A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 2, 2009

Introducing Almost Canyon Ranch

Terri and Anya Get Acquainted

Terri and Anya Get Acquainted




Sunday was a special day as we delivered four of our alpacas to their new owner.  Anya, Serenity, Opie and Rian all made the trip to Amarillo, Texas to the home of Terri Faver.


Terri had contacted us in February and arranged a farm visit, during that visit Opie just fell in love with Terri, allowing her to scratch his neck and asking for more when she stopped.  And so the magical spell of alpacas was cast on Terri and her decision was quickly made to purchase a package of alpacas to establish her new herd.


Terri was very much looking forward to the arrival of her new herd and had spent time preparing their pens and feeding area so that it was perfect for their arrival.  The alpacas were a little nervous at first, which is only natural; it will take them a few days to settle in to their new surroundings.  Rian seemed to settle in the easiest, having found the hay feeder he started to happily munch on hay.  Opie was a little distracted by the fact that he had Anya and Serenity in the pen next to his and was doing a little flirting with Anya and pacing the fence line.


Little Serenity was unsure of what was going on, for her this is her first time away from our farm and the companions she has grown up with, but she is familiar with Anya who will be a stabilizing influence for her.    Anya checked out the hay and water, established a poop pile in her pen and then checked out her new surroundings.  Anya definitely has an alpha female personality and will, I am sure, soon be ruling the roost at her new home.  While she seemed a little disgruntled with me for the move I think once she realizes that at feeding time the only two in line for the goodies are Serenity and her she will change her attitude.  Anya loves her food and also loves attention both of which she will be receiving in plenty from Terri.


In time another of our alpacas will also be moving to Terri’s farm for Terri has also purchased Shiimsa, but as Shiimsa is due to have a cria in June we felt it best for Shiimsa to remain here until her cria is born to keep her stress levels at their lowest.  I am sure that Anya and Serenity will be excited to see Shiimsa once she joins them later in the year.  In the meantime Terri will be making trips to come and visit Shiimsa, spend time with us learning more about herd health and herd management and when the time arrives visiting her new cria – how exciting!


I have enjoyed getting to know Terri over the last few weeks, her love of animals is easily apparent and I soon knew that she would provide a loving and caring home for her herd.

Terri has been thorough in her questions about raising alpacas and starting an alpaca business, with 18 years experience of raising sheep behind her the fundamentals of raising livestock come easily to her and she will soon adapt to the differences between the two species.  Terri has told us that she has learned so much about alpacas in the last few weeks and yet feels there is still so much she doesn’t know – a sentiment I am sure many new alpaca owners will relate to.


As we drove the alpacas over to Terri’s farm it dawned on me that this was the second time I had “delivered” each one of the alpacas in our trailer, as all four had been born on our farm and I was there for each ones delivery into the world.


In a way it is a bitter sweet moment when you sell alpacas off your farm, there is some sadness that they are leaving you but also happiness that they are going to bring joy and success to their new owner. 


Our Congratulations go to Terri on the purchase of her alpacas and the establishing of Almost Canyon Ranch, we look forward to seeing her herd grow and her business prosper!



January 20, 2009

Choosing a Mentor Is As Important As Choosing Your Alpaca


Jenny and Clarissa

Jenny and Clarissa

When it comes to getting started in the alpaca business, whether you are buying breeding stock, fiber alpacas or performance and obstacle alpacas a good mentor is invaluable.


I cannot say enough good things about our mentors who have helped us on our journey into the world of alpacas.  They were always willing to share information and provided us with guidance along the way, they were also good judges of when to stand back and let us figure things out for ourselves.  Without them we would have undoubtedly had a much harder route on the way to success in our alpaca business.


Compared to when we first purchased alpacas there are many more alpaca farms to choose from these days.  Some have been in the business for many years, others are relatively new to the business and each farm will have its own “personality” so as to say.  It is very easy for someone to set up an impressive website and create a certain impression of them or their business, but when it comes to your needs a website probably will not be able to help you as much as a good alpaca mentor can.


