Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring Alpaca Shows

Ashton Stones Jolly Roger turns 6 months old next week so he is old enough to start attending shows. Since he is our only alpaca that can be shown at this time, we have arranged with another local alpaca farm, Oak Haven Alpacas, to take him to the shows they are attending and in return we will alpaca sit the alpacas they leave behind. (You can check out Oak Haven's blog at www.lifewithalpacas.blogspot.com) So Jolly Roger will be attending the Best of the Midwest Alpaca Show in Columbus, OH March 13-15, 2009 and the Indiana Alpaca Invitational in Fort Wayne, IN April 3-5, 2009. These are both large shows. If he does well at these shows, Noah and I will also take him and one of Oak Haven's young males to the Michigan Alpaca Breeders Show and Fiber Fest in early May in Davisburg, MI.


Since the first show is now less than a month away, we have been preparing Jolly Roger for his big debut. We have been working on halter training him for the last few weeks. I halter him in the evenings after work and take him for a walk around the yard. While he seems to despise leaving his mommy Snowflake, he walks pretty well on the halter. The first 2 times with the halter on, he refused to follow me and just fought and pulled the whole time, but he seems to have gotten the hang of it now. While we have the halter on him, we also practice going over his body with our hands like the judge will do at the show. We pull his lips back and look at his teeth, we run our hands over his legs and topline, we part his fiber and take a look at it, and we lift his tail and check out what is underneath. He doesn't seem to enjoy this prodding and poking. Sometimes, he will buck up, which is what we don't want him to do to the judge (I was at a show once where I saw an alpaca buck up and hit the judge in her face breaking her glasses...the alpaca was immediately disqualified and sent from the ring). So, we have been getting Jolly Roger used to these routine things. I swear Jolly Roger always has a grin on his face like in the picture below.

Our next goal is to wean Jolly Roger. He and his mom Snowflake are pretty attached, so it may be a heartbreaking separation. The day he turns 6 months old, we are going to start separating him with a few of our other younger alpacas as pals during the day. We will put them back together at night, so we are not cutting him off cold turkey. After a week of that, we will separate him completely with the younger girls again until he goes to show. Snowflake will probably be dried up by the time he returns, so he will probably go back in with the girls until he gets bigger and starts getting interested in breeding, then we will have to separate him for good. This is our first time weaning a cria from his momma. Our first cria was bottle fed (because mom had horrible mastitis) so we slowly weaned her off the bottle. We will see how this new experience goes. He and his mom cry whenever they are separated now. Pictured below is Jolly Roger and his mom Snowflake. She already looks sad.
In order to cross into Ohio and Indiana and attend the shows, Jolly Roger will need to have a microchip, a negative BVD test, and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) completed. We brought Jolly Roger to the vets office(in the back of our SUV) yesterday to have the microchip inserted and the blood drawn for the BVD test. The CVI will need to be completed within 30 days of the last show, so we will wait to have that completed. In order to show Jolly Roger we also needed to renew our AOBA (Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association) farm membership and show registration. Alpaca shows don't run cheap. After everything is said and done, it will end up costing us about $550 for just Jolly Roger to attend these 2 shows. This does not include the cost of transportation and lodging if we were going. We are also saving money on stall space and vet costs because we are splitting them with Oak Haven Alpacas. Although it is a hefty price to pay to show one animal, we are hoping he will place at the shows. If he places, we will continue to show him and get more ribbons under his belt. The better he does at shows, the more likely he is to be herdsire quality and the more he is worth.

Since these first 2 shows are very large shows, it will be more difficult for Jolly Roger to place in the top 6 of his class because of all the competition. But if he is able to place, it indicates that he is a good quality alpaca and more likely to become a herdsire quality adult. So if he places, we will continue to show him this year and next year as he matures. If he does not place, we will monitor to see how he matures, but he will probably end up as a pet/fiber male and not breeding stock. We want to pass on the best genes possible in order to better the species. So this will be Jolly Roger's big debut. We will see how he measures up to some of the best alpacas in the Midwest. Jolly Roger is striking his show pose in the picture below.

We look forward to showing next year. We have 5 cria due this year, so we should have a decent show string to put together for next year. Check back for updates to see how the shows go.

No comments: