When we bought our first female alpacas, almost four years ago Sue and I had a dream. A dream involving lots of beautful coloured alpacas pronking happily in a field.
I also had a rather strange personal dream. It involved me running with a herd of the finest coloured alpacas in the world down a long sloping meadow into and across a stream. I don't know why there was a sloping meadow and I don't know why we ran through a stream but we did.
It was a dream in slow motion, the sun was shining, the golden rays bouncing off my bronzed naked torso, my long hair flowing behind me like a stallions mane, a smile rippling across my chiselled face revealing a set of perfect 'movie star' teeth. I was running effortlessly alongside the alpacas as they looked across at me adoringly. We chuckled together, we were as one.
Yeah, odd dream, I was wearing trousers by the way it wasn't one of those sort of dreams.
Anyway that second dream will never come true. I am bald for starters. My running style is more like a controlled stumble and I very rarely bare my rather substantial torso anywhere near the sun. The first one though? Well, with the first dream I think we have a chance.
We now have eleven of our own females, two black, five brown and four fawn. Out of those girls seven will be giving birth next summer. Hopefully some of those will be females.
Next summer we will have all eleven hopefully falling pregnant. In other words over the next couple of years we will be expanding rapidly.
So how is the dream (the first one) going so far?
Well as I have mentioned before we have punched well above our weight in the shows we have entered. Not small shows either. SWAG spring show, Bath and West, the Futurity, all shows with well over 300 alpacas.
It goes to show that we are doing something right, our carefully thought out breeding strategy is working.
It's all very well reporting good sales, and yes, we have had a good year but that is not what it is all about. Sometimes we lose sight of what the whole point of breeding alpacas is about. The end product, the fleece.
To that end we are getting somewhere. The cria fleeces we have this year are the best we have seen. We will not be featuring much next year on the show circuit as we only had three cria this year due to resetting the herd 'clock'. It has cost us a year really but in the long run I think it was worth it. Spring births certainly do seem to be the best way to go. Great weight gain and so far, nice fleeces.
We have used Jack of Spades over six of our girls this year. Jack is without doubt the best black herdsire I have seen and I am very excited about what he will produce with our girls next year. Columbus (The Clumpmeister) has been used over only one of our females this year, Priscilla, one of our foundation girls. We have also used Clump over Judy who we look after and he has had his wicked way with four other lovely ladies of various colours. I know he'll produce something good.
So the dream is underway, when the industry is ready, we'll be ready too. You can bet on that.