A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

April 13, 2009

Easter Brings The Joy of Rain

Following a week of dust storms and severe winds, thankfully Easter weekend brought us some rain.  Not a huge amount, no torrential downpours (thankfully) but some nice steady rain.  The ground is still damp and the dust is not blowing even though the wind has again picked up speed a little.  While local families went on Easter Egg hunts, we had an Easter Egg hunt of a different kind, as we looked at the dry oval patches on the ground where the alpacas had cushed in the rain.  


The alpacas felt there was sufficient rain for them to go into their shelters at times, cushing down in the straw and chewing their cud as they settled down to watch the rain.  They were much more relaxed than when they had to cope with the high winds, then they would stick their heads out of the shelter and make a mad dash for a different shelter taking a more diagonal route than they had planned as the wind blew them sideways.  To give you an idea how powerful the wind was last week, the latch that holds our feed barn door open was ripped off by the wind and I used two bales of alfalfa to prop the door open, the bales weigh about 60 lbs each and were stacked on top of each other but the wind moved them with ease giving me an extra workout as I put them back in place each time the wind moved them.


As the rain continued some of the alpacas ventured out for a soaking, enjoying the feeling of the rain on their fleeces and hopefully washing out some of the dirt that has accumulated in their fleeces over the past months.


The upcoming week has a forecast of more rain – we will take whatever we can get and hope that it travels on to give Texas a good soaking too.  There have been some terrible grass fires in the past week in Texas and New Mexico and rain is much-welcomed friend to those fighting the fires.


As we prepare for shearing we are even more grateful to the rain, hoping to get the alpacas a natural rinse before we start to shear.  The dirt is hard on our shearing equipment and is something we would rather not have in our fleeces.  

One of the advantages of shearing our own herd is that we are not tied to a particular day as we are when we contract a shearer to shear, allowing us to adjust our shearing days a little to ensure we have dry fleeces to shear.


We will hope that the forecast is right for this week, the rain will help our struggling winter wheat grow and once it is a little stronger we can let the alpacas take turns grazing it – and then we will have a really happy bunch of alpacas!



March 24, 2009

And The Latest Visitors Are…


Donna Given and her alpaca Marti.  Donna and her daughter Tamara Garel own Kiss Me Alpacas in Bandera, Texas and are long time customers of ours.  Last spring they brought us three of their alpaca girls for breeding Marti, Celeste and Cariad.


Celeste was bred to Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel and delivered a beautiful beige daughter on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), Cariad who is a daughter of our Enchantment’s Prince Regent is due to deliver any day now.  Cariad was bred to our Windrush Moonlight Surprise so we soon will have another Moonie cria on the ground.


Marti unfortunately lost her pregnancy in the seventh month of gestation.  The seventh month can be a tricky time in a pregnancy as that is when the fetus really starts to put a demand on the dams system.  Donna and Tamara rushed Marti to the vet when they realized she might be aborting her cria, the vet kept Marti in for observation but unfortunately was unable to stop her from losing her cria.  Following the loss of the cria Donna and Tamara had blood work run on Marti and the cria was also examined, but the vet was unable to establish a reason for Marti having lost her cria.


So Marti is coming back to us for rebreeding and hopefully this pregnancy will go to term without any problem.


It will be good as always to see Donna, Tamara had to stay at home to keep an eye on Cariad and also had to work so was unable to travel with Donna.


I do hope the weather stays warm as Donna and Tamara had their shearing day last weekend and so Marti is newly shorn.  Our forecast did mention the chance of snow on Friday – I hope it doesn’t get that cold or poor Marti will really feel it!


Should it turn really cold we can always pen Marti in a stall inside one of the barns with some deep straw and I even have a blanket she can wear if need be.  Fingers crossed though the temperatures will stay warm enough where all we will get is some gentle rain – we need the moisture but for Marti’s sake I am really hoping that the snow stays away!



