A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 7, 2016

Saturday’s Are Better at Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Adopt A Paca, Open Farm Day, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 6:39 pm

3.12.16 Flyer Final

April 6, 2015

April Open Farm Day!

Filed under: Adopt A Paca, Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 11:50 pm

4.11.15 Farm Day flyer

March 27, 2015

There’s Nothing to Sneeze about at Windrush Alpacas!

Whisper March 2012Spring may be allergy season – but not at Windrush Alpacas. Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic! There’s no sniffling at our farm!

Come to our next Open Farm Day on Saturday, April 11, 2015 to learn more about the other unique features of alpacas. Not only do they provide some of the softest yarns and fibers you’ll ever touch, alpacas are also very safe and pleasant animals to be around. We’ll take you on a tour, introduce you to our family friendly herd of alpacas, explain the difference between a Proven Dam and Maiden (both females) and tell you why a baby alpaca is called a Cria.  Visit us sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to learn, see and touch the alpacas!

After your pasture tour, step into our Farm store where you will find an incredible selection of alpaca yarn products. Bring home a gift for your spring-time feathered friends – an alpaca fiber bird-nesting ball – or pick up a soft toy for your favorite child.

Sign up for our Adopt-a-Paca Program – it’s become quite popular! You can sponsor a real, live alpaca for one full year. You’ll receive a glossy photo and other goodies. Pick out your paca while you’re on the tour!

Every Open Farm Day is a unique experience. If you have been here before – we welcome you back! Come meet our newest alpacas. Bring a friend, your spouse, even your cousins and grandma! There is something for everyone at Windrush Alpaca Open Farm Day

We have ample free parking, it’s free admission for everyone, and we even offer cold refreshments to our visitors. Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates http://www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at http://www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca .

March 9, 2015

March 14th, 2015 Open Farm Day

3.14.15 Farm Day flyer

March 2, 2015

Welcome Spring with the Sweet Softness of Alpacas at Open Farm Day!

Crowd at OFD 2.14.15Did you know that alpaca yarn is as soft as cashmere? Or that it was once reserved for Incan Royalty?

At our last Open Farm Day, nearly 150 people visited to learn about and spend time with our alpacas and now you can too!

Shake off those winter blues and join us for our next Open Farm Day on Saturday, March 14, 2015 (just a week before Spring arrives!) to find out more about alpacas, the fibers they produce and this fascinating animal’s rich history. Visit us sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to see and touch our special yarns that reflect the colors of the new season: Breath of Spring, in beautiful soft, green tones; Blue Swirl, which captures the hue of new spring buds; or NAAFP Ultra Fine Chorus, melodic in its versatility to be dyed or used for gentle items such as sweaters or baby items.

On Open Farm Day we have guided tours where you will get to meet our alpacas and learn a bit about each one. (They all have different personalities, you know!) You can pet them and learn how their soft fleece is turned into the beautiful yarns, garments and toys that are sold in our Farm Store.

After this long, snowy winter, treat yourself to a day outdoors on the Farm. Enjoy a few hours with our friendly alpacas. Who knows, you might even Adopt-a-Paca while you are there! No need to take it home, we’ll care for it and you can visit him or her whenever you’d like!

When was the last time you had the chance to meet an alpaca? Bring your family, your friends, your co-workers and anyone who needs to get outside in the sunshine and join us for this informative and fun day!

We have ample free parking, it’s free admission for everyone, and we even offer hot and cold refreshments to our visitors. Windrush Alpacas farm is located us 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca .

March 8, 2009

Warm Weather Wigglers

 

Our winter has been very mild and dry and our spring looks as if it is going to be warm, dry and windy (as always!).  Already our temperatures have hit the 80 degree mark a couple of times, the fruit trees are starting to blossom and everything living is getting signals that spring is here.  It is still possible for us to have a downward swing in temperature; a late frost is not unheard of here and unfortunately will kill the fruit tree blossoms reducing our chances of any peaches or apricots from our trees.

 

Along with the warm weather the insect population is starting to become more visible.  We saw a yellow jacket (large wasp type insect) the other day, crickets are starting to appear and the dreaded ticks have also started to make an appearance.

 

Unfortunately our sandy soil and warm temperatures make an ideal environment for ticks, and even worse alpaca ears are an ideal place for ticks to take up residence.  The warm, sheltered environment of the alpaca ear is just the type of place a tick likes to live in and ticks will happily feed not only on the alpacas blood but also on any debris generated by the alpacas ears.

