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!


September 25, 2009

Introducing our new Junior Herdsire

Alpaca Knights Challenger's Champ - Head Shot

Alpaca Knights Challenger's Champ - Head Shot

Alpaca Knights Challenger’s Champ

After many months of searching for a black herdsire who would complement our herd, we finally found him in Alpaca Knights Challenger’s Champ.

I had just about given up on us acquiring a black herdsire.  I looked at many during my search.  Some were extremely beautiful but also came with a beautiful price tag too.  That’s not to say that they were not deserving of that price tag, but it was not within our budget.

Some of the black male alpacas we looked at were strong in some characteristics but lacking in others.  We had definite qualities in mind for our black herdsire.  Our current herdsires have been producing black and colored offspring and we needed a male we could use to breed to those offspring and have available for clients who had already purchased offspring from us.  We wanted to make sure that any male we used was going to be able improve on the great qualities we already had in our herd.

The color genetics of alpacas is a complicated subject and there are some differing opinions offered by the experts on alpaca color genetics.  At times trying to figure out if a certain male was a good match for our herd left my head spinning (as competitive as white alpaca show classes are and as advanced as white fleeces are I still feel it is somewhat easier selecting a white male alpaca than selecting a black male alpaca!)

When I came across Champ, it was almost by accident.  Having received an email blast from his owners about some other alpacas they had for sale, I decided to take a look at their website and there was Champ.  Champ has some bloodlines that I wanted in our herd (Peruvian Aladdin, MFI Peruvian Black Mesquite), he is a good looking boy and then there is his fleece – as soon as I had my hands on his fleece sample I knew he was the one.  His fleece has a luxurious soft handle, well organized crimp, bundles, density and brightness.  For those interested in histograms his first histogram was 16.9 micron, 3.7 SD, 22.1 CV and 1.1 over 30 Microns, pretty nice for a black male alpaca.

So the deal has now been done and Champ is ours, we just have to find a transport coming our way to bring him to us.

We are hoping that Champ will be ready to start breeding in spring 2010 and suspect that once he starts breeding his date book will fill up rapidly!


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