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Congratulations Laura and Robert!

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Today we delivered five boys to their new owners Laura Wilmott and Robert Palumbo. Laura and Robert are starting a fiber farm with these males and plan to add other fiber animals such as angora rabbits and maybe goats. Laura is a fiber artist and Robert a handy man – a perfect combination for their new venture. The pictures show Robert and Laura admiring their new alpacas and introducing them to their guard dog in the making (a puppy Maremma). We wish Laura and Robert all the best. They are great to work with and will be loving owners.

proud new owners of five alpacas

introducing Maremma puppy to alpacas

DNA confirms that Caroline had twins

Friday, October 26th, 2012

In an earlier post from August of this summer, we indicated that our girl Caroline and almost certainly had twins. The only reason there was any doubt was because we did not witness the birth of both crias and twins are extremely rare in alpacas. To solve the mystery we immediately sent blood cards to the Alpaca Registry where they analyze the DNA to confirm the dam and sire. Although the female twin was quickly confirmed, much to our dismay the male twins blood card was rejected twice due to ‘too few DNA markers’. We were beginning to get concerned that we would have a difficult time getting DNA confirmation for the male twin when earlier this week we received word from the Alpaca Registry that they were able to make the confirmation from the third blood card. What a relief! Now our suspicions are confirmed – Caroline did indeed carry twins full term and both are doing very well to this point…as the pictures below indicate.

twin alpacas, alpaca twins

alpaca twins, twin alpacas

Chiquita bred to Santiago

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Several weeks ago we bred our light brown girl Chiquita to the 12x champion male IF Santiago but the breeding did not take. This morning we repeated the breeding. Hopefully this one will take and we just have to wait about a year to see the result. We look forward to seeing the resulting cria and hope that Santiago will add color and density.

Thorn Hill’s Professor Java

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Last season we bred our fawn female (Sasha) to a light brown male (Starbuck de Alta Vista) who is renowned for adding color and density to his crias. About 2 weeks ago Sasha had a male cria and right away it was obvious how Starbuck gained this reputation. Sasha’s cria is much darker than either Sasha or Starbuck. It is also obvious that her cria has a dense fleece. We’ve named the cria Professor Java. We went with a coffee related name because his color is like a cup of joe and his father’s name is Starbuck. Professor Java’s is a coffee shop in Albany that we’ve enjoyed and which inspired his name.

Sasha

Starbuck de Alta Vista

Professor Java

Chasca earns a blue ribbon at the 2012 Big E alpaca show!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Our dark brown yearling female Chasca took first place in the dark brown yearling female class at this years Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) alpaca show. The video below shows a short (1min 41sec) summary of Chasca being judged and the judges comments when awarding Chasca the blue ribbon.


YouTube

Ana in the sub junior showmanship class at the 2012 Big E alpaca show

Friday, September 28th, 2012

We’re back from the 2012 Eastern States Expostion (The Big E) alpaca show where Ana participated in a sub junior showmanship class. The showmanship classes are judged on the handlers ability to prepare and present their alpaca in the halter ring. At the sub junior level (under 8 yrs old) it’s really just about fun and getting the kids interested in showing alpacas. The video below is a short (30 seconds) synopsis of Ana in the ring and winning her blue ribbon!


YouTube

Ana loves the crias!

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Ana loves the crias. Everyday after school she spends time with them in the barn. Here’s a picture of Ana holding one of Caroline’s twins that we named Edelweiss.

Ana holding alpaca cria.

Caroline has twins!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Alpaca twins are very rare but it appears our girl Caroline defied the odds and had twins last weekend. It all started Friday afternoon when I arrived home from work. I had been keeping an eye on Caroline who was bred to Snowmass Legacy Gold last summer (a herdsire co-owned by Cas-Cad-Nac Farm and Tripping Gnome Farm) and was now about 330 days into her gestation. Knowing Caroline was nearly full term I immediately went to the barn to check on her. Standing next to Caroline was a newly born white cria and within about 10 minutes Caroline passed her placenta further indicating the birth had occurred recently. As with most alpaca owners, the first thing I did was check on the sex of the cria – a female! While checking the sex I realized the cria was truly tiny weighing just over 8 pounds. For comparison, most alpaca crias weigh at least 12 and as much as 20 pounds or more when born – so 8 pounds is very small. I immediately wondered if it could be a twin but seeing no other crias I went about my business of making sure the cria was fully developed and interested in nursing. Caroline and the cria spent the night in the barn resting and bonding. Things got more interesting the next morning when our daughter said there was another cria in the pasture. But how could this be – our only other pregnant girls were not even 300 days into their gestation which is too early to be delivering a healthy cria. Sure enough, in the pasture was a fawn cria who was completely dry (indicating it had been born some time earlier and had had enough time to dry). After checking the sex – a boy – I recognized two things about this new cria. First, he was also tiny weighing barely 8.5 pounds and, secondly, none of our girls were paying him any attention. Not knowing who the mother was I decided to herd everyone into the barn where I could watch and wait for the mystery mother to pass a placenta and thereby give herself away. After a few hours with no placenta passed I realized it wasn’t going to happen. Perhaps the placenta had been passed earlier in the pasture and our trusty guard dog made a snack of it. We will never know but now we had a bigger problem – a cria getting weaker and no mother stepping forward to let it nurse. I started to supplement the cria with whole milk and a touch of Karo syrup and started to worry about having a bottle baby that requires nursing every 2 to 3 hours 24/7 – not something my wife or I were excited about! We decided our only option was to try and get Caroline to adopt this new cria so I isolated Caroline with the two crias. With the help of our vet, we gave Caroline a uterine flush and poured the discharge on the new cria’s back in the hopes that Caroline would recognize the scent and accept the cria as hers. At first, Caroline refused to let the new cria nurse so I bottle fed him the first day and through the first night. Much to our relief, when I went out for chores the next morning Caroline was allowing both crias to nurse simultaneously! Since then things have progressed nicely with both crias gaining weight every day and appearing to be quite healthy. As time has gone on we’ve come to realize that this new cria is almost certainly Caroline’s cria too – making them twins. Our other pregnant girls are still carrying their crias and there are no indications that any of our maidens had an ‘accidental’ pregnancy that we were unaware of. To solve this mystery definitively we’ve sent in blood cards to the Alpaca Registry where they will analyze the DNA to confirm that Caroline is the dam and Legacy Gold the herdsire. We’ll keep you posted when these results are in. In the meantime here are a few pictures of the twin crias and Caroline.

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

As promised, here is some more information on the newest addition to our herd….Good Golly Miss Molly. At her first show, the 2012 North American Alpaca Show, Molly placed first in a highly competitive class of 14 true black juvenile females. Judge Jude Anderson commented that Molly’s fleece was very fine with excellent uniformity of density and micron and that she is very true to type with lovely growth, balance and vigor. Clearly Jude was impressed with Molly as are we…and we are grateful to Bob and Michel Richards of Aramaar Alpacas for making Molly available for sale. We think she’ll take our dark breeding program to the next level!

award winning true black alpaca,

GoodGollyMissMolly

Harvest time

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

On an alpaca farm the harvest comes each spring – not each fall. In the spring we ‘harvest’ our alpacas fleece by shearing them. Then begins the job of sorting through each fleece, skirting it to remove as much debris and second cuts as possible, and sorting it into like-quality lots for more efficient processing at a mini mill. Yesterday we sheared our girls and below is a picture of some of the bags of fleece and the fleece of one of our fawn girls laid out for examination.

alpaca fleece, shearing alpacas, alpaca fiber, skirting alpaca fleece


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