday and supposed to be hot all week. Poor girls!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sancha's Surprise

On Saturday morning I said to Emma, "I am predicting that Sancha will have a white male on Wednesday." It was an educated guess. Sancha has always alternated between male and female offspring, she had a female last year. Sancha is white and has had mostly white offspring. And, from the births we have had on our farm, she tends to go until about day 356 gestation.

Well, she did have a boy, so that part I was right on about. But it was born on day 351 (Saturday morning) and is brown!!! I wasn't expecting that color. In fact, not to long ago I made the argument that we believe her secondary color is fawn (we didn't know for sure, but we believed that to be the case). I had said if she has a white cria this year, we still won't know for sure what her secondary color is. Now we do know. It has to be black. Her mom is fawn, but had a black cria (she has a black secondary color), so she had to pass on a fawn or black gene to Sancha. If Sancha had fawn as her secondary color, this cria would have been fawn. This brown cria got brown from Apollo, and had to have gotten black from Sancha.

We can't wait to get home to see the little one! We've heard he's doing well, nursing great, and is "cute". I'm sure I'll have pictures of him posted by Monday.

Sunday is the day we finish up at the show, with Pocahontas still to show. And, we pack up and drive home. Busy day ahead!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

End of an era

Today was the last show for our very beloved Tehya. As I've said before, no matter how she did in this show, she has made us proud. Tehya will be 2 years old in July, and is old enough (and big enough) to be bred. We plan to breed her after this show is over (likely next week).

Tehya was in a class of 8 yearling females, where she received 6th place. While a bit disappointing, it does not take away the incredible animal that she is. Her show record:

Awards Received
1st - Michigan International Alpaca Fest, Flint MI 9/2009 Level III (Wade Gease)

2nd - The Best of the Midwest, Columbus OH 3/2009 Level IV (Sharon Loner)

2nd - Indiana Invitational, Ft. Wayne IN 4/2009 Level V (Dawn Booker)

1st - MOPACA 3/2010 Spin Off

4th - Indiana Invitational, Ft. Wayne IN 4/2010 Level IV(David Barboza) 1st and 2nd took Color and Reserve

2nd - Alpaca Western Extravaganza 2010 Spin Off

2nd - The Great Midwest Alpaca Festival 4/2010 Level IV

6th - AOBA National Alpaca Show 5/2010 Level V

Tehya is the first generation of alpacas born on our farm. She was born the same day as her half-sister, Shelby, who has moved onto another farm. Lightning was born two months before these two girls. This was our first crop of cria, our first show string. People have told us we were really spoiled to have such a first year. Not too many farms start out with 2 Goldsmith daughters.

At our farm and at the show, Tehya takes on the role of auntie. She watches over the younger ones, and always makes sure to have everyone in sight. At the farm she will sit so that she can see everyone. She starts humming if they wander out of her sight. Here at the show she watches everyone walking by and makes sure the two younger girls are ok. You can see Tehya's head above the other two, watching out:

It's bittersweet to see the end of her show career. She's made us proud, but I also know she will produce some even more incredible cria for us. Thank you, Tehya, for the joy you have brought us!

Show Update

The kids are surviving and so are we

But we are finding that a 1st place at a level III and IV show, really isn't the same as a level V. The competition really is that much more fierce when you get to this level. I see now why J is less impressed with an animal's show record than I am, when he sees lower level shows. He knows more about what level each show is.

Friday, May 21, 2010

First Place!

Our first ribbon of the 2010 AOBA National Show goes to Lightning!! 1st place in the spin off. He missed the top score by .5 of a point - so close!

The spin off category at the National show is quite large. It is the largest spin off in the country! Here is the wall of all the spin off ribbons:

Then a closer view of the section Lightning is in (he is next to the missing one):

And Lightning:

We only went to the show in the a.m. to feed the alpacas, and check on them. Then we spent the day at the zoo. Here are the kids in their cage:

After the zoo, we went back to feed the alpacas their evening meal, fill the water bucket and fill hay bags. Then we went out to supper, and into the pool to wear out the kids so they will sleep good again.

