Monday, October 13, 2008

Proud new alpaca owners

Today I had the pleasure of delivering two young "fiber quality" male alpacas to some great folks that I met at Kentucky Alpaca Farm Day at Shaker Village. Fiber males are a perfect introduction to alpaca ownership, as their needs are slightly more basic than that of breeding animals and they bring a comfort level to novice owners.

I had a beautiful drive to the new owner's farm, and was eagerly greeted with enthusiasm as they welcomed Cracker Jack and Sprinkles. Mike and Gina had built a lovely barn that was well-planned and safe, and they had many good questions.

One thing they wanted to know was why these pretty males were being sold as pets. I explained that breeding males should be virtually without fault in both fleece quality and conformation, and that only the top 5% or so make it there (though a higher percentage from our farm achieve that goal, and many of our sales this year have been of young herdsires).

They also questioned the outlook for alpacas in the current economy- I explained that my guess is as good as any but we are finding that a lot of people love the lifestyle and the idea of having an investment they can touch and see (as well as enjoy!) I also told them about the recent Wall Street Journal article (front page of the business section, October 3, 2008) which mentioned that many people are looking to alternative investments like alpacas. Magical Farm's auction this past weekend sold nearly $2 million of alpacas with a sales average of over $22,000 for females and $32,000 for the 16 males sold... pretty shocking but great after last week's stock market performance.

I went over a packet of New Owner Information and records on each male (My big goal this year is improved efficiency and doing better with records which I have been weak on in the past. I'm proud to report that we're now consistently keeping thorough records using AlpacaEase software). We discussed worming, heat stress, shearing and vaccinations and I showed them how to give shots and trim toenails. Mike and Gina were naturals and did a great job with helping each male keep their balance and give up their foot comfortably for trimming.
I am happy to have some new friends and clients, and felt so good that these two boys will have a great home!

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