Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just Chillin...

Who says you can't keep cool on a hot day? Even though our girls shed their winter coat last week, they were not ready for the first 90 degree day. So when we broke out the water sprinkler, they were just like a bunch of kids.

On the other hand, our two boys who are still in their winter coats weren't so keen on the idea. So we just had to corner them in the pen and give them a quick hose down. I hope this isn't a preview of what our summer's going to be like. We may have to get their own wading pool before it's over.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's A Girl!

As if shearing day wasn't exciting enough...we had the first alpaca birth on our farm today!

I looked out of the window at about 11:40 AM and Cassandra (whose due date was 4/19, or 4/20, or 4/25, or 5/06 depending upon which cria birth calculator you used) was looking...well...funny.

Of course, we couldn't find the binoculars which had been sitting on my desk for the past 2 weeks, so Max, Len and I made our way out into the pasture to be witness to a textbook alpaca delivery. Cassandra showed these newbie farmers how it was done. Ten minutes later we were carrying a 17 pound female baby back to the barn to be dried off and placed in a nice clean stall with mom.
It's been quite a full day, but one with great joy, as Cassandra and little Isabella are doing great!

Shearing Day

Spring is finally here, and the Alpacas are feeling uncomfortable in their winter coats. We find them out in the field rolling and dusting themselves to scratch their backs. And after a rainy couple of days, they begin to start smelling like a bunch of homeless people who live outdoors all the time and never get a bath. Shearing Day finally brings some relief.

When the value of Alpaca fleece is about $3-$4 per ounce raw, you don't want to be learning how shear animals yourself. You leave that work to the professionals. In our case we used the services of Shear Relief, LLC. You can visit them at They have three crews that originate out of Ohio. We saw them in action last year and were amazed. A crew of four can easily shear over 85 Alpacas a day. So our four females were no challenge at all. We're holding the two males back for a show in York next month. After they're shown there, we'll be able to get them shorn there.

Since this is something that only happens once a year, we're sharing it here for anyone who really wants to learn the reality of living with Alpacas. (PS: Our shearers are gentle and safe, despite our one alpaca's protests.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


It's supposed to be Spring, but some days... Of course, I do see a lot more sunrises than I used to. We've had plenty of foggy mornings where the alpacas just blend into the mist. We've been getting ready for our first baby, coming around the 19th of April. Jo and I both have been to neo-natal workshops, so hopefully we'll be prepared. I'm hoping we'll just pass by the window , there they'll be, doing their alpaca thing without any help from us.

The two boys (alpacas) are getting big. They're about 10 months old now. Gabriel, the white one weighs at least 15 pound more than Duende, but it always seems like Duende's starting the fights. They're just like typical boys...always seeing who can best the other. When we let them out into the field, we have to stand back, as they literally kick up their heels when they get out. Yesterday, they were chasing each other across the field, and they made a mad dash straight toward me. I thought I was going to have to hit the deck, but they swerved off just in the nick of time. They've become quite entertaining.