A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 16, 2009

Where Does The Time Go To?

Windrush Chandra

Windrush Chandra, February 2009 - she's grown a lot since then!

The past week just seemed to evaporate!  It’s hard to imagine where the time goes or is it?  Of course there was the distraction of Theresa’s new cria to keep us occupied.  Theresa’s cria is a sweet and lively little thing, exploring the pasture, coming up to see what we are doing, giving cria kisses and taking off on cria races around the pasture.  She is now up to 20.8 lbs and she and Theresa are back in with the main herd.  Theresa is a very protective dam and will not take any nonsense from the older crias who might think they are going to play rough with her baby!

Sunday (November 15) saw the end of the early bird discount for stalls at the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular which will be held February 12- 14, 2010 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.  We always try and enter alpacas in the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular and it’s great to be able to get discounted stalls and so we needed to make our decision this week as to which alpacas will attend the show.  We are lucky to have many alpacas to choose from but show expenses soon mount up and we can’t take them all.  We ended up registering our two new junior herdsires Biscotti and Champ and our Prince Regent daughter Chandra.   Show results from different shows and different judges can do a lot to enhance your Junior Herdsires breeding career, shows also provide an opportunity to showcase your junior herdsire in front of other alpaca breeders who might be interested in booking breedings to him.    With Chandra our motivation in showing her is a little different.  As our one and only Prince Regent daughter on the farm (the others have all sold or belong to our clients) we are curious to see how she places in the competitive white classes.  Our intention is for her to become part of our foundation herd so it will be good to get feedback from a judge as to Chandra’s strengths and weaknesses.  With her dense, fine fleece, correct conformation, graceful presence and her Prince Regent head (her sire has a beautiful head style which Chandra has inherited) we are hopeful that Chandra will walk away with a ribbon.

Of course the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular also has a fleece show and we will be sending in entries to that too, but I have a little more time to get those entries in the system.  Once entered though I then need to get busy skirting the fleeces in preparation for the show – February will soon come around.

We also had several enquiries during the week from people interested in learning more about alpacas, the alpaca lifestyle and what it takes to start up and run a successful alpaca business.  It’s always great to spend time talking to people interested in alpacas and to share with them some of the knowledge we have gained over the years.  I still remember the excitement Ric and I felt in the days when we were researching the alpaca business and the kindness of the alpaca breeders we spoke to at that time.  It is nice to now be able to “pay it forward” and share our knowledge with those looking into bringing alpacas into their life.

Add to those activities the daily chores, some behavior tests of bred females, some toe nail trimming, work on our websites, preparation for next weekend’s Open Farm Day, and work on a knitting project that someone has asked me to make and I guess it’s hardly surprising that our week disappeared before our eyes.  No complaint here though as it is fun work, a great lifestyle to be living and beats shuffling papers in an office any day!

Rosemary

November 8, 2009

Well Done Champ!

 

Alpaca Knights Challenger's Champ

Alpaca Knights Challenger's Champ - a blue ribbon winner

 

A few weeks ago we acquired a new male for our herdsire row.  Alpaca Knights Challenger’s Champ is our latest addition and is a beautiful true black junior herdsire.

We purchased Champ from Carol Knight of Alpaca Knights in Kentucky.  As Champ was the last male at Carol’s farm she suggested that she take him to her friend’s alpaca farm so that Champ would have some company until we could arrange transportation for Champ to New Mexico.  The farm that Champ went to was Providence Alpaca Farm the farm of Roni and Brad Perkins.  Not only is Roni a friend of Carol she also co-owns Champ’s sire Legend’s Challenger of KPR.

About 10 days ago Carol emailed me to say that Roni was very impressed with Champ and wanted to know if we would like her to take Champ to the OABA Alpacafest Show on our behalf.  Roni had already registered for the show and had stall space for Champ.  Well we couldn’t turn down that opportunity and so we gave Roni the go ahead to register Champ for the show.  A few faxes later everything was settled and Champ was entered in the show.

Having someone else show your alpacas for you can really be a treat.  While Ric and I were having breakfast on Saturday morning we were blissfully unaware that our Champ was in the show ring.  The first we knew about what was going on at the OABA Alpacafest was when we got a phone call from a very excited Roni to tell us that our Champ had taken first place in his class under AOBA Senior Judge Jude Anderson.   How exciting!

What a great start to our ownership of Champ, and how thoughtful of Carol and Roni to suggest that we enter Champ in the OABA Alpacafest.

