A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 6, 2009

Au Revoir Shiimsa and Rio

Shiimsa and Rio

Shiimsa and Rio

Sunday saw the departure of Shiimsa and Rio from our farm.  Their new owner Terri Faver collected them so that they could start their new life at Terri’s farm, Almost Canyon Ranch in Canyon, Texas.

Shiimsa is a little bit of a nervous girl and so we gave her some Rescue Remedy to help relax her during her move and also gave both Shiimsa and Rio some MSE Probiotic and Enzyme drench to help their digestive systems adjust to the change in their surroundings.

Shortly after we had finished morning chores we loaded Shiimsa and Rio into Terri’s trailer and they were on their way.  The day was a nice cool one, ideal for traveling alpacas.  Shiimsa showed some concern by humming as we loaded her up, but what she didn’t realize was that once she arrived at her new home she would be reunited with Anya and Serenity who Terri had also purchased from us.  As far as Rio was concerned as long as his dam was there all was okay, I am sure he will miss playing with our other crias, but hopefully Serenity will feel still young enough to join in with his cria games.

What Shiimsa and Rio were also unaware of was that they will soon have access to grass pasture, as Terri has been working hard to get her pastures set up so that the alpacas can go out and graze.  Now that will make them happy!

So we said our farewells to Shiimsa and Rio, but it was really more a case of Au Revoir as we will be seeing them next weekend when we take Regent and Zin over to Terri’s ranch next weekend to breed Anya and Shiimsa.


March 3, 2009

A Matter of Dynamics


Like many species alpacas definitely have dynamics within their herd.   Usually there are one or two leaders, a bunch of middle range alpacas and then some who are bottom of the pecking order in the herd.


With the departure of Anya, Serenity, Opie and Rian I have noticed some changes in the behavior of the herd.  The boy’s pen has been pretty much the same indicating to me that Opie and Rian held positions somewhere in the middle of the herd.


In the girls pen the most interesting change has been in the reaction of the herd at feeding time.  Anya was always the first to greet me at the gate, anxiously pushing her head in any feed bowls I was carrying.  The rest of the herd would be not far behind Anya, but it seems as if they took their cue from her behavior.


When I went to feed for the first time since Anya left there were a couple of minutes when the herd just stood and looked at each other as if to say, “well now what shall we do?”  No one rushed to the gate and there wasn’t the usual vying to get closest to the food bowls.  With Anya being gone they didn’t have her cue to tell them that it was time to eat.  It was funny not to be mobbed by alpacas the moment I walked through gate.


Eventually Ivanna, who usually eats with Anya and Rose Marie, stepped up and took the lead, coming over to see what I had and following me over to the feeding pens and that was enough to kick the whole feeding process in motion.  Once the herd saw Ivanna’s actions they were not far behind her.


Feeding time was definitely less noisy and frantic than usual, not that Anya is a noisy alpaca but I think the herd just wasn’t reacting as usual.  Given time I am sure they will adjust to Anya’s absence, with Ivanna now being the one that the herd will watch for to tell them it is feeding time.  It’s just a matter of adjusting the herd dynamics.



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!



December 24, 2008



The weaning crias rushing back to their dams

The weaning crias rushing back to their dams



I think that was the general cry as we let the fall crias back into the main pen following their first day of day weaning.  You can see from the blur of running weanlings in the photo above that they did not hang about in returning to their mothers!


The weanlings all handled their first day well, although some were definitely more at ease than others.  Zianna, Stormy and Pride walked over with us to the weaning pen without hesitation, while Dream and Annochia had already figured out that this was not going to be what they wanted and balked at the process of crossing the pasture.  Serenity and Atlas walked over with plenty of head turning and wondering where they were going.  Song being an orphan did not have a dam to worry about leaving, but was more concerned about staying with her buddies.  Song is no longer taking a bottle as Ric finished weaning Song and Mags off the bottle while I was in England.  Mags is already in with the juvenile male group and is settling in well.  Once they are weaned Pride, Stormy and Atlas will be joining him there.


