A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 9, 2012

Today is Tobiano’s birthday!

Filed under: Alpacas — Tags: , — alpacalady @ 7:36 am

Today we celebrate Tobiano’s 12th birthday here at Windrush Alpacas!

October 29, 2012

November Farm Day Tours at Windrush Alpacas!

Filed under: Adopt A Paca, Alpacas, Open Farm Day — alpacalady @ 2:14 pm

The holidays are coming and do we have a great gift idea for you!

 

Pile everyone in the car and come on out to Windrush Alpacas on Saturday, November 10th and check out everything we have to offer! Start with our new Adopt-A-Paca Program that allows a lucky person to sponsor a cute and friendly alpaca for an entire year, complete with pen pal privileges, photos and other cool stuff. Now wouldn’t that be a neat gift for someone on your list!? We also have Alpacabuddy stuffed toys for the little ones, toys for your pets, crafting supplies and projects for those creative people in your life, and of course lots and lots of warm, alpaca fleece clothing and accessories for everyone else!

Oh, let’s not forget that we offer tours of our functioning alpaca farm where you can learn about alpacas, how to raise them, how we harvest their fleece, and we even let you pet the friendly ones.

As usual, we offer free admission, free parking and free refreshments. Come join us! We look forward to meeting you.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at http://www.windrushalpacas.com. Also, you can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas and shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ and sign up for our newsletter!

October 25, 2012

Adopt-A-Paca – the motivation behind the program

Aimee

I’m Aimee – Adopt Me!

We recently decided to launch a new “product” at the farm, although perhaps ‘product’ is really not a good word for it.  “Opportunity” may be a word more fitting, as we feel our Adopt-a-Paca program allows people a chance to get a closer glimpse of life with alpacas without having to go to the expense of buying and keeping them.

The Adopt-A-Paca program was Ric’s idea.  Anyone who has been to our Open Farm Days knows that Ric is the main man when it comes to doing the tours of the farm.  Ric is definitely much more of a people person than I am (nothing personal folks, but I just am more comfortable with four leggeds than two leggeds!)  and really enjoys interacting with visitors young and old.  Ric’s 30 years in the Air Force has provided him with confidence in public speaking and his degree in Elementary Education enables him to relate to the many young visitors we get to Open Farm Day.  People love Ric’s farm tours and Ric loves to give them.

So having shown many visitors around the farm, Ric realized that many people would dearly love to own alpacas but are not in a position to do so.  Not everyone lives on acreage suitable for alpacas, and our military visitors know that they are usually stationed here for a few short years and could deploy overseas or get a permanent move in the near future.  Some people know that they don’t have the time to care for alpacas along with their already busy schedules.  There are a variety of reasons why people may not be able to own alpacas, but that doesn’t mean that they may not hope to in future years and it doesn’t stop them longing to own alpacas or wanting to connect with alpacas.  Ric wanted a way to get those people a little closer to living the alpaca dream.

Being “animal mad” at a young age I can relate to those who long to own animals but who don’t get the opportunity to do so.  As a child I loved animals of all shapes and sizes and longed to have a pony or horse of my own.  The only dolls I played with were those that could sit on toy horses.

My parents did their best to cater to my desire to be around animals.  They arranged for riding lessons, drove me to stables to help friends who owned horses and drove me to kennels to volunteer.  They knew that any family vacation would involve either finding a riding stable nearby or organizing trips to visit local horses, cows or any other creature that I decided to bond with on vacation.  My brothers and I grew up with family dogs, cats, goldfish, gerbils and guinea pigs, but my parents did not feel that we could have a horse in our family.

So when Ric suggested the Adopt-a-Paca program it struck a chord with me.  Here was a way we could allow people who fall in love with our alpacas and to get a little bit closer to alpaca life.

To start with we have kept the program very basic.  For $25 people can select one of the alpacas in the Adopt-a-Paca program for a year and in exchange they receive:

  • An Adoption Certificate
  • An 8×10 picture of the selected alpaca
  • A copy of the Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) registration certificate showing the alpaca’s date of birth an lineage
  • Periodic pen pal letters from the alpaca
  • Monthly e-mail newsletters from the farm
  • Maybe even get some neat bonuses during the year… you’ll just have to wait and see!

