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What to do with Alpaca Fiber: Skirt it! Part 1 of 4

July 20, 2009

This is the first in a series of blog entries about what to do with alpaca fiber. These articles are taken from Paca Talk #2 “What to do with Fiber” which can be found on I’ve taken the time to expand each section a little more in these blog posts than we had time for in the podcast. These first four entries will focus on skirting a raw fleece.

So, let’s begin!

You’ve had a big day shearing (Paca Talk #1), and now you have a room full of plastic bags filled with alpaca fleece. Now what?

Unfortunately, there are only a couple ways to make money from a raw, unpicked fleece in a bag: 1) sell it at a discount to a hand spinner, and 2) well, I can’t think of another way.

The point is that you need to pick your fleeces clean of debris and of second cuts before you can sell it. The first thing you’ll need is a skirting table.

Here’s a picture of my El- Cheapo brand skirting table:


(I’ve since moved the whole operation to the garage). It is made of PVC pipe and 1/2 inch hardware cloth and duct tape. I have lost the “plans” but basically, you need a frame of about 3’ by 5’ of either wood or pipe. Then you need to attach the 1/2 hardware cloth to it. Hardware cloth is wire mesh, and 1/2 inch holes will allow dirt, poop and some second cuts to fall through. Then you need to set it up on legs or sawhorses. Over the years, I’ve added duct tape to the edges of the cloth to keep it from snagging fiber and an anti-fatigue mat so I don’t get so worn out standing on the concrete garage floor.

That’s all for now. Next time, we’ll talk about how to skirt a fleece!


They DO Exist- An Elite Full Accoyo

July 19, 2009

thumbnail-2.aspxI recently wrote an article analyzing the Accoyo market in the United States. Take from it what you will, but there are certainly some beautiful Alpacas in this country , and some of them happen to be full Accoyo. This male, Accoyo Bullion of LLC, is one of them.

When I saw this 2008 model Jr. Herdsire at the Midwest Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio, it was his first show appearance. I looked at him once and walked away… No actually I examined his fleece thoroughly, as a judge is suppose to do, and determined he was of elite quality. No surprise to me, that day Bullion would win two first places (one for produce of dam), and a Color Championship in the fawn class.

Bullion would go on to win six blue ribbons and four Championships in spring of 2009:

2009 Midwest Alpaca show, First place juvi med. fawn class of 11
Color Champion 2009 Midwest alpaca show
First place produce of Dam Accoyo Hanna

2009 Fort Wayne IN. Blue ribbon class of 14 Juvi Medium fawn
Color Champion 2009 Fort Wayne IN.
First place Produce of Dam For Hanna

2009 Kentucky Classic class of 12 Juvi Medium Fawn Blue ribbon
Color Champion Fawn Class Kentucky Classic 2009

2009 Buckeye First Place med. fawn juvi Males
Reserve Color Champion fawn 2009 Buckeye

This male has tremendous eye appeal, a consistent theme among multi-Champion Alpacas. His posture, attitude, and fleece coverage already puts him ahead of the class. Bullion has uniformly, dense follicles and strong-styled crimp. He should have been slightly finer at the time I evaluated him. To continue his success in the ring, Bullion will need to retain the fineness that he has. DSC03620.JPG

Genetically, this male is backed by a dam recently put on many “radar screens”. She herself is a daughter of Accoyo Express. Bullion’s own sire is Accoyo Goldsmith. These two paternal lines have done quite well over the years, but Bullion should rank among the top three from either sire.

Accoyo Bullion of LLC is owned by Legacy Criations and Always Accoyo Alpacas.

A Crown Prince is Now King…

July 19, 2009

SBS Crown Prince

SBS Crown Prince

SBS Crown Prince, the 12x Champion white Suri male who has dominated the show ring in 2007/08′, is officially a proven herdsire. The medium/dark fawn cria shares the same color as Prince’s dam, a 7x Champion herself.

When I received this press release I was particularly excited when discovering a photo attachment to the email. The cria is a female in case you were wondering. She appears to have some good potential. SDC10174.JPG

Crown Prince is owned by The Alpacarosa in Mogadore, Ohio. More of his offspring should be arriving any-day- I’ll keep you posted.