Saturday we need to be at the show early, as Jolie will show first thing. Tehya should show later in the day, so we will be there all day. It will be an interesting day for sure. Not sure if I'm thinking more about how the animals will show, or how our kids will behave. If you know them, you know they are active, lively, kids, who aren't real good at staying calm and quiet. I know it's really just being typical kids, but, it's frustrating when they act so wild. Prayers needed for their cooperation (my patience), and for the animals to show at their best.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We are here! (Nationals!)

Just like the Indiana Show we attended earlier this year, this show is being held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

This is the entrance to the building at this show:

Today is the day before the show, when everyone gets here with their alpacas to set up your stall, check in the alpacas (color check), and there was an exhibitor meeting at 6:30 p.m. The showing starts tomorrow a.m. at 10:15 until noon, then they will break for the auction. They expect to only get through the black classes. Then on Saturday they will start early in the morning with brown class, then fawn, and through to white. Then on Sunday will be the grey, indefinite and multis.

Setting up the stall is actually more important than one would think. I look back to our first couple of shows and think about all we have learned. I posted earlier this spring about putting the bedding on top of the matt and how that keeps the poop off the animals. Another big issue is setting up the fans. It's very important that they blow on the animals. Hot, sweaty animals will not show well. It makes their fiber damp and the crimp can fall out and bundles won't look right. A fan can make a huge difference in how they place. We've had animals that placed well at many shows, then did not, only to find out that she was hot, and that made her fiber look terrible. It really is true that these animals have good fiber days and bad fiber days (even more so than a woman's good hair days). We've learned to put the fans at body level for the alpaca, and in a row so they have no choice but to be in the way of the fan. Our power row of fans:

We put the hay in such a place so that they stand in front of the fans when they nibble on hay. Here you can see the fan blowing on their fiber:

We did bring out kids with us to this show. We don't usually do this. Mostly because it's a great excuse to have a childless weekend, but also because they are active, busy kids, who wear me out. A show is busy enough, add on kids, and I might not make it. But we only have 3 alpacas at this show, and it's spread out over 4 days, so the show isn't as much work. We decided to make this into our family vacation for the year. Zack has been very excited about the hotel having a pool. After thinking on it, I don't think he's been in a hotel in 4 years (he's only 7, so 4 years is over half his life). I hope they have fun. We plan to visit the zoo and do some other fun family activities. There seems to be a lot to do nearby. Here they are playing their DS games while we are setting up (they did help set up some too, but at some point it's easier for me if they just sit and play their games and I don't have the constant chatter. If you know Zack, you know what I mean. He's a talker, non-stop. Unless he's playing his DS.)

We have 3 female alpacas with us, all in one pen:

We have Ashton Stones Jolie Rouge from Ashton Stones Alpacas with us. She is in the dark brown class. She should show first thing Saturday morning. We are very grateful to her owners, Noah and Jillian, who are watching our farm back home. Wonder if we had any babies born? Sancha and Maddie could deliver any time now (though I expect Sancha to deliver mid-week next week, I have no idea on Maddie).

And we took our own Kateri's Tehya. She is light fawn, which we expect will show on Saturday afternoon. This is Tehya's last show. Tehya is a Goldsmith daughter and has done us proud in the show ring. Whatever the outcome for this show, we have been blessed with her. We have a breeding date set up for her the second we get back to our farm next week. I can't wait to see her offspring!

Lastly, we have our own OHVNA Pocahontas. Po has been my dream come true. She is the color I have dreamed of (while she has shown as indefinite dark, the only difference between this and dark rose grey is how many grey fibers there are, genetically it is the same. And spun into yarn, while it will be more brown, it will still have heathered looked). From the time Po was born, we knew her fiber was incredible. I am excited to see how she does at such a big show like this.

We also put Sancha's White Lightning in the spin off. For a spin off, the animal does not actually come to the show. You mail in 2 oz of fiber, and they judge that ahead of time. I'll get pictures of his spin off yarn and ribbon tomorrow.