The sponsorship will last for 12 months at which time you can renew for another year or pick a new alpaca

As the program grows we may make some changes and expand it further, for now we are just “dipping our toes in the water” to gauge the amount of interest.

Of course you don’t get to take the alpaca home and ownership of the alpaca is still ours, but for the year you are in the program you will get a closer look at life with the alpacas and hopefully get to know “your” alpaca better.

What’s in it for us you might ask?  Well your $25 contribution will go toward covering the costs of daily care for your alpaca – it costs more than $25 a year to raise an alpaca, but your contribution will help offset the costs a little.  We also feel we will get to know our farm visitors and fans a bit better.  Perhaps too in these trying economic times your “adopted” alpaca will bring you something to look forward to and put a little joy in your heart as alpacas often do.

We hope you will join in with our “Adopt-A-Paca” program and that together we will have a lot of fun with it – and of course if you would prefer to actually own alpacas we also sell them too!

Rosemary

October 7, 2012

Cold Weather And Pumpkins Arrive At The Farm

Brrr!  In typical New Mexico style we have been treated to a sudden change in weather.  From days last week with temperatures in the high eighties and early nineties, today we have dropped to a day time high of around 45 F.  Fall has finally arrived on the high plains!

The cold weather gives the alpacas (and their owners) a hearty appetite.  It also makes for frisky alpacas – young Tiki was doing vertical take off displays this evening, Snow and Betty were running full gallop with the occasional kick of their legs in the air.  With the alpacas now having at least a couple of inches of fleece growth the cool temperatures feel good to them.

Our next Open Farm Day is rapidly approaching.  Fall is a great time to stock up on alpaca products and I have been busy creating things for the store.  Some wearable and others just fun.

Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving all bring to mind pumpkins and even pumpkins can be made from alpaca!  Easy to care for, no mess involved and they will last you for years.  Needle felted alpaca pumpkins are just the thing for your fall decorations.

Needle Felted Alpaca Pumpkins

Hand made and cute as can be these mini needle felted pumpkins could be yours!

Using dyed alpaca roving (roving is fleece that has been processed to align all of the fibers in the same direction) and a needle felting technique.  I have made a selection of pumpkins to be available in the store.  From plain pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanterns, mini pumpkins to larger versions – you can choose the ones that appeal to you the most.

Image

So come on out and join us next Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. pick the pumpkin that appeals to you the most and meet our wonderful alpacas at the same time.

Rosemary

July 19, 2012

A Little Rain Can Make Alpacas Happy

Filed under: alpaca, alpaca behavior, Alpacas, Blogroll, camelids, General, Uncategorized — alpacalady @ 6:45 pm

For the last couple of years we have been in a major drought, rain has been little and rare.  The drought has made hay scare (and expensive!) but also stopped anything from growing in the areas outside our alpaca pens.  Those areas turned to sand, causing blowing dust and sad alpacas, for usually in the summer months we let our alpacas out in groups to graze the areas around the pens but with the drought that has not been possible.  But there is hope!  In the last few weeks we have had a little rain, not enough to fix the drought by any means, but enough to get some plants to grow and provide a little greenery – and to alpacas greenery means grazing!

So here is a little video clip of our Junior Boys galloping out to graze (notice we didn’t have to ask them twice if they wanted to go!).  The Senior Boys look on with jealousy, but don’t feel too bad, they got to graze the front areas over the weekend, which also meant they got to hang out at the fence line with the girls.  A little rain can definitely make alpacas happy.

(By the way the website URL in the commentary was not an unashamed marketing push, our friend Eddie just happened to ask me for it when I started filming – good timing Eddie!)