Gems & Genetics Sale- PREVIEW

July 18, 2009

gg_logo-sml2-1.jpgHere we go- the first annual ‘Gems & Genetics Sale’. Probably not the best time to add yet another auction to the pool, but nonetheless this should be a fun event. With a social described as “food and wine by the pool” this almost sounds like a vacation. There will be 42 lots offered in all. If you are in need of a foundation white or fawn animal, I suggest making the trip as there are some nice offerings. Lets take a look…

Date: September 12 and 13, 2009

Hosts: Sunset Hills Farm and Mary’s Alpaca

Location: Sunset Hills Farm; Butler, Pennsylvania

This is the first auction hosted by Mary Goodman of Mary’s Alpaca. She has really stepped up to the plate offering a number of her foundation girls:

Lot 14: SCA Peruvian Misty Rose

– Full Peruvian Misty Maiden X Accoyo Avenger daughter

– Produced awesome light daughter in 2005

Lot 25: PCA Accoyo Annapurna

– Arguably one of the top one or two dams at Mary’s Alpaca. Full Accoyo (Vengador).

633831204275682500.jpgLot 34: MFG Camilio’s Velvet Rose

– Futurity Champion herself, as well as the mother of one… Great genetics AND bred to Magnum.

Lot 10: MSA Hemingway’s Vanalika

– Blue-ribbon winning Hemingway daughter, and mother to some nice Champion lights.

That lineup is by far the best quality among a single contributor in the auction. Mary Goodman has put forth four solid proven dams to chose from- which is after-all the most securable buy. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these girls takes highest bid at the sale.

There are five other females (no males offered in this sale) that should be featured here:

Lot 15: RAL Lindsey

– Quality female offered by Sunset Hills Alpacas.

Lot 20: SA Peruvian Quattro’s Joyanna

– By far the most elite-fleeced unproven female in the sale. Multi-Champion white bred to Mary’s, Hudson.

– We recently did a feature on her sire, Supernova’s Quattro.

Lot 21: MG Peruvian Willow By Triumph

– Quality fawn full Peruvian female backed by a consistent dam.

– Took first in her class at MaPaca this year.

Lot 47: Crescent Moon’s Valencia

– One of Laurye Fellar’s top producing dam’s

– She’s brown but her sire is Accoyo Legacy

Lot 13: Tuscan’s Diva di Bella Vita

Just thought I would mention this Tuscan Gold daughter, as we recently covered this bloodline.

All-in-all this sale preview has made me realize this auction is going to be focusing on the proven dam’s. I think this is a good move by consigners- as healthy consistent females is the most secure purchase.

Watch as we cover the Gems & Genetics Sale live for you!

Avoid the Skin Biopsy Blues

July 16, 2009

bestBalbinaPicOkay, so Skin Biopsy testing has been going on in the U.S. for a few years now, what do we think of it?

EXPENSIVE ! …..I know about $300 per SB……….Im with you there.

The average alpaca scores around a 38 follicles sq/mm. An exceptionally dense alpaca has above 65 follicoles sq/mm.

Personally , we have not done any Skin Biopsy tests, but plan on biting the bullet soon and testing some of our herdsires, and a few of our important females.

What has convinced us to get the testing done?

We have several friends that have been getting these tests done regularly for the last few years, and they all seem to come away with the same surprising observations.

Since reviewing the scientific data of SB tests, most of our breeder friends conclude that

Human hands cannot accurately determine density of an alpaca.

What they once thought was dense is NOT, and what they thought was not dense is now very dense!

These particular breeders making this statement are very experienced breeders, all of whom have a minimum of 13 years in the industry, some are past AOBA judges. They claim that with the help of the SB test results, they are making significant changes in their breeding programs. One breeder had Stud A breeding most of his herd because he thought he was VERY dense (Stud A test was approx 45 fol/ Stud B was not used much because he was not dense. ( Stud B test results of approx 80 fol/sqmm), The 24 year alpaca breeder and past AOBA judge reversed his breeding males. He became a believer in the SB tests.

