Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Loving the Alien

On Mother's Day, my daughter and I visited an Alpaca farm. I'd read on Craigslist that they had a pair of females for sale pretty cheap, both for less than a grand. Of course, they are not papered so they cannot be shown, but I'm not very competitive anyway. It's the black one on the left and the red one in the front and center.

Who can resist such silly faces?
I sat in the car while my daughter talked to the herd owner. Fortunately, the pen was right next to our car so I got a pretty good view.
The sale girls are larger than the other girls and not very good conformation (backs are kind of humped) but what can you expect when alpacas normally sell for $4,000 to $10,000 and more, each? I know llamas are used for pack animals on treks and, since these are so big, I'm sure they could carry a light pack on hikes too.Of course, the catch is, these girls aren't halter broke, much less packable...yet.

 They need to sell them quick because they are moving the farm to Georgia in a couple of weeks. If we bought them, we would get all their fiber, beginning with this year. Alpacas get sheared every year, so I figured that, regardless of their conformation, they would give me something back. I did quite a bit of research on the fiber and got rather interested in possible new projects. I've never really thought about spinning yarn. And these girls are not going to have prime fiber for wool crafts, I'm sure. But, you can "felt" the coarser raw fiber and make hats, moccasins, and purses. My daughter likes to make braided hemp jewelry and I watched videos on how to make "ropes" out of the raw fiber for jewelry making. And, if they do give some really soft stuff, it can be spun into wool.

So, after much family debate and deep thought, my daughter and I decided to do it. With the help of my daughter's friend, they hooked up my trailer and got them. The black one is "cushed" in the trailer and won't come out, which is the reason my son and daughter are looking in, trying to figure out what to do. They did get her out and set them both up in the round pen at the front of the house. Nice! I can see them!
 Yalla! came down for a look. I expected to see the horses much more riled up than they were. For some reason, they won't come to the end of the arena nowadays. They looked and ran a bit but I guess more aliens just don't turn them on anymore. When my neighbor brought in her llamas, the horses were freaked out for weeks.
Here's the black one. She looks reddish from the morning sun.
 And here's the red one, names to be decided. I have their registered names but I don't have the actual papers on them. The black one is Katie and the red one is Ellie of Sleepy Hollow. I'm not sure if we're keeping those names. I kind of like Colombia and Magenta.

They are in the round pen by the house for now. My daughter will be moving them to the back, to our old dog run, where they will be safer from predators. Sandy and Buddha ran into the pen with them last night and we watched a kick fest as the alpacas defended themselves. We couldn't call the dogs away so decided to just let them all settle it. Little Buddha, with his big dog syndrome, was antagonizing the animals too, until he got trampled. I watched horrified, but, amazingly the little dog was none the worse for wear and hopefully, learned a good lesson. This morning, he was content to sit on my lap and just watch them. Sandy, ran in and bothered them a couple of minutes but I called her out.

I have yet to touch them. Isn't that crazy? But I'm counting the days to when I can be mobile and start working with all the animals again.

Loving the Alien - song: Loving the Alien, artist: David Bowie, album: Tonight


Shirley said...

You're right, they do have silly- and cute- faces.
Yalla! is looking pretty.

Mikey said...

They're adorable! You're going to have a lot of fun with those two.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

They are cute in an ugly sort of way. From what little I know I have read that Alpacas make better pets than Llamas. But I could be wrong.

Good luck.


allhorsestuff said...

Neat o Val!
We've discovered that our horses accept the 3 foot Alpacas verses the 6 foot llamas !
They are too cute, you'll have fun with them!

Ed said...

You are too cool! I love Alpacas and they make great trail packers for long hikes and they make special backpacks for them to haul your gear.:-))

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Thanks, everybody for the encouragement. I sure hope they're as smart and trainable as their reputation says they are. It should be fun though.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I hope you get to enjoy your new projects soon. Cannot wait to hear how they are to handle. I'm not a fan of llamas, but think the alpacas are adorable. If I had even the slightest reason to get one, I probably would.

Breathe said...

How fun! I'd say you are well on your way to packing around the Sandias.

I like the new names. Sounds like you'll have plenty to keep up with when you ditch the chair!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! You did it! Too funny! Sorry I missed all the excitement. We were down in southern NM camping. Just go home last night.

I've never seen or heard of alpacas packing, but I bet it can be done. We'll have to plan a future packing trip, me with my llamas and you with your alpacas. Now won't that be a sight? Imagine what the horses out on the trail will think. lol!

Congrats on your new little projects!


fernvalley01 said...

Congrat~ Looks like you are going to be busy!

lytha said...

i love the names columbia and magenta!

i had the best RHPS experience this year. Jan 1, 2001. midnight. i took my man to see it with an old high school friend of mine and found it was actually still being performed by live actors in an old theater in west seattle (my home). i felt i really lucked out to find it still being performed by live actors! well the greatest thing was my friend knew all the audience lines and my husband knew all the songs by heart so it was a double/triple concert/movie/play for me! i've never EVER caught so much rice down my shirt, into my bra before at a RHPS performance. i hugged one of the employees afterwards and still carry the ticket stub in my wallet. long live the live-action RHPS!

achieve1dream said...

Too cute!! I love the name Magenta. :)

How much is it to have them sheared? Or are you going to learn to do it yourself? What a fun project. Have fun getting them tamed down. :D