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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alpacas and other critters!

Alpacas do not always and should not always be allowed to be in with other animals due to others parasites......here is a great article in an alpaca magazine that was published by our friend Jill McElderry Maxwell who owns Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine llc. She is a parasite expert.

Here is the link for the magazine, simply click on the LINK below and it will take you directly to page 28 of the magazine where the article begins. Once you get there, you will see an arrow to the center right side and just by clicking on it will let you turn the pages where you may see moire information regarding other critters with alpacas, it spans a few pages. This article appears in a national magazine called PurelySuri and has now been translated into Norwegian. Jill is highly respected in the alpaca industry for her knowledge of parasites.

PurelySuri Magazine

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

It's nearly time for harvest...............

Girls stall raked clean...

Girls stall raked clean...

It is nearly harvest time for us....fiber harvest that is. Because we are fiber farmers we wait for this all year. We shear once a year.

During winter, we put down a nice straw bed for all the alpacas so they can hunker down and stay warm on long winter days and nights. They love their beds. As things start heating up, we begin preparing for shearing, because they are starting to get nice and toasty warm in their winter coats. And, then they begin rolling in the spent, broken up pieces of hay and of course, that all gets embedded in their fiber so we start removing all of that in hopes that what's in their fiber will fall out and they won't pick up any new stuff in their coats. It is quite a job to remove all the bedding and usually takes us a whole entire day to do so. This year, we did it different...because it was a warmer winter than our normal...we were able to start hauling out some extra each time we hauled out the gold...alpaca gold...best stuff around for your gardens. But alas, little here and there, wasn't enough so the fun begins. I removed 9 tubs of straw from the girls side one morning, and in the evening, we then removed 9 tubs from the little boys side. The next couple of days, we began cleaning out the big boys side..... I am pretty sure we took out about 15 tubs of straw from their side. (they get more bedding since they are on the North side where it is much colder) Now, it is clean. Routine maintenance daily (twice a day) raking out their stalls and areas so that when they roll, they won't pick up anything extra for us to contend with come shearing day. We finally just a few days ago let them out on fresh green pastures and they were more than ready for it since it was early November when they were last on it. That also helps remove some stuff from their fiber, when they run and also when they plop down on the fresh green grass and roll.
Tubs of winter straw bedding ready to be hauled away....

Tubs of winter straw bedding ready to be hauled away....

Handy dandy rake and pitchfork...

Handy dandy rake and pitchfork...

Phuzzy Boy Phloyd wondering what is happening to his deep straw bed.

Phuzzy Boy Phloyd wondering what is happening to his deep straw bed.

Moms and babies in their cleaned dry lot area....

Moms and babies in their cleaned dry lot area....


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Morning Girls................

Today is a rainy day.....2 in a row now. Snow is expected this weekend. We have had a very blessed winter.....very mild....very unnatural for Indiana. In January it was warm enough I got bit by a tick. In February, we had flies and mosquitoes. We've only had a couple of dustings of snow. Saturday, the weatherman predicts about 9 inches of white fluff. The alpacas will LOVE it. They haven't really enjoyed the temps that I have...they are still wearing their winter coats for another 6-8 weeks.

Because of the rain, the girls pretty much refuse to go outside to the bathroom.....the only good thing I see about this is I don't get wet and I don't have to haul those buckets so far. Guess I should be thankful they are thinking of me.


Monday, March 6, 2017

The Workplace

I have been very busy creating lately. Mostly creating a better work environment. That is so hard to do..........Here is the link to a video that shows you my Fiber Room.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cria kit

This is our cria kit.....remember, a cria is a baby alpaca and birthing season is upon us. Our first one is due just about anytime now. In addition to this kit, we have a stash of towels and a couple of sheets to lay the baby on when it's born to get it cleaned up and dried off.

The kit includes 2 sizes of rubber gloves, 2 kinds of "lube" for just in case. There is betadine to dip the naval cord in(at least 3 times), colostrum just in case mom won't feed her baby, a tube kit...a thermometer, an aspirator, enema bottles for just in case baby won't do their business...a thermal blanket in case the temps drop and it is nice to keep baby warm and also to block some wind. Also a hair dryer to help dry the baby and keep them warm....and don't forget the trash bags to collect the placenta in. And of course something to take pictures with.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Phuzzy Boy Phloyd is HOT!