Other breeders are mentioning similar storys.

Okay, I can accept all of this. Technology triumphs again!

But this brings up another interesting point. If human hands cannot accurately determine density, why are we permitting judges to attempt such feats in the ring? Well, obviously we need to have judges attempt to figure out density in the ring, but what are the judges doing to catch up with this technology?

Hopefully some judges will comment.

My thought is that eventually, with the help of SB tests, experts will learn other visual fleece characteristics that correlate to high SB numbers………

I think that eventually, we all will all be capable of determining accurate density with the use of our eyes.

Poll Results

July 15, 2009

261_cartoon_us_economy_largeThe results are final in our first poll. The question was:

In this Recession Are You…

– Going Under…HELP!!! 0 %

– Not selling any animals; gonna hold back on breeding all the girls this year… 13%

– Not sweating it, things will be back to normal soon… 80%

– Having my most profitable year yet and buying everything I see on AlpacaNation! 7%

Thanks to everyone who participated, and be sure to vote on our new poll!

Fit-to-Boom Alpaca Video

July 14, 2009

Video about a woman who falls in love with not only her husband. Click here

A Look at Proven Dams: First Issue- Lionheart's Fawn

July 14, 2009
Sunny Mesa's Tuscan Gold

Sunny Mesa's Tuscan Gold

To me it’s simple- in breeding, the female contributes just as much genetic input as the male. Clearly, there are some herdsires who are very pre-potent, and these names end up overshadowing that of the female. Often times when someone sees a beautiful fleece on an animal they will ask, “who is the sire?”. But my first question is always, “where’s the Dam?”.

This post will be a series of features written on the most pre-potent Dams in the United States. They are in no particular order, so don’t analyze it too much. Hopefully the information will be useful when breeders are making sales/breeding decisions.

Lionheart’s Fawn is certainly one worthy of being on the list of premier Dams. Her sire is ‘Accoyo Starr Kahn’, one of two Shere Khan sons to be imported in the U.S. Her dam, ‘Derwydd Peruvian Coya’ is a Hemingway daughter. Both of Fawn’s parents are white, while she is light fawn. Full Peruvian 1/2 Accoyo heritage. Below is of Lionheart Fawn’s ARI registered offspring:

Fawn offspring

A quick look at this data, and you might assume that the frequent service sire, MFI Brock is to credit. In my mind, he’s certainly a nice male, but his best offspring seem to have always come from Lionheart Fawn.

Daughter, Sunny Mesa’s Tessora, has one of the most successful fleece show records of all-time in the industry.

She was eventually sold after much persistence to Ian and Jennifer Lutz of Cas-Cad-Nac Farm in Vermont. In fact, the Lutz’s are featuring Tessora’s 4x Champion son, CCNF Talon at this year’s National Elite Auction. You also might recognize Talon, from the banner ad Cas-Cad-Nac has been running on the front page of AlpacaNation.

Son, Sunny Mesa’s Tuscan Gold, is a male who has gained a significant amount of attention over the past two years. A Champion himself, Tuscan’s fleece is uniquely fine and silky with elite brightness. A small crop of his offspring began showing this year, winning Tuscan his first Get-of-Sire win.

Son, Sunny’s Mesa’s Royal Troon, is yet another Champion. Also it should be noted that he won the Judge’s Award for Best Hand award in an AOBA National fleece show.

Daughter, Sunny Mesa’s Trista was shown three times, and won three Championships.

Lionheart’s Fawn is currently owned by Lynn Denning-Costner and Tom Costner of Sunny Mesa Alpacas, LLC in Colorado. The following is an excerpt from their write-up on their proven dam:

“Fawn, a foundation female, was purchased at 6 months of age. To date, she is the Dam of 12 Color Championships, three Judge’s Choice Awards, National Best Hand Award, Best Crimp and 2 Best Brightness. She won first place ribbons for Produce of Dam and Produced blue ribbon winners for Bred and Owned”