Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, November 28, 2005

Can you say Dr. Seuss?

My sister Phyllis has been talking about getting into the Alpaca breeding business for a long time now. She's researched them, visited farms, even learned to spin fleece. Alpaca are small llamas, bred natively in South America for their fleece and as food animals. In the US, however, they the latest greatest livestock. Aparently you can no longer import them to the US... or no longer export them from S.A... something like that. So there is an Alpaca shortage and breeding is a hot business.

So she called me a month ago and announced she was buying 3 pregnant females! Terribly exciting - a breeder in Albuquerque helped her locate 3 good prospects which were at the time spread between Georgia, Missouri and Colorado. So plans began to get them shipped closer together so that they could go home to Phyllis's when she had her pens and sheds built.

Long story short (the long story can be found on her blog), the one in Colorado is about 30 minutes from where we live, so she and Mike came down over the weekend to meet the first of their new brood: Sophia.

We know nothing about Alpaca, and I have to say my first and lasting impression is that they look like something directly out of a Dr. Seuss book. Really oddly proportioned and their gaits are this weird flowey rambling type gait. (in other words - about as far from horses as can be!) Never the less, they most certainly have a cuteness factor that cannot be denied.

The two-week old 'cria' who was at the farm.


The crimping and fine-ness of the fiber is the unique attribute of Alpaca Fleece.

Grahm Cracker has a particularly cute face

We were amazed to see their inquisitive nature, and laughed at the noises they make by puffing their cheeks out with air. They have wacked-out feet - two large oval pads that end in nails, and only have teeth in their bottom jaw. Their top jaw is just a hard pallet the lower teeth grind against. Like I said - they seem like something out of a child's imagination.



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