Saturday, February 20, 2010

Halter Training Time Part II

Noah and I fit halters on the 3 cria Jolie Rouge, d'Artagnan and Riphaeus last night and took them out for their first lesson. There wasn't a lot of time before it got dark, but we got some training in. They definitely did not like putting the halters on and did not like being led away from the rest of the herd. First we led them all out together and then we worked with them individually.
d'Artagnan did the best on the halter. I don't think he will require much more training. He has always been the most calm and friendly cria of the bunch. Although, I did notice that when we put him back with the herd, he seemed stressed and ran to his mom and started to nurse. I had thought that he was already weaned, so it looks like he may need a little more time away from mom.

Jolie Rouge was the next easiest, although, she will need some more work. She tended to just follow Dar around everywhere.

Riphaeus is the oldest and most stubborn of the bunch. He did not like the halter and refused to follow the other cria who were doing pretty well. He even jumped up and fell down at one point because he was fighting the halter. I noticed that he tended to do better when I held the lead rope closer to his face.

We have three more weeks to work with them before the show. I am confident that they will be ready in time!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Halter Training Time

New Zephyr halters purchased and delivered? CHECK
Beautiful sunshine? CHECK
Time and Energy? CHECK
3 unruly Cria? CHECK

It's time for halter training this weekend. I've noticed that all our other alpaca friends on facebook are halter training this weekend too. We have three weanling cria to get ready for their first show, which is less than a month away. Hopefully they are all fast learners! Stay tuned for pictures and more details.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Big Bellies and Bad Attitudes

Tensions were high out in the barn this morning during feeding time. I let all the alpacas into the large part of the barn to give them their pellets in the morning and evening during the winter because of all the snow outside. Everyone came running in as usual. Some of the pregnant ladies are really starting to show. Bellesa and Lady have big round low hanging bellies. They are due the soonest in April and May. We have seven pregnant girls total and they all seemed extra grumpy this morning. Even though I put out more bowls of grain than there are alpacas, they spit and fought over them more than normal. Poor Apple got attacked from both sides when Bellesa and Silver Sox were on each side of her and decided to give her the boot by both spitting at her at the same time. After everyone was done eating, I usually let them play in the barn a little longer. The crias like to pronk and jump around chasing one another in the barn and the pregnant girls like to roll on the cement and rub up against the stacks of hay. I think the pacas are sick of winter and are ready for spring and new cria!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spring Shows

We are gearing up for the spring alpaca shows. There are quite a few to choose from in the midwest including the Best of the US Alpaca Show in Columbus, OH in March, the Indiana Alpaca Invitational in Fort Wayne, IN in April, the Great Midwest Alpaca Fest in Madison, WI in April, the Buckeye Alpaca Show in Columbus, OH in May and the Michigan Alpaca Breeder's Show and Fiber Fair in Davisburg, MI in May. So many little time and money.

We needed to carefully choose what shows we would be attending. It is difficult this time of year because Noah has Ski Competitions most weekends through mid April. Also, alpaca shows can get very expensive and can average anywhere between $500-$1000 depending on how many animals you bring. It not only costs money to show, but costs money for transportation, food and lodging for the weekend. Luckily we have worked out a pretty good system with our friends at Oak Haven Alpacas where we take each other's alpacas to show, while the other farm stays home and farm sits. This way, we have an alpaca sitter and we save money on splitting pen costs, and not paying for transportation, lodging and food for every show.

This spring, Noah and I decided to show animals in 2 shows. On March 12-14, we will be sending Jolie Rouge, Paisley, d'Artagnan and Riphaeus with the Strays of Oak Haven Alpacas to the Best of the US Alpaca Show in Columbus, OH. This is a level IV show, meaning it will be pretty large and have several hundred alpacas in attendance. This also means there will be fierce competition in the ring. The Strays are going to have their hands full at the show. In addition to showing our 4, they will be showing 6 of their own and will be entering 2 of ours and 1 of theirs in the Get of Sire class for our shared herdsire Smokey. We are excited to see how everyone does and are anxious to see if any of our animals earn ribbons.

The second show we will be attending is the Michigan Alpaca Breeders Show and Fiber Fair in Davisburg, MI April 30-May 2. This is one of my favorite shows as it is smaller (a level II with only 200 alpacas in attendance) and it is held outside at a fair ground, which is great if the weather cooperates. You also have the option of camping at this show which Noah and I did last year (although we were the only ones in a tent...everyone else had big ol RVs), but this year we decided to splurge and get a hotel. We will again be taking Jolie, Paisley, d'Ar, and Riph to this show along with 2 pacas from Oak Haven Alpacas. We will also be volunteering at this show. We always volunteer to do color checking as it is a great way to meet a lot of other breeders and to get your hands on a lot of other animals, including the competition.

We have lots to do before the shows, including halter training our 4 pacas that we will be taking. I am hoping they are all a breeze this year. We will see how everyone does at the shows this spring and after a busy summer of birthing will look into participating in some fall shows.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations

We have sold 1/2 interest in our herdsire Smokey to our friends at Oak Haven Alpacas and have acquired half interest in their new herdsire Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations.

Greyt is a FULL PERUVIAN Medium Rose Grey, and he took 2nd place at the 2009 AOBA Nationals behind the eventual Reserve Champion!! Greyt has been awarded Reserve Champion at the Huron Show in Walking Fleece- against ALL Greys, silver and rose! He also took 2nd in the Yearling Rose Class at the 2009 Buckeye Alpaca Show behind the Reserve Champion. He has great conformation, is true to type, has straight top line and front line, is very stylist and has very good coverage.

Greyt took 2nd in Walking Fleece at the ALSA National Champion Alpaca Show, and he took 4th in the Juvi grey class at the 2008 OABA AlpacaFest (his first show), competing against all colors of Silver Grey Juvi's. There wasn't one other Rose Grey in the bunch, and this wonderful guy held his own! He has great conformation, a beautiful head, and extremely crimpy fine fiber. The judge's comments were that Greyt Exxpectations has consistent crimp and great covereage, AND a striking show presence!! "He caught my eye when he walked in the ring!"

Greyt has some powerhouse herdsires in his pedigree including Peruvian Silverado, Shades of Grey, Peruvian Royal Fawn, and Royal Peruvian Apollo. All of this, plus he is a FULL PERUVIAN ROSE GREY!!
We plan to use him for breeding this year and can't wait to see what he puts on the ground for us!

We are excited about this new partnership and proud to own Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations with Oak Haven Alpacas, LLC.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ashton Stones Little Miss Rosco

Congratulations to Oak Haven Alpacas, LLC for adding Little Miss Rosco to your herd. Her spunky personality will be missed on our farm! Good luck with your new addition!