Monday, July 20, 2009

Fiber Picking

A friend of Cindy Telisak's, from Jacobs Reward Farm, came by for a visit today. Dawn was interested in finding out more about the alpaca breeding business. Dawn grew up with parents in the cattle industry, so she understands the "farm" life. Alpacas are really easy to care for. I spend approximately 45 minutes each morning feeding the alpacas, horses, and chickens. I check water buckets, hay buckets, and let the chickens out to begin their free ranging. The pregnant mamas are closed in their stalls for the day and the misters are turned on. Everyone has access to a stall with fans and misters.

In the evening, Hayden and Hailey assist with the barn chores. Hailey is responsible for the horses and the chickens, and then refills hay feeders for the alpacas. Hayden feeds the alpacas grain and refills all of the water buckets. I am responsible for cleaning the stalls and overhang areas. This usually takes approximately 45 minutes for all of us combined. It's not too bad. Those are the daily chores. Of course, there are days when we trim toenails, do weighings, give annual shots, collect fecals for tests, shearing, etc. All in all, alpacas are pretty darn easy to care for.

After returning to the house, Dawn mentioned she would be interested in the fiber aspect of raising alpacas and asked if I would show her how to clean a fleece. So, into the breezeway we went. Nisha's fiber was already on the skirting table. We began picking the hay out of the fleece and skirting it as we went. Before I knew it, we were done! Wow! It goes so much faster when you have a friend to do it with! As you can see, the results are beautiful! Nisha's fiber is now ready to be washed and sent off to the processor. It is a beautiful grey "cloud" of fiber. Ahhh... this is the part I love...putting my hands in all of this gorgeous fiber! It's soooo soft. It reminds me of those Charmin commercials. "It is so squeezably soft!" Grin... Go ahead. You can squeeze the alpaca fiber all you want!

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