Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Show Pictures

Finally getting around to posting these official show pictures.
We are so proud of both of their 1st place winnings at the Buckeye Alpaca Show:

Enlightenment's Rocky Rose

Our Peruvian Dark Thunder

Monday, May 28, 2012


With a farm comes lots of work, but there are also benefits, rewards.  J and I love attending alpaca shows and we love when new cria are born. I love working with the alpaca's fiber. Those things make up for the hard work along the way.

The last few weeks our children have helped out with some of the harder chores at the farm.  Last weekend they helped with shearing 21.5 alpacas, when the weekend before they had helped with the shearing of 5.5.  This weekend (Saturday) we got the kids to help us do a big spring cleaning of the boys' barn.  This included digging out all the old hay that they used as bedding over the winter.  With the four of us working hard on this, it still took us 3.5 hours.  I told the kids it was building character :)

With all this hard work we decided there needed to be a benefit for the kids too.  A couple weeks ago the kids had been tempted by some kittens at their aunt/uncle's home.   We said no, because we have had barn cats and opted not to do that again.  But we knew how much the kids wanted them and the kittens are cute.  I felt the kids had proven their ability to work hard, and would take good care of the cats.

So, here are the brothers:

Emma picked out and named Buddy:

Zack picked out and named Phantom:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

cria watch

Both Sancha and Latte will hit pregnancy day 350 on June 3.  This means they could deliver at any time.  While we've found dams on our farm tend to deliver close to day 350, alpacas can be full term as early as day 335.  Many farms use day 335 or 345 as the due date.  We've found day 350 to be the most accurate for us, but that doesn't mean one of those cria couldn't come before.

So, every evening we sit outside watching them from our deck:

And each morning I keep an eye on them watching for any signs of impending labor.  Both Sancha and Latte have had times they looked like their body was preparing for labor.  We've seen lots of loosening and elongating of the birth canal. But just like with a human birth, the mom can be dilated for days and still not deliver, or not show any signs and deliver the next day.  Nature has it's way.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mysteries unveiled

While shearing we had a few surprises.  When cria are born, sometimes their fiber is tinted by the amniotic fluid in utero.  When you decide what color an alpaca's fiber is, you determine it right next to their skin.  Well with our juvis Lady Bing and Shamballa, they were not cria shorn and had so much fiber that  during this past spring show season it was hard to dig down to get a good reading on their color.  And it wasn't just us, color check people had a heck of a time.  Plus, both of them had a lot of color variation within their fiber.

Lady Bing's fiber changed several times as it grew out.  Shamballa had different colors depending where you opened his fiber up.  For show color check they do open the fiber mid way down their blanket, but even that on him wasn't fool proof.  Upon shearing, Shamballa, who we thought was beige or light fawn (he showed in both, depending on the show and how they color checked him), is definitely fawn. In fact along is back line he is medium fawn, then it fades down his side.  We were surprised how dark it was inside there.  He is clearly not beige (though has shown in beige).   Lady Bing we thought was light brown or dark fawn (and in fact showed in each class depending on the show color check) and is actually medium fawn.   Just goes to show even digging into their fiber with that color chart is not the same has having the fiber shorn off and taking the butt end of the sample to the color chart.   Maybe for color check they should cut off a sample so we could really tell :)

We did unveil a new mystery involving one of the blue eyed white girls we acquired this past year, Gigi. (Please note that we have never produced a blue eyed white.  We are careful in our breeding decision to avoid this at any risk, but there are times that it happens when people least expect.  Both of the BEW we have acquired came from white dams, in a situation where is wasn't a known risk to the farm making the breeding decisions.)  The mystery we uncovered is that this girl has always been clearly a BEW to us.  We've dug around in her white fiber.  She looks white.  She clearly has blue eyes (the bright blue, not the darker blue, but the true light BEW eyes), and we are quite certain she is also deaf (which is why it isn't desirable to produce a blue eyed white, BEW can sometimes be deaf, so no one would purposely produce one).  She does fine on our farm, but clearly moves with the herd based on what she sees, not what can be heard.  I've snuck up on her before and she doesn't hear me, even if I am loud, it's not until she sees me that she reacts.   Her dam is white but her maternal granddam is a harlequin grey.  Her sire is also white, but he has been known to produce offspring with a white spot, so he has to be a white spotted white.  (I don't think he had enough offspring  to know he was a white spotted white when the breeding to produce Gigi was made).    The mystery we uncovered is that this girl should have white fiber in order to be the BEW that we've known her to be - except that as J was shearing, we could see other colors mixed in.  It was like she has a marbling of fawn mixed into her fiber.  It wasn't fading fawn or anything that I have seen before, it was a odd marbling of off white and fawn mixed in with the white.   I can't help but wonder if that might be a passed on harlequin marbling in there (or maybe that's just wishful thinking as we are hoping to be able to produce harlequin grey out of her).

Here's her fiber, it's hard to see in the picture, but I've pulled out the butter colored tips here:

On the length of her fiber, it was dirty where it had grow out, bright shiny white in the middle, and butter color near her skin:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alpaca Colors

I recently saw a link to this handy chart about the percentage of each alpaca's fiber color (from the alpaca registry website).

Primary Color Distribution
Number of Alpacas
Medium Brown
Medium Fawn
True Black
Light Fawn
Dark Brown
Dark Fawn
Bay Black
Light Brown
Medium Silver Grey
Medium Rose Grey
Dark Silver Grey
Light Silver Grey
Dark Rose Grey
Light Rose Grey
What I found so neat about this, is that some of our alpacas are in the minority (<2% range).  

I previous created this page, listing each of our alpacas by color.

We have a rare Light Rose Grey, Enlightenment's Rocky Rose (I don't have her ARI on hand right now, so I don't know if she actually got registered Light Rose Grey or Medium Rose Grey, I'd say she's light but sometimes at the time of registering it's a tough call to make, and I notice on her Alpaca Nation page she's listed as medium, she's rare either way).  We have two Dark Rose Greys, our own OHVNA The Challenger and Our Peruvian Thunder.  We have a Light Silver Grey, our herdsire ARF Our Peruvian Tucker.  We have a Medium Rose Grey, another herdsire SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations.   That's 5 out of our herd of 25 that are rare ~ pretty stacked odds.

I do realize that this chart is based off of how the animal is registered, not necessarily the actual color. As I mentioned, their colors can change over time.  For example our own Twilight was born looking True Black like her dam.  We registered her as True Black.  But by the time she was ready for attending alpaca shows we realized she was a dark silver grey.  It also can happen that some people aren't very good at identifying the alpaca's fiber color, which sometimes was done by a previous owner.  But I figure errors are made many ways so it all balances out to give an rough idea of what colors are in the registered national alpaca herd.

I am still missing alpaca fiber in medium brown (the second most common color, that I am missing, oh the irony), bay black and medium silver grey.  Maybe we'll get some cria to fill in those colors this year :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shearing Weekend

This past weekend we sheared the rest of our alpacas.

Last weekend we got a small start to our shearing by completing: Maddie, Latte, Miss Kitty, Victoria, Jewel and half of Bay when our shears bit the dust.

This past weekend on Saturday we sheared:

Pregnant girls~ the other 1/2 of Bay, Tehya and Sancha.

Young girls ~ Rose, Twilight, Mysteria, Gigi, Cocoa (a boarder), Dutch, Lady Bing and Princess

Then on Sunday we sheared all the boys:

Young boys ~ Thunder, Shamballa, Challenger, Gabe, Vamil, and Chaska

Big boys ~ Bo, Harley, Tucker and Greyt

I didn't get any pictures this year of the process.  We were so busy doing it all ourselves there just wasn't time to do so.  I took tons of pictures last year, including all before and after pictures: Shearing 2011, Shearing the Boys 2011, Shearing the juvi's 2011, Shearing the dams 2011

I do have the pictures of our set up from last year, which was quite similar this year (although we did not use the tarp, that proved to not work well as it was too slippery on the alpaca's feet).
From our backyard pen, you walk into our shearing area (AKA garage) first going over the scale so that we can get before and after shearing weights:

Inside the garage we have ropes set up to help tie the alpacas down so that they do not get injured during shearing.
  Our routine is this:

+ halter the alpaca
+ walk them to the scale to get a before weight
+ walk them into the shearing area
+ attached ropes to their legs
+ one person pulls the rope (J did this) while others help the alpaca lay down (I was at the head end to help them slide to their side and our kids took turns being at the hip area to help the lower half of the alpaca tip and lay down)
+ J sheared all the alpacas
+ I stayed by the head (with a sock handy for any alpaca who chose to spit - can't really blame them as this is a stressful time for them)
+ our kids took turns between holding down the lower end of the alpaca by their hips and picking up the fiber as it is shorn off
+ after shearing J would clip the toe nails and trim any teeth that needed it
+ weigh the alpaca again to get an after weight
+ walk them back to their herd
+ back in the pen all the alpacas sniff each other, their new hair cuts make it hard for them to tell who is who

We do the before and after shearing weights so that we can see how much fiber they produced.  This can tell us something about the density of the animal, and how much product they are giving us.  Though you do have to be careful as a higher micron fiber will weigh more, so we also send out for histograms to give us their micron.  All this information is used in considering how to price an alpaca, and for us it is essential for making breeding decisions.

