The Great Race

The great baby race is on! It’s time to place your bets now! (Everyone bets on baby births, right?!) As of right now, 4 out of 5 pregnant alpacas are showing signs of incoming births which has Farm Manager Allie at the highest levels of watchfulness. Mony, Moosie, Hope and Magic are all showing signs of what is endearing referred to as ‘alien butt’, due to the drastic and profound changes that happen to female alpacas backsides with impending births. The girls barn has been turned into a full on maternity ward at this point.

Don’t tell Magic that though, she’s all about spending her summer in the sun.


The only one who hasn’t shown any symptoms of oncoming birth is Delilah. According to Farm Manager Allie, Moosie is showing the best signs of having a cria soon. The baby has moved back and down which is generally a good sign. So the pool is on of who is going to go first. Leave is a message on our Facebook page on who’s going to give us the first cria of 2017. Delilah, Harmony, Hope, Magic or Moosie!

While there’s been all the excitement of the babies coming, there’s also been the stress of weather. Yesterday was forecast to have some seriously nasty weather so there was a flurry of activity to get any and all potential projectiles secured. Including flipping the trampoline upside down and staking it to the ground so it would not end up like those pictures you see on the Weather Channel. You know the ones, the trampoline picked up by high winds and wrapped around a tree or a phone pole. It also meant moving the current construction project, a ‘garage’ for Lynne’s golf cart. That golf cart can get her from the little house to the barn in no time at all!

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The cria season has come to Fallengrund Alpacas. This year we have five expecting mothers in the range of a month. Currently, our eyes are on Hope who is showing enough signs that Farm Manager Allie has placed her in a maternity stall with her birthing buddy Moosie. With alpacas being of the herd sort, they aren’t fond of being alone, even in stalls. Plus who couldn’t use a cheerleader when in labor? Instead of ‘Push, push, breath.’ the stall companion just hums.

(Hope is the little white alpaca, Moosie is the brown one.)

The arrival of the babies is always an exciting time. All of us are excited and nervous, waiting for the signs and photos and updates that come with an impending birth. Lynne and Michael move down to the farm so they are there along with Allie and Chris for the birth of each cria. And now with Instagram and Twitter, we’ll be able to share those moments with everyone. So be sure you are following on both of those as well as Allie-isms on the farm life.



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Is there an offseason?

Michael here.
I have done a lot of things in my life, and with most of them there is an offseason.  That time when you can take some time to rest and recover from the stresses of the year.  I have come to the conclusion that in raising alpacas there is NO offseason.  This fall we did very well in the show ring, but the show season ended, and it was time to worry about winter.

Yes alpacas like the cold weather, but last winter it was COLD.  I am talking Admiral Byrd cold.  So this year we decided we would be ready.  Stocking hay, straw, installing a pellet stove, worrying about insulation, and trenching and burying the water line 40 inches deep.  Guess what?  This has been one of the milder winters we have had in a while.  Go figure.

Now our thoughts are on spring and cria and shows and cria and pastures and cria. Did I mention we having babies this spring?   4 of them.  All at once.  Last year I was spared the “wonders” of the birthing process.  This year I have been shown books, photos, videos and yes even a power point presentation on a 6 foot by 6 foot screen.   (ok, so I was only able to watch part of the power point thing.)  Saying that birthing is not in my skill set would be a vast understatement.   I know more about what is inside an alpaca than I think I really needs to.  I can now tell you what parts should be inside, what parts should come out and what parts should… Ok, feeling a little light headed here.

I am thinking that the last week of May will be my personal offseason.

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A view from the waiting room

This is Michael.  I have once again taken over the blog to explain what REALLY happened around our first cria birth, and how I saved the cria, the momma and the world in general.

There is a reason that men traditionally were placed in the waiting room and left to stew until the baby was born.  I am that reason.
After Lynne had raced off to deal with the birth of Magic I busied myself feeding and tending the pacas at our ranch.  Suddenly I receive a call.  It is time for me to spring into action and bring all my expertise to bear.  Reina and Magic need to be brought to our place.  Ok, not a huge deal until you consider there is no stall for them.  Within a half hour with the creative use of plywood, cattle gates, zip ties and baling twine the problem was solved!

