Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My daily chores are fairly minimal. Most often I choose to spend more time out with the alpacas than I really have to. The morning chores I can complete in 10 minutes max, when needed. And the evening chores can be done just as fast. But the truth is that I only rush through the chores in the morning on days I have to get to work. Other days, I take my time. And with the evening chores, I usually hang outside, finding various things to do until dinner time (I get home around 3:30 but never seem to make it inside the house until after 5).

We feed our dams and cria grain twice a day. I know some farms feed them grain once a day, or not at all. We don't feed any grain to our older boys (once they get to be near 2 years old we wean them off of grain). We've found they can maintain their body weight fine on hay and they have access to supliments if they desire. We started feeding our dams grain twice a day when we had a couple very skinny girls. Since then we just got into the habit of doing it this way. And these girls know when it's grain time. It's as if they have a watch, and once they know it's the usual time for me to be out there, they start gathering by the gates.

I feed all the 2010 cria and yearlings in the pen together, putting their bowls down in a line against their fence:

And I feed all the dams along their fence line:

The exception to this would be Victoria and Miss Kitty who are given a very small amount of grain:

Victoria puts on weight easily and being the herd leader, she'll push any other alpaca away from their grain bowl to eat their grain too. Miss Kitty came to us overweight so is on a weight loss plan. So these two girls are in their own pen. We figure Victoria will steal some from Miss Kitty, but Miss Kitty can afford to eat that much less.

Along with grain, I put out hay twice a day. I don't know why, but the hay that was just put out is always the most desired by the herd. It's not "fresh" since all the hay bales are sitting in our hay tent and were grown, harvested and delivered at the same time, but whatever is just put out is considered the best by the herd.

I also check and refill water buckets twice a day. During the evening chores I clean up poop. I try to do this everyday, since then it's not a big chore. It will all fit in one wheelbarrow trip and makes for easy work. When I wait a few days, there's that much more to deal with. And I've read that it's best to clean it up at least every three days to avoid parasites. Though on a busy evening this part of the chores gets passed over.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This past week has not felt like spring at our farm. There is still a coating of ice and snow over most of our land. Here is a picture of the cria's pasture, with Spot standing in the distance:

Temps have been hovering in the mid 30's, much lower than what would be average for our area this time of year.

Spot and the alpacas don't seem to mind too much, but I know on the days the sun shines and the snow melts they are quick to wander out into the pastures looking for grass to eat. They also love to lay in the sunshine.

Spot found a nice place to lay where there isn't any snow or ice:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Alpaca Product

We completed this a few weeks back but with all the activity around the last show, I didn't have a chance to post about it.

This is a hat and scarf set out of 100% home spun alpaca yarn. It is sized to fit a teenager. I spun the yarn, J knit the hat and scarf.

We donated this combination to an auction at a local organization, focusing on the prevention of child abuse.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ice Storm

This past Wednesday we were hit with a storm of ice, snow, rain and everything else in between. Sometimes it was hard to tell if it was ice pellets falling from the sky or snow balls, or freezing rain. Slush covered the ground, along with ice and snow in various layers. When I went out to feed our alpacas, I couldn't open the door from the garage to the backyard because it was iced shut. When I finally got outside, the ice and snow mix was so crusted that my steps didn't even make foot prints.

Prior to this storm the table and ground were completely clear of any snow, all the snow and ice on here is from the storm:

While it's not deep by snow standards, it is thick considering so much of it is ice.

Ice coated the hay tent:

This is the close up of the rope on the tent, showing the ice on the rope (it covered everything like this, including all the gates and latches that were very difficult to pry open):

Not only was there ice, but there was snow in between layers of ice, and there were little balls of snow or ice or I don't know what. I found them in the hay:

up close it looked like little styrofoam balls:

I thought it was neat how the snow and ice layers slid down the slide into this:

Our little alpacas, the 2010 cria, must have spent the night inside their shelter, just as one would expect. They were dry and happy come morning:

The older girls, our pregnant dams, on the other hand, must have slept outside, because most of them had icicles hanging off their fiber.

J's theory is that the cria are smarter than their moms and that is why they slept inside. I personally think pregnant woman tend to be warm, carrying that extra baby inside them, and I don't think they minded the wet rain, snow and sleet. Sure it covered their backs, but I don't think it penetrated further than that. They have dense fiber to keep them warm. Tehya had the most ice cover on her, and she's the one due the soonest:

Doesn't she look pathetic? I feel for her. She's due with her first cria in mid-May.