Rosemary

 

March 23, 2012

Farewell To A Special Boy

ImageThere is much sadness today on the farm as yesterday we had to say goodbye to one of our alpaca boys –Mags.  Mags started to be unwell on Monday, rallied a little on Tuesday but by Wednesday we knew he was really in trouble.  On Wednesday the vet decided to keep Mags at the clinic administering fluids and pain killers to him while he tried to figure out what was wrong.  By Thursday it was apparent that Mags was suffering greatly and that the treatment the vet was trying was not working,  so with heavy hearts we told the vet to euthanize Mags.  Such hard words to say and for us to accept but so necessary to relieve Mags pain.

Mags life had been a challenge from the day he was born, a large cria he got stuck during the birthing process and the owners of his dam had to get a vet to deliver Mags by C-Section.  Despite his difficult birth Mags came out strong and fighting, sadly though his dam Maggie had sustained damage during the birthing process and died the next day.  Mags owners raised Mags on the bottle and loved him dearly but as time went on it became apparent that Mags was starting to develop behavioral issues, something that can happen with bottle fed alpacas, particularly males.  Mags owners did their best to establish correct boundaries with Mags from day one, but his personality was such that he persisted in bonding more strongly with them than other alpacas.  At that point is when Mags made his first visit to our farm.  He arrived here with another bottle cria Song, who had lost her dam at a slightly later stage than Mags and who would not nurse from a bottle.  We agreed to work with both Mags and Song, trying to instill appropriate behavior in Mags and working with Song to get her to nurse.  Song by this time had decided that Mags was her new mother and milk source and would try to nurse off him, much to Mags surprise!  By holding a bottle underneath Mags we were soon able to get Song to nurse from the bottle,  Mags played an important part in Song’s survival.

In time Mags behavior did improve and he was able to return to his owners, while Song went on to her new home.  But Mags was always an alpaca who had to be handled carefully and with awareness.

Mags owners later decided to leave the alpaca business; as part of our agreement in working with Mags we had become his co-owners and so Mags returned to our farm.  The change of location threw Mags world in a spin for a while and once again we had to work to establish boundaries and encourage good behavior over bad.  By this time Mags was maturing and testosterone was being added into the mix, but our male herd helped us keep Mags in check, educating him in the hierarchy of a male alpaca herd.  Once again he settled down and even started to bond with a couple of the boys, in particular our black herd sire Champ.

Today Champ is wondering where his buddy went.  Champ is a very intelligent alpaca, described by the transporter who delivered him here as one of the smartest alpacas he has met.  I think Mags was on a similar level to Champ and that is why the two boys bonded.

Throughout his life Mags wanted attention and affection, but he sought in from humans instead of other alpacas and not always in the best way.  We certainly did not want to wrestle with him, but in alpaca boys that is often how they play.  We would have loved to give him the attention he sought, but knew that to do so would only encourage his inappropriate behavior and so we were very much hands off with Mags.

In the last few days of his life, as we cared for Mags we were finally able to hug him and give him the attention he had so longingly sought for all of his life.  His eye contact with us was direct, in times of pain he gained some relief and comfort from our touch and our voices, he put his trust in us completely and was so incredibly strong through some difficult days.

It is always hard to decide to let one of the alpacas go, but in Mags case it was even harder, he was fighting so very hard for his life and we wanted to give him every possible chance, but when suffering is great and there is no chance for recovery all we can do is provide merciful relief.   Mags lived up to his registered name until his final moment – Lionheart.

Sometimes  in life we experience meaningful connections, things happen that seem to be guided by a gentle spirit, not seen but often felt.  As I wrote to a dear alpaca breeder friend last night to inform her of Mags passing, Ric had the television on in the other room, through my tears I could hear the words of a song from the The Secret Sisters.  I have never heard of The Secret Sisters before and while I love music I am not familiar with their work.  The song is from the sound track of the movie The Hunger Games, a movie that has not interested me at all and which I would probably not have planned on seeing.  I had not been paying attention to the noise of the TV, but The Secrets Sisters song reached me clearly and perhaps with a purpose.  The song is titled “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder”, the words could not have been more fitting for the emotions we are feeling.