I get the trailer hooked up with lights working, however the brakes were not.  But to paraphrase a great movie quote… we dont need brakes where we are going!

I’m on a roll!

Now I’m on the road obeying several traffic laws but ignoring the important ones.  An hour and half later I pull up to Alpacas of Indian Points and leap from the Hummer in full Mighty Mouse (Here I Come to Save the Daaaay) mode.  That is when I see the baby.  Any chance of being able to help immediately vanishes.

I’m thinking: Oh my god she is tiny and cute and helpless and Reina is huge and how the hell will they make it an hour and a half to Butler in the back of a trailer she can ride on my lap but Reina will freak out and I think I read that if you take a cria from its mom at this point she may not take it back and then we would have to bottle feed it and we have no goats milk or supplement and she is so small and where is anyone who knows anything and besides I saw a video online of a guy that had a deer in his car that wasnt dead and it woke up and kicked him and he had to call a bambalance and alpacas are like deer and she is so small….. and cute. Oh crap!

I say:  Hey Lynne, whats up?

I go out to the pasture and see Magic (at this point named baby) and she is sunning herself happily, or from my perspective so weak she is unable to move and obviously in need of saving.  Reina is humming and clicking either being a nurturing mother or begging me to rescue her baby.  I wasn’t sure which.  We scoop her up and put a leash on Reina and lead her to the trailer.  NO WAY can this little thing ride in a horse stall all the way home, but if I can do one thing it is improvise, so with Liz’s help I line the stall with show mats  (Liz is there?  When did she get there?) and place the baby in her impromptu cria crib and we are off.

Driving home I am certain that every corner turns the trailer into a giant pachinko machine and the baby one of those little silver balls bouncing off every razor sharp edge inside.  Should I stop and check on them?  If I stop that will add 10 minutes to the trip, so I shouldn’t stop, baby needs to nurse, but I should check on them, but if something is wrong what am I going to do, I should get them home. So I soldier on at 75 mph cringing at every bump.

Home, finally, and to my relief Lynne pulls in right behind me.  We open the trailer door.  I am certain the inside of the trailer will look like a scene from Watership Down… (that one is for you Mo) with blood and fur everywhere.  But there is Reina cushed and humming and baby is laying on her side in the other stall.  OH HELL! BABY IS LAYING ON HER SIDE!  Don’t alpacas always cush?  They aren’t supposed to lay on their side right?.  Save the baby!  So I leap into the trailer once again in full superhero mode and reach down to scoop up baby.  She opens her eyes and looks up at me with what I am sure is a “wtf?” expression on her face.  Reina’s hums change from soothing to something resembling… dumbass… and she stands ready to move.

After a bit of completely unnecessary fussing on our parts we decide to just leave them be in their spiffy new stall, and baby walks up to Reina and begins nursing.  Really?  After all that the right thing to do was to just let nature take its course?  That is something I never would have thought of.

The next day we let them out into the paddock and baby.. now named Magic… bounds off on her spindly little legs (that are in no way designed to support her) across the treacherous terrain that is filled with  pitfalls and hidden traps and all I can think is…

Where is the waiting room?

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News from Fallengründ Alpacas

In August, Michael, Allie and I traveled to Irish Meadows alpacas in LaMotte, Iowa to acquire our newest addition to Fallengründ Alpacas; Irish Meadows Peruvian Delilah. A stunning 2 year old True Black female, pregnant by Avalon’s Jacob Black (19 halter championships including the Futurity Color 2012 and AOBA National Championship 2012)

We are thrilled by the aquisition of Delilah and the possibilities that her cria may offer our breeding program. She is due in a week or so. It was a pleasure doing business with Mike and Julie Delaney.

Irish Meadows is a lovely alpaca ranch, wonderful old buildings that are maintained to perfection, beautiful animals, a well stocked gift shop. They were remodeling a granary to house new offices and a bigger gift shop stocking Julie’s fiber, and alpaca products.

So on to our other ranch news. As posted previously, we moved 4 of our herd to the farm in Butler. Ace, Mousse, Hope, Zorro and the two LGD Great Pyrenees; Odin and Thor made the move for Open Barn days on the 28th and 29th of September. They have all settled in and have adjusted to our feeding schedule, the new barn and paddock and having Allie interact with them all day long, along with Pete and Maddie.

