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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020 to all from New Groove Alpacas!

The second half of 2019 was busy and somewhat challenging to say the least.

We celebrated the farm store Grand Opening on September 28th in conjunction with National Alpaca Farm Days. We were thrilled to see so many visitors to the farm and grateful for the help from family, friends, and volunteers from University of Delaware FFA members to keep the day running smoothly. In October, Kuzco and friends attended the Fall Craft Fair at Willey Farms and were a HUGE hit. We are thrilled to see this local business get back up on it's feet after the devastating fire in November of 2018. September thru November saw our attendance at several other indoor craft and vendor fairs both locally and downstate.

With things so busy we made a decision in the early Fall to hold off doing any breedings until Spring 2020. We hope to send Hot, Demi and Mariela down to their original farm to be bred in early May and Sweet Spot and Tempera in late June. That means the earliest we can expect crias will be Spring 2021.

Mid-November we unfortunately ran into our first major health emergency. Alpaca Ambassador Indy managed to injure his right eye and it developed into a pretty nasty corneal ulcer and infection by the time it was noticed. Indy ended up being transported to New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, PA in the back of my Scion Xb (because at that point I had never hitched or towed the alpaca trailer and at that point it wasn't a good time to attempt it for the first time) and for anyone wondering....yes, a 110 pound alpaca DOES fit...although we were hard pressed to convince him of that and pretty much had to pick him up to get him in (which, incidentally, requires at least two adults). Indy ended up at New Bolton for 5 days to get the infection under control but luckily did not require surgery. However, he came home with many tubes and lines to facilitate administering meds every 4 hours around the clock and was restricted to a stall in the barn. That lasted for 5 weeks although as he improved the vet extend the time between doses to the point that we were up to every 8 hours by the end. Not to be outdone, about a week and a half after Indy's initial injury, MacTavish did the same exact thing, although it was noticed much sooner (as Mac got a SERIOUS bang trim after Indy's injury) and wasn't nearly as badly infected. Mac made the trip to New Bolton in a more civilized manner (as it became necessary for me to learn to tow the alpaca trailer by myself) but did end up in "solitary" with Indy for the remainder of the time. Mac's injury left Kuzco in the pasture by himself and he was NOT happy and wasn't shy about letting us know it. Concerned, about him developing ulcers from the stress of being by himelf, a call to my wonderful Suri mentor and I was on my way to her farm to pick up Ronin and Coalition to be pasture buddies for Kuzco....and everyone is still living happily ever after. We never did figure out exactly how Indy and Mac injured their eyes (but alpaca eye injuries are not uncommon) but they both had full recoveries and have been back in the pasture since right before Christmas. I keep a close watch on everyone's eyeballs now.

Looking ahead in 2020, four of our animals (Indy, Kuzco, Sweet Spot and Tempera) will be attending the Alpaca Owners Association National show in Fort Wayne, Indiana in March. We are very excited to be able to exhibit with other alpaca owners from across the country. We will also be taking Indy and Kuzco to the Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Association (MAPACA) show in Harrisburg PA in April. April will also be our shearing month and we look forward to having our expert crew from Mariacher Shearing to the farm to get our herd ready for the warm summer months.

We will also be hosting a Spring Open Farm Day which will be posted on the website as soon as we have a shearing date assigned. We will also again be participating in National Alpaca Farm Days the last weekend in September. Keep an eye on our events page for announcements of these and other activities.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The year in review

It is much harder to keep up with Blog posts than I thought it would be. Here we are nearly a year into our journey and I have not found the time to make any more updates.

In early October of 2018, our mama alpaca Truffles delivered a healthy (and LARGE) baby boy who is now our mascot and as such was named "Emperor Kuzco". Kuzco and Truffles joined the herd from their home farm when he was 10 days old and the rest of the girls were very excited to have them back.

Later that month, I made the decision to add Suri alpacas to our Huacaya herd. Two young Suri females, Sweet Spot and Tempera, along with their "Auntie" Wild Flower joined the Farm at the end of that month.

In November of 2018 we had our first Open Farm Day to invite our new neighbors in to see the farm and visit with the animals. A wonderful time was had by all.

In March of 2019 we packed up the two Suri girls along with one of our Huacaya girls Demi and headed to State College PA for our first alpaca show as exhibitors presented by the Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners & Breeders Assoc (PAOBA). Although the weather was finicky and the mountain passes from here to there were scary (and I wasn't even driving!) we made it to the show, survived check in and had a wonderful time. Our girls behaved very well for the most part and we came home with lots of ribbons.