 

We had a bad run in with ticks in the past, our girl TeQueely had a terrible fight with tick paralysis (See entry December6, 2007)  and my battle to save her has made me an avid campaigner for tick prevention.

 

Many alpaca breeders do not realize that their alpacas may have ticks in their ears.  Often there are very few signs of the ticks, sometimes you will see the alpacas shaking their heads, sometimes an alpaca will hold an ear back, occasionally there may be some black debris found in the alpacas ear, but often the signs are few to none.

 

Having spent time exploring an alpaca ears with an otoscope (don’t try this unless you have had some education from your veterinarian as you can easily damage the alpacas ear drum) I am amazed at how many hiding places in an alpaca ear there are.  With an otoscope and alligator forceps I can usually locate any offending ticks and remove them, but ticks are also capable of hiding deep in the ear canal past where the otoscope can reach.

 

So what is to be done about these tiny but potent creatures?  Well as often is the case an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and there are few things you can do to keep the tick population down.

 

Some alpaca breeders keep guinea fowl or chickens with their alpacas, as the birds will eat any bugs they find.  This can be a good option; the birds will pick up bugs not only from poop piles but also from roll spots and other areas around the pasture.  If you are keeping birds with your alpacas make sure you get them from a farm that is very conscious of the health of their birds, the last thing you want to do is bring viruses or nasty bacteria onto your farm.  Also try and feed unmedicated feed, as the medicines in chicken feeds are fatal to alpacas.  If unmedicated feed is not available then make sure it is kept securely away from the alpacas.

 

Putting diatomaceous earth on roll spots and poop piles may also help keep down the tick population.  Make sure that you use food grade diatomaceous earth as it is safe to be used around livestock, the commercial and pool grades of diatomaceous earth are not suitable for use around livestock.

 

I have heard of some breeders feeding garlic to their alpacas to help reduce ticks and other parasites.  I have not tried that yet and am still researching the pros and cons of using garlic on alpacas.

 

Finally treating the alpaca’s ears during tick season will kill the ticks and depending on what you use may also kill the tick eggs.  We prefer to use Adams Fly Spray and Repellent for horses, it kills both the ticks and the tick eggs and we have found it to be very effective.  We shake the bottle well (the solution tends to separate when it is sitting for a while), pour some into a container and then draw up 2 cc in a syringe.  We administer 2 cc per ear on the adult alpacas, 1.5 cc per ear for the weanlings and 0.5 cc per ear on the crias.  We put the syringe in the ear, depress the plunge and then massage the ear before letting go.  Make sure you stand well back once you let go as the alpacas will shake their heads and some of the solution will fly out of their ears and you don’t want to get it in your eyes.

 

Over the last year or so the Adams Fly Spray and Repellent for Horses has become a little difficult to find.  If Adams is not available I have heard of Catron IV being used, but as it comes out in a foam I find it harder to ensure the correct dosage

 

Once tick season arrives we treat our alpacas ears about every thirty days.  I don’t usually go for routine worming or parasite prevention as I feel that overuse of certain products has resulted in some parasites becoming resistant to the products, but there are some circumstances when you have little choice but to treat on a regular basis. 

 

Having had one experience of tick paralysis in the herd I don’t want to have another, so for now we will continue treating the alpacas on a regular basis and in time we may find other solutions that are just as effective in preventing ticks – and who knows we may even invest in some chickens for our own herd.  Tick prevention and farm fresh eggs – sounds like a good option to me!

Rosemary

February 25, 2009

Longer Days, Warmer Temperatures…

 

And a herdsire’s thoughts turn to alpaca girls!  This last week we have really noticed the days are getting longer and we have also had some unseasonably warm weather even for the southwest.  Temperatures have been in the high seventies and on Monday reached 80 degrees – can it really only be February?

 

Our herdsire Zin has started to think that spring is in the air and has taken up position by the gate in his pasture.  He just knows that when he goes through that gate he usually goes for breeding, unless of course we are doing behavior tests when he is more likely to get a rejection from a pregnant female than a hot date, but he’s always willing to risk that chance.

 

While alpaca females are induced ovulators and can breed year round I do feel that spring is a natural time of rebirth in the plant and animal kingdom.  Maybe scents that indicate a female is receptive to breeding are stronger, maybe the warm air just makes those scents travel father but something in the air is definitely telling Zin he should be breeding.

