Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Getting ready for OABA AlpacaFest

Today the vet came out to do health certificates for this coming weekend's Ohio Alpaca Breeder's Association (OABA) AlpacaFest Show in Columbus, Ohio. We are taking the most alpacas we ever have to a show (13), so it should be a crazy weekend! We have lots of alpaca friends and clients in Ohio so it's always so fun to reconnect with everyone.

What do we have to do to prepare? Health certificates and generally making sure everyone looks healthy are high on the agenda. Shows are stressful for the alpacas, so we try to be sure they're all in top form so we don't layer multiple stressors on the young ones in particular. This show requires only a vet check within 30 days (a minimum for all AOBA shows) as well as a BVDV test. Some states require additional testing for tuberculosis, brucellosis, or blue tongue.

Because alpacas love to roll and our Kentucky soil leaves a dusty, grimy look and feel on the fleece, we try to bring them to the barn about 4-7 days before the show to stay clean. Because we have been in a drought the past two summers, our pastures are dusty and dry with many "roll holes" that the alpacas have established.

One of the beauties of showing alpacas is that there is NO grooming, bathing, brushing or trimming of any kind to do! Grooming products or sprays are forbidden. The judges require that the animals be in "paddock condition" so that the natural state of their fleece can be evaluated. Again, a clean environment and then we may pick any large bits of hay, straw, or poop off before taking them into the show ring.

Halter training the weanlings so that they'll willingly walk without fear with a halter and lead is a must. We do find that actually going to a show and walking around the facility is awesome "on the job" training but they have to be able to at least walk. We also try to desensitize them to having their fiber and teeth examined (at a minimum).

Later this week I'll talk about compiling necessary supplies and other preparations we make for show. In addition, I'll post pictures of yet another girl we just had today!!!! (Still not Eyecatcher!) Yeah, last time we had a boy streak it was followed by a girl streak, so two in a row just may be the beginning, right?

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