A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 26, 2009

Next Please!

Shiimsa and her cria Rio

Shiimsa and her cria Rio

With Queen, Chai and Rosie all having had their crias we still had Shiimsa, Ivanna, TeQueely and Willow to go. 

Shiimsa is now owned by Terri Faver of Almost Canyon Ranch.  Shiimsa is one of Terri’s first alpacas and is her first pregnant dam, so Terri has been anxiously awaiting the birth of Shiimsa’s cria.  With Shiimsa being so far along with her pregnancy when Terri purchased her it was decided that Shiimsa would stay with us until after she delivered her cria.

On June 18 we thought Shiimsa was in labor and so called Terri to let her know.  Terri was able to take time off from work and come over for the day, but alas it turned out to be a false alarm and no cria arrived.

On June 21 though it was a different story.  Following chores Ric and I noticed Shiimsa stretched out beside the hay wagon.  Shiimsa typically spends a lot of her day at the hay wagon, but she rarely stayed there to stretch out or sunbathe, so to see her lying beside the hay wagon was a clue that she might have started labor.

We watched Shiimsa for a while and we could see that this time she really was in labor.  I called Terri who was taking part in a horse show that day and left her a voicemail to let her know that Shiimsa was in labor.  A short while later I received a call back from Terri, she had finished showing her horse and so was leaving the horseshow to take her horse home and then head our way.

By the time I spoke to Terri I could just about see the birthing sack starting to emerge.  Progress was a little slow, but Shiimsa is a maiden alpaca and so her body had to do some new stretching to accommodate the progression of the cria.   I decided to go into the house to collect my birthing kit, towels and other supplies, thinking I had several minutes before the cria was born.

By the time I had gathered my supplies I could see two little legs flapping around behind Shiimsa.  From her earlier slow progress Shiimsa had gathered speed and the cria was nearly fully emerged! 

I made it to Shiimsa just as her cria landed on the ground.  I moved the cria onto a clean blanket and started to dry it off and then checked to see whether the cria was a boy or a girl – it was another boy and another handsome boy at that.

Shiimsa’s cria is either bay black or black and has an unbelievably soft handle to his fleece.  His fleece is crimpy, shiny, fine and dense – what more could you ask for in such a dark male alpaca.

We knew Terri had been hoping for a girl, but once she arrived and saw her new cria she was very happy with him.  Terri already had a name picked out for him – “Rio”.
It is sometimes hard to tell the quality of a young cria, so much can change as they grow up, but little Rio is already showing a lot of potential.  Conformationally he is well put together and with that spectacular fleece I see the words “Color Champion” in Rio’s future.  If that is the case Rio will be following in the footsteps of his sire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel as well as his grandsire Dom Lucilio and his great grandsires Royal Fawn and Acero Marka’s Champ.

Shiimsa has proved to be an excellent mother; she is very attentive to Rio and gets quite distressed when he is out of her sight.  Shiimsa also has lots of milk, a great trait for a female alpaca.  I think Shiimsa has given Terri a great new addition to her alpaca herd.

Ric and I will look forward to seeing Rio grow and mature, we will be making a point to monitor this young male’s show and breeding career, but that is all in the future, for now we will have fun to watching him gallop around the pasture with the other spring crias. 


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!


May 27, 2009

What’s The Difference Between

Dream in Full Fleece

Dream in Full Fleece






and  This?

Dream Shorn

Dream Shorn









It turns out to be about 4 ½ lbs of fleece (not including belly and lower leg fleece).  Young Dream who weighed in at 93.5 lbs with her fleece prior to shearing certainly did well in the fleece production department.  For a little alpaca she has a lot of fleece.

Dream comes from a line of good fleece producers, her dam Rosie now 5 years old and about ready to deliver a cria still produced just over 4 lbs of fleece in her blanket, leg and neck combined and she too is not a large alpaca.

We have been pleased with our fleeces overall this year and I now have 15 show fleeces ready to be skirted in preparation for show.

Atlas who has done so well in the show ring produced a really dense, fine fleece with a wonderful long staple length that proved to be quite a challenge to Ric’s shearing skills.  Looking at Atlas prior to shearing we knew he was carrying a lot of fleece but had not quite grasped just how much superfine, dense, high frequency crimp fleece he has. 

White Blast who did well in the fleece shows last year has produced another spectacular fleece which is fine, dense and bright with beautiful crimp style.

Even our smallest alpaca Little Man (aka Tonka) did us proud with his fleece.  Weighing all of 58.2 lbs with his fleece on Little Man produced 2.3 lbs of silky, shiny cria fleece that almost hangs in dreadlocks from his head to his toes.

There are still a few alpacas left to shear but this week will hopefully see the end of our shearing for the year.  Next the show fleeces will be paying a trip to the skirting table in preparation for showing and then we will need to decide which fleece will be going to which show.  Lots of fleeces to show and lots of shows to show them in – what fun!


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