We left the three pregnant girls, Reina, Athena and Delilah at Alpacas of Indian Point Hills outside of Petersburg, Illinois. Since none of us had actually witnessed a live birth we decided it was in the best interest of our herd to leave them there until they gave birth, in experienced hands.

Allie’s boyfriend, Daryl, lives in Canada, north of Calgary and she requested a “long” weekend. Our girls weren’t due for 2 weeks so we thought we were in a “safe zone”. We really didn’t even worry when Bart and Rhonda told us that they were going to go to the big auction in Ohio at Magical Farms. Hey, those girls weren’t due quite yet……

Michael and I were in Butler, 45 min. from Springfield and an hour and a half from the pregnant girls.  Bart and Rhonda and Allie all left on their “get aways” on Thursday. Friday passed with regular farm chores, lounging around for me, and Michael doing the feeding, medicine giving and mucking out the stalls.

Saturday began with a downpour. Some thunder, lightening and sheets of rain pounding down on the prairie grass in front of the Big House. I decided I would not get dressed but sit at the dining room table and learn a program I acquired for writing called Scrivener. I had my “Dummies” book out, highlighter in hand, flannel jammies on and hair in a bun. Michael was watching pre-game shows for his football game. Calm, lazy day.

Then the cell phone rang, I looked down and saw Rhonda was calling from Ohio. WAIT! RHONDA IS CALLING FROM OHIO!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Lynne, Reina is in labor and delivering, ” Rhonda said.

“OMG Rhonda, she can’t be, she is 17 days from delivering” I screamed.

“Nope she is delivering now”

“OMG I am on my way!” I shouted as I began running to get dressed.

I did put my contacts in, I grabbed a pair of leggings and shirt…slipped on ballet flats, grabbed a pair of white socks, my purse, filled a coffee cup, called Liz and directed her to get out to Bart and Rhonda’s, grabbed my keys, my Muck boots, kissed Michael goodbye and ran for the car!

In the car, thank gods for bluetooth, Allie called me from Canada. Doing her best to keep me calm. Normally the drive to Springfield is 45 min. I made it in 30 and usually it is another 30 min to Bart and Rhonda’s but I made it in 15 min. I did not get a ticket, for that I am grateful.

Arriving at the farm, I slipped my socks and Muck boots on and headed to the barn. Rhonda’s mom was on the cell phone with Bart, she handed it to me and I listened to what Bart wanted me to do. I said, “Ok” and headed in.

Liz was on the ground with the cria already in a cria coat on the ground and NOT moving. Not flopping, not struggling to sit up. Reina had been tethered and was frantic. Liz was blow drying the baby, we did not know the sex. The space we were in was confining so I thought it would be better to move out into the sun and into the bigger pasture. I told Liz we needed to move them. I untied Reina and scooped up baby and we headed out to the pasture.

I laid baby down in the pasture and began rubbing frantically. Liz peeked and we determined it was a girl and we took turns trying to warm her up and get her moving. Reina stood guard clucking and dipping her head to nuzzle baby and remembering what Bart had said, I flipped up the back of the cria coat so Mama could smell her bottom.

About an hour later, standing her up and trying to get her legs under her I looked at Liz and said, “I wonder if this cria coat is too heavy for her? Maybe she thinks she can’t  move because it is too heavy.” We had a standard poodle once who had to have a cone on his head because of ear infections and he refused to move with the cone around his neck….just his eyes would move. LOL!

So off came the cria coat. We rubbed some more and violá, she moved!! But Bart said she needed to nurse. Reina stood by patiently. I held her and rubbed her neck while Liz tried standing her.

In the meantime Rhonda and Bart had called the vet and called to tell me that she was on her way. She arrived about 2 hours after we had gotten out into the pasture. Thank goodness! We did not know that we needed to strip her teats in order for baby to get milk. The vet saved us! Liz filmed it and watched while I held Reina. Baby got up there and the more she nursed, the better she got! WOOOHOOO!