Unfortunately this theory doesn't hold up for Maddie, who did not hold her pregnancy and is actually open right now. She has ice all over her too. Maybe she's just warm naturally.

I did wonder if maybe the lower ranking females might be pushed out of the shelter by the higher ranking ones. I've heard of that happening, and I know Tehya is the lowest in the rankings in this pen (likely because she's the youngest in the older girls pen). But Maddie is not a lower ranking one, in fact she's one of the leaders just behind Victoria.

Victoria also had ice hanging off of her, and she is the clear herd leader. But then Victoria has been known to sleep outside in a blizzard. I swear she is always warm and doesn't care one bit about the cold weather.

There were a few older girls who did stay inside. Sancha, Snickers and Miss Kitty had very little ice on them. I would call them middle ranking within the herd. Snickers and Sancha are of average weight, and Miss Kitty is overweight. Miss Kitty is open, Sancha and Snickers are both pregnant. Sancha is the oldest on our farm, but Miss Kitty and Snickers are younger. So, none of them fit a certain criteria. Who knows why some stay inside and some don't. I figure if they don't care that they have ice on their backs, and they aren't showing any signs of problems from it, then I'm not going to be concerned about it either.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

1st Place for Challenger

Here is the official show picture of our boy, OHVNA The Challenger, who received a 1st place at the Best of the US Show.

Challenger is what we hoped and dreamed to create when we planned that breeding. We bred our female, Hana's Victoria, to our male, ARF Our Peruvian Tucker. Victoria was the first alpaca we purchased, and has become a farm favorite. She has the typie look that everyone notices, but she also has fine yet dense fiber. The only thing she lacks is crimp (a trait known from her sire). Tucker is a male we aquired a couple years ago because he is a rare light silver grey. Tucker is also dense, but not as fine. Our hope was to combine Victoria's fineness with Tucker's crimp and color. Challenger was the exact result we were praying for. We couldn't be more thrilled with him!

This is the first cria from our male, Tucker. Now that we see what Tucker can produce, we are even more excited to use him in the future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

1st Place for Twilight

Our very own Smokey's Twilight received a 1st place ribbon at her first show. We couldn't be more proud!

She was born from our female, Midnight Masquerade (Maddie), and her sire is a male we co-own, NL Smokey.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I've often complained that I do not have good upper body strength. Even back a few years ago when I regularly worked out with weights, I still did not have great upper body strength. I always knew this to be true, so I found ways to manage, to cope. I thought for sure being a farmer would help. Hauling and stacking bales of hay, lifting and carrying buckets of water, certainly that should help. It did help a bit, but not that much. I continued to work on ways to cope.

Well, recently I have noticed a definite change in my strength. I'm not being paid to advertise here, this is really what has worked for me. For one, I got a Shake Weight for Christmas. I admit I don't work out with it every single day, more like 3 or 4 times a week. But I swear it has made a huge difference. I also am running about 14 miles a week. This combination has given me strength I never had before.

Not only can I haul bales of hay and water buckets, but if a cria doesn't want to do what I want it to do, I pick it up and put it where I want it. I'm not messing around anymore. This new found strength has given me option I never had before.

While my running has been due to training for a 10K race, I know I need to keep it up even after the race is done. I don't want to give up this new found strength, it has definite advantages out on our farm.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Small World

While looking over the show book after our busy weekend, we discovered that one of the girls who beat our Rose is a full sister to our herdsire Greyt! Isn't it funny how these things come about? The world of alpacas is smaller than you realize.

(It makes even more sense when you remember that Greyt originally came from Stachowski Alpacas, hence his name SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations, the SA = Stachowski Alpacas. The two girls who beat out Rose also came from the same farm).

We run into more overlaps when we go to breeding. We've come to the point we do not want another alpaca with Royal Fawn in their background, he's in too many of our alpaca's pedigrees.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stalls at the show

Each show is a bit different in how the stalls are designed. Here is a long view of the stall area at the Best of the US show this past weekend:

Here is a closer look at the front of our stalls (we shared stalls with Ashton Stone Alpacas):

And here is the back/side view:

Our pens got a lot of attention. Rose, of course, fulfilled the role of interacting with anyone walking around checking out the stalls. When we'd walk around the venue with her, people would comment "Oh my wife loves that animal". They can't believe how friendly she is. In fact several people stated that when standing by our stall that they couldn't believe how friendly they all were. I think this has to do with the fact our cria basically live in our backyard and are close to people all the time. It also helped that one of the males from Ashton Stone Alpacas was bottle fed and he was very friendly also (as were all of their boys). This made our pen very fun to come and see.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Two 1st Place Ribbons!