Today is the day we leave for The 2010 AOBA National Show and Auction.

I have a feeling we are going to be a little fish in a very big pond (ocean?). But, I can only imagine what we will see and learn from this experience.

If possible, I'll blog updates throughout our weekend. It's hard to know if I will have time or not.

All I keep thinking is Nations.... Nationals... Nationals......

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Peruvian Georgio

We have a breeding age male staying at our farm: My Peruvian Georgio

At his farm, he was the only older boy, so he was taking up an entire area just for him. We happen to have two boy only pens, so it's no big deal to add in one more boy. He has incredible shiny, bright, crimpy fiber. He is a compact boy, with a very studly looking face. I love his look.

I took these pictures before he was shorn (an after shearing picture was posted in the big boys thread earlier this week):

Alpacas in the Woods

I wonder if we should have named our farm: Alpacas in the Woods, or Deep Woods' Alpacas....

We have the new girls' pasture fenced in. Here are our young girls enjoying the new area (they really are fenced in, it's just hard to see the fence in the distance in some parts of the pictures):

We did make sure to cut out any plant that is toxic (wild cherry trees are one that has killed alpacas). We will cut up the trees that are down, there is a lot more work to do here. But, we wanted to get them some more space as soon as possible. They seem to love wandering out there. I need to get more pictures to give a better idea of how big the area is. It's a good sized area. Spot will be over here, so that he is not in with the pregnant girls when it comes to birthing time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shearing and Spot

Spot is a big part of our farm, but did not get shorn. I didn't want to leave him out of the pictures, so here is Spot, with my son, Zack.

If you looked at our shearing pictures last year, you may have noticed we had them shorn a bit different. This year we had their legs and faces shorn down. Last year we thought leaving the leg hair might help limit flies biting them. And we loved how wooly their faces were and didn't want to lose that. But, after watching it this past year, we don't think it made a difference with the flies. Even shorn down, they still have quite a good cover of hair. And, that way of shearing isn't right for the show ring. To a large extent the way they are shorn is a matter of preference, but we had a judge last fall tell us not to have them shorn that way again, at least not our show animals. His point was that the judge cannot evaluate their conformation (especially on their legs) with so much fiber. As the shearer added, all that hair grows, so if you leave some just on some parts (legs and face), it will be that much more bulky later. We ended up having to hand cut most of our alpaca's faces throughout the year, so that they could see. This year we had it all cut down. I already like it better.

Pregnant Girls Shearing Pictures

Sancha (12 years old), who is due with a baby (day 350) on May 21st:

The good news about Sancha is that we finally have found a way to keep her weight up so when she's ready to deliver, she's not too thin. We didn't realize this was an issue with her the first year we had her. It wasn't until after she was shorn that we realized. The next year we worked on it, and had a significant improvement. She was plenty healthy to nurse Lily. But this year we made even more improvements. What we've found works really well is adding rabbit pellets (grain) to her food. I do smaller amounts throughout the year. Then about a couple months before her due date, all the way through nursing the cria, I give her 1 cup of regular alpaca grain and 1/2 a cup of rabbit pellets. The rabbit food is much higher in protein and really helps give her the added nutrition that she needs.

Kateri (5 years old)

Hana's Victoria (5 years old)

and since I often don't get a good picture of their shorn face, here is Victoria's. You can see that she has a wooly face (curls by her nose), no wonder all her cria do.

KSF Midnight Masquerade, AKA Maddie (almost 3 years old):

Monday, May 17, 2010

Young Ladies Shearing Pictures

Kateri's Tehya (will be 2 years old in July), Tehya is going to Nationals, so she did not get shorn yet (she will show in full fleece). I'll post her shorn picture after the show.

CCAP Cafe au Lait (1 years old): I have a terrible time getting a good picture of her, she keeps moving on me. This was the best I could do:

OHVNA Pocahontas (will be 1 years old in June). She is going to Nationals, so no after picture yet.

Ashton Stones Little Miss Rosco (will be 1 years old in August)

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