Champ is scheduled to be transported to us in a couple of week’s time and you can bet we are excited to meet our new blue ribbon winner.  If you are an alpaca breeder you will want to keep an eye on this young male, I get the feeling his career as a herdsire is going to be a great one!

Rosemary

 

 

November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to a Special Herdsire

 

Enchantment's Prince Regent

Our herdsire - Enchantment's Prince Regent

 

 

We had a special birthday over the weekend.  Our herdsire Enchantment’s Prince Regent turned 10 on Halloween (October 31).

We don’t make it a habit to celebrate all of the alpacas birthdays, with as many alpacas as we have we would be doing a lot of celebrating if we did that, but it is nice to remember significant events such as Regent’s 10th birthday.

Enchantment’s Prince Regent was our very first cria, his dam Enchantment’s Peruvian Jennifer was our first alpaca purchase. We purchased Jenny in June of 1999, she was already pregnant by PPPeruvian Yupanqui and we were excited to see what our first cria would be like.

Of course Jenny went past her due date and we anxiously awaited the phone call from the farm where she was boarded telling us that Jenny was in labor.  We lived about three hours away from the boarding farm, Enchantment Farm Alpacas in Ruidoso, New Mexico and so we knew that we had little chance of seeing our first cria being born, but we wanted to get to see our cria as soon as we could.

Fortunately it was a Saturday morning when Jenny went into labor, Ann Evans from Enchantment Farm Alpacas called me to give me the news.  At the time of Ann’s call I was on my way to volunteer at a local animal shelter but that plan soon changed and after returning home to collect Ric we were on our way to Ruidoso.  To this day Ann Evans teases us about the speed in which we made that journey, she could not believe how fast we made it to the farm.

Arriving at Enchantment Farms we could see Jenny and her cria penned in the pasture.  Ann and her husband Rick met us at the pasture and took us in to see our new arrival, a little white male cria who we called Enchantment’s Prince Regent.  Initially we were a little disappointed that Regent was a boy, but when Rick and Ann suggested that perhaps we would like to sell him to them we realized this was not just any little boy cria, he was something special.  While we were grateful for Rick and Ann’s offer we decided to keep Regent and have been so happy we did so.

 

Rosemary and Regent

Rosemary and Regent the day Regent was born

 

 

Regent was undeniable cute as a cria, Ann nick named him Little Monkey Face because of his round face, but as time passed by Little Monkey Face soon became an alpaca with a beautiful sought after head.  We have had people book breedings to Regent just because they liked his head style.

Regent has shown us many aspects of alpaca management during his life.  It was with Regent that we first learned how to bottle feed a cria, Jenny did not have enough milk for him and so Regent received supplemental feedings.  I can still remember being in the pasture with Ann’s daughter Thea during one of our visits to see Regent.  Thea (who I think was then about 9 or 10) instructed me in how to hold onto Regent and get the bottle in his mouth at the same time.  It was quite the challenge to me, but Thea had it down to a fine art!

We experienced our first alpaca show with Regent along with our female gray alpaca Ma Cushla in Estes Park Colorado.  That was to be the first of many alpaca shows for Regent and for us, and during Regent’s show career he won many ribbons and gave us our first Reserve Color Champion.

 

Regent at TxOLAN

Enchantment's Prince Regent wins his first Reserve Color Championship

 

 

Regent has been responsible for bringing income to the farm in the form of breeding fees and the sale of his offspring.  His offspring have done well in the show ring and he has several color champion offspring to his name.

At 10 years old Regent is still looking good and still getting bookings for breeding.  His correct confirmation, dense fleece that has held its fineness, heavy bone and of course that beautiful head make him a herdsire that is still sought after – and he is more than happy to continue to have dates with beautiful alpaca girls.  As a herdsire he is easy to manage, all you need to say is “girls” and he will stand still and allow himself to be caught and haltered.  He is well mannered with the ladies and if a girl says no, while he is undoubtedly disappointed, he will allow himself to be led out of the pen with just a little grumbling.

There is a saying that just because an alpaca is male does not mean he deserves to be a herdsire – a saying that is very true.  With Regent though he truly does deserve to be a herdsire and how fortunate we are to have been blessed with such a wonderful herdsire as our first cria.

So on Regent’s birthday I sang him Happy Birthday, told him how much he means to us – and then had to apologize to him as I didn’t have a breeding arranged for him for that day.  Oh well that’s all part of life as a successful herdsire and Regent was quite happy to receive hay and feed as a birthday treat instead.  Happy Birthday Regent!

Rosemary

 

September 20, 2009

So Where Have We Been?