During the day we kept an eye on the weanling group and for the most part they stayed in their shelter eating hay.  It was one of those windy New Mexico afternoons (sustained winds around 25 mph), helping encourage the weanlings to remain in the shelter and distracting them from watching the fence line for their dams.  There were a couple of times when one or two of them did come to the fence to look for their dams, but they soon returned to the weanling group when they realized that they could not get to their dams through the fence.


To help add some stability to the group we put a few of the maiden alpacas in the pen with them.  Kanika, Carissima and Velvet did a good job of calmly going about their daily business, reassuring the weanlings that all was well with the world.  We have found that the addition of two or three older alpacas in a weanling group helps provide an element of calm in what can be a stressful time for the weanlings.


Out of the whole group I think Annochia took the weaning the hardest.  A member of the Bjorn family, a very close family group of alpacas, she was not at all pleased about being away from her dam Anya, making me wonder if she will be as hard to wean as her dam was.  Both Anya and her sister Keeva took a lot of persuading when it came to the subject of weaning and I suspect Annochia may be the same.


As often is the case, the dams were not at all concerned about the crias being away for the day.  Serenity’s dam Snow did initially wander over and look through the fence at the weanling group, but soon returned to join the other alpacas at the hay feeder.


By evening chores though the weanlings were telling me they were more than ready to go back to their dams.   As you can see once the gate was opened they rushed to be reunited with their dams and then nursed hungrily as if they hadn’t eaten all day!


Today we will repeat the process again, and will continue to do so for about two weeks before the weanlings take the next step of staying away from their dams overnight.  Usually by that time they have adjusted to being away from their dams and will take the next step in their stride.  (Lets hope Annochia agrees with me on that point when the time comes!)




June 19, 2008

And Next Came …..

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Fiber, Alpacas, camelids, Cria Care, Crias, General — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 6:33 am

Windrush Silken Serenity

Windrush Silken Serenity and what a pretty girl she is.


Serenity was born to our white girl Alpenglow’s Sandia Snow and is out of our dark brown herdsire Tobiano.  Snow has a small patch of fawn fiber on her left hind foot, her sire was dark fawn and her dam was light fawn with a lot of color in her lineage and so we hoped by breeding Snow to Tobiano we would get color and we did.  Serenity is the most beautiful rich chocolate brown (the picture here does not do her color justice and her ears have now straightened up having been a little squashed during birth).


Snow delivered Serenity at 3:30 pm on May 30th.  Snow has always been a quiet alpaca and the only clue she gave me that she was close to giving birth was at lunchtime when I noticed her udder was filled with milk.  I check the udders of all of my late term pregnancy girls every morning and I knew that in the morning Snow’s udder had been quite small and that the change in it’s appearance was probably significant.


As I gave Dream her afternoon bottle I looked across the pasture and there in the shade of the elm tree was Snow quite obviously in labor.  I could see that she had a little more pushing to do before the cria’s head and feet emerged and so let Dream finish her bottle and then went in to get my cria kit, blanket and towels. 


By the time I came out Snow had made some progress and I could see a little dark nose emerging.  Snow delivered Serenity without any assistance and did not make a sound during delivery, not a hum, not a grunt, not a groan.  The delivery was one of the most serene I have every seen hence Serenity’s name. 


Initially after delivering Serenity, Snow was a little perplexed about what had just happened, she didn’t seem to put two and two together and realize that Serenity was her cria.  Serenity is Snow’s first cria and sometimes maiden alpacas take a little while to realize their new responsibility.  I brought Snow over to Serenity and encouraged her to sniff her top start the bonding process.  Once Snow had delivered the placenta I put the two in a catch pen for a few hours to allow them to bond.


Snow has proved to be an excellent dam who is attentive to her cria and who produces lots of milk.  Serenity is a little live wire, tearing up the pasture with the other crias and showing that lovely curiosity about her surroundings that crias have.


Serenity’s fleece is very interesting.  It has an incredibly silky feel to it, is very fine and very bright.  I can see some crimp forming close to the skin and I am curious as to how her fleece will develop as she grows up.  Tobiano has thrown cria before with silky style fleece and I suspect that is what we are seeing in Serenity.  Time will tell, but we feel Serenity has some very special qualities to her fleece and we are already excited at the prospect of being able to show her.



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