A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 23, 2009

To The Fleece Show We Go


 Well not us, but two of our fleeces headed off to the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show this afternoon.


If truth be known the fleeces probably should have left earlier, they will still arrive at the show with a day or two to spare but I hate taking a chance on something going wrong with the transportation and the fleeces arriving late. Also having been a fleece show superintendent myself I understand how nice it is to receive entries and fleeces well in advance of the show. (My apologies to all involved with the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show this year!).


So which fleeces did we send? After some discussion we settled on Windrush White Blast and Windrush Zindel’s Atlas.


White Blast did really well in fleece shows last year winning the white color champion at the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular against some stiff competition. Blast has a beautiful fleece with tiny micro bundles, high frequency crimp, superb brightness and a soft, soft hand.


When I went to prepare Blast’s fleece for the show I discovered that it had somehow become entangled within the bag and it took me a while to sort it out. That doesn’t happen often but when it does it is quite a challenge to unravel the puzzle of which piece of fleece needs to be turned in which direction. I had one heart stopping moment when I wondered if the fleece I had prepared was Blast’s 2008 fleece which had already been shown several times. That would have explained the twisting but would also have meant I had wasted my time and would have to start over on the 2009 fleece. I checked the fleece bag and “phew” the bag was marked Blast 2009! I did my best with Blast’s fleece but with it having become twisted I wonder if the judge will stumble across a piece of fleece that should have been skirted out. I wouldn’t’ be surprised if I get the “needs more skirting” comment on my scorecard.


Atlas did well in his first year of halter shows and this shearing was his first. Atlas also has a beautiful fleece in a bronzed light brown color. Atlas is really consistent with his fleece, with his crimp style extending all the way down to his belly and upper legs. Like Blast Atlas has a super bright fleece with high frequency crimp micro bundles. Atlas’s fleece was thankfully not tangled and so skirting it was a little easier, although I did start to wonder who allowed him to roll in the straw before shearing!


With the fleeces on the way to the show, now I can sit back and wait for the results. The really nice thing about this particular show is that you also get a DVD of the judges oral reasons on each class and of the seminars held at the show. If your fleece places, you get to see and hear the judges comments about it, which is great fun and a good addition to your herd records.


If you are thinking that you missed a great opportunity to show fleeces in the AFCNA Show then think again. The show deadline has been extended and late fees waived. Go to http://www.alpacawebsite.com/ for more information and then get your fleeces on the way to the show!



December 30, 2007

Warm Shreds or Cold?

With the temperature staying on the chilly side we have been making sure the alpacas have enough feed to keep them warm.  Certainly they all seem to be more hungry during the cold weather and are eager to see us at feeding time.

Call us soft, but during these cold months we soak the alpacas beet pulp shreds in warm water.  We just feel it must be nice to get some warmth inside them from the shreds.  I am pretty certain that in South America you don’t find alpacas sitting around the campfire warming water to soak their feed in, that would be quite the picture wouldn’t it!  Still we have the ability to give them that little luxury and they certainly don’t object.

When we soak the shreds we always check the temperature of the water to make sure that is not so hot that it will burn the alpacas lips and mouths, and usually by the time we get around to putting the shreds out the cold outside air has cooled them a lot.

One thing we have noticed though is that the shreds seem to swell up better in the warm water than they do in the cold water that we use in summer.  As part of our reasoning for feeding beet pulp shreds is to get additional water into the alpacas diet, I have started to wonder if we would not be better to soak the shreds in warm water in the summer and then allow that water to go cold before putting out the shreds. 

When we first started using beet pulp shreds in our alpacas diet we would make up a big container of them and use it over two or three days.  We found out pretty quickly though that the shreds seemed to deteriorate after a couple of days and the alpacas were not that keen on eating them, so we went to soaking the shreds on a daily basis.  I might well try soaking the shreds in warm water overnight this summer and seeing how that works out.

The temperature today is supposed to be a little warmer, but by Monday evening we are supposed to drop down to 10 to 15 degrees.  I have been busy skirting fleece in the garage this past few days and as there isn’t any heat out there I would really appreciate some warmer weather.  We seem to be in a pattern of a couple of cold days, a warmer day and then a drop back down into the cold temperatures with a little snow thrown in for good measure.  One good thing about living in New Mexico though is that we won’t be seeing this weather for too long.  With the passing of the winter solstice our days are gradually getting longer and before we know it the winds of spring will be here, followed by the heat of summer. 


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