The biggest excitement from our adventures at the Best of the US Alpaca Show is that we came home with two 1st place ribbons!

OHVNA The Challenger:

Smokey's Twilight:

Because they got 1st place, we will also have a show picture for them. I'll post those when we get our copy.

The judge stated that Challenger's fiber had great organization, is fine and bright and has a good handle.

The judge stated that Twilight's fiber is bright and fine (an established trait from her sire), and has an incredible handle. The judge did note a bit of difference in her crimp from the front to back of her blanket (which we had already noticed), but still placed Twilight at the top of her class because of how fine and bright it is. The judge also noted that Twilight has rock solid conformation.

We already had a sense that Twilight would do well in the show. We had Twilight color checked by the judge because she's not a clear color (she was put in the Indefinite Dark class, the judges did not feel she has quite enough grey fibers for the dark silver grey class). To do a judge's check on the color you have to have someone else take your animal up to the judges. The person we asked took a peak at Twilight's fiber and was amazed. Then other people around started looking at it too. While we know Twilight is cute, when you open up her fiber it's even nicer than expected. We love that sort of surprise, and it was neat to have people impressed with her also.

Our beloved Enlightenment's Rocky Rose also did fantastic in the show ring. While she received a 3rd place (not the coveted 1st), she was up against six animals, two of which came from the same farm: Stachowski Alpacas (a long established alpaca farmer, he was one of the original importers of alpacas). Of course his two came in 1st and 2nd. A 3rd against those two counts as a 1st anywhere else! There is no shame in coming in right behind him.

Our biggest disappointment was the placement of Harley. He came in 6th. We did have to cut back his top knot due to burrs and a matt in his fiber, but the judge said that did not have any impact on his placing. The judge stated that he placed Harley there because his body is a bit long and his fiber not as fine as those ahead of him. He is white, which is known to be the hardest class (white fiber was the most improved upon in Peru, all the other colors were not as advanced to begin with and are still trying to catch up). Harley is going to two other shows this spring, so we have time to get more feedback on him.

For newer readers who don't know, I decided a long time ago not to take pictures of the alpacas when they are in the show ring. That is why I don't have a nice ring shot for each of our alpacas from the show. While I'm not really superstitious, we seemed to have terrible results when I have my camera on me. It seemed every time I was prepared to take a picture, the animal would place last or get the gate. Then when I'd forget my camera, they would do well. So, I got into the habit of not taking my camera up to the show ring. Surprisingly very few people do take pictures of the show. I know not everyone has a blog like I do, but you'd think more people would want to capture the moment. I actually think this is a lost opportunity. You'd think some of those big farms would pay someone to capture their animal's winning moment. There is a show photographer, who takes posed shots of alpacas in front of his backdrop. When the alpaca wins 1st place or a color banner you get a free picture from this photographer (he is paid through the show). You can also purchase posed shots from him. I love getting these pictures! I do what I can to get photos for my blog, but I am not a photographer. I will post Twilight and Challenger's 1st place winning photos as soon as we get them from the photographer.

Alpaca Show = rollercoaster ride

There is so much packed into one show weekend, that it creates an incredible emotional rollercoaster ride. One minute you could be on the best high, your alpaca got first place... the next minute you almost miss a class and can't find the lead for the alpaca's halter, or the alpaca you had high hopes for does not place well or worse, you discover something wrong with it. There are times you are so busy you don't have time to breathe, then you have several hours of down time anxiously waiting for the rest of your alpacas to show. It can be pressure cooker, being at a show. I've seen even great couples get into a fight. J and I have had our share, though overall we work well as a team.

Within that rollercoaster ride, personal growth happens, along with growth as an alpaca farmer. I know we would not be doing as well as we are in the show ring if we did not attend alpaca shows like we do.

We have learned so much during these hectic rollercoaster weekends. At times we had to face truths we did not want to hear or know about. But we faced them. At times we found we were being too hard on ourselves and our alpacas, and had let unfounded fears hold us back.

We not only hear what the judge has to say in the show ring about our animals, but we talk to fellow alpaca farmers. We ask well established alpaca farmers to come into our pen and give us an honest opinion about our animals. We have learned as much from fellow farmers as we have from the actual show ring. I also watch and learn from other farm's alpacas. When a color champion leaves the show ring, I go over and feel and look at that animal's fiber. You don't know what that animal is really like unless you look closely and feel the fiber. There is so much to see and do, only a couple of days at a show is an extremely compact time to take it all in.