Well that is a good question!  We have not actually been anywhere but have been dealing with various things at home and time has been short.

This last week we had contractors show up unannounced to install bay windows in our living room and master bedroom.  We had purchased the windows back in July and it has taken until now to get to the top of the contractors list.  While it is good to be having our windows installed a little notice would have been nice!

The new windows will make our view of the girls pasture even better and it is amazing how much bigger and brighter the rooms seem since they were installed.  We can cria watch in style now.

Along with the contractors we have also had puppy Blue back to the vet again.  It seems she has quite a sensitive stomach which is not helped by her wanting to eat everything she comes across.  We thought we were making some progress with her but tried a tiny amount of a different dog food on Friday and she is back to having an upset stomach – looks like I will be cooking meals for a little dog as well as humans as she seems to do fine on cooked chicken.

We have also been busy buying alpacas – a couple for us and a couple for a client of ours.  More on that in later posts, but my search for a black male alpaca is over!

Ric has been busy preparing for the New Mexico State Fair and the show program is now coming together.  He will leave for Albuquerque on Wednesday to get things set up at the show grounds before the exhibitors start arriving on Friday.  I will be staying at the farm, looking after alpacas and cooking for dogs.  If you are attending the State Fair make sure you go and say hello to Ric and I am sure he will be happy to see you.

So life has been a little time consuming (are we getting older or are the days really getting shorter and going by quicker?), but that’s how life goes sometimes and before long everything is back on track.

Contractors and sick puppies permitting I hope to resume the posts to the blog in the coming week.

Rosemary

September 3, 2009

It’s That Time of the Year Again

Time for National Alpaca Farm Days!  This year the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association has scheduled National Alpaca Farm Days for September 25 and 26, 2009 which is great except that those are also the dates of the alpaca show at the New Mexico State Fair.

This year Ric is the show superintendent for the New Mexico State Fair and so it will be difficult for us to hold our National Alpaca Farm Days Open Day when Ric, at least, will be away at the State Fair (I am still trying to figure out if I too can attend the State Fair even if only for a day, that will depend on us finding a reliable farm sitter)

The State Fair was not willing to reschedule the dates of the alpaca show, so we have decided to hold our National Alpaca Farm Days celebration a little early.  On September 12, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will hold an Open Farm Day in celebration of National Alpaca Farm Days.  During the Open Farm Day we will conduct pasture tours, give brief educational presentations, have some fiber arts demonstrations and we will also have the farm store open for business.  With Christmas rapidly approaching our Open Farm Day will be a great opportunity for people to do some early Christmas shopping.  Of course Willow’s new cria will be a favorite I am sure and hopefully by then Bjorn will have had her cria too (she’s due today!).  Visitors to the farm always like to see the new crias.

For now we are busy working on marketing the event to the local community and hope that we will have a good turnout.

If you are not in the Clovis area and would like to attend a National Alpaca Farm Day event you can go to the National Alpaca Farm Day website where you can locate participating farms in your area.  If you are in the Clovis area we hope to see you at our early National Alpaca Farm Day celebration on September 12.

Rosemary

August 24, 2009

And His Name Shall Be…

TeQueely's Cria - Still to be named

TeQueely's Cria - Still to be named

Well we can’t decide!

I really feel it is harder to name male crias than female crias.  While both need good names (and ones that the announcer at a show is not going to butcher!) a male cria could go on to be a herdsire and if so needs a name that befits his role in life.

I guess you could name your herd sire “Fluffy” or “Cutie Pie”, while those names will stick in people’s memories it could be for the wrong reason and do those names really convey the strengths of a herdsire?

We keep a collection of names on hand, some we have discovered ourselves others are given to us by family and friends, but sometimes those names don’t suit the cria and so then it is back to the drawing board.

Close to that drawing board is where we find ourselves with trying to name TeQueely’s cria.   Our TeQueely is very special to us and so perhaps that makes naming her offspring a little more difficult.  TeQueely’s cria was born on a very hot day and so we want to incorporate something to do with heat into his name.  The cria’s sire is Snowmass Andean Night owned by our friends Bob and Regina Dart.

We have been trying hard to come up with names and have finally come up with a few, but just can’t decide which should be the official name for this handsome boy.  So we thought we would put it to the vote – which name do you think is the best?  Here are the choices:

Windrush Hot TeQueely Night

Windrush Night Fire

Windrush Andean Night Fire

Windrush Light My Fire

So help us out here readers.  Tell us which name you like the best and then we can finally give TeQueely’s cria an official name!