August 16, 2008

Visiting Neighbors and Making New Friends


On Friday we took a break away from the daily routine of the farm and drove over to Levelland, Texas to meet some new alpaca breeders.  Levelland, Texas is about a one and a half hours drive to the east of Clovis and our journey was a nice easy one on a beautiful sunny day.

Cindy Negan, her husband Charlie, daughters Kim and Tiffany and Cindy’s father Richard are the proud owners of Monaco Pines Alpacas.  The family has been working really hard to set up their alpaca farm and took delivery of their first six alpacas earlier in the week.

 It was great to see the excitement and hear the enthusiasm of the Negan’s about their new venture and it brought back memories of when we made our first alpaca purchase.  When we had signed the paperwork and handed the check over for our first alpaca, Jenny, I could barely believe that we now owned her.  Jenny passed away in 2004 but still holds a very special place in our hearts, she was the foundation to our herd and has left her legacy in her two sons who now stand at stud at our farm Enchantment’s Prince Regent and Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel. 

 We had a lovely day at Monaco Pines, talking about alpacas, looking at alpacas, demonstrating how to trim teeth using a Tooth-a-matic tooth trimmer and then later having a run through of show ring procedure to help prepare Cindy and family for their first alpaca show.   It was a nice break from our daily routine and we came away from Monaco Pines Alpacas having made new friends in the business.

One of the joys of the alpaca business is the people you meet within the alpaca community.  I am sure that the alpaca community has a few old grouches, but for the most part alpaca owners are warm, friendly and willing to share their experiences and ideas. 

We look forward to seeing more of the Negan family in the future, watching their herd grow, following their progress and celebrating their successes in their alpaca venture.


January 15, 2008

Born with a Smile

Ric and I are both involved in the upcoming TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular, and alpaca show that will take place February 15 – 17 in Fort Worth, Texas.  Ric along with his business partner Danette McCleary will be performing the duties of halter show superintendent and I will be performing the duties of fleece show superintendent.  We would not normally get both of us that heavily involved in a show, especially one that we usually attend to show alpacas, but I had already volunteered to be the fleece show superintendent when the opportunity for Ric and Danette arose to get the contract for the halter show superintendent.  So the moral of that story is that I need to sit on my hands next time someone asks me to volunteer!

As the show approaches we are starting to get more telephone enquiries relating to the show.  Some people need guidance as to how to fill out the forms, some are new to showing alpacas and have questions as to the correct procedures, others have more general enquires such as directions to the show grounds, local hotels etc.

One such enquiry was from a man who had seen an article about alpacas in Progressive Farmer magazine.  The article had mentioned the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular and that it was being held in Fort Worth, but apparently had not said at which facility the show would be held (which by the way is the Will Rogers Coliseum).  The man was excited that such a large alpaca show was going to be held in the Fort Worth area and was planning to come to the show.

I gave the man the information he needed and spent a few minutes talking to him.  I asked him if he already owned alpacas, he said he did not but was very interested in them and wanted to learn more about them.  He then came out with something that I hadn’t considered before but which made me smile, he said “How can you not fall in love with something that is born smiling”.

To this man the little crias faces hold a smile and had captured his attention.  In reality, as the crias are born, they are usually gasping as their lungs take in those first few breaths of air.  Once they are dried off and settled down though I can see how someone could see the crias as smiling.  Of course usually I am smiling by that time too, the sight of a cria being born will always be a joy to me.

I hope to meet the man at the show.  I told him that while I would probably be unable to leave the fleece room for much of the show, Ric might be a bit more accessible and that we would love to meet him.

It’s great to meet all of the different people who enquire about the shows we work on; they come from all walks of life but share a common thread, an interest or a love of alpacas.  It’s also great to hear their different perspectives about alpacas and the alpaca lifestyle. 

I will look forward to meeting this man who came out with a lovely thought about crias being born smiling, and I bet that one day he too will get to deliver a cria and realize that the smile will be not only be on the crias face but also on his own.


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