Unfortunately, baby was so weak and the vet suggested we take her home in order to make sure she was eating about every 2 hours. SO, I had to call Michael and have him bring the trailer to come get Reina and the baby. The transport home was nerve wracking but all of us arrived in one piece.

So let me introduce Fallengründ’s Celtic Magic

Continue reading

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It’s all a learning experience

Good morning from Fallengrund.
It’s been some time since I have posted, but things here at the farm have been extremely busy. I am extremely happy to say that 4 of our 7 foundation herd are finally here!!!

Ace, Hope, Mousse, and Zorro are settling into the new farm and routines nicely, as am I.

Ace is his always charming self, which including perky ears and throwing kisses when I come to the barn. His kisses become more frantic as I prepare the feed in the morning and at night as well as putting on weight after fighting a bout of worms and slight stress from moving.

Our handsome mascot Zorro is doing great, though he was slightly confused when I put him in the pen with Ace and not with the girls. He has become to used to being with them that in the morning, he and the girls meet out at the fence in the paddock and hum their hellos.

Mousse, who I lovingly call our Diva, has become a mother figure in the barn. She checks on Zorro and also puts herself between everyone and Hope, though Hope also puts Mousse between her and the rest of the world as well…..which brings me to Hope.

For the last week I have been slowly gaining this beautiful little girls trust. I had thought in the beginning, her acting up was due to never being halter trained, giving me a fear that she would be THAT Alpaca in the ring. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the reasons behind her actions and reactions.
She is not fond of me coming into the paddock, but she is so curious as to what I am doing and why I am there. I find myself feeling and thinking that those early months after her birth, due to her medical issues and being handled so much because of it, have caused her to has a slight fear of people.

I go about my morning chores, feeding them all and cleaning up pens, Speaking to them all quietly and moving about them all carefully. The others have little issue with my chores and me moving about, but Hope always has an eye on me. Once she realizes I am not there to catch her she moves a bit closer. By this time, she has finished her feed and is humming to be let into the paddock. This is where Mousse comes into play. I will get ready to open the door for Hope and Mousse is right there watching me, making sure I haven’t harmed or scared her Hope.
Halter training Hope is slightly frustrating for her. There are times I feel terrible for catching her and putting the halter and lead on her. She so badly doesn’t want to be there, but once I have calmed her down, whispering to her and gently petting her neck, she relaxes a bit and will walk for awhile.

My heart breaks a little bit that Hope is so distrusting, but I can understand her fear given the issues with her neck and many visits to the vet. I am sure she had been handled a lot, many blood draws and physical exams were given to her as a new cria. I know with time, she will begin to trust me, and understand I am not going to harm her, that I am her protector as well.

Our Livestock Guard Dogs have determined their roles after going to Doggy Bootcamp up at Alpacas of Indian Point and spending time with the amazing Sion. Thor has decided he is the great protector of the girls. He sleeps at night either in their pen all night or most of the night. Odin has taken the role of the patroller. He moves about the barn checking doors before laying in the middle of the barn to sleep.
Both have gotten so big since we first picked them up! And they are still growing!
Dad and I realized they are able to slip between the bars of the panels, but just barely, so we cut a small hole in the fence and framed it for them.
Neither of the boys understood what this was for, so my daughter Maddie went through the hole a couple of times to show them, and viola! Success!

Each day, the alpacas, dogs, and myself discover something new about one another. We are all slowly building trust as a “herd” and family. I know I have my work cut out for me, and I love every second of it. I look forward to the little milestones and hurtles we will get over, as well as the arrival of the other 3 girls which are pregnant and due with in the next month. Stay tuned for more and thank you for reading.

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Our First National Alpaca Open Barn-2013

Well, we are official now, Fallengründ Alpacas is now legitimate in the Butler, Hillsboro, Litchfield, and Raymond, Illinois area. Our first National Alpaca Open Barn event is behind us and we had about 50 guests come to visit us!!

The day before our official opening, our farm was visited by 3 educators from Springfield’s sister city in Japan. A Principle, a member from the Board of Education and an English teacher. We learned that during a school year in the middle school there, they do a segment in Social Studies on agriculture around the world and they will be watching our barn cam. It will be nighttime there but they will still be able to see our alpacas and our Great Pyrenees Guard Dogs.