Rosemary

August 11, 2009

We Have Ribbons

Our Latest Ribbons From The AFCNA Continental Fleece Show

Our Latest Ribbons From The AFCNA Continental Fleece Show

 

Last Thursday we received a delivery via FedEx – our fleeces that we had submitted to the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show.

 

We were surprised to see our fleeces back so soon after the show, the show had concluded the Sunday before and sometimes it takes while for fleeces to be shipped back to their owners following a show.

 

It is always an exciting moment when you open your box of fleeces wondering if you have won ribbons and for us the answer was yes!

 

Our Windrush Zindel’s Atlas had placed 1st in his class and our Windrush White Blast placed 6th in his class. Unfortunately there were only four entries in Atlas’s class, Atlas has a gorgeous fleece and while we were happy to receive our blue ribbon it would have been good to see how he would do against more competition.

 

Blast’s fleece definitely had competition as he was 6th out of 15 in the ever competitive white classes. I had not been happy with Blast’s fleece when I sent it in as it had become tangled up prior to my skirting it. I didn’t feel that it looked as good as it could do, so I am happy to know that Blast’s fleece placed in a large class despite the mess it was in!

 

I don’t know if I will show Blast’s fleece again, it will depend on how it looks when I take it out of the bag. Maybe I will have got lucky and the fleece show volunteers were able to do a better job of straightening it out than I did! Atlas’s fleece will definitely be shown again.

 

Blast (Left), Biscotti (Center) and Atlas (Right) enjoy some hay, oblivious to Atlas and Blast's latest accomplishments

Blast (Left), Biscotti (Center) and Atlas (Right) enjoy some hay, oblivious to Atlas and Blast's latest accomplishments

So our two up and coming junior herdsires have some more credentials behind them. Atlas at just over a year old is not ready to breed yet, but we have some good news on Blast. It looks as if Blast has got a female pregnant at his first breeding attempt. We still have to confirm the pregnancy by ultrasound, but Dona is spitting hard and fast at any males that come near her so we are pretty confident she is pregnant. How exciting – now all we have to do is wait the 11 ½ months or so for the cria to be born, but if this year is anything to go by the time will go by in a flash!

 

Rosemary

August 6, 2009

It’s Almost Showtime Again

 

With summer rushing past us it will soon be time for the fall show season. For New Mexico that means the New Mexico State Fair that features an alpaca show as part of the activities.

 

We always try to attend the New Mexico State Fair as it is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, making it our closest show.

 

It is a pity that the show always happens in the last few weeks of summer as that is the time that many New Mexico alpaca breeders have crias due, making it difficult to leave their farms. Depending on when the farm’s alpacas were shorn it may also mean that their alpacas do not have enough fleece length to qualify for the halter classes (where both fleece and conformation are judged). There are shorn classes available but most alpaca breeders prefer their alpacas to compete in the halter classes.

 

This year for us the show will be a little different as Ric is the Show Superintendent. As the Show Superintendent Ric will be responsible for verifying all of the entries, building the classes and ensuring that the show program is changed as necessary. Ric’s work will keep him busy during the show, the night before the show will be particularly busy and I am sure Ric will be working long into the night to ensure that the class list is correct and printed off for the exhibitors before the show begins.

 

The New Mexico State Fair is a small show compared to other shows where Ric has been the Show Superintendent, so I am sure it will not be too much of a challenge to him, however he is having to work within the mechanism of the State Fair and so there will be some differences in how things are handled.

 

Due to a problem with the State Fair website last weekend, the State Fair had agreed to extend the deadline for Online Entries for the New Mexico State Fair through Sunday, August 9 so if you were thinking of entering the alpaca show at the State Fair you still have time to enter. Just go to the New Mexico Alpaca Breeders website and follow the links to the State Fair (or Expo New Mexico as it is now called!).

 

Ric and I are still trying to decide if we will enter alpacas into the show. When Ric is the Show Superintendent at a show we have to be careful that we don’t cross any ethical boundaries. Usually if we do enter alpacas at a show where Ric is the show superintendent then we have someone else take the alpacas into the show ring for us. Of course we also have to consider who will look after the farm if we both go to the show, but we better hurry up and make our minds up before the extended Show Entry Deadline expires!

 

Rosemary

July 23, 2009

To The Fleece Show We Go

 

 Well not us, but two of our fleeces headed off to the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show this afternoon.

