Monday, August 16, 2010

More spin-off entries!

I arrived home today to find two buckets of postal mail sitting on my front porch. Wow! We've got a lot of last minute entries for the State of Texas Alpaca Rancher Spin-off Competition! I haven't opened them all up yet, but I'm thinking we might have another 20 or so entries here! This is great news for our organization.

Any income (after expenses are paid, of course) received from shows like this enable our organization to partially fund educational courses for our members. This is a win, win situation. A lot of the breeders cannot afford really expensive classes, but if our organization can fund a portion of the fees for speakers or some of the other expenses for seminars, the costs are greatly reduced for our members. It's just exciting to see it all coming together. Anyway, I just thought some of you might want to know where I spend my time. Lots and lots of time for the business is spent on the computer doing things just like this. I wrote the software the judges use to judge events like these. Part of the work is getting everyone's information into the software and then separating out the fleece from the identifying information. We can't let the judges know whose fleece they are looking at or who it belongs to. We want an unbiased judging. So, there's a bunch of up front work that has to be done before sending the entries off to the judges. It's all in a days work... but fun, nonetheless!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hay delivery!

About once every year, we have to replenish our hay supply. When you are feeding fourteen alpacas and two horses hay twice per day, it adds up! Every year, my dear husband makes a trip out north to get some good coastal hay.

When we had five horses, along with the alpacas, we needed 250 bales of hay per year. Since we've cut down on the number of horses, we only need 150 bales of hay per year. That works out pretty well because our trailer only holds 100 bales of hay. So later, after it cools down a bit, we'll go back for the additional 50 bales of hay OR I can just go and pick up a couple of large, round bales to put out in the pasture. What people don't understand is how much this costs. Square bales are costing around $6 per bale (give or take $0.50). This last little trip cost us $600. Now mind you, this doesn't include the cost of grain that we feed the animals. It all adds up.

I don't like charging people for farm tours. It just doesn't "feel right". However, a friend of mine recently suggested that I put out a jar for "donations to the feed bills" on farm tours. What a great idea! That idea is sounding better and better. That may help out when we go back for the additional 50 bales of hay!

What do you think?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Raising chicks

Well, my dear daughter and I decided to try and incubate some eggs about 21 days ago. In fact, it was the day before she left for her mission trip. I told her I wasn't about to start those eggs and keep up with them during the time frame of her absence. So, we waited. Well, we actually waited 12 days. Eggs should only be held for a maximum of 10 days before incubating, to ensure a higher hatch rate. Well, here is the proof. Out of about 24 eggs, only two hatched.

So, my daughter doesn't have to worry about nearly the amount of stink in her room now, while the chicks stay inside until they are large enough to survive in the coop. Hailey's really good friend, Bonnie, has decided she wants to give a go at hatching chicks, so she has borrowed our incubator and about 15 eggs. We'll let you know how that turns out in about 21 more days! :o)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

State of Texas Alpaca Ranchers Spin-off Competition

Whew! That's a mouthful on the title, isn't it? Well, I've been busy, busy, busy lately receiving, sorting paperwork, entering data into our judges online system, and separating identification papers on our Spin-off competition entries. So far, we have 55 entries for this year's Spin-off! That's already above the national average for a show this year! Whoo hoo! I think the judges are going to be really impressed by all of the entries. The best part of my job (the show Superintendent) is getting to put my hands in all of this fleece. Oo la la! Good luck to everyone in the competition!