 

Unfortunately for Zin he is going to have to wait a while yet.  If we bred our open females now they would be having cria at the end of January beginning of February 2010.   January in New Mexico is often colder and wintrier than December and is definitely not a time of the year when we want to be planning on delivering and caring for newborn cria.

 

The earliest we will resume breedings for our girls will be mid to late May with the aim of delivering our 2010 spring cria crop in late April.  Anytime before then our weather could take a turn for the worse, our average last freeze is April 15th and we have seen some pretty chilly weather in past years in March and early April.

 

If we get some females from other farms sent to us for breeding then Zin may well get lucky before May, some of the alpaca breeders in more temperate areas of the south do breed for crias to be delivered in January – March.  If that doesn’t happen then Zin will just have to wait by the gate, happily day dreaming about that young female alpaca he just spotted in the girls pasture.  Happy dreams Zin!

Rosemary

March 4, 2008

Spring, Winter, Spring

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Health — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:13 am

Dust Storm_030208It’s getting hard to keep up with the seasons around here.  Sunday started off at as beautiful spring day, calm, warm and sunny.  By the early afternoon the temperatures were in the 70’s, yet we kept receiving weather warnings that we were in for a winter storm.  Surely not, how could we possible go from such a beautiful day back to winter. 

Then it happened, about 10 minutes before I was due to start chores (Murphy’s Law of course) the skies grew grey, the wind picked up and then the dust started to blow.  I should have realized something was about to happen when I looked out of the window a few minutes earlier and saw the girls all running into their shelter – they knew what was coming.

As you can see from the picture on this post, chores were a delight that afternoon.  (Note  the round floating dots in the picture are dust particles) The winds became sustained around 50 mph and it was quite the challenge to hold onto the buckets of hay as I walked, propelled by the wind, between the pastures.  The weather was so bad the girls who normally get extra pellets at evening chores would not venture out from the shelter.  So the girls got to dine in that evening, and the hay was spread between the feeders in the shelters, to put it outside would have been a waste as it would have blown away.

Even the dogs rejected their evening walk.  Missy and Tripster set off with good intentions but when the wind gusted they decided it was time to head home.

By Sunday evening the snow was falling!  We received about 4” of snow, but only 2 – 3” landed on the ground, the rest was carried away in the winds.  By Monday morning we had a nice layer of ice under the snow, the schools closed for the day and many businesses did the same.

The good part of this was finally we received some moisture.  The snow is better than a hard rain as it slowly melts and puts moisture into the soil, where as a hard rain will only run off the ground.

By Monday afternoon the skies were blue and the snow had melted away.  The temperature was climbing and today we are supposed to be back in the 60’s.

The tough part of this drastically changing weather is it is not easy on the alpacas (nor their owners but we have a centrally heated house to retreat to).  To have temperatures that swing so sharply is definitely hard on the alpacas bodies.  To help them cope we make sure that we follow a good nutritional program and use a good probiotic on a daily basis.  The best we can do is to ensure that our herd is in prime health year round to help them fight all that nature throws at them.

We did feed the alpacas extra during the brief storm, we wanted them to be able to generate more heat internally and some extra hay for a day will help them cope through the brief cold spell.  The herd also appreciated beet pulp shreds soaked in warm water.

It looks as if we may have another weather swing later in the week, hopefully not quite as dramatic as the last one!

Rosemary

February 9, 2008

Ssssspring must be coming!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:30 am
The last few days have been a little warmer, still very windy but much warmer with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s.  The weatherman has now resorted to forecasting “breezy” weather; I think he doesn’t dare mention the word “windy” as we have all had enough of the wind.  The winds and warmer weather though is a sign that spring is on its way.

Another spring sign is my first sighting of a snake for the year.  Yes, here we are only just into February and the snakes are showing themselves already.  The snake I saw yesterday was a bull snake, about 3ft long and a little sluggish, but he had enough energy to coil up when I was near to him.  I had Bandit the stray dog with me at the time (we were taking one of our twice daily walks) and fortunately I was able to distract Bandit so that he didn’t notice the snake, had he seen it I am sure he would have tried to do something with it, which is not a good idea.

While the bull snake is pretty harmless to us, I am sure that if one kind of snake is appearing there are others about to emerge too.  Looks like Spring is on it’s way despite Punxsutawney Phil’s recent Groundhog Day prediction!

Rosemary

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