 

If truth be known the fleeces probably should have left earlier, they will still arrive at the show with a day or two to spare but I hate taking a chance on something going wrong with the transportation and the fleeces arriving late. Also having been a fleece show superintendent myself I understand how nice it is to receive entries and fleeces well in advance of the show. (My apologies to all involved with the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show this year!).

 

So which fleeces did we send? After some discussion we settled on Windrush White Blast and Windrush Zindel’s Atlas.

 

White Blast did really well in fleece shows last year winning the white color champion at the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular against some stiff competition. Blast has a beautiful fleece with tiny micro bundles, high frequency crimp, superb brightness and a soft, soft hand.

 

When I went to prepare Blast’s fleece for the show I discovered that it had somehow become entangled within the bag and it took me a while to sort it out. That doesn’t happen often but when it does it is quite a challenge to unravel the puzzle of which piece of fleece needs to be turned in which direction. I had one heart stopping moment when I wondered if the fleece I had prepared was Blast’s 2008 fleece which had already been shown several times. That would have explained the twisting but would also have meant I had wasted my time and would have to start over on the 2009 fleece. I checked the fleece bag and “phew” the bag was marked Blast 2009! I did my best with Blast’s fleece but with it having become twisted I wonder if the judge will stumble across a piece of fleece that should have been skirted out. I wouldn’t’ be surprised if I get the “needs more skirting” comment on my scorecard.

 

Atlas did well in his first year of halter shows and this shearing was his first. Atlas also has a beautiful fleece in a bronzed light brown color. Atlas is really consistent with his fleece, with his crimp style extending all the way down to his belly and upper legs. Like Blast Atlas has a super bright fleece with high frequency crimp micro bundles. Atlas’s fleece was thankfully not tangled and so skirting it was a little easier, although I did start to wonder who allowed him to roll in the straw before shearing!

 

With the fleeces on the way to the show, now I can sit back and wait for the results. The really nice thing about this particular show is that you also get a DVD of the judges oral reasons on each class and of the seminars held at the show. If your fleece places, you get to see and hear the judges comments about it, which is great fun and a good addition to your herd records.

 

If you are thinking that you missed a great opportunity to show fleeces in the AFCNA Show then think again. The show deadline has been extended and late fees waived. Go to http://www.alpacawebsite.com/ for more information and then get your fleeces on the way to the show!

 

Rosemary

May 29, 2009

Welcome To Our Latest Arrival

Biscotti Profile_Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biscotti of Peak Ranch!  Not a newborn cria, but rather a 10 month old male alpaca. 

I came across Biscotti while at the Great Western Alpaca Show in Denver back in May.  I looked at a lot of alpacas at the show but Biscotti and his stall mate Jack Black stood out in my memory.  So much so that while I had planned on setting off back to Clovis on the Sunday morning without going back to the show grounds I instead decided to go back and take a another look at Biscotti and Jack Black.

I was impressed by the fineness and handle of both of the boys fleeces but the brightness, consistency, density and tiny bundles of Biscotti’s fleece along with his long list of top quality ancestors made him the winner at the end of the day (how I wish money were no object or I would have no doubt bought both of the boys, but Ric had put a limit on my spending – spoilsport!).

Biscotti of Peak Ranch

Biscotti of Peak Ranch

Biscotti’s fleece has a drape to it almost like a suri fleece, but when you part it you are greeted by well organized huacaya crimp with a stunning brightness and soft, soft handle.  Biscotti’s registration certificate contains names such as CND Accoyo Bizcocho, PPeruvian Timoteo, PPeruvian Camilio, PPPeruvian Auzengate, 4Peruvian Black Magic, SCA Peruvian Desert Sun and PPeruvian Leon – and just in case you haven’t guessed Biscotti is full Peruvian.

Biscotti’s dam Gypsy Sun has five blue ribbons and two Reserve Color Champions to her name and at five years of age is still holding her fleece qualities, something that we look for in bloodlines that we bring into our herd.  Biscotti’s sire CND Accoyo Bizcocho is a full Accoyo who is densely covered from head to toe with beautiful, lustrous fiber.  CND Accoyo Bizcocho is also holding his fleece qualities as he ages.  With such great genetics in his background Biscotti should eventually put some wonderful cria on the ground.

Biscotti is a very easygoing alpaca, sweet and easy to handle which is a good thing as he is also quite large for his age.  It will be quite a while before he is ready to breed but we are already looking forward to seeing how his cria turn out.

We thank Rene and Dennis Beshear of Peak Ranch Alpacas for giving us the opportunity to bring some fresh genetics into our herd and look forward to keeping them updated on Biscotti’s progress.

Rosemary

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