Thursday, December 18, 2008

SSF Silver Belle!

One of the best alpacas we have ever raised is SSF Peruvian Silver and Gold (shown above). Born on Halloween a few years ago, she appeared fawn at birth but had a tinge of silver at the skin which grew into a solid grey. She would become one of the most stunning, rare harlequin greys we've ever seen, and was a top seller at the 2007 National Elite Auction. She was purchased by Always Accoyo, LLC in Michigan, and was a multiple champion in both fleece and halter. She had a darling personality as well, and was a favorite of our daughter and her friend- I love the picture below where she appears to be smiling for the camera! The Wrights at Always Accoyo adore her, and have sent me some great pictures as she has matured.Yesterday we had the privilege of welcoming her full sister, SSF Peruvian Silver Belle! CH Peruvian Sahara Rose is her harlequin-colored dam, and Accoyo Maverick is the sire. Although she doesn't have much silver showing yet, Belle has some hints of grey in her prime fleece and has the telltale spots on her face like her dam.
Sahara (who has now had 4 female crias in 4 years) has had a skin issue with her udder the past few times, and we have had to intervene with the crias for the first week or two to make sure they get their colostrum (first milk) and subsequent nourishment. The cria appeared to be slightly early, and isn't quite able to get ahold of her dam's teats on her own, so Paul and I milked the mom every 4 hours throughout the night and tube-fed the cria. Sahara is generally very laid-back and cooperative, which definitely makes the job more pleasant.

Although Paul and I don't communicate that well on some things (like backing a trailer or herding a group of animals), we have developed what I think is a beautiful unspoken communication when it comes to caring for newborns and their dams. At 1:30 AM, we arose to the alarm, drove to the barn, and got the job done while saying barely a word to each other! We have learned to be very calm and patient with a dam and her newborn cria, as a situation like this can cause great stress to both and develop into secondary issues like ulcers, milk drying up, etc. Over the years, we know from experience that it doesn't pay to try to force a cria to nurse, but rather to encourage them by positioning under the dam and then letting go, and that most dams will respond gently if you treat them with respect and patience as they seem to know we're helping.

We will continue to monitor the cria closely and make sure she's attempting to nurse regularly and getting enough nourishment from us for now as she grows stronger and more sharp. We'll also do an IGG blood test to be sure she received the proper immunity from her dam's milk. We will milk out the dam to keep her milk flowing and keep her from either drying up or becoming engorged, and will supplement what we give the cria with regular Vit. D whole milk. Few dams and crias require this kind of intervention, but our 14 years of experience tell us that all will be fine and it will be SO worth it! (See the photo of Silver and Gold's champion fleece below!)

We are winding down our birthing season on a great note... when I told Paul the name I liked for the new cria, he said, "At least it's not Silver Balls!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quiet Times

Well, it was a very light turnout for the Open House due to a lack of much advertising- perhaps I was secretly wishing it would be so. My friend Marti always says, "Thoughts become things, always choose the good ones," or something like that, basically be careful what you wish for! Nonetheless, I really enjoyed our visitors and it did get me to organize the barn office a bit better!I hoped to get a lot of spinning and knitting done in "down periods," but what little down time I had was somehow filled up with the kids and chores. I did manage to finish spinning some bright green hand-dyed baby alpaca I'd started earlier in the fall! I also enjoyed a few stolen moments just watching the crias and cats.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Open House Saturday, Dec. 13th

Just a reminder that we will have lots of great alpaca goodies for sale tomorrow in our barn shop from 11 to 3 (originally advertised from 10 to 4). We're having some great discounts, and I'll be glad to show you our new crias, and will be spinning. We'll have hot spiced cider and cookies! Should be fun, feel free to call for directions!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gratitude and Zippy's cria

I finally took some pictures of our newest crias. Zippy had a wonderful, bright-white male by Michelangelo. With two champions for parents, this little guy has wonderful potential! We proudly co-own mom and cria with Donna Christley of Moonlight Meadow Farm.
Here are some updated photos of SSF Accoyo Gratitude! She appears to have as much if not even more potential than her two full siblings, SSF Accoyo Sundancer (owned by Flying Pony Alpacas) and SSF Accoyo Empire Maker (owned by Always Accoyo, LLC). Shown at the bottom are Sundancer and Empire Maker!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

I'm glad to be finally home from the Carolina Classic Show and Belleau Wood Farm Auction!!! It was GREAT fun, but tiring and there were some stressful moments. It started with a near-fire in the RV the night before we left, and ended with a near-breakdown just outside of Asheville, NC that got us home in one piece but much later than anticipated (see my other blog for details!)