This weekend there were some firsts. I showed an animal for the first time. I actually showed 2. I took in a male for Ashton Stone Alpacas, and I took in our own OHVNA Challenger (who got a 1st place!!!). I'll post much more about our ribbons in my next blog post.

While overall we had a great show, along with the great highs, there were some lows too. For the first time ever I walked out of the venue, walked out to our truck and had myself a good long cry. The emotional lows are as intense as the emotional highs. These weekends really are a rollercoaster ride.

We actually had our best show ever. This is the first time we came home with two 1st place ribbons from a level IV show! We took home two 1st place ribbons at a level III before, and we've gotten a 1st at a level IV, so we've had other good shows, but this was the best we've done at this level show. And even more sweet about these first place ribbons is that they are breeding choices we made, from our own females and males we own! We didn't buy a fancy expensive breeding to some big hot shot male, and we were still able to create incredible alpacas.

Small breeders - it can be done, it really can!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday ~ show day one

This morning, Saturday morning, is when the actual alpaca showing began at the Best of the US Alpaca Show.

When you arrive at the show that first day of showing, the first thing all the exhibitors want to get their hands on is the Show Book. They can't print up the Show Book until Friday night, after color check is complete (because sometimes an animal ends up in a different class than what the exhibitor registered them for). These are usually hot off the press, sometimes literally just picked up from the printers early Saturday morning.

The Show Book:

The Show Book lists the alpaca by class (age, sex and color), then the dam and sire, along with who owns the alpaca and who is showing the alpaca.

When we get our Show Book, we flip through it to see how many are in our alpaca's classes, and who is in the class. Often we don't specifically know the competing alpaca, but we may know the sire and therefore know what sort of competition we may be up against. We make sure each animal is in the right class, and high light them on the page.

Each alpaca also gets their own number, that number you wear as an arm band when you show them in the ring. On the bottom of the band it shows the animals age in months, and months of fiber growth since their last shearing.

Our only animal to show today was Our Copper Canyon. I should back up a bit to say that since his fiber has been growing in after his first shearing, I have not been impressed with him. My choice would have been not to show him at all. And while J agreed with me in many respects, and has Copper's price listed as a fiber animal price, he wanted to get Copper to at least one show just to see if our thoughts would be similar to that of a judge. Unfortunately we did not get a full evaluation of Copper. Copper walked so poorly on the halter that the judge stated he could not evaluate Copper's confirmation and therefore placed him lower because he just doesn't know. He also said that Copper was not as fine but did have some nice fiber attributes and he could see why we took him to a show. Copper took a 5th place, which is about what I expected from him. However, I wanted to cry hearing the judges words. It wasn't his placement that had me upset, I already considered Copper a fiber boy. It was the fact he did so poorly on the halter that upset me. Zack and I spent so much time trying to train him. I knew he was terrible on the lead, but I didn't know what else to do. Most alpacas train fairly easily, given some time and training. But there are a few that are so stubborn and just don't want to learn, that I don't know what to do with. I still wonder what I could have done. J's feeling is that I did what I could, he is just that stubborn. Either way, we were not planning to bring him to another show anyway, this was our one time evaluation of him.

Here is Copper's ARI and ribbon:

We have 4 more of our alpacas to show tomorrow - it's gonna be a busy day! I expect we will get home very late Sunday night (or early Monday morning). I won't be able to blog about tomorrows showing until Monday. Our most exciting alpacas have yet to show, so stay tuned.

Gone County

In my day to day life I sometimes forget the difference between city and country. I moved around several times during my childhood, but always lived in a residential urban area. From 6th grade through high school I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. You don't get too much further from country than that. It isn't until I visit a city that I realize how country I've become. I have forgotten what traffic is, and what it's like to have to wait at more than one stop light before getting to a destination. I forget about the noise. I'm used to the only thing I hear all night is our guardian dog, Spot, barking. Then I get to a city and it all comes back to me. I am reminded why I chose to raise my kids in the country. I know there are pros and cons to both places, and we need people in all areas. But for me and mine, we are quite at home in the country.

