Now that we are approaching Halloween with winter right before us, the alpacas, llamas and humans appreciate the nice fall days we’ve had. The forecast looks to be good for a few more days of crisp mornings, cool days, and golden sunsets. But…what happened to summer?
Summer proves to be a busy time for most of us. Raising alpacas and llamas here in Montana, definitely proves to be busy times. The days of nice warm hot weather extend from June through the middle of September. The beginning of summer began with shearing all the llamas and alpacas. Soon following shearing, we had the pleasure of 3 alpaca cria (baby alpacas) born on the ranch. One little girl and two boys.
The little girl, Delilah, is out of our great proven female Cherry Jubilee. Jubilee has done a great job for us when paired with the late Hershey’s Hugo. All of their offspring have great conformation, fine, great luster, and a beautiful maroon color. We just love the maroons.
The two boys born this year were Knox and Highlander. Knox is a medium fawn boy out of the stunning white Constance del Sol x Hershey’s Hugo. Knox is a great looking boy with fineness and good density.
The last late summer cria we had was Highlander. He has the cutest little face and is a brilliant fawn color. He is the progeny of our wonderful fawn female maiden Hyalite x Lazy G’s Accoyo Goldstar. The sire, Goldstar, was a male I had seen years ago when he was just a juvenile. He is c0-owned by some friends in Nebraska and Ohio. Breeding to Goldstar was the first time we’d used an outside stud. Hyalite is just a maiden (she’s never had a baby) and in our experience maidens can be a little hard to judge whether they become pregnant or not. . They haven’t had the breeding experience yet (to learn more about the breeding alpaca, click here) and can be a little hard to get pregnant. She was left at the hosting ranch for 2 months and just before she was ready to come home, she cushed down which meant she was receptive when put with a breeding male. Unfortunately, Goldstar, the chosen male, made his way back to his home in OH and Hyalite was in NE. She made the long jouney up to OH and then back to Montana just before last winter.
Knowing Hyalite bred a few times in June, August, and at the end of September, we weren’t quite sure when to expect her to give birth. We had to plan for all time periods. In the end, the beautiful healthy Highlander was born in September. We are really excited about this little boy. He has the best little head just like his father Lazy G’s Accoyo Goldstar and we cannot wait for him to mature a little more. We anticipate he become one of our newest studs!
Hey wait a minute….that looks like a llama!
Llamas have always been on the back burner for us. They have always been on my mind as a great benefit to have for a couple of reasons. First, they make great guard animals for the little alpacas. Secondly, and my most favorite reason, they make great pack animals. We live here in Bozeman, Montana for the lifestyle. We love being able to raise alpacas, llamas, chickens, and dogs while being so close to an abundance of outdoor activities. Once our little ranch is setup for the summer, Anna and I had the great pleasure of hitting the trails with our side kicks Wookie and Granite.
I wasn’t quite sure what to consider when looking for pack llamas a few years ago. Talk to one person and they’ll tell you any llama will do. Talk to an person and they’ll tell you to get a specific kind. In the end, it really depends on what your expectations are for pack llamas. Commercial outfitting may requiring a certain lllama breed for working and packing. Commercial outfitters expect a lot more in distance, terrain, and weight going all summer long putting on hundreds of miles. A weekend recreational packer can get by with most any llama.
Fortunately, Wookie and Big Granite have done a great job. I couldn’t ask them to do much more. We trained all summer for the long archery hunting season here in Montana. The season runs September through the end of October and we had some great trips. I’ll continue to work with the llamas throughout the winter while looking for additional great pack llamas to add to the pack string. We are in the process of building our pack llama herd with great genetics to add to the alpacas.
The changing of the leaves always signals the hunting season and winter preparation. I always get a little nervous when looking for good quality hay for the winter. We prefer second cut grass hay which is harvested in September. Until then, nobody knows what the fields will produce. Weather is such a factor. Fortunately, we have some great resources for quality hay and quality hay stackers. Thanks to all our friends with help you provide.
We hope you enjoy this fall where ever you may be. If you find yourself in Montana, please give us a shout a come by for a visit. Our alpacas and llamas always love visitors. And of course, the dogs love anyone who will give them treats.