A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 26, 2009

A Herd within a Herd


The Girls from Dancing Wind Alpacas

Four of the Six Girls from Dancing Wind Alpacas (the other two were too busy at the hay rack to pose for pictures)



On Sunday our herd was increased by six alpacas – but only temporarily.   We have been given the opportunity to take over the lease of six female alpacas that are owned by Mary Schaare of Dancing Wind Alpacas.

Leases on alpacas can work in many different ways, sometimes a pregnant female alpaca is leased for a fee and then upon the birth of the cria the lessee is the owner of the cria.  It was that type of lease that we did to get one of our first alpacas, Ma Cushla.  We leased Ma Cushla’s dam Plata by paying a fee to Plata’s owners and then when Ma Cushla was born we owned Ma Cushla.  Of course we could not bring Ma Cushla home until she was weaned but it helped us get an addition to our herd at a reasonable price.  Typically the lease on a pregnant female alpaca is less than her purchase price and the cost of feed and care of the dam are paid for by the owners.  The lessee is responsible for any feed and care costs on the cria when he or she is born.  With a lease you do not know the sex of the cria until it is born and so there is a bit of a gamble involved, but it can help you bring fresh bloodlines into your herd without taking on the full cost of the pregnant female alpacas.

Other leases we have been involved in have been structured so that the lessee pays one fee if the cria is a boy and another if the cria is a girl.  I am sure that there are other formats of alpaca lease on the market too.

This particular lease will involve us boarding and caring for the six girls, delivering their crias and then keeping the girls and their crias until the crias can be weaned.  In exchange for our services we will get to keep some of the crias.

The six girls in question are an interesting group, they have excellent bloodlines and are beautiful girls, but what is interesting to me is their behavior as they are a very tightly bonded group.  I call them the herd within a herd because they really do behave as if they are their own herd rather than part of the main group of girls.  The “matriarch” of the girls is Ms Genevieve and where Ms Genevieve goes the others follow!  They never stray very far from each other and Ms Genevieve is definitely the boss and is respectfully acknowledged by the other girls in the group – Luna, Sierra, Bella, Grace and Mariah.

So for the next 18 months or so the girls will be in our care, it will be interesting to see if their behavior changes over time or if they continue to be their own herd within a herd.  Of course when they all have their crias they will be a much bigger group and hopefully their crias will socialize with our crias and help break down some of the boundaries the girls have put up – but only if Ms Genevieve allows it I’m sure!



June 25, 2009

Between Puppies and Crias

Rosie's New Cria

Rosie's New Cria

Life has been more hectic than usual on the farm.  Our puppy Blue keeps us busy with her need for play and exercise as well as constant vigilance to work on her housetraining.  She’s a smart girl but we do have to remember she is only 9 weeks old.  The alpaca girls have also been keeping us busy as the crias continue to arrive.

Following Chai’s surprise cria the next dam to present us with a cria was Rosie.   Rosie was due to have her cria at the end of May/early June but instead decided to hold on to that cria for a little longer and did not deliver until June 17.  Once the cria was born we knew why she had waited those extra days, she needed time to make the extra bit to make that cria a boy!  Yes, another boy and certainly this seems to be a boy year.

Rosie’s boy is out of our herdsire Treasure so we were not surprised that this little guy was white.  With both Rosie and Treasure being white the chances of a white cria were high.  Rosie’s cria has that same broad Treasure forehead that Queen’s cria has, and as Rosie herself has a broad forehead she probably contributed some in that department too.  It did mean that Ric and I winced a little as Rosie pushed out her cria, delivering that head took an extra hard push – but Rosie had a normal and unassisted delivery, which was a good thing.

While we own Rosie and Treasure this particular cria does not belong to us as we had leased out Rosie to our friend’s Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas.  Regina loves Rosie’s coverage and stylish head and knew I was not prepared to sell her and so we made an agreement that we would lease Rosie to the Darts meaning that her cria was theirs once it was born.  Of course the cria will stay at our farm with Rosie until he is weaned, but it was a great arrangement where we could allow someone to access Rosie’s outstanding genetics without losing her from our herd.

Rosie’s cria is a handsome young man, with nice sturdy bone, a compact body and a stylish head, but what you can’t see from the picture is the crimpy, brilliant white shiny fleece that lies under those cria tips.  Bob and Regina are going to have fun showing this little boy when he comes of age, even in the competitive white male alpaca classes.

Now all we need is a name for the little guy – but I know Regina is busy working on that!


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