All of our kids helped us out this weekend make the 2 days a success for us! Elizabeth (our oldest) threw herself into making soaps, body butters, sugar scrubs and lotions to sell. Jacob (our son, second to the youngest) brought his loom out and displayed his “samples”, which are gorgeous table runners and very worthy of being sold (which he did), Maureen (our youngest) and her new husband, John, ran our Concession Stand selling hot dogs, chips, soda, water and Allie’s cupcakes!! And Allie, (our second from the oldest), who is are Farm Manager, did the tours.  We also had Paula Mattingly selling her jewelry on Saturday, a must see at our next event!

Our 4 youngest Grandchildren, Pete, Frankie, Maddie and Alex guided people toward our barn, took the small children to the “activity area” for coloring activities, and talked up the cupcakes!! (Under the supervision of Elizabeth’s husband, Paul). Our oldest Grandson, Tony, ran all the errands, put up signs, and was our “GOFER” all day.

The barn darling was Zorro! All the cuteness, sweetness and fiber rolled into one small midget alpaca. Chocolate Mousse and Ace, two veteran  members of our show string were our seasoned stars who came out and met people along with Mr Adorable, Zorro. We decided to keep Hope in the paddock as she isn’t quite ready to be paraded in front of crowds.

We have realized where we need improvement and how to go about getting where we want to be. The best of learning experiences, and we all made some money. LOL! We had fun once the weekend began and just rolled with it. Pictures will be also coming!

Thank you friends who follow us on here and check in with our webcam, our updates on our pregnant dams and our upcoming births. (Check in soon on my upcoming blog posts about our babies due).


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The Night Before Transport….and all through the houses…..

We have had a busy Spring and Summer…that is the collective “we”. I actually haven’t done any of the physical work, just juggling checkbooks, cooking occasionally and trying to keep the larder stocked.

All the work was begun by Allie and Michael. It became clear to ALL of us that we needed more help after the frame for the barn was up. Time to call in reinforcements! The only one semi-available was our 21 year old Grandson, Tony. So a call was made, a plea was made and money for transportation sent and Tony arrived to help put up the rest of the barn with Michael and Allie.

The heat arrived in the Midwest as the sides were going up on the barn, so the challenges of farming began. They began work at 6 am many mornings so they could be done working by noon. The walls and roof were completed over the following weeks and then Michael set to building Dutch doors for the three outside openings for the girl’s stalls. They took time, and the challenges of painting them with a neighborhood cat walking over wet white paint onto red background, leaving tiny white paw print signatures.

The following weeks saw the doors hung, paddocks secured, big sliding doors put up, electric lines buried, gates built and then we needed to start the fine tuning. We found good hay in Missouri at Casa del Paca. We made the trip via a circuitous way around the construction outside of St Louis and found our way to Casa del Paca meeting Tonja and Mark on a hot August afternoon.

The drive home with 80 bales of hay proved to be quite interesting, considering that none of us had pulled a load of hay before in our lives. So when we were driving down the road and a car pulled up beside us making wide motions with his arms, and pointing upward and then making a box….we knew that we had lost a bale on the highway. LOL!  Gave one up on the road to insure a safe trip home evidently.

So here we are, on the eve of bringing 4 of our alpacas home to Fallengründ Alpacas from Alpacas of Indian Point Hills, just in time for National Alpaca Open Barn days next weekend.

We are all a bit nervous and very excited. We are as ready as we can be. Ace, Hope, Mousse, and Zorro (or as Michael calls him “Z”) will be home by tomorrow evening.

I will try and be more faithful in writing as our adventure really begins now.

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Spring at Fallengründ Alpacas!

Good morning from Fallengründ Alpacas in Butler, Illinois! First light has broken out here on the farm and has eased this Spring’s heartbreak a bit.

We are very saddened to announce that our beautiful 6 month old cria, Fallengründ’s Bridget of Zamboni passed away on May 6, 2013 unexpectedly. She was the offspring of Stone Bluff’s Athena of Adrenlin and Zamboni.