“Black clouds are behind me, I now can see ahead

Often I wonder why I try, hoping for an end,

Sorrow weighs my shoulders down and trouble haunts my mind

But I know the present will not last and tomorrow will be kinder

Tomorrow will be kinder, it’s true I’ve seen it before

A brighter day is coming my way, yes tomorrow will be kinder

Today I have cried a many tear and pain is in my heart

Around me lies a somber scene I don’t know where to start

But I feel warmth on my skin, the stars are all aligned

The wind has blown but now I know

That tomorrow will be kinder

Tomorrow will be kinder, it’s true I’ve seen it before

A brighter day is coming my way, yes tomorrow will be kinder”

The alpaca business is often joyous, but any time you are raising lifestock there will come a time when you have to say goodbye to those in your care.  It is never easy and though we have been raising alpacas for 12 years and have said had to say goodbye to our dear alpacas before it doesn’t get any easier.

The picture at the top of this post is of Mags when he was young during his first stay at our farm, and that is how I will choose to remember him, full of life, curiosity and wanting so much to be loved.  Dear Mags you were a special boy, we really miss you.   I still feel your presence, can still feel your warmth, wherever your spirit soars I am hoping that for you too today and tomorrow will be kinder.

May 18, 2011

The Year of Unexpected Events

Phew!  Life certainly has been busy on the farm.  Time for writing has been scarce even though the desire is there.

I am beginning to think that 2011 should be renamed “The Year of Unexpected Events” – February brought record setting cold temperatures in the midst of a dry winter, March brought a houseful of unexpected guests when Ric surprised me for my birthday by flying in friends and family from across the world (which also solved the mystery of why Ric had taken a sudden interest in tidying and decluttering!), April brought us an unexpected large vet bill when our miniature Australian shepherd dog Blue decided to try and herd our horses and had to have a toe amputated as a result of her escapades (the vet said the horse did a good job of a surgical amputation and he just had to tidy everything up).

Blue tries to play with her cone on

Blue with her bandaged foot and her cone collar

The unexpected events continued in April when a nearby large grass fire propelled by the high winds that have plagued us this spring caused us to evacuate all of the alpacas from the farm.  We were fortunate in that the wind changed direction before the fire reached our property, but with 70 alpacas at the farm we knew an evacuation would take time and so decided to act sooner than later.  How fortunate we are to have many friends and acquaintances who showed up to help with the evacuation without being asked.  Having heard of the fire they made their way to our farm, some with trucks and trailers to help as they could.

Smoke from the Grass Fire April 17 2011

Smoke from the nearby grass fire rolls over our house - photo courtesy of our friend Barb McKenzie

May sees us in one of the worst drought periods in history, one of our hay suppliers has had his total crop of wheat fail and will not have hay for sale this year – a blow to us but an even bigger blow to him as his hay sales are a big part of his livelihood.   Thankfully another of our suppliers was more fortunate and has now delivered us 1450 bales of good looking wheat hay – good fortune has smiled on us again even in tough times.  What a year and we are not even half way through it!

Shearing is now well underway; we still have 25 alpacas left to shear but should be completely finished following another couple of shearing sessions.  Ric shears our alpacas and not being a professional shearer he cannot compete with the 7 minutes per alpaca that some of the professional shearers achieve.  There is something to be said though for our slower pace, our alpacas are calm and relaxed during the process and we can take the time to try and ensure that our fleeces are evenly sheared with few second cuts and gathered without contamination from short fibers from other areas of the alpaca.  We have a team of loyal friends who have shown up time after time to help us with shearing – to Joe, Becca, Kayleen, Keenan, Bethany, Terri L., Terri F., Darlene, Jeff, Don and Barb however can we thank you enough.

Our monthly Open Farm Days have been a great success, people love to come to visit the alpacas and learn about them during Ric’s circular tour of the farm.  We too have enjoyed sharing the farm with the community, it’s so much fun to watch the delight on people’s faces as they get to see or feel an alpaca for the first time.  For all who have come out to the farm on Open Farm Days we heartily thank you and hope you will continue to come out and visit us.  There is always something new going on at the farm and each month we hope to add a little something to make your Open Farm Day experience even better.

