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: