A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 28, 2014

Valentine’s Day is coming…snuggle up!

Filed under: Family, General, Open Farm Day — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 3:49 pm

PJVisit Windrush Alpacas on Saturday, February 8, 2014 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during our monthly Open Farm Day Event and Farm Store Shopping Experience.  After touring our Alpaca Farm, learning about alpacas and what they’re really like, you can shop for one of the most memorable gifts you could give someone you love.

Nothing quite says “love” like snuggling does, so give your honey something to snuggle like a cuddly and cute Pacabuddy—they stand out in a crowd of teddy bears—or a luxuriously soft alpaca fiber wrap, scarf or the most comfortable socks ever!

If you want to really surprise your honey…participate in our Adopt-a-Paca Program and sponsor an alpaca in your loved-one’s name for one year! They’ll receive a glossy photo, pen pal letters, and other goodies all year long!

This is an event that can be enjoyed by your whole family… from toddlers to teens to great-grandparents! Be ready to have a super unique and fun experience.

We always offer free admission, free parking and free (hot) refreshments. Come join us 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM for a unique and fun day you can enjoy with your whole family.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at 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!

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January 2, 2014

Get to know alpacas!

Filed under: Family, General, Open Farm Day — Tags: , — alpacalady @ 7:48 pm

PrideOn Saturday, January 11, 2014 from 10:00-3:00 Windrush Alpacas will be open for an Open Farm Day Event offering tours of our working alpaca farm (if the weather cooperates) and letting visitors interact with our alpacas during educational demonstrations.  If it’s cold or windy, no worries—we’ll bring one of our friendly alpacas into our Farm Store!

Remember that alpaca is ‘the fiber of the Gods’ and not only do we produce it, we sell toasty, warm alpaca products as well. Warmer than wool and softer than cashmere, we have luxuriously soft alpaca scarves, gloves, mittens, and hats… and everyone’s favorite socks and slippers.

We always offer free admission, free parking and free (hot) refreshments. Come join us 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM for a unique and fun day you can enjoy with your whole family.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at 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!

November 15, 2013

Farewell to a Faithful Guardian

A sad part of raising alpacas and llamas is that at some time in their life we have to let them go.   As some of our herd ages this is a situation we will no doubt be encountering more often.  It’s tough, but unavoidable.

This morning our guard llama Griffin passed away.  At 13 years old Griffin was middle aged in llama terms, some llamas live well into their twenties but in Griffin’s case that was not to be.

We acquired Griffin through Southwest Llama Rescue along with our other two llamas Maya and Inca.  Griffin’s registered name was Twilight’s Griffin Girl, her fleece was a beautiful rose grey.  Griffin was always more aloof than Maya and Inca, she was a strong and proud girl and took her job of guarding the herd seriously unless someone started putting out hay and then she was quite easily distracted!  Griffin loved to find a higher piece of ground to stand on so she could survey her “kingdom”.  She also loved a really good roll in the dirt, and a nice “shower” with the hose during the hot days of summer.  When we used to hose her legs Griffin would start a dance, spinning and twisting as she enjoyed the cool water on her skin.  You had to make sure to stay out of her way unless you wanted to be showered from mud flinging up from under Griffins feet!

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Griffin looking proud after shearing

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Griffin gets up close and personal

From her records we knew that Griffin had once had a cria, but sadly he did not live long.  When crias were born on our farm Griffin would often nuzzle them and follow them around, and it was on more than one occasion that Griffin joined in the evening cria pronk.  It was so funny to see the little alpaca crias pronking around accompanied by a pretty hefty llama!

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Griffin checks out one of our crias Kaneka

We had known something was not right with Griffin since July.  While I was away visiting family in England Ric called me to tell me Griffin was not eating.  I was due to return a couple of days later and by that time Ric had managed to get Griffin eating again but something was not right with our girl.  We consulted our vet and he felt that Griffin might have congestive heart failure and warned us that it would only be a matter of time before we had to say goodbye to her.

Amazingly Griffin perked up and seemed to be doing better, she was back to eating again and eagerly staking her claim on the morning and evening hay as she loved to do.  The alpacas all knew not to mess with Griffin at feeding time.  We were optimistic.  Perhaps the vet’s diagnosis was wrong.  Griffin seemed good and we were happy to see her looking like her usual self.  But then we noticed that once again Griffin was not right.  She seemed to be losing muscle in her rear end, she stood awkwardly and getting up and down seemed more difficult for her than normal.  We again consulted our vet.  When he examined her he said that her heart sounded good and that the symptoms she had displayed earlier in the summer were all gone, but he was a little baffled as to what was causing Griffin’s discomfort and muscle wasting.  Tests were done to see if perhaps there was a neurological problem or perhaps an issue with Griffin’s spine, blood tests were run to see if there was anything abnormal, but nothing showed up in any of the tests to give us a clue.

We tried various treatments from probiotics to antibiotics, we treated for parasites and ear ticks, we put Griffin on some arthritis medicine in case that was the problem.  I used my photonic red light on her and gave her gentle massages.  Griffin would respond for a while and start eating again and then stop eating and start to lose muscle again.  Neither our vet nor we could come up with any clues to help us figure out what on earth was plaguing Griffin.

Last week Griffin again went off her feed.  We managed to get her eating again, but within a couple of days she would not eat anything we offered to her.  Ric and I were both very concerned about Griffin and what we should do for her.

Last night when I did chores I walked Griffin over to the pen where she liked to eat.  As I walked behind her I noticed she was tripping over even the smallest of rocks in the pasture, she just didn’t look good.  I offered her food and stroked her neck.  I talked to her and told her that if she felt it was time to leave us then I understood.  I told her how much we loved her and what a great job she had done for us guarding the herd.  I told her we would miss her but that we would be okay.

This morning when I got up I looked for Griffin and found her standing by the fence in front of the house.  The nights have been cold recently and Griffin had been spending them in the big blue shelter at the other side of the pasture, staying in there until the hay was put out.  But this morning she had already made her way across the pasture.  I watched Griffin walk around a little and then cush down.

When our helper Leigh Ann arrived I asked her to keep an eye on Griffin and told her that I was very worried about her.  Not too long after Leigh Ann went out to feed the alpacas she came back in and told me that I needed to come to Griffin.  Leigh Ann had seen Griffin’s legs suddenly thrash and Griffin had gone onto her side.

Leigh Ann and I went out and I when I looked at Griffin I knew her time to leave us had come.  Griffin was still conscious.  I put a blanket and a towel under her head and sat with her, stroking her and talking to her until she took her last breath.  Leigh Ann stayed with Griffin and me too, giving us both comfort during a difficult time.

Maya, Inca and Griffin

Maya, Inca and Griffin, the three girls always worked as a team

Our Griffin will be buried in one of the grass pastures that the alpacas and llamas like to visit when we let them out for a day of grazing.  From that point you can see all three alpaca pastures and the hay barn so Griffin can continue to guard over us night and day.  I would like to think that she now has been reunited with her cria and is pronking around with him free of pain and full of joy.

To our faithful guardian Griffin, farewell dear one, you served us well and gave us many years of joy.  We will miss you.  May you now rest in peace.

Rosemary

October 23, 2013

And Then She Walked ….

It’s been a while since I have been able to find the time to write.  I know many are anxious to hear how our Pearl is doing and I am happy to tell you the news is good.

As Pearl has been getting stronger Ric and I have been going out several times during the day and getting her into a standing position.  Initially she wasn’t able to bear any weight on her legs, but as the days progressed she started to be able to put weight on first her back legs and then her front legs.   Soon Pearl was at a point where she could balance on her own for a few seconds.  At times we would catch her trying to push herself up, she was getting stronger and wanted to be up and about but her body was not quite ready yet for that feat.

Our last Open Farm Day was October 12; it was a lovely fall day with blue skies, sunshine and just a little bite in the air.  I monitored Pearl throughout the day making sure she got her medicines and always had access to hay and water. When all of our visitors had gone Ric and I went out to make sure Pearl had hay and water and to stand her up.  Once we got her standing she seemed pretty stable so Ric suggested we let go of her and see what happened.  So let go we did, and then with shaky, wobbly, ungainly steps Pearl walked.  It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t for very long but we could tell Pearl was very excited to be able to move around on her own – and you can bet that we were excited too!

As Pearl tired she grew very wobbly and soon she cushed (sat down) again.  We gave her a lot of praise and made sure she had plenty of hay and water to celebrate her major progress with.

From that point on Pearl’s progress has been quite amazing.  To begin with we still had to help her get up, but once we did she would always walk for a several steps before she had to cush again.  Unfortunately the other alpacas didn’t realize that Pearl had a limited time to be up on her feet, curious to see Pearl up and about they often crowded around her and got in her way so Ric and I had to make sure we cleared a path for our special girl.  Out of the way girls, Pearl is coming!

As Pearl’s legs have gained strength she has gone from not being able to get up on her own to being able to get up on her own and move about at will.    The act of cushing from a standing positing was quite challenging for her to begin with, but as her muscles have strengthened and her joints have got used to moving again she is managing to cush much easier.  It is still a little challenging to her but every day it gets a little easier.

Pearl finds her feet

Pearl finds her feet

I think one of Pearl’s biggest joys, once she was up and about, was when she was able to make it to the poop pile instead of having to poop and pee where she lay.  The instinct to poop and pee on the poop pile is very strong in alpacas, and if you are in any doubt about that you would soon have that doubt removed if you saw how hard Pearl worked to get to that poop pile and do what she wanted to do!

Pearl is a little hunched up at the rear and we can see that her legs are still not quite back to normal, but it is only 11 days since she started walking again and given the progress that she has made in that short time we are optimistic that in time she will walk normally again.  It has been nothing short of amazing to see Pearl’s progress every day.

Pearl continues to be her sweet self with the exception of when I treat her legs with my photonic red light.  Then she tells me that she is not a fan of my light touching her legs, something that is much more the behavior of a healthy alpaca.  A good sign.

When Pearl is walking and starts to get tired she makes rapid little hums as though to say “I want to keep walking but I just can’t do it anymore”  I let her cush wherever she is and allow her to rest before moving her back into a pen where we can feed her away from the other alpacas.

In the mornings now Pearl is sometimes up and walking around when we get up.  The leaves are starting to fall from the trees and on Monday morning I got up to find Pearl up and about looking for fallen elm leaves which are an alpaca delicacy.   On Monday evening Pearl even tried to run a little as the rest of the herd ran towards the hay at feeding time.  Pearl now walks over to join her regular feeding group in the morning.  She can’t quite remain standing for the full time they are eating but she tries and she tries hard.  Step by step, moment by moment Pearl gets closer to being “normal” again.

Pearl is still on medication; probiotics once a day and a homeopathic liquid twice a day.  I continue to use the photonic red light on her but am now treating her every other day.  Pearl also still receives her daily bowl of vegetables along with her regular hay and grain, she gets so excited when she sees me coming with her feed, uttering grunting noises and sometimes flicking her tail up in the air.  At times I get the impression that she feels her waitress service is not quite as rapid as she would like it to be!

Pearl enjoys some pumpkin

Pearl enjoys some pumpkin

Throughout her recovery Pearl has showed immense strength, determination and will to live, she never once seemed as if she was going to give up, she just fought and fought and fought.  I believe that strength and will to live have been crucial components of her recovery.  We can do all we can to aid an alpaca’s recovery, but if they decide they don’t want to live all the medicine in the world won’t fix the problem.  Pearl wanted to live, and live she has.

We still have a way to go with Pearl, but I feel we are now on the downward slope and that time will be her best medicine from this point on.

I send many thanks to all those who have prayed and sent healing thoughts to Pearl, those who have emailed or called to check on her progress.  All of those kind and good acts have been very much appreciated and just look at the results they have created!

Rosemary

April 8, 2013

Open Farm Day is Saturday!

Filed under: alpaca products, Family, General, Open Farm Day — Tags: — alpacalady @ 10:20 am

4.13.13 Farm Day flyer

February 25, 2013

Even alpacas like to have friends

A question was posted recently on one of the online alpaca groups I belong to:

“Do alpacas make friends and if so do they remember those friends if they are separated and meet up again?”

The answer from alpaca owners was a resounding “Yes”.  There were many mentions of alpacas who bonded with other alpacas, some were related others not.  Stories of alpacas recognizing past friends at shows or when they met up at farms were also recounted.

Over the years we have witnessed the strong bonds that alpacas form with each other.  Certainly alpacas recognize their own family groups and seem to have stronger bonds with those alpacas (except for our alpaca Queen, for as far as Queen is concerned once those crias are weaned they are on their own!).    But it is not only family ties that bind alpacas together, they definitely also make friends.

We recently witnessed an example of this when we moved the two boys in our current weaning group, Patton and Leo, over to the Junior Males pen.  Patton and Leo were part of a group that consisted of five boys and seven girls.  Three of the boys Sentry, MacArthur and Espresso were moved over to the Junior Males pen a few months ago, but we decided to keep Leo and Patton back in the weanling pen for a little longer.  Patton was small for his age and we were concerned he would receive too much rough housing attention from the other males.  Leo was a tough boy to wean, at our first attempt he became distraught at being separated from his dam Velvet and tried to break through fences to get to her so we put Leo back with Velvet for a little longer until we felt he was able to better handle the separation.  Over time we could tell that Leo had matured more and was ready to be weaned so he soon joined the other weanlings.  This time Leo handled the separation from Velvet much better.  When Leo started to show too much interest in the weanling females (when he matured he really matured!) we decided that it was time to move him and Patton into the Junior Males pen.

Our process for introducing males to a new group is to create a smaller pen within the pen the males are being moved to.  We then put the new boys plus a couple of mellow boys from the existing group in that pen too.  The smaller group can have nose to nose contact with the other boys and will remain in that pen for a week to two weeks.  Usually by that time the novelty of the new arrivals wears off and when we let everyone get together we typically have very few problems.   We also make that final introduction at feeding time so that there is an additional distraction.

When the time came for Leo and Patton to meet the other junior males all went well.   Soon they were wandering around, checking out their new surroundings and new pen mates.  It was then we noticed something else, that Sentry was almost glued to Patton’s side!  Sentry was so happy to meet his buddy Patton again!

When the weanling boys had all been together prior to weaning they all got along well, but we hadn’t realized how much Sentry liked Patton until we saw them together again.  Sentry would not let the other boys mess with Patton and Patton was pleased to have his buddy by his side, even though Sentry is now considerably bigger than Patton.

Patton with his buddy Sentry

Patton with his buddy Sentry (Sentry is the brown alpaca taking it easy in the background)

Alpacas are most definitely a herd animal, which is why we tell people that you should never have a lone alpaca.  We have been fortunate to witness alpacas in our herd group over a considerable period of time and know that they do form bonds.  When they are with their families or their buddies they are happy, separate them and it definitely causes them some stress.

Sometimes though it is inevitable that those bonds are going to be broken.  Male and female crias that grow up together are not going to be pastured together, alpacas that are sold to other breeders will often be sold without their friends (unless we can work out a great deal with the new owners and we will try and do that when possible) and of course at times an alpaca will pass away leaving a buddy behind.   Any time there is going to be a separation we do our best to manage it well; probiotics to keep the alpacas rumen functioning well and to supply B vitamins to help them handle the stress of separation, Rescue Remedy to help them deal with the loss, over time the alpacas do adjust.   It is sometimes a fine balancing act to keep the herd happy and run a successful alpaca business, but we do our best to respect the alpacas while also keeping our business functioning.  Then of course there are the happy reunions we sometimes see, such as Patton and Sentry or a female who comes back to the farm for a breeding and is happily reunited with her dam or her sister for the duration of her stay.

So yes, alpacas do make friends and do remember those friends – and sometimes those friends can also be humans, but that’s a subject for another time 🙂

Rosemary

January 29, 2013

I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks…

Filed under: Adopt A Paca, alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, Blogroll, Family, General — alpacalady @ 5:10 pm

So said William Shakespeare and so say us!  For recently we received a special package in the mail for one of the alpacas in our Adopt-A-Paca program.

Our sweet yearling alpaca Pearl was recently sponsored by the Reyes family of California.  Pearl’s “adoption” was actually given to the son of the family, Oliver Reyes, by a family friend, Lan Merrill.  Lan confided in me that while young Oliver was the one receiving the gift, it was Oliver’s mother Veronica who would be the most excited.   The Reyes family had visited an alpaca farm in Ojai, California and Veronica had fallen in love with alpacas (and who can blame her!).

Pearl in the snow

Pearl

It was great fun getting to know Lan as we arranged for the sponsorship of Pearl and the delivery of the adoption packet. It was also fun hearing from Veronica once she and her family had received their gift.    They were so thrilled to learn of their newly “adopted” alpaca.  We soon received an email from Veronica saying that she would like to send Pearl a gift of some sort and I suggested that perhaps some alpaca treats would be something Pearl would enjoy.

Veronica, her husband Tim and son Oliver got busy and soon we received Pearl’s gift – just look at all those yummy treats!

Pearl's Treats

These are the treats and card that Pearl received from her Adopt-A-Paca sponsors, the Reyes Family

Along with the treats also came a card for Pearl.  Now Pearl hasn’t mastered reading yet but she did look meaningfully at me when I read her card to her, particularly when I got to the part about watching her figure.

We are now working on getting Pearl to eat the treats from our hands.  Pearl is a little shy and isn’t in the habit of eating out of our hands, but she is starting to eat the treats if we crumble them up and put them in a feed tray.  That is if she can get to them before the other alpacas!

This is just one example of the fun our alpaca sponsors are having with our Adopt-A-Paca program.  Participation is as little or as much as the sponsors wish to do.  They can just enjoy receiving their pen pal letters and other goodies from their sponsored alpaca or they can send letters or gifts to their sponsored alpaca or come and visit their sponsored alpaca.

We are thoroughly enjoying getting to know our sponsors,  the Adopt-A-Paca program is bringing us new members to our Windrush Alpacas family from near and far.  Coraline’s sponsor Betty comes to see “her girl” on most Open Farm Days, Honey’s sponsor Kiyah comes and helps us with chores some weekends (well Kiyah’s mom Mindy ends up doing most of the helping, thank you Mindy!  But Kiyah has great fun collecting farm treasure such as sticks and rocks and is treated to the occasional wheelbarrow ride by Ric), Etta’s sponsor Darlene comes by often for special kisses from Etta. Aida took the picture of her sponsored alpaca Dream to show and tell at school.  Aida’s sister Cara (who is almost 3) decided that her sponsored alpaca Kyleen really wanted to be called Adele.  We can’t let sponsors officially change our alpacas names as they are all registered with the alpaca registry but Cara doesn’t need to know that.

So a big Thank You to all of our Adopt-A-Paca sponsors, we really appreciate your involvement in our program and look forward to learning more about you and helping your sponsored alpacas keep in touch with you.

To the Reyes family – thank you so much for Pearl’s gift, she and her herd mates are most grateful and hope that even though you are many miles away you will one day be able to visit the farm.

For those who also wish to make alpaca treats either for our alpacas or theirs, here is the link to the recipe which we found on the website of Cathy Spalding of Gentle Spirit Behavior and Training for Alpacas and Llamas  http://gentlespiritllamas.com/html/tips/treats.htm

Rosemary

December 4, 2012

Of fiber and friends

 

 

Spinning at iIndrush Alpacas

Jessie Dodington and Ruth Randolph spinning at Windrush Alpacas while our commercial is being shot

One of the pleasures of having an alpaca business is that it opens you up to meeting all sorts of fiber addicts – knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, felters, we all share a love of fiber and enjoy getting together and enjoying fiber arts.  Alpacas are a fiber animal so let’s face it we alpaca breeders need fiber fanatics!

Two of the  fiber fanatics I have met along the way are Liby Ball and Jessie Dodington,

Liby, Jessie and I met through a local knitting group.  Liby was living in nearby Portales with her husband Jared who was working in Portales at that time, Jessie came to Portales with her husband to be (now her husband) Elliott who had accepted a job at Eastern New Mexico University.   Knitting groups are a wonderful way to integrate yourself into the local community.  As Jessie puts it

“I’ve moved around a lot and the one trick that never fails me when I arrive in a new town is to go to the local yarn store or library and ask about the existence of any knitting groups. There is nothing nicer than being welcomed into a knitting group. You already have something in common with everyone – you’re a crafter! – the atmosphere is casual and conversation comes easy while you sit and work on your projects.”

Jessie and Liby hit it off immediately and a firm friendship formed over time.  Liby now lives in Indiana but distance cannot keep Liby and Jessie apart and so putting their creative heads together they decided to go on a mission to entertain crafters of all types by starting a pod cast called Multicraftual 

Multicraftual is a fun and addictive pod cast.  Jessie and Liby discuss their current and finished projects interjected with much zany humor and the occasional glass of wine.

Jessie knits, Liby crochets, but both do so much more.  Liby is a very talented seamstress (you can check out her creations on her Facebook page ) and is also a belly dancer extraordinaire   Jessie is a very talented fine artist (you can check out Jessie’s creations on her blog ), knitting pattern designer, spinner and also sings in local choirs. (I guess that makes them an all singing, all dancing duo!)

When talking of Liby, Jessie and Multicraftual I cannot omit Liby and Jessie’s cats who also make brief appearances during the pod casts.  “Pancake”  (Liby’s cat) is a star in his own right and has his own Facebook Page  while “Dragon”  (Jessie’s young kitten) is becoming famous for performing “the kitty plank” during the pod cast.  Watch the pod cast to see what “the kitty plank” is.

So apart from my friendship with Liby and Jessie, how does Multicraftual relate to Windrush Alpacas you might ask?  Well first off Jessie and Liby are yarn customers of ours.  Jessie also knit a beautiful sample shawlette of her own design using our Windrush Alpacas Blue Swirl yarn so that I could display the shawlette in our farm store to show people how our yarn knits up.

Windrush Alpacas Blue Swirl Alpaca/Bamboo Yarn

Windrush Alpacas Blue Swirl Yarn. A sumptuous alpaca/bamboo blend yarn

 

 

Recently Jessie also helped out with our TV commercial.  Those are Jessie’s hands you see spinning away in the foreground during the shot of the spinners.  (The other spinner being our friend and fellow knit group member Ruth Randolph).  Plus in the recent Episode 13 of the Multicraftual pod cast our commercial and our yarn are both mentioned, and there is some bonus footage of Jessie’s time at the farm while we were filming, including a brief guest appearance by Daisy the dog!

So get comfortable, drift on over to Multicraftual and enjoy some light hearted crafting chat with two special ladies.  Be warned though it’s addictive!

Note:  For those of you who use Ravelry you can also find Multicraftual in the groups there

Rosemary

November 26, 2012

Over the river and through the woods…

Anyone who has visited our farm knows that we are no-where near a river and a long way away from any woods BUT it seems as if someone didn’t let the female alpacas know that on Saturday.

Led by our escapologist alpaca Willow and aided and abetted by a forgetful Ric (who forgot to put the pin back in the latch on the girls gate) the girls executed a swift and playful pasture escape on Saturday afternoon!

Fortunately at the moment that Willow chose to lift the latch on the gate and release the herd I was standing outside with Daisy the dog.  I was also talking on the phone to my mother in England (sorry about the sudden hang up Mum but needs must!).  It took seconds for Willow to flip the latch with her nose and away they went!  You could almost hear them singing the words of the Christmas song Over the River (for those of you who are not familiar with the song you can hear it here:

http://www.links2love.com/christmas_songs_over_river.htm

I think that they were particularly singing the verse –

Over the river and through the woods
And through the barnyard gate
We seem to go extremely slow
It is so hard to wait

but there was nothing slow about them I can assure you.  Bucking, kicking and running they were off like a shot and while they ran in one direction Daisy and I ran in the other to close the front gates so that the girls could not get off our property.   Of course the hay barn and then the boys were their target destination (they were not heading to grandmothers as  several of them had their grandmothers running with them).

It was almost feeding time when the great escape took place so we let the girls stay out and play for a while.  We may not have rivers and woods but we had plenty of open space and the girls enjoyed their frolic on a beautiful, unseasonably warm, New Mexico November afternoon.

Here is a video of the girls enjoying their unplanned afternoon frolic!

Rosemary

PS  Note to fellow alpaca breeders – always position your hay barn at the opposite end of your property from the front gate – it’s a great distraction for loose alpacas

PPS Note to Ric – REMEMBER TO PUT THE LATCH PIN IN THE GATES!!!!

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

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