Monday, April 26, 2010
In addition to the alpaca halter show, there will be lots of fiber vendors selling alpaca products and doing fiber arts demonstrations. This year, MI-ALPACA will be sponsoring the show as well as a raffle. I hope you'll stop by the show to see us! If you can't make it, be sure to check back here for pictures and updates on how everyone did!
For directions and more information about the Michigan Breeders Show, follow this link:
2010 Michigan Alpaca Breeders Show and Fiber Fair
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
A little closer.....
I spy a duck!
Our female Indian Runner Duck made a nest in our front bushes about 3-4 weeks ago. We have a male and female Runner Duck and a male and female Rouen Duck on our farm. We have had them for a year now and raised them in the house when they were ducklings. Now they live outside and spend their days waddling around our yard in a little flock and swimming in our pond. A few weeks ago, we noticed that one of the Runners kept disappearing from the flock. At first we thought that she may have been eaten by a predator, but then she would show back up with the flock randomly. Eventually, she stopped showing back up and I got suspicious so I went exploring. I found that she had built a nest right in the center of one of our bushes in front of our house and that it was full of eggs. At first I thought that the eggs would not hatch, because she had not been sitting on them consistently enough to incubate them, but now that she has been sitting on them for a solids 2 weeks, I am thinking that the newer eggs that she layed, if fertilized, may yield some ducklings soon. I am very excited to see some little ducklings that are born right on our farm. I was always amazed watching chicks and ducks hatch in an incubator at my friends house when I was little. I am also really interested to see what these ducklings will look like since they could have 2 possible fathers. Will they be Runners or Rouens or a combination of both? Only time will tell. The poor Momma duck is so dedicated to her nest. I brought her a bowl of duck food and a bucket of water because she refuses to get off the nest. Anytime I get close, she puffs her feathers up, fans her tail feathers out and hisses at me. She will be a good Momma to her little brood. Check back for updates!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Alpaca Learns to Surf
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I tried to snap some pictures of the Expo during the actual church service when things died down a little. I think the alpacas were a little overwhelmed after the service when everyone came to see them.
My mom, Tom and Livy stopped by the Expo. My mom is showing off her new alpaca gloves! The event was a lot of fun and we hope to participate again next year with a new crop of cria!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In addition to being on constant cria watch, I am trying to figure out who we are going to re-breed everyone to this year for 2011 cria. I have at least 5 huacayas and possibly 1 suri who will be ready to breed this year. I plan to use Smokey and Greyt this year, but would like to get some other outside breedings as well to keep some diversity in our herd. I have been actively searching alpacanation.com and openherd.com for the girls next dates. I have a few leads so far, but nothing set in stone yet. I put so much time and thought into deciding who we will breed each alpaca to. We try to find males that compliment our females and have strong positive characteristics, especially if our female is weak in a certain area like fiber or conformation. I am also always attracted to greys, so am always on the look out for a stellar grey male. So many decisions. It is amazing to me that I have to wait a whole year to see the outcome of any breedings, which is one of the reasons I am so excited for this years cria! Stay tuned for cria pictures!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
American Express: How Can I Get Paid Faster?
Follow this link to see the segment from the Today Show:
You Life Calling Today: One Man's Alpaca Farm Dream
Monday, April 12, 2010
During the winter, cleaning alpaca poop can be difficult in Michigan. With so much snow and random defrosting and refreezing, things can become messy. Many farms choose to clean their poop many different ways. Some clean, daily, several times a week, monthly...and maybe never. In the winter, we clean out the alpaca stalls in our barn weekly, but do not bother with the catch pen or the pasture because most of the poop gets buried in the snow. Now that all the lovely snow is gone, all the poo piles that have been hidden all winter have surfaced. I think we counted 40-50 piles total in the large pasture where the girls are. They tend to make more piles in the winter because their old piles get buried under the snow so they make new ones. We spent all day last Saturday cleaning the pastures. We have a couple acres fenced in, and of course there was a winter's worth of poo out there, so it was quite the chore. Luckily alpacas have a natural instinct to poo in community piles (except for one of ours who like to poo anywhere and everywhere) so it makes clean up and parasite control easier than most livestock. I went around the pasture with a rake raking the alpaca bean piles into small mountains and Noah followed along with the tractor and front end loader and scooped it up. Luckily, as we were cleaning, a family friend called and wanted to know if she could bring a trailer up and get some poo for her garden and compost pile. Alpaca poop makes an excellent fertilizer. We made a big pile of poo and conveniently loaded it into her trailer when she got there (it filled the entire trailer). We also have a compost pile with more decomposed poo, which she plans to come back for soon (we can't get to it right now, cause the area is too muddy). Here is what the winters worth of alpaca poo from the pastures looks like.
Noah spent Sunday cleaning up the catch pen and alpaca stalls in the barn which had a whole lot of straw and a little poo in it. Luckily, the new tractor made the chore much easier. Now, all the alpaca areas are officially clean for spring! Now its time to split pastures and build the new barn!
2nd Annual Animal Advocacy Expo
Sunday, April 18th
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Fountain Street Church
We are proud to announce the 2nd Annual Animal Advocacy Expo here at FSC! Our unique Reverence for Life Sunday Service has been taking place for more than 20 years and is attended by hundreds in the community who come, not only for spiritual nourishment, but for the once a year "Blessing of the Beasts". Last year, we raised the bar by introducing an "Animal Advocacy Expo", a venue for any and all non-profit organizations that advocate for animal rights and health. Come early, stay late, and celebrate the wonder of wildlife and the gift of companionship that pets offer!
You will have the opportunity to adopt a new family pet or simply visit with and/or support some usual and unusual beasts and learn about how to support one or more of the many local organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of animals. You will also find organic, homemade treats for your pets at prices you will never find in a pet store!
Meet dogs, cats, and even Alpacas who are looking for homes. Learn how you can better support the health of your pet without breaking the bank! This will be a wonderful experience for all!
Below is a partial list of exhibitors for this Expo:
* Vicky's Pet Connection
* 2nd Chance for Greyhounds
* Reuben's Room
* Carol's Ferals
* Crash's Landing
* Humane Society
* Blandford Nature Center
We would also like to invite you to donate dog or cat food to the Kibble Konnection. Kibble Konnection is a program of the Humane Society of Kent County (HSKC) that seeks to help low income pet owners provide food for their pets. There has been high demand for HSKC's pet assistance program and they are in need of food to support this effort. We will have drop-off boxes available before and after the April 18th Service for your convenience. Thank you!
Bring your pet to church this Sunday and come check out the booths at the Expo and say hello!
Friday, April 2, 2010
The goals of the Michigan Alpaca Livestock Products and Commerce Association are to:
- Promote the continuance of a dynamic, growing and profitable alpaca industry in Michigan.
- Encourage the breeding of the highest quality alpacas.
- Provide training and education to its members on alpaca management, health and other alpaca husbandry practices.
- Provide marketing and growth opportunities for the Michigan alpaca industry through shows, public relations events, youth programs, and collaboration with state and local governments and civic organizations.
- Promote, conduct and/or sponsor programs to educate and inform the public about alpacas and alpaca products.
- Promote research of alpacas and alpaca fiber at Michigan Universities.
- Help establish and support a South American Camelid Department within the School of Agriculture at Michigan State University
- Promote the development of products made of Alpaca fiber.
- Encourage social interaction of members.
I am the Committees Chairman for the association and am currently working to recruit committee members. Committee members would meet regularly (most likely by phone conference since everyone is spread all over Michigan). Once there are enough people sitting on each committee, members would be asked to create a mission statement, vision statement, and 2010 goals for that committee. I know everyone is busy this time of year with spring cleaning, shows and new cria, but we need volunteers to help make the association a success. Not only will volunteering for a committee help progress the alpaca industry in Michigan, it is also a great way to network with other alpaca people across the state! Please let me know if you would be interested in participating in any of the following committees:
Industry Networking Committee
· Network with AOBA
· Network with other affiliates
· Network with informal alpaca groups
· Network with other Michigan Agricultural Organizations
· Network with other natural fiber industries
· Network with local Universities with textile/fiber/fashion curriculum
· Researches relevant information for the website
· Member email blasts
· IT support
· Maintain website (webmaster)
· Recruit members
· Maintain membership list
· Be responsible for making sure members pay their membership fees
· Evaluate members needs
· Election nominations
· Organize and run elections
· Seminars (work with other committees to provide seminars related to each committees topic)
· Create reading resource list
· Create a recommended list of educational websites and other resources
· Auctions and Pen Sales
· Other Events
· Research cost effective ways to process Michigan alpaca fiber
· Processing and new product opportunities
· Network with local fiber mills
· Network with local Universities with textile/fiber/fashion curriculums
· Create a fiber co-op
· Create a directory of local fiber processors
· Create a list of fiber fairs and festivals
· Participate in fiber fairs and festivals
· Create and sell logoed products (pens, bumper stickers, shirts, hats etc.)
· Press releases
· Organize advertisements online, in magazines and through local television and radio
· Create signage
· Find Michigan events to sponsor or advertise at
· Create and distribute MI-ALPACA literature and brochures
· Liaison with MSU
· Advocate for more alpaca education at MSU
· Health and preventative maintenance
· Create a directory of veterinarians who work with alpacas in Michigan
Michigan Resource Committee
· Create a directory of hay resources
· Network with feed mills to create cost effective pellet and mineral supplements
· Network with other Michigan Farm Co-Ops
· Network with MSU School of Agriculture
Thursday, April 1, 2010
On Wednesday night, we decided to try putting our two young boys Riphaeus (11 months old) and d'Artagnan (9 months old) in with our herdsire Smokey (7 years old). Smokey has lived on his own most of his life, so we weren't sure how he would do with the boys. Last spring, we put two young boys in with him; Jolly Roger who is his son and was born on our farm and Comanche who was boarding here at the time. Jolly was very submissive and Smokey didn't seem to mind him, but Comanche was aggressive towards Smokey even though he was little, so we had to separate them so he wouldn't get hurt. Well, we put the little boys in and all 3 of them started running around, kicking up their heels. They looked like they were all playing together and Smokey was not being aggressive at all towards them. Both little boys put their tails up and their head down in submission. Smokey then started orgling and chasing Dar around trying to mount him. I am not sure if he thought he was a female, or if Smokey was just showing him who was dominant. Eventually, when we were in cleaning, Dar kushed and Smokey attempted to breed with him. Noah quickly put and end to that; he made Smokey get up and Smokey started screeching. After that, he left the little boys alone. Strange that Smokey seemed to take an interest in Dar and ignored Riphaeus. The little boys follow Smokey around. It is so cute because Dar is Smokey's son and Riph is his little brother. So far, the little boys are doing well. Sometimes they will stand with their heads through the gate crying for their mamas (well, its mostly Dar that does this), their mom's just ignore them and they eventually give up and go back to grazing. I am glad that they are all getting along so well.
After two long days of work, I ended each night by sitting out in the pasture, watching the alpacas graze and the chickens and ducks waddle around as the sun set. I am so happy to be feeling energetic again and for spring to finally be here!