Upon returning from PAOBA it was time to wean Kuzco. He was so excited to see his friends return from the show that he didn't even look back when I opened the gate to let him in with them. It took him several hours to realize the door to the milk bar had been permanently closed. I was a little concerned after some of the weaning horror stories I had heard but everything went amazingly well. Truffles was a pro at this and almost looked relieved to have the milk bar shut down. A few weeks later, we added two more Suri boys (MacTavish & Indy) to our growing family and separated the boys from the girls. Kuzco was very excited to have new age appropriate boy buddies to play with and the three musketeers quickly settled in with each other.

April brought three big events....Spring Open Farm, shearing and another alpaca show. Our open Farm and Easter Egg Hunt were a HUGE success, although the girls had to be locked in the barn the day before the event due to the very stormy weather and shearing day looming the next day. Shearing day dawned clear (at least at first) after a night of very stormy weather however we discovered at 5 AM (in the dark) that we had lost a huge pine tree limb which unfortunately had fallen across the driveway (but fortunately had MISSED our pasture fencing by mere inches). No help for it but to break out the chain saws and get it moved (because we weren't moving ANYWHERE otherwise). We were headed to our mentor farm for shearing and the tree delayed us at least an hour. By the time we left it was at least clear and not too terribly cold......that didn't last long. Half way to our destination the skies opened and while the huacayas in the front of the trailer were protected (we had plexi-glassed in the front half of the trailer before PAOBA because of snow in the forecast) the Suris in the back weren't as lucky.....and they were totally SOAKED by the time we got where we were going. Luckily my mentor farm has HUGE chicken house fans which we turned on the wet animals and which dried them out enough to shear them by the end of the day. At the end of the month we loaded up the three boys for their first show and headed to Harrisburg PA for the Mid Atlantic Alpaca Association (MAPACA) show. Our boys did extremely well including Indy winning his walking fleece Class, MacTavish getting second in his WF class and Kuzco coming home with several ribbons as well. The boys were sheared after they were shown and were much happier going home.

Early summer found me learning how to skirt and prepare my fiber for the mill as well as learning special prep for Indy and MacTavish's fleeces for entry into the Suri Network All Suri Fleece show in Colorado. Our fiber went to the mill to be spun into yarn at the end of June and the fleece show judging was in early August. The weekend after the judging , I got an excited text from my Suri mentor that Indy's fleece had won RESERVE CHAMPION! His banner was just shipped to us this week and is proudly displayed!

Now that this hot and humid summer is almost at an end, we have started to focus on our Fall planning. We will be celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days on September 28th along with the grand opening of our farm store. We also have several events lined up to attend with our mobile farm store. Three of our girls will be bred in mid to late September so if it takes me another year to post again, hopefully we will be announcing some cria arrivals on the Farm next Fall.

Until next time....

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

And so it begins

In December of 2016 I started thinking about becoming part of the wonderful world of Alpacas. I got online and searched for local farms knowing absolutely nothing and after our first visit I was sure that this was something I wanted to do. It became apparent rather quickly that it was not going to be easy to realize the dream...for starters my home was on 2 acres not zoned for livestock so the biggest hurdle was the horror that comes with selling and moving houses. I kept visiting farms (I think I stopped counting at a dozen), attending seminars and alpaca shows and just generally educating myself as best I could. December 2017 I was finally ready to start getting serious. The house went on the market (and stayed there for 6 months....ergo the reference to the horror of selling a house) and in the meantime the search for new premises was on. Six months and two failed contingency contracts later, the farm that is the new home to New Groove Alpacas came on the market and things all finally fell into place. Settlement and moving was in the hottest part of July (something I was trying to avoid but didn't quite manage). August was spent prepping the farm for animals. In it's past life the property was home to a Standardbred racing stable and after that to pleasure and 4H horses. The sellers however had no animals on the farm for the three years they were there and the animal facilities were somewhat neglected. Not only has there been a boatload of cleanup but the old horse post and rail with electric wire fencing had to all be removed to make way for alpaca appropriate fencing. In the Spring I selected a wonderful Mentor farm and purchased several animals from them. Now the dream is very nearly a reality as alpaca fencing goes up at the new farm next week and 3 of my 4 my girls (#4 is in the 'family way' and due mid October so she will be staying put for awhile on my mentors farm) will hopefully be coming home at the end of the month. I will try to keep this page updated as best I can with our adventures into this strange but wonderful new world.