A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 30, 2007

A Busy Enjoyable Day

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:27 am

National Alpaca Farm day for Windrush Alpacas is over.  Rosemary and I had a great day visiting with several people that came over to see our farm, visit with our very inquisitive males, and receive a sniff or two from the llamas. Most visitors took the time to look over our line of products that we relocated for the day from our downtown Clovis store.

The morning started out slower than expected but it was great to have some time to spend with a couple that drove nearly two hours to discuss their future expectations as they prepare to become involved in our alpaca industry.  Rosemary spent some time with other visitors while we were able to discuss many of the details of raising and caring for alpacas and what one can expect with this variety of livestock.  It was great to be able to have Rosemary join us for nearly an hour as we took the time to visit with the alpacas and give Farron and Patrick opportunity for some hands on time.

While the morning visitors were not as numerous as expected we did have several visitors in the afternoon.  It was an enjoyable day for the youngsters as they were able to get nose to nose with some of our crias as they playfully inspected the two legged little ones in their domain.

While we had full intentions of having our tables and brochures set up in the car port yesterday for the event, the weather dictated otherwise, with high winds forecast and close to 40mph gusts we decided (Rose insisted) it would be much wiser to set up our displays inside.  This was a cause for concern for me as we have been using our little studio building as a fleece sorting and skirting area.  The numerous fleeces that had not been prepared for shipment, skirting table, and a collection of boxes along with other supplies for shows and travel had found their way into this fairly small space.  I’m sure Rosemary was secretly conniving with the weatherman to make sure I would get inside and clear up the controlled chaos and turn the space into a tidy area to work and relax in.  She succeeded.  The room is now neatly set up with a tidy work area and hopefully we will soon be able to finish off the skirting of our show fleeces and prepare the rest of our animal harvest for shipment to the various mills we use for our product.

Rosemary is off to Oklahoma for the weekend and into Tuesday as she attends a much anticipated seminar by an esteemed expert on the intricacies of color checking animals prior to and during a show.  Rosemary and I have attended many shows during our years as alpaca owners and the common theme that runs into every show are the high number of show entries that are moved to different classes because of errors in the color verification of the animals.  The shows are getting larger every year as more alpacas are being shown around the country and accurate color verification will be gaining even more attention from show superintendents.

While Rosemary is enjoying her training I will be holding down the fort at home enjoying my time with the playful crias and watching over the rest of our herd.

 To our new friends, Patrick and Fallon,  I hope you enjoyed your visit with us as much as we enjoyed talking about our favorite subject.  Alpacas!


September 29, 2007

National Alpaca Farm Day is Here!

Zeus Looking CuteWell today is the day, we have the grass mown, the place tidy (well as tidy as we ever get), the alpacas instructed to be on their best behavior, the cookies made and the alpaca products ready to sell – it’s National Alpaca Farm Day. 

Our radio interview at KTQM on Friday went well, with Ric discovering that the microphone is not going to bite him – a big thank you to Grant and Misty at KTQM for allowing us airtime to promote our event. 

We are not sure how many people will attend today, the nearby air force base has a major change of command ceremony on Monday (not just a change of Wing Commander but the mark of the beginning of a new mission for Cannon Air Force Base) and many people from the base are involved in the preparations for that, there is an ethnic fair being held in downtown Clovis and the wind is forecast to be blowing hard! 

Even prior to the event the publicity already gained for National Alpaca Farm Day has been great and can only have raised public awareness of alpacas.   Some alpacas appeared on the Today Show (go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/16487590/ to view the footage), the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association have run ads on both cable and satellite TV and numerous newspapers have published press releases about the event. 

Here at the farm little Zeus finally gained 0.5 lbs yesterday, now if we can only get him to repeat that gain today.  I have got to the point that I hold my breath as I stand on the scale with him and hope that his weight has gone up and not down.  I am not sure which of the steps that we took is working, but something appears to be so for now we will carry on with all that we are doing.  Carissima is still growing by leaps and bounds and is one of the sweetest crias you could wish to meet; she knows her name and comes running over when I call her in the pasture. 

Carissima and Zeus have been having fun in the evenings chasing each other around the pasture and they have been great entertainment as they frolic around under the soft light of the beautiful harvest moon we have had the last couple of days.  I tried to capture pictures of them in the moonlight, but my photography skills are not up to the challenge of moonlight and fast moving crias. 

Immediately after our Open House I will be heading to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the Compliance Check Class and to volunteer at the Judges Training Clinic.  It is about a seven hour drive to Oklahoma City, where I am going to stop for the night, and I am sure I am going to be glad to see the hotel room after the long drive.  I am not sure of the Internet access availability over the weekend so if the blog is quiet it means I am unable to get online.  Then again I might just turn the blog over to Ric for a couple of days and see what he can come up with! 


September 28, 2007

A Radio Appearance and More on Zeus

This morning we are off to a bright and early start as we are appearing on a local radio station KTQM at 7 a.m.  We will be talking to the Morning Show hosts Grant McGee and Misty Presley about our open house this Saturday in recognition of National Alpaca Farm Day.  I’m not sure what questions or comments Grant and Misty will have but I am sure it will be a fun experience.  

The impetus for National Alpaca Farm Day is certainly building with many farms opening their doors to the public on September 29.   We will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have alpaca products available, tours of the alpaca farm and even some cookies and drinks for visitors. 

Immediately following our open house I am planning on driving to Oklahoma City and then onto Shawnee, Oklahoma on Sunday for an Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association Compliance Check Clinic.  The Compliance Check is a method used to accurately place alpacas in the correct classes at shows based on their fleece length and color.   Following the clinic there is a Judges Oral Reasoning Clinic, which I will probably stay and volunteer at until Tuesday when I will need to head home. 

At home young Zeus has again stopped gaining weight.  We were so thrilled when he gained for the one day, but then his weight stabilized and yesterday he lost weight.   We feel that while Zoie has some milk she may not have enough to allow Zeus to gain weight.  We are also wondering if the day he gained weight was as a result of Carina allowing him to nurse from her while she was distracted. 

In an effort to improve the situation with Zeus we have upped Zoies calorie intake by allowing Carina, Chai (who is in the last few weeks of her pregnancy) and Zoie to be in a pen with a flake of alfalfa hay between them.  We don’t usually feed our alpacas alfalfa as it is really too high in protein for them, but the girls we are giving it to have a need for it right now.  By penning the three girls up together with Zeus and Carissima it also allows Zeus to have a nurse off Carina who has plenty milk. 

We have also started Zoie on an extra ration of the herbal lactation stimulant and some of the MSE Probiotic Drench.  I will also give her a treatment with the photonic red light that is supposed to help milk production.  Fingers crossed something will work to help increase Zoie’s milk production. 

We did try Zeus with a bottle yesterday, but like many alpaca crias he did not want to have anything to do with it.  We tried both goats milk and whole cows milk without success.  Zeus seemed a little more comfortable with the whole cows milk (to which we have also added some whipping cream and full fat vanilla yoghurt) but he still was not at all cooperative about drinking from the bottle.  It may just be a case of being persistant in getting something in him. 

We will be holding our breath this morning as we weigh Zeus, I won’t feel comfortable leaving town if he does not start to gain weight soon.  Ric will be here to look after Zeus while I am gone, but I will still be reluctant to leave town if Zeus is not progressing in the right direction.   Let’s hope we can exhale with a sigh of relief once we have weighed the little guy! 


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