I also often forget to write in this blog about the other part of alpaca shows. I always tell our show story, what happens at the show. But I often forget that for this country girl, this is a big trip. While we are very busy at the show, we also enjoy going out to eat, and treating the trip like a vacation. Usually it is a trip without our kids. While I love my kids dearly, a weekend away every so often is nice too. And I know some of my readers are also like me, in that we don't get to a big city often. So to help you live vicariously, I thought I add a bit about our evenings out.

Friday night we were very hungry, very tired, and wanted to eat something filling but not wait too long. I ended up at a local place call the Pig Iron BBQ. I couldn't find a website for them specifically (I found some reviews and such but no straight forward website with the menu etc.). But I did find a picture of the place:

Sorry the picture is so small. And yes, that is a big pink pig out front. How can you go wrong with a pig like that? The place was awesome!! Incredible food, great BBQ, one sweet flavor and one very spicy. I thought I'd have heart burn all night and wouldn't mind one bit because the food was so good. As it turned out, after I doubled up my heartburn medication, I was able to sleep all night.

Then tonight we decided to treat ourselves with a nice dinner out. It's not too often we have a chance to go out, without kids, and have a nice meal. We went to J. Gilbert's a very nice steak and seafood restaurant. It was a completely different type of restaurant than we were at Friday night, but wonderful just the same.

By Sunday we will be busy with the show and the long drive home, so no more fancy eating out. It was a great food weekend, and people who know me know I love food. I'm glad I keep busy with farm work and running or I wouldn't be able to eat like I do.

We also had a chance to sit in the hot tub and rest our aching joints. We usually enjoy relaxing in a hot tub after a long day at a show. It's the best medicine.

I've gone to rating hotels by this scale:

* I'd never go to again
* I'd stay there again
* I'd love the spend a week there
* hey, I might just stay here forever

This hotel was a "I'd stay here again". It's nice and clean, located not to far from the venue. My complaint would be that it's busy and a bit louder than I prefer (but that might be the city talking).

This country girl isn't quite ready to return home yet. We still have another day to show. And, we have three more spring shows to attend. I'll try to remember to tell this other side of our show trip adventures.

Friday, March 11, 2011

We are here!

We arrived in Columbus, Ohio about 2:30 this afternoon for the Best of the US Alpaca Show. We had a good trip down, after almost leaving without some necessary paperwork from Ashton Stone Alpacas. Thankfully they caught us on the road, just as we were about to leave town.

The first day at the show there is no actual showing. There is a typical sequence of events:

* Arrive at the venue
* Vet Check
* Color Check
* set up your stalls
* Exhibitors meeting

The Vet Check is where the vet checks the alpaca's micro-chip number to make sure it is the right alpaca. They also will look for any signs of illness or a problem with an alpaca.

Color Check is where they verify the animal's sex, age and color, since this is essential to the animal showing in the right class.

I'm always amazed how long all this takes. We also find it takes longer the more animals you have. While that makes sense in some respects, it still amazes us how much longer it takes. While we took a break for dinner, we still did not get to our hotel until 9 p.m. (which to me is late, I'm usually home at night so being out and about and busy isn't my usual).

There are a lot of things I did not get a picture of today. We were so busy that it doesn't always work to take out my camera to capture the moment. I didn't get a picture of the animals packed in our trailer, or the vet check in, or when J almost ran me over (he was backing up the trailer and didn't know I was closing the back door - other than my hand getting smashed, I'm fine, it was quite the scare though). I didn't get a picture of color check either.

I do have some pictures of us setting up the stalls. We took 5 of our own alpacas and 4 alpacas for Ashton Stone Alpacas. We put our two girls and Challenger in one pen (they already reside together back at our farm). Then we put our two older boys in with the four boys from Ashton Stones.

This picture is early on in the setting up process, before the alpacas are in the pens. What we do is put down cardboard chips (that the show supplies to you) then we put down our matts, then straw on top. The cardboard soaks up the alpaca pee, and the straw covers up the poop, to keep both off of the animals. There are a lot of different ways to do the stall set up, but we have found this to work the best for us. We also makes sure the fans are right at the alpaca's height so that they have no choice but to be in front of the fans. Fans can make or break an alpaca's fiber when it comes to showing. Fans keep their fiber from going limp, which would mask the crimp and bundling that we want to shine in front of the judge. I used to get so annoyed because J was particular about where the fans go, but the more I see and learn, the more I realize he was right about this.