We began feeling the distance at this time and began discussing what we might be able to do in order to get our herd a bit closer to us here in Illinois. Thanks to Bart and Rhonda Leinberger of Indian Point Hills Alpacas in Petersburg, Illinois, we moved our herd on Father’s Day. Michael, Allie and I are happy to have them closer to us now!

Spring has been rough on our plans out here on the farm. The much needed rain following last year’s drought has thrown a huge monkey wrench in our barn raising! The excavator was uncomfortable about bringing in the heavy equipment on wet, soggy ground. Our lane won’t support the weight so they devised a “path” to come in from the side road. We would get 2 dry days and then rain for 3…the ground never really dried out. BUT, we got word a couple of days ago that he will be here on Tuesday or Wednesday to level the ground for the barn and paddock. YAY!

After the ground is level, a one day job, our fencing guy, Jason, will come out and drill the post holes for the barn supports. Excavator Mike will come back, put down the chat and we will begin our barn building. Jason will begin drilling the post holes for the 3 acres of paddock, and pastures.

To add to all of this great activity we are expecting to pick up our two Great Pyrenees guard puppies, who will be our livestock guardians and we continue with the activities surrounding our youngest daughter, Maureen upcoming wedding.

Allie is off to Canada to visit her boyfriend who lives in an area that is being ravaged by floods this year. She will hopefully be back in time to build the barn!

Our two pregnant girls, Reina and Athena are filling out nicely and look healthy. I am anxious for Reina to give birth because she is a terrible “mean” girl now. She has been bred to a True Black male, and previously gave birth to a beautiful maroon boy, I am hoping she throws this same color with our cria. We are hoping for a white cria from Athena’s breeding.

We acquired a little white girl from Stone Bluff Farm and have decided to add a black girl to our females from Irish Meadows. Stay tuned for more information on these two girls.

Watch where you step!



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Flying Fiber!!!

Good Morning from Fallengrund Alpacas!

I have to much that I have experienced in the last few weeks since MOPACA. To top off this post is our wild Mid-western weather! Mother nature must be having a great laugh lately, giving us 70 degrees one day, thunder storms and flooding the next, and the possibility of snow on the third day.  I’ve had to hold back on doing a lot of work outside because of this roller coaster, and plan quickly when the weather decides to play nicely.

We were recently at Stone Bluffs Alpacas Farm for shearing day, and What a day it was! This was my first time experiencing this waltz of fiber flying, alpaca wrangling and happy exhaustion.

Mom, Dad, and I went to Missouri the day before so that we could be at the farm early the next morning. We arrived and began to set up tables as well as clean up the paddocks and lay mats down for the process. Carol had invited others to join and watch the process, and we were all designated a job. Mine…..Alpaca Wrangler. I was excited and ready to go, knowing several of the girls are pregnant ( some due in just a few short weeks) and knew that these were the girls who would give me the most grief.

Once the shearing team arrived, it began like a well oiled machine. These guys are honestly AMAZING, completely set up and ready to go in just a few moments, so we began with the gelded males and the yearling males. All these boys were so extremely easy going and easy to catch, halter and move to the pads for shearing. Ace of Hearts, of course, was left alone as we at Fallengrund were planing on showing him in Kansas City at the Small Breeders Challenge.

I would wrangle and halter, then hand over a boy, then find another, as the fiber flew! Carol had some of her friends gathering bags of 1sts with slips of paper in their bags with their name, and date, as well as a 4 inch section to be sent off and analyzed. After the 1sts were collected, then another bag was set down and the 2nds were gathered in this quick process, teeth being trimmed, nails being trimmed, and suddenly they were done! The boys quickly returned  NAKED of fiber the next was done.

It all moved so fluidly with the boys, and I was quickly in the pen and paddock area with the girls and cria. We moved from lightest to darkest with the girls. Athena, being one of the lightest, was fairly easy to catch given all the other girls around her. I was shocked when she stood with me, unconcerned and at ease for being pregnant. The last time I had seen her pregnant, she was none to happy with me, and Carol for catching her and placing the halter on her. As soon as she was sheared, and mom had collected the square of her fiber, she was set free to another paddock and Bridget was placed on the mat for her first shearing.