Just happened to capture this little video a couple of nights ago.....Phuzzy Boy Phloyd must have been hot...he was really, REALLY enjoying the fan.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Dinner plate

Three little kittens...

Three little kittens...

The three little kittens who live in our barn have job security but I think they need to step up a little bit. When I went to the barn this morning I found a nice kitten dinner plate all set up on the rug in front of the store just waiting on me. There was a bird, a frog and a lobster claw (crawdad). Then as I went to get hay for the girls and raised the tarp a mouse scurried across the top of the bale of hay.
Bird, crawdad claw and frog...

Bird, crawdad claw and frog...

Lots of rain.

Lots of rain.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2016 Fiber Harvest is done!

The shearing area.  Sure was clean before we started.

The shearing area. Sure was clean before we started.

Shearing for 2016 is done. We actually finished on April 30th. We shear by ourselves and therefore, it takes several days to do so. We did it this year in 4 days, could have made it in 3 but the first day of shearing we did have evening plans so had to quit early.

About a month prior to shearing we remove all the bedding from the stalls and keep their area as clean as we can because if we don't they will lay in it and roll in it and make our job much harder than it needs to be. The day of shearing we bring some of them inside the barn (whoever we decide that we can get done that day) and the farmer takes the leaf blower and blows a lot of junk out of their fleeces (dust and junk mostly). Then as we bring them into the shearing area the farmer will take a wand to them if they need it. The wand basically looks like an old fashioned rug beater that you just brush over them and it shakes out stuff like crazy. Then, we will trim bangs, tails and maybe do some toes if that particular alpaca will allow it....some do, most do not. We need to weigh them prior to shearing so that when they are finished on the table they can get their dose of medication to help with parasite control. I will lead the alpaca over to the table which is vertical (picture shows it horizontal) where the belly strap is on the ground and as I walk them past it (front feet only) the belly strap is then pulled around them and we can hoist them up and onto the table after we flip it horizontally. IF the farmer deems it necessary he then will bring the shop vac over to the table and use it on the alpaca to suck out a lot more lime dust that ultimately causes issues with the shears causing it to take lots longer than necessary.

After shearing is done, they get a pedicure, finish the topknots and check their teeth...yes, we are also their dentist. They get their injection and off the table they come and back outside. By the end of our harvest we are exhausted....
Jack getting the wand.

Jack getting the wand.

Bucky needs to get weighed...but he doesn't wan to...

Bucky needs to get weighed...but he doesn't wan to...

The end........we're exhausted.

The end........we're exhausted.

This is what 94 pounds of fiber looks like.

This is what 94 pounds of fiber looks like.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Family Units

Family units are important for humans as well as alpacas and probably any other creature. We notice it mostly in our female alpacas, those who have had daughters.........still lay beside each other.....and we notice it in other critters who visit or live here.



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Meet Penny Penny Penny!

Penny, freshly born!  Donna being very tentative.

Penny, freshly born! Donna being very tentative.

This Blog is about Penny! Each year alpaca breeders must come up with names for their cria. Some breeders will choose themes from musicians, sports figures or TV sitcoms and/or movies. In 2014 we had 5 cria born here on our farm and we chose a theme from a sitcom that we watch, it's really a no-brainer and that is what we need at the end of the day so we watch it every night and laugh. We chose to name our 2014 cria after the TV sitcom Big Bang Theory. We had Pryia, Sheldon, Leonard, Amy and Penny who we love to call Penny Penny Penny. If you watch that show, you know what we are referring to.

Penny is a tall girl and gets it rightfully from her mom Donna, and her dad Tuco. Tuco has moved to another farm, but he was a wonderful herdsire and we are happy with this breeding. Tuco was nice and soft and fine and I have loved spinning his fleece in the past...Donna was loaded with lots of fiber density and I believe we got what we wanted out of that breeding.

Penny is just like her mom who also does not like to be touched, but once you get your hands on her, she is just as sweet as she can be. Her fleece will be just wonderful to spin.

Proud papa Tuco...looking grand!

Proud papa Tuco...looking grand!

Donna and Penny!  A family unit, cushed side by side most always.

Donna and Penny! A family unit, cushed side by side most always.