We decided that for our shearing process, it would be ideal to shear about 8 alpacas a day.  The days we did 11 and then 10 the next day was a bit over our comfort level. It's hard work, and safety is critical so there is some stress in the day.  Our kids are great helpers, but that's a long hard day of work to expect out of them. It's very hard on J's back (as he's shearing he bends over the alpacas) and Emma and I had sore knees (not to mention we all have very achy muscles and joints today).  It's not a job we'd take on the road to shear for other people, simply because it's hard on our bodies physically.  We'll stick to our day jobs :)  but it is nice to be able to shear our own alpacas and we plan to continue to do so.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

farm kids

One of Zack's favorite thing to do is to hose off the girls on a hot afternoon:

It doesn't take long for many of them to gather ~ Zack's girls:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This past weekend we planned to shear all of our pregnant girls. Since we do our own shearing, we like to break it up so it's not as stressful of a day. We shear a few each day until we are done.  The pregnant girls are most uncomfortable from the heat, so they are the first we aim to shear. I ran in a 10K on Saturday so opted not to do any shearing that day. We saved all 8 pregnant dams to shear on Sunday. We started out great, completed shearing Maddie (who is here sunning herself after her shearing):

Then we moved onto Jewel, Latte and Miss Kitty. At this point we were half done for our day, and stopped for a lunch break. So far so good. After lunch we began with Victoria. J was having some trouble with the shears, which we chalked up to the fact Victoria had a lot of sand and dirt in her fiber. He put on a new comb and we moved onto shearing Bay. Unfortunately something snapped in the shears and they weren't working at all. After several attempts to fix it, it was determined that we will need a new shears. We were only half way done shearing Bay. On one side she's full fleece:

On the other half shorn:

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Completed my second 10K this morning (my first 10K was this same race last year):

Had a bit of difficulty with the pictures, Zack took them on zoom (which I didn't realized until I uploaded them) so they are grainy and not sure why the background is so dark. I tried to lighten this one, so brighter but grainy :(

I passed the finish line at 1:04:49 but I know I was a ways back at the start so I'm sure my official time from my tracker will show a little less time :) I know it's less than last year because last year my clock time was 1:06 and the official tracker time was 1:04. 

I was thinking while I was running that my life has changed over the years:
+ as a teen I was too thin and had no muscle tone = not active
+ in my 20's I was over weight and out of shape = not active
+ in my 30's I am running 10Ks and running an alpaca farm = active :)

It took me awhile to get here but I've found a way to live a happy healthy active life.

one last picture, still not great photography


I wrote this up ahead of time and scheduled it to post about the same time I should be finishing my second ever 10K race!

River Bank Run

While this doesn't directly relate to our farm, it does relate to our family's goals of living a healthy active life.  

I do get a lot of exercise keeping up with farm chores, but I like the extra cardio work out of a good run.  Though I'm not a former runner by any means. I didn't run at all until the spring of 2004.   I maxed out at 3 miles at a time, and was quite proud of that accomplishment.   Then last year, in 2011, I signed up and ran my first 10K.  I could have run a 5K pretty comfortably, but I decided to challenge myself.  What I found is that I could run a 10K.  In fact since training for that race last year, I have run pretty consistently every week all year round.  Most Sundays I run a 7 mile route (other days I run shorter distances).  My goal last year was just to finish and not make too much of a fool of myself.  My goal is pretty similar this year :)

Friday, May 11, 2012


Our son, Zack, was part of a video that was created at the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival in April 2012.  He's in this video as "Zack Stray - alpaca breeder"  :)

Our lovely Lady Bing is the alpaca shown in the very first part of the video.

go to the video near the bottom of the page titled: The 10th Annual Great Midwest Alpaca Festival - 5/3/2012

I'm in the video too, as is J, see if you can pick us out!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I added a couple items to our oakhavenalpacas ETSY farm store:

An ear flap hat made from yarn out of fiber from Tehya and Greyt (Tehya's fiber is so soft and so beautiful!!):

And Baby Booties I knit from fiber off of our male, Harley:

As always our products are 100% farm fresh:

+ we own the alpacas the fiber comes from
+ we shear out own alpacas
+ we hand prepare the fiber for spinning into yarn
+ we spin the fiber into yarn
+ we knit the products from 100% alpaca yarn hand spun right on our farm

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Yarn

I spun up these balls of yarn a few weeks back.  The large ball of yarn is from white fiber off our boy ATA Peruvian Harley.  The two smaller balls are a new creation.  I read about this on another blog (I forget where or I would link you to it, it was really neat!).  The blog spoke about plying a strand of yarn with a strand of thread.  It gave me great idea to add a bit of color to my yarn.

I found some blue thread that I plyed with a strand of white alpaca yarn, and I found a yellow color thread (not sure it's actually yellow, maybe tan or golden).

I created these:

The blue one up closer:

The yellow/tan one up closer:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ribbons for all!

We had a great weekend at the Buckeye show!  We have never attended this show before, but decided to this year because the spring alpaca show in Indiana was canceled (due to conflicts at the venue). We wanted to fill our spring show calendar :)

Twilight ~ 2nd place
Rose ~ 1st place
Challenger ~ 2nd place
Gabe ~ 4th place
Princess ~ 2nd place
Lady Bing ~ 2nd place
Shamballa ~ 6th place
Vamil ~ 2nd place
Thunder ~ 1st place

This past weekend we attended the Buckeye Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio.   We brought 9 alpacas with us, and each one of them placed!  None of them came in last.

I say it that way because sometimes it's hard to know what a placing means.  At an alpaca show, each alpaca is put into a class based on:
+  type of alpaca (huacaya or suri),
+  by sex (male or female),
+  by age (juvi, yearling, 2+ year old),
+  by color.

How many alpacas are in each class depends on what alpacas are at the show.  This can vary from 1 to 16.  If someone says that their alpacas won 3rd, this could mean they did great, or not so great.  The biggest question is, how many were in the class?  In a class with 12 alpacas a 3rd is great! In a class of 3, 3rd is actually last place.   There are times that a 6th place is more meaningful than a 3rd (if say the 6th was in a class of 12 and the 3rd was in a class of 3 or 4).   There are times there is a class with 1 alpaca in it.  Typically they do receive a 1st place, but that doesn't always mean they are great quality (a judge can give a 2nd place in a class of 1 if the alpaca has a serious default as defined in the show book.  I have never had this happen to one of our alpacas but I have seen it happen, in that case it was due to tender breaks.  However, if the alpaca doesn't have a serious fault, the judge cannot give 2nd just because the fiber isn't nice).

We knew starting out at the show that we would have conflict between the male and female ring.  The show starts with greys and we have both male and female grey alpacas.  I decided to take the lead in the girls' ring, J would handle the male ring.

Our first alpaca to show was Twilight.  Twilight came in 2nd in her class of 5 (I believe).  The judge said she was a very close 2nd, with the first place winner having a bit more fineness and density, and a bit bigger frame.  However, he stated that Twilight had very bright fiber with lots of character!!   I was even more excited about what he said then her placing, since we are breeding for bright fiber full of character - we got it right!!!!

After Twilight showed I rushed to go Rose, with only one class in between the two girls.  J was busy with Challenger in the boy's ring.

While I was showing Twilight, J was in the other ring with Challenger.   I believe there were 4 in Challengers' class, where Challenger was given a 2nd place!!  This puts him in the top half of his class.  I don't know what the judge said since I was busy listening in my own ring and now I can't remember what J said the judge said.

Next I showed Rose who was in the 2+ year old grey female class, a class of 3.   Rose received 1st!!!   The judge loved the organization in her fiber.

For all the animals who win 1st or 2nd place, they then stand in the color championship.  All the 1st place winners compete for Color Champion.  The 2nd place winner only is looked at for Color Reserve if the 1st place in their class received Color Champion.  For grey girls, this meant both Rose and Twilight were in the championship!  During this time J was standing with Challenger in the boys grey championship!   With only 2 of us, J had to snag someone to walk Twilight in the ring (I can't hold both girls at the same time).    After all the jumbling Rose was not picked for the championship and Twilight never got looked at (for a 2nd place winner, that alpaca is only looked at for reserve if the 1st place winner gets color championship).

After grey we moved into blacks, which meant it was time for Gabriel to be shown.  Gabe has had a rough year, after being so sick with Emac last summer.  He's recovered but hasn't placed as well since his whole ordeal.  We didn't expect much out of his showing.  We were pleasantly surprised for him to place 4th of 6 black yearling males!!!   While typically that would be lower than we would accept for a herdsire quality male (we want in the top 1/3 of the class), given Gabe's illness this was fantastic for him.  His illness in not genetic so his offspring will not have his setbacks.

For the brown class we had both Princess (AKA Duchess) in dark brown and Lady Bing in light brown.  They combined light and medium brown, so in one class was Princess, the very next class was Lady Bing.  J was still in the ring with Gabe and I had one girl who had to be in the ring and one girl to be in the line up!!!  Of course right at that time, no one I knew is nearby.  I finally asked someone I didn't really know to hold Lady Bing in the mean time praying that J would be out of the boys ring in time to walk her in.

Princess shows in a class of 4, where she was placed 2nd!!!  This is Princess second show, and we are quite excited about her placing.  The judge said she was a bit small for her age and that is why she was in 2nd.  He talked about her fleece being bright and full of character - exactly what we are breeding for!!!

J did get done with Gabe in time to walk Lady Bing in her class.  She was in a class of 8 (I believe, it's hard to remember all those details).   Lady Bing took 2nd in her class!!!  Again the judge mentioned brightness and character - I love the comments even more than the placing.

With both Princess and Lady Bing being in 2nd, this meant they both would stand in for the color championship.  However, neither of the 1st place for their class won color champion so neither were actually looked at for reserve.

With all these 1st and 2nd placing we sure were standing in a lot of color championships!!  By the end of the first day we had been in the ring 11 times for 6 alpacas.

The rest of our alpacas showed the next day, on Sunday.

First in on Sunday was Shamballa.  Shamballa is a very nice male, who was in a very tough class.  I  believe there were 10 in his class total.  Shamballa has very very very long fiber that is a total hay mess.  He was not cria shorn (which we usually do but we purchased him over the winter when it was too late for cria shearing).   Not only is his fiber long, but it's fine with tui tips that hold onto all sorts of debri.  We were happy to have him place 6th in this large class.  While not as high as what we'd like to see for herdsire quality, I still have faith in his fiber and can't wait to shear him and see how it comes back.  The judge stated in his reasoning that Shamballa's fiber would place him much higher, but his legs are a bit awkward and he walked slumped forward.  The judge would like to see more confidence in him.  Well that is something we can work on!  I can't wait to see how he shows as a yearling.

We were a bit anxious about Vamil's yearling white class.  This has typically been the most difficult class of the show (though other colors are certainly catching up to the quality of competition that white has).   We are beyond thrilled for him to place 2nd in this class of 10!!!  He has been an incredible addition to our farm :)

Last of ours to show was Thunder.  He was placed in Indefinite Dark for this show, a class of only 2.  We were happy to have him place in 1st!  The judge stated the reason he was placed first is because of his bright fleece - exactly what we are breeding for!  I was even more excited about what the judge stated to us after the show.  He told us that Thunder has the density that our farm needs.  He noted that our alpacas are fine with lots of fiber character, but we need to work on getting more density.   It definitely pays to chat with judges after the show (it's not appropriate during).  We have learned so much and they really can give you tips and suggestions for your alpacas and your breeding program.  Though I do suggest asking more than one judge and also taking into consideration what other alpaca farmers have to say.  We like to gather information from many sources.

That ends our 2012 spring show season.

This was Rose and Twilight's last show, as they will be bred this summer.  I can't wait to see what they produce!

We are still deciding if we will show any of our yearling boys as 2+ males (the most likely would be Vamil, I doubt we'll show Gabe or Challenger anymore).

We have several juvis for showing next fall (many of them will be yearlings by then): Lady Bing, Princess, Dutch, Shamballa, and Thunder.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

lost in the fiber

Early in our alpaca farming adventure I began working with alpaca fiber.    At first I thought I would knit product but wasn't sure about spinning yarn.  The first alpacas arrived at our farm in November of 2007, by December of 2008 I was spinning yarn :)

Even before I got into spinning yarn, from the first time we looked at alpacas, I was very conscious of the end product - their fiber.   I was so disappointed when we would go on a farm visit and they didn't have any yarn or product.  I couldn't imagine how they would have nothing alpaca to show us.  I know the animals are great, but so it their product.   I realize not everyone is crafty.  Many alpaca farmers aren't going to spin yarn and/or knit.  And that is ok.  But please, do something with your alpaca fiber - such as joining a co-op and having product made from your fiber.  There are options even if you aren't into doing it yourself.

