So my birthday has passed once again, and I am one year closer to retirement from the day job.
Two years ago, we had a party on my birthday and at 7.15pm in front of a large gathered audience (a few of my old chums from London were here, they don't get to see much alpaca action) our black girl Bannock gave birth to Patou Rafiki. He was a big and strong Jack of Spades boy weighing in at 10.60kg. He looked a complete mess at birth, masses of fleece all over the place, and he appeared very fawn. Very fawn indeed.
Rafiki turned out, firstly, to be the biggest character in the herd and secondly come shearing time to be a very handsome boy indeed and a brown boy at that. He is a held in very high regard here in Patouland (and also in North Yorkshire!). He may not make the grade as a herdsire but as an alpaca he is a gem.
Yesterday, Minstrel, a Jack of Spades girl, gave birth to a cria. Once again a big strong cria weighing in at 10.38kg (I don't know where Minstrel kept it, she must have no internal organs!). Rafiki would be a hard act to follow.
However, I do believe that Minstrel and Qjori have followed on very well from two years ago.
May I introduce Patou Taz, named after Qjori's Tasmanian roots (Taz may be lengthened to Tasmanian something or other apparently, and Mrs S usually gets her way!)
As you can see Taz is an absolutely beautiful dark chocolatey brown, a really gorgeous colour.
Feeding within an hour and as seen in the picture below, still feeding well with a very milky face.
Now I suspect like most breeders there are some alpacas who's unveiling by the shearing blades is eagerly anticipated. This year we were waiting to see what Patou Skye would look like as looking at her fleece it was a bit hard to tell. Skye is the daughter of one of our Collabear girls and came to us as a weanling.
Here she is earlier in the year. She looked fawn from the outside but there were obvious signs of other colours when you looked closely.
Well here she is! She looks completely different! So what colour is that exactly?
Oh and I suspect you may want to know what sex Taz is?
Well obviously he is a boy, we don't seem to be doing anything else this year!