While a lot of alpaca sales are made over the Internet I strongly advise new alpaca owners to physically go to the farms that they are considering purchasing from.  By doing so you will get a much better idea of the quality of the alpacas on the farm, the level of care of the alpacas, the knowledge of the farm owners and whether your personalities gel or clash.   There is a lot to learn about raising alpacas and I always maintain that you should purchase from a farm who not only has alpacas that suit your needs but who you feel you can communicate with freely and well.


I still remember when we were first looking to purchase alpacas, we received a very impressive video and brochure from one farm, the alpacas in the farm brochure looked beautiful, the description of the farm and its owners sounded great, but when I telephoned the farm to ask a question the response I got from the owner was not a good one.  He sounded irritated by my question and seemed to imply that it was something that everyone should know (I later learned that it was something quite specific to his farm).  The response to my communication with that farm was enough for me to decide that I did not want to do business with them.   How could I learn about alpacas from them when they were not responsive to a simple question?  To this day I still have not done business with that farm, they have some spectacular alpacas but I just cannot bring myself to do business with someone who was condescending and rude to a potential customer.


So when you are looking to buy alpacas, take a close look at the owners too.  Are they approachable?  Are they willing to share information freely?  Do they have a good reputation within the alpaca community (you can always ask for references from their customers or other breeders)?   What is their knowledge base?  Have they only been in the business a short while and have little knowledge themselves or have they years of experience that they can share with you?


Take the time to get to know the farm you are purchasing from, you will soon get a feel for how they do business and whether they are a good fit for you.  I have often said that you need to feel comfortable enough that should you have an alpaca emergency at 2 a.m. and need to call them then you would do so.  You would hope not to have that situation, but it might happen and you might need to talk to someone who can share their experience and guide you in what to do, or direct you to someone who can help you.


Going back to the subject of selecting performance and obstacle alpacas, a good alpaca breeder will know which alpacas in their herd have good potential as performance and obstacle alpacas.  They will guide you through your selection rather than just sell you an alpaca that maybe looks cute but is not really a good choice for showing in performance and obstacle.  A good alpaca breeder will want you to be successful in your endeavor and will work with you to help make that happen.


There are many wonderful alpaca breeders who are more than happy to mentor their clients, whether the client is spending several thousand dollars or a thousand dollars.    If you choose your alpaca mentor with care and consideration you will most likely discover that not only do they teach you and help you in whatever aspect of alpaca ownership you choose they will also become firm friends in the process.



January 1, 2009

It’s 2009 – Happy New Year

Pride, Dream and Atlas Enjoy A Sunset

Pride, Dream and Atlas Enjoy A Sunset


The New Year has arrived and as always we wonder what it will bring as it unfolds.  As 2008 began we were not to know that for us it would be a year of losses, the loss of our dear Sandie dog was followed by the loss of our young cat Snuggler, two crias Legs and Beeper were also to leave us and then in November the biggest loss of all, that of my father.


But thankfully there were joys too in 2008.   Many beautiful crias arrived at the farm, new friends were made, old friends were revisited and a beautiful grand daughter, Aida, entered our lives.  A little girl who is quick to smile and happily explores all of the new experiences life brings her.


I know for many 2008 was a tough year, reminding us to be grateful for what we have, a roof over our heads, food on the table, good friends and family.   Despite the bleak predictions of the media I hope that those who struggled so much in 2008 have some relief and assistance in the New Year.


In 2009 some lucky people will join us in owning and raising alpacas.  On this New Year’s Day they may be excitedly planning the purchase of their first alpacas, thinking about the structure of their alpaca business, anticipating their first steps into the alpaca world.  How exciting for us to think that we might contribute to their success, whether it be selling them their first alpacas or offering encouragement and guidance along the way.


As the New Year dawns I know that the alpacas will be in the pasture, carrying on oblivious to the significance of the date.  Their steady presence brings a perspective to life.    They appreciate each moment for what it is, and don’t concern themselves with the many “what if’s” that humans have.    As I am treated to a barrage of cria kisses from Nochi, a lingering look from Dream, a dance of expectance from TeQueely and the precious gift of the alpacas trust as I work among them, I am aware of how fortunate I am to have these beautiful creatures in my life.


For all who read this I wish a Happy and Prosperous 2009, remember that happiness is often found in the most basic areas of life and that prosperity is so much more than the amount of money in you have in your bank account.



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