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  • Writer's pictureFiona Christie

An Unusual Spring

For us at Christie Alpacas, spring is usually an exciting time of year as we prepare to reopen for the season. Our alpacas usually get the winter off - the weather in this region of the world tends to be cold and wet during the winter, not much fun for customers or alpacas - and we reopen from April to October. In March we would usually be taking the alpacas out for walks ourselves to get them back in the swing of things and used to having their halters on and leaving their fields. We did this as normal this year through March, but unfortunately Covid-19 soon put a stop to our routine and instead of opening in April we were forced into lockdown. So far we haven't been able to welcome any visitors at all in 2020.


But even in lockdown, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. This year our usual Australian shearer decided to hang up his clippers to pursue new adventures. There were a couple of other alternative shearers we could have used, but we decided it was a good time to try our hands at it ourselves. In previous years we have been constrained to the schedule of the shearer, whilst this is understandable, it was also frustrating that our alpacas weren't typically sheared until late July when the best of the weather was usually past and their fleeces didn't have sufficient regrowth before the colder weather started. We had a couple of weeks of warm weather in May so decided it was the perfect time to have a go at shearing them. All in all, it was a success - all 11 alpacas were sheared and had their teeth and toenails trimmed. We were, of course, a little slower than a professional but the alpacas were quite relaxed throughout and I've seen worse 'lockdown haircuts'!


The other thing which happened in May was our matings. We decided to not to have any cria this year, simply because they would be born too late in the year. Alpacas gestation period is, on average, 345 days (around 11.5 months) but it varies quite a lot and can sometimes be over a year. Bear and Babooshka were born in late July/early August last year, meaning their mums couldn't be mated again until late August, and their cria would have been born in August or early September this year. In many places, even just further south in the UK, this would be fine, but our Autumns tend to be very wet and windy which isn't ideal conditions for young cria. So instead we decided to skip births in 2020 and mate this May, hopefully resulting in some lovely healthy cria in May 2021, which will have the whole summer to grow strong and enjoy the sunshine before the colder days make an appearance.

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zoeydee82
Aug 19, 2020

I can't wait until you are able to open to the public again so I can take the kids and meet your gorgeous Alpacas ❤️

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rach1669
Jul 21, 2020

Lovely to read all about your venture into the world of Alpacas. I drive past them regularly and love to see them all. Glamping looks lovely too!

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