Now when I see an alpaca's fiber, I think about what it would feel like to spin their fiber into yarn.  I see those bundles and feel the fiber's handle.   This has been an instrumental force in the focus of our farm's breeding program.  While J knows more about fiber stats and breeding options, we both know the end product is the most important.  If you can produce fiber that feels good, it will make great product.

This was a big part of how we decided on our tag line ~  Breeding Brightness You Can Feel

If it doesn't feel good, what's the point?

But I think we get so wrapped up in the fiber, that sometimes we lose the other part of the picture.  This spring we had a bit of a wake up call that while the fiber on the animal might be incredible, it's not the whole picture.  Our own Thunder, who we thought could do so well in alpaca shows, has not showed as well as we had hoped.   But it's not his fiber holding him back.  In fact, the judge called his fiber "lovely".   The negative was that his front legs are a bit too close together, his chest is not wide enough to show good capacity.  This could be an awkward growth stage and he may outgrow it.  All this time we were so focused on his fiber that we glossed over really taking a look at how he walked and what his legs look like.  

I don't think being lost in the fiber is totally a bad thing.  Like I have thought all along, the end product, the fiber, is very important. 

But we need the whole package.  We have added some different alpacas to our herd this year to get us to that next level.  At the same time improvements in fiber happen daily, and we are doing what we can to stay on top of that too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

showing everyone

When we put together our plans for alpaca show season, we aim to show all our show age alpacas (any under 2 years old).

The big farms certainly can't do this, they have too many to show.   Some big farm show maybe 10% of their offspring.  Even the mid size farms only show a portion of their alpacas (depending on the farm this could be 50% of their offspring).   Most farms put together a show string of their best to show.

There are pros and cons to showing every alpaca.  This is something we evaluate every year.  As we get to be a bigger farm there may come a time we do have a select show string.  But at least for right now, we are showing everyone.

I point this out to say that if we showed 10% or 50% of our available show animals, we would have all great showings.  That's why those big farms can run off with tons of 1st and 2nds.  It's when you add in everyone that there are some that just didn't show well.  Those are the ones that wouldn't make a show string at another farm.

Our results from GMAF:

Challenger ~ 3rd place
Rose ~ 1st place
Twilight ~ 2nd place
Gabe ~ did not place
Thunder ~ 4th place
Duchess (AKA Princess) ~ 3rd place
Lady Bing ~ 3rd place
Shamballa ~ didn't place
Vamil ~ 4th place

If we only showed 10% we would have just brought Rose and came home with 100% 1st place :)  or if we showed 50%, we could have had all 1st, 2nd and 3rd :)

I can't say much more for Rose and Twilight - they rock!  I should say that Twilight's 2nd place is even more impressive if you saw the girl who won. The girl who beat Twilight was incredible and ended up taking color champion.  To come in 2nd in that big class to her was an honor.

We do like getting feedback on all of our alpacas and this is a big reason why we take them all to alpaca shows.  We were quite frustrated that Gabe, who last year was winning color champions, is not even placing.  We had a well known black alpaca breeder come and look at him.  Gabe did have Emac last summer, he was deathly ill.  We knew this took some toll on him, but we have underestimated how much.  This black breeder stated that Gabe has the right genetics, he can tell the quality it there, and if he hadn't gotten sick would still be winning championships. The good news is that he can be used as a breeder!  The bad news is that the toll it has taken on him means he won't be winning much in the show ring.  So after next weekends show we will retire him from his show career and focus on his breeding career instead.  For him, the proof will be in his progeny.

We believe Lady Bing and Shamballa did not place as well because they were not cria shorn, and their fiber is so long it has a hard time holding onto consistency.  It's there, it just doesn't show well with such long staple length.  And those tui tips makes their fiber feel less dense.  The good news for them is that after they are shorn this spring, they should should show better.

Poor Thunder has very lovely fleece but it gets missed because he is in such an awkward growth stage.  At this time his front legs are quite close, making his chest look small.  It's too early to know if he will outgrow this stage, so for him it is a wait and see.

Vamill was acting very poorly at the show.  He is new to our farm and clearly not familiar with us yet.  I don't know that it affected his showing.  Yearling white is historically a very tough class.  He did come in the top 1/3, which is what we consider to be herdsire material. 

This was the first show for Duchess (AKA Princess).  She was placed in 3rd and the judge said she had rock solid confirmation, great bone, and fine fleece, with no negative mentioned.  This was frustrating because then why was she placed 3rd? 

We have one more spring show, the Buckeye Alpaca Show, in Columbus Ohio - this weekend!!

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