We put up our Oak Haven Alpacas signs:

Here is a close up of the matt and hay with the cardboard underneath:

On the front of the stalls we put up the animals ARI (their ancestry is on there, along with there age and color). With the ARI there is a picture of the alpaca, and any show ribbons they have (note Rose's blue first place ribbon from last fall's show):

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. the actual alpaca show will start. The first alpaca with us to show will be Alpacula. He is from Ashton Stone Alpacas. True Black is the first color to show, and he is true black. The first of our own alpacas to show will be Our Copper Canyon. He should be the only one of ours to show on Saturday. Two other boys from Ashton Stones should also show on Saturday, so that makes 4 total for that day. This means Sunday will be another busy day for us, showing 4 of our own and one for Ashton Stone Alpacas.

On our way......

If all goes according to plan, we will be on the road by 7 a.m. headed to the Best of the US Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio. I'm sure I've mentioned before how show season is our favorite time of year.

The ride to the show brings out all the wonder, dreaming, and anxiety that comes with life's adventures.

If possible, I will post updates throughout the show weekend. Last year I was able to do that at almost all the shows we attended (one show I had internet issues and couldn't get on-line). After a long day at the show, it's fun to relax with the laptop back at the hotel and tell the story of what we experienced. There is always so much to see and take in, that if I wait to post it all after we get home, so much of the story gets lost.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

OHVNA The Challenger

Challenger really is the whole package: grey, typie look, fine fiber with consistent crimp and shine that parts with bundles. My concern with Challenger is that he has been incredibly difficult to halter train. I finally got him to stop laying down and refusing to move. I broke him of this habit by each time he laid down, I'd walk over and pick him up and stand him on his legs again. He finally gave up that tactic. But he still walks funny on the lead. I fear this will make his legs look bad in front of the judge and could affect his placing. Judges grade them not only on their fiber, but also on their conformation, which includes how their legs move.

Fiber pictures:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

OHVNA Chaska

Like Twilight and Copper, this will be Chaska's first show also.

I fear I have set Chaska up by all my past bragging about his dam, Kateri. This is Kateri's fourth cria. The previous three were not only all female, but all three received 1st place ribbons. Kateri has been an incredible production female. Chaska may not do quite as well as his sisters did in the ring. While I love his look, and prefer to spin fiber with a bolder crimp, that crimp style is not always rewarded in the show ring (crimp is the waves in the fiber). We will have to wait and see how his fiber comes across to an alpaca judge.

His fiber (very bright and shiny with incredible bundles and bold crimp):

Cute face:


Unfortunately Chaska will not be able to attend this show after all. He has a skin issue on his feet. I would describe it similiar to eczema in a human. The skin gets scaly and red, it looks dry and if unattended the skin will start to crack and bleed. We have been treating it, and his skin looks nice and pink now. But our vet did not feel he was good enough to attend the show (he still has some missing fiber on his feet). Our vet does tend to be very cautious. Since she signs the vet certificate, the final decision is up to her. We are sad that Chaska will not be able to attend this show. But we will be vigilant in treating him so that he is able to attend the next spring show.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our Copper Canyon

Copper was the first cria born on our farm in 2010. He also is the first cria in several years that his dam has had that is a color other than white. Unfortunately for Copper, I don't think he's quite as good as his older brother, Lightning, nor his sister, Lily. They were both ones we took to an alpaca show with some confidence they could do well. While the white class is the most difficult, they both held their own. Copper does not have quite the fantastic fiber that they both had. However, Copper has more of the whole package with his cute face and rock solid confirmation. It will be interesting to see how he does in the ring.

His fiber:

Head shot:

Monday, March 7, 2011

ATA Peruvian Harley

While he's new to our farm, we are very excited to get Harley to a show.

His fiber:

His macho head:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Smokey’s Twilight

Twilight will be attending her first show at the Best of the US Alpaca Show this coming weekend. She is the only other female that we are sending to this show. Ginger is still too young, so her first show will be at the next show (an alpaca has to be at least 6 months old in order to be old enough to show). Twilight and Rose will have eight boys to keep watch over at this first show.

While we initially thought Twilight was a true black like her dam, as time has gone by we've noticed very clearly white fibers throughout her blanket. We don't know that she has enough to be considered a dark silver grey (which her sire is), though you can see the grey color from a distance, so it's definitely there. Based on our experience with other animals, we believe she will show as an indefinite dark (some grey, but not quite enough to fit the grey class). However, I have been very please with how her fiber is coming in:

Her fiber is very shiny and bright. The picture doesn't show the grey fibers that are much more clear in person.

She's such a cutie!

Zack and Twilight halter training (well, hugging them isn't supposed to be part of halter training but Zack manages to work it in):

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