Sunday, February 1, 2009

My first alpaca!

What a week! Monday I was sick with a stomach flu and had to leave work. Actually, I was sick before work, but I tried to go in anyway. Smart huh? So I was down for the count. Total waste of a day, and a horrible way to start a week. I came back in on Tuesday, and my students were all asking my how I was, even the ones who like to give me a run for my money showed a little caring. I have remarkable students. And to think I gave them all a huge test that day. ;) So Monday sucked. Tuesday was a bit better, but I got a temp of 103 for going to the gym and working out the day after being sick. Lose #2. Wednesday was a snow day, which was cool, but I graded tests all day. Meh. Thursday and Friday were run of the mill teaching days, as run of hte mill as it gets at my school anyway. Saturday was the best day ever!

Yes, it's official. The animal in my banner is actually mine! I got her yesterday. Her name is Devi, and she's a 3 month old bay black Huacaya girl. I purchased her from Flatland Alpacas, here in CT, and that's where she'll live until she's weaned. Then, she'll move to the farm where I'll be boarding, which is closer to my home so I can visit her more often. She's my first alpaca, and coincidentally is the first sale for the owner of Flatland Alpacas. I love that. I get to help a farmer grow their business, and meanwhile begin my own. It will be a long while before my farm is actually a 'business', though. In fact, it's going to be a virtual farm for quite some time to come. Fortunately, the family is in on it now, and we're going to work together to get this thing going. We've already got one nice little animal. The next steps are to get ourselves a nice property for our farm, set up the shelter and fencing, get the feed, and get the next animals. If all goes well, in the next year or two, we will be getting our farm started. It may take longer, and that's ok. Right now I'm just happy to have an alpaca, and to be at the beginnig of becoming a part of the alpaca industry and fiber industry.

For anyone considering becoming an alpaca farmer, start by visiting as many farms as you can. You'll find alpaca farmers to be wonderful, friendly people who want to show you their animals, answer your questions and help get you started. There's also a lot of info on, as well as sales listings. That's how I found Devi. If you're new to alpacas, but ready to get your first animals, be sure to look closely at their fiber. Check the density, the crimp, and the fineness. They should have good coverage throughout their body too. Check their bloodlines as well. If they've got a nice sire and dam, with some show ribbons, the animal will be worth more. Look for good conformation as well. Be sure to ask for a health record too.

Now that I've got my first animal, the next steps are for me to learn about handling alpacas. The farmers who sold her to me are going to help me with that until she's ready to move to her new farm. Soon after that it will be shearing day! I can't wait to get my first fleece from her.

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