All in all, I was pleased and grateful for the outcome of the weekend- all of our animals sold well and the show went super, too! The auction was festive, and despite the uncertainty of selling animals, I was able to party and have a good time with friends.

SSF Peruvian Pink Pansy sold to our great friends, Mary Beth and Jim Anderson of Alpacas at Booker's Corner in Paris, Kentucky- THANKS and congratulations!

SSF Accoyo Michael AND Eyecatcher and Eye Candy sold to Ron and Cathy Downs of Twisted Lock Alpacas in Shadow Hills, California- THANK YOU so very much!

Although the show was fairly small, competition was stiff and all of our classes were of pretty good size. Runalong took a 1st in the light fawn juvenile females, Gallantry took 1st of 10 in beige juvenile males. Muffin was 2nd in white juvenile females, and Optimist took 3rd in a large white yearling male class! (4 animals, 2 firsts, 1 second and 1 third) Be sure to check back soon for the photos of Gallantry doing tricks!

We had a beautiful white male cria born from Zippy while we were gone, with just a few left for the season. We'll be ready to hunker down for rougher weather and to enjoy the holidays. Tomorrow, I'll write in more detail about our breakdown and give some tips for travelling with the pacas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Consignments to Belleau Wood Auction!

Did you see the alpacas on the CBS Evening News last night? How very cool that alpacas (thanks to AOBA) were featured as one of the alternative investments to which many have turned! I know that we have thoroughly enjoyed our alpaca way of life. There are some excellent tax benefits to be gained by investing in 2008 as well, through the Section 179 Deduction.

This weekend we'll be travelling to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Belleau Wood Auction and Carolina Classic Show. We are featuring three top entries in the auction.
SSF Peruvian Pink Pansy (seen above) is a fawn-roan daughter of the incomparable El Nino's Accoyo Michelangelo! Her dam is our rose-grey Peruvian Savannah. She has incredible fleece length and is fine and dense. Pansy has excellent breed type with great coverage. She is a full sister to SSF Michelangelo's Cupid, a gorgeous and unique grey that we co-own with Tres Amigos Ranch in Colorado. Like Cupid, she has an extremely friendly and curious disposition, as most Michelangelo offspring do! She should be ready to breed by late spring or early summer, and she sells with a free breeding to any of our unrelated sires! Show her and then breed her, you can't go wrong!
SSF Accoyo Michael is an elite-fleeced white, also sired by Michelangelo. His dam is our foundation female, SSF Accoyo Bella Vida (an Avenger daughter). Judge Kevin O'Leary commented on Michael's extreme potential, and he does appear to be getting better and better! His full brother, SSF Accoyo Optimist, always places at the top of his class, and his follicle density was tested at a remarkable 95 follicles sq. mm with an S/P ratio of 15 to 1! I can think of no better way to add full Accoyo genetics to your herd than through the genetics of Michael (he has Michaelangelo, El Nino, Caligula, Avenger, and Royal Fawn in his background)! There may be some bargains at this auction, so position yourself to take advantage and add these SSF Accoyo genetics to your herd!
SSF Eyecatcher and SSF Eye Candy make up a 3-in-one package that includes Eyecatcher herself, her young FEMALE cria by 419 Peruvian Accoyo Maverick, AND a complimentary breed back to ANY of our sires! We will be happy to transport Eyecatcher back home for the buyer and breed her for you. Eyecatcher, a daughter of our black herdsire Ndume, is shown here below with her 2007 black male cria. Eyecatcher's new cria at side (shown below, DOB 11/17/08) is Eye Candy. She looks like definite show material- she is heavy-boned and typey, with excellent fleece character already evident.As always, we are offering financing and our full farm guarantees! If you can't be at the auction, please contact Erin McCarthy with Belleau Wood for arrangements to bid by phone or by proxy. Let us know if you have any questions!