I swear to you now, it was the sweetest thing I have ever seen. This little girl of ours laying on the mat, so quietly ( unlike some of the others who would cry and spit) The sheerer leaned down and moved the fiber from her eyes and she had them CLOSED! LOL!!! In the well know ” If I can’t see you, you can’t see me” move, classically used by small children everywhere. Everyone had stopped what they were doing just to watch the youngest and smallest of the Alpacas be sheared. Lots of “Awe’s” and ” Oh’s” as her fiber was gathered, quickly she was handed back to me, where I carried her out to her mom and laughed at this tiny, stick figure of an alpaca rush away from me humming to find Athena.

We continued moving through the morning this way. Shearing a number of the females before we reached the other babies and then pregnant girls. April put me through a work out, not wanting to be haltered nor did she want to be around me, but I held tight. If this is remotely close to being a bull rider, I think I would have gotten a trophy LOL!

While this is going on, I see Mom is gathering fiber and bagging with 3 other women, and Dad was helping with rotating and moving them while they were tied, and then I realized….Reina was next. At this point the pen had thinned out greatly and Reina had that look in her eyes…she knew she was next. I don’t know what else she was thinking as I took the halter and lead over to her. I caught her and haltered her as quickly as possible. She wasn’t spitting at me, she was blowing air at me, ears back, body tense, but she stopped moving. I had no idea that this would be the calm before the storm! I got the halter secure to her, when she suddenly shifted and tossed me into the barn wall, another shift again and I was into the fence, my hand holding on to the halter and lead for dear life. I was NOT letting go of her, because she was NOT going to allow me to catch her again. She pulled, so I pulled. There was a moment, when our eyes met and we came to a very unhappy understanding. She knew she could toss me around all she wanted, but I was not going to let go. I spoke softly to her, though she wasn’t having any of it. I think she is going to remember this, hold it against me, and until the cria she carries arrives….she will have nothing to do with me.

Since we had moved on to the dark females, Mousse was taken from the pen with the remaining girls, and put into what I proclaimed as ” Freedom Paddock” getting sniffed by all of the other girls. They couldn’t understand why they were standing naked of all their fiber, and she was still a fluffy teddy bear. There were glares from some girls to her because she hadn’t suffered the same injustice of being wrangled, haltered, and led to lay down and be shaved naked. How dare she stand before them all in such glory! Little did the other girls know, she would be taken to Kansas City to be surrounded by other Alpacas and judged! ( this is almost a fate worse than death for Mousse since she has experienced all the people, lights, noise, travel and the annoyance of a yearling male who thinks she has a nice crimp 😉  )

Finally all of the females and babies were finished, all moved to Freedom Paddock and it was time for the Herd Sires. These Males are AMAZING. Big, Strong, beautiful, testosterone filled boys who would sooner roll in beans then be caught. I can tell you that Don Juan has a kick hard enough that I thought for certain he had fractured my leg. It sent a white hot, sharp pain down and out my toes. What Don Juan didn’t know, is I have little fear, and a whole lot of chutzpah. I haltered him and handed him off to the amazing shearing team who was still moving at the same quick pace as they started with. Then it was Zane’s turn, and finally….Stewart St.John. I was in total awe of these males, watching the fiber come off them, their total male stud attitude and power of these boys! After all Carol’s ( and our) Herd was finished, we rounded out the day, having 2 others Alpacas from a friend of Carol’s done, and suddenly all was quiet.

Out of breath, exhausted, and hungry as ever, I realized the pinkie on my left hand was throbbing and extremely bruised. I had to think back to when I would have caused harm to myself ( I have to do this a lot, I am accident prone) and realized it took place when I had wrangled Reina. Ah….a dislocated finger.( It has since been…put back in it’s place)

Mom and Dad stayed the night at the hotel, to worn out to drive home, and I changed clothes and headed back here to the farm filled with a sense of pride and happy exhaustion from the days events. The Alpacas were in such better moods the next day, Mom and Dad took pictures of them all sunning themselves and laying out in the sun, blissfully naked of all that heavy wonderful fiber. I will admit I am glad that shearing is only once a year. I couldn’t imagine having to orchestrate all of it twice or three times a year. Next shearing will be done here, on our farm, so it will be our machine that is to be well oiled and move fluidly with the process.

Until Later!!!



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