Ric Shows Off Roadrunner to our Open Farm Day Visitors

Ric Shows Off Roadrunner to Open Farm Day Visitors

And talking of new – crias will be here soon!  Yes we are watching and waiting for the first new cria to make his or her arrival.  Queen and Rosie are now both overdue, perhaps in part to the fire evacuation and the drought conditions – alpacas can and will put their pregnancies on hold if they feel conditions are not right for their survival or the survival of their cria.  Keeva too is getting close to her delivery date and TeQueely, Willow, Snow, Cinnamon and Gen are not far behind.  That will be quite the group of crias once they arrive – and with the way things have been going this year I would not be surprised if there isn’t something unexpected within the bunch too.  Let’s hope whatever that unexpected is it is something pleasant and delightful!

Hope to be back soon with more of our news – and there is more news to share so keep checking back for more posts and updates!

Rosemary

April 21, 2011

Don’t You Just Love Alpacas?

April Open Farm Day

Ric conducts a pasture tour during our windy April Open Farm Day

Well of course you do because after all they are adorable, but on top of that they are also adaptable.

Our last Open Farm Day was challenged by incredibly windy conditions, with sustained winds between 25 and 30 mph and gusts up to 60 mph.  All in all the conditions were really not the nicest, but we discovered that the alpacas have some pretty dedicated fans who were determined to visit the farm despite the wind and blowing dust – a big thank you to all those who braved the weather to come out to see us!

Of course windy weather is pretty much the norm in Clovis in the spring, but this spring has been particular windy and very dry.  Our natural grass that we planted in the back field has been a big help in keeping the dust down, but there is still plenty of dust and also tumbleweeds to blow around.

At one point in the day the conditions just became too poor for us to continue with the farm tours, but we didn’t want to disappoint people, especially when they had braved the weather to come and visit.  That is when the adaptability of alpacas came into play, using first Buck and then Champ for our “volunteers” we brought the alpacas into the farm store so that people could see them up close, be out of the wind and actually hear what Ric was saying as part of his presentation.  The visitors could even enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade and a cookie while they listened!

Buck Comes Into The Studio at Open Farm Day

Buck In the Studio on April Open Farm Day - He Saved People From Having to Suffer The High Winds And Dust That Day

Both Buck and Champ did well, Champ wasn’t too sure about lifting his feet to show people his soft pads and decided to cush (sit down) for a while, but apart from that the two boys behaved like stars – the beauty of alpacas!

So now with the April farm day behind us it is time to turn our thoughts to shearing.  We will be shearing this weekend and continue on shearing whenever we get the opportunity until the whole herd is done.  As warm as it is already I am pretty certain that the alpacas are more than ready for their cool summer do’s – mark your calendars for Saturday May 14 our next Open Farm Day and then you can see how different the alpacas look without their fleece – hopefully by then we will be rid of the high winds and Open Farm Day will be a pleasurable time for both humans and alpacas!

Rosemary

April 4, 2011

Open Farm Day – April 9th!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, Open Farm Day — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 5:25 pm

Windrush Alpacas Open Farm Day Experience is this coming Saturday – don’t miss it!

March 7, 2011

Join Us At The Alpaca Farm!

JOIN US AT THE ALPACA FARM!

Have you ever met a real, live alpaca?
Have you ever wanted to?
Do you know how soft their fleece is?
Do you know how warm alpaca fleece socks are?

COME TO WINDRUSH ALPACAS OPEN FARM DAY
on
SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2011
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Enchantment's Prince Regent

Our herdsire - Enchantment's Prince Regent

The farm will be open for guided tours, educational demonstrations and all around good, family fun!

Free Admission
Free Refreshments
Opportunities to purchase products made from our own alpaca fleece – like socks, hats, rugs and yarn!


Don’t miss out on an exciting chance to meet over 50 friendly alpacas!

Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors! (However, out of respect to the alpacas, no doggies, please.)

Windrush Alpacas
770 Curry Road M, Clovis, NM 88101
Cell: 575-769-6601
www. WindrushAlpacas.com
 

We’d all love to meet you!

Rosemary and Regent

Rosemary and Regent the day Regent was born

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