I'm a middle school band director, knitter, spinner, alpaca owner and fiber artist. These are my adventures in the worlds of teaching and fiber arts.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I'm learning a ton about the alpaca industry. My most recent fascination has been with the role that genetics and pedigree play in the pricing and sales of animals. As a newbie, I have a major case of barn eyes. I think my alpaca and her herd mates (and basically any other alpaca in the world) are gorgeous. I'm aware of what to look for when evaluating an animal, although I'm no expert at it by any stretch of the imagination. Conformation - the way the animals body looks. Staple length - you spinners out there know what this is, but for non-spinners it's the length of the individual fibers. A longer staple length is better. I've met alpacas that have too short a staple length, and are basically 'rug producers'. The breeder makes their fiber into rugs. Density, fineness and crimp are all very important too. Also, if you have an animal that has patterned or multicolored fiber, need to carefully consider how this fits into your breeding program. Do you want solid animals? Do you want to show your animals? Judges can zero in on the most inconspicuous blanket spots. After all this, there's genetics.
There seems to be, as with most things, more than one school of thought on genetics in the alpaca industry. Some breeders have told me that they focus on what the animal looks like. Others proudly display their animals alpaca registry certificates with the animals lineage mapped out family tree style so they can show that their alpaca's great grand sire was from the first wave of Peruvian imports. Or their herd sire is a Legacy son (Legacy was a well known and sought after herd sire who passed recently). The animals pedigree means a lot to some breeders.
This inspired me to research my own alpaca's bloodlines a little more. Her sire is Snowmass Goldvision, the light brown alpaca pictured above (on the left). He first caught my interest when I was doing my 'alpaca shopping'. He's even more handsome in person, and has put three gorgeous little girls on the ground at Flatland Alpacas (including my own)! His offspring carry his fleece characteristics. Through the magic of the interwebs (actually through the alpaca registry website) I managed to find pictures of some of his other offspring, who are also impressive. What's better (in terms of pedigree) is that Vision's sire is 5Peruvian Chaccu. He's also well-known, and from the fifth wave of Peruvian imports (hence, the 5Peruvian). He currently resides at Crescent Moon Alpacas and I believe is closed to outside breedings. He's pictured above as well (Top right). So, Devi not only has an awesome sire, but an awesome grand sire as well. Win! Vision's herdsire listing
I'm a dog walker and dog trainer (now), among other things. I teach a little music part time too. I'm also a knitter, a spinner, and I'm very committed to fitness. I'm married to an amazing man who is supportive of all of my projects, especially my new venture into alpacas. Oh, and I'm also a huge fan of Lost, the tv show on ABC.
Spoilers ahead, if you haven't seen the most recent episode of Lost, don't continue reading. This week's theory comes to you courtesy of The Transmission, a Lost Podcast available on iTunes.
Locke was not Locke long before we realized it. As far back as season three. Back when he blew up the submarine, and had those interesting verbal sparring matches with Ben, Locke was really the anti-Jacob.