Well, the day that many alpaca owners dread is now over. 62 alpacas shorn, resulting in 124 bags of fleece (first and second qualities), together with a few bags of rubbish. An average yield of just over 2 Kg per animal. Colin came along with an assistant this year, so we had two shearing mats on the go, but it all worked out very smoothly once we got the workflow going. Phew – exhausted.
We took our show team along to the Bath and West showground on Tuesday, and then attended the show ourselves on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We also had a small craft stand showing (and selling) our yarn and products. Numbers attending seemed to be down on previous years – largely we suspect due to the fact that it was not half term (due to most schools scheduling half term the following week, to take advantage of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee bank holiday). Unfortunately, many of the schools brought along groups of children, many of whom seem to have no idea of how to behave en masse ! Much better when they’re with their parents (grumpy old man speaking there). Nevertheless, we received quite a few serious enquiries from people thinking of buying some alpacas for flock guardians.
On the Wednesday, Rhona finally produced her cria, an extremely healthy female sired by Langaton Caliban – fawn/brown head, saddle, rump and rear legs with white neck, chest and front legs ! Iced coffee comes to mind.
And then on the Saturday, Antonia delivered hers, this time a solid black male and the first of this year’s much-anticipated crop of crias sired by “Daer Enahs Streslecki of Cambridge” – what a mouthful – for convenience hereinafter and henceforward to be referred to as “Strez”.
What a wash-out ! Just as well it was only a one day show, as it rained fairly heavily for most of the day. And then we got stuck in mud trying to get out. Best forgotten, methinks.
Well we had a great time with our very first open day on 22nd April – lots of people came to have a look at these strange animals and their products. We had “all hands on deck” to help out with the event, covering everything from car parking and children’s colouring-in to catering (free tea coffee and drinks, not to mention lovely cakes !). Pat and I finished the day rather hoarse and exhausted, but I think we informed and educated quite a few people about alpacas; maybe some will join the industry.