The second of our two expected fall crias was born on Friday, November 6 on a beautiful sunny, warm morning and weighed in at 17.9 lbs. In keeping with our classic rock naming regimen we've named him Bohemian Rhapsody. We'll call him Bo for short. He is the first cross of our two premier herdsires Snowmass King Leonidus, who is Bo's maternal grandfather, and Poseidon Isaac's Matoskah, who is his father. At first glance he appears to be rose gray in color which could be from his great grandfather on his mother's side who was the silver gray herdsire Ashland's Silver Bullet. Rose gray or fawn he is a really handsome addition to our herd!
No doubt you may have heard about, or even seen the video of alpaca shearing produced by PETA. While shearing is a stressful event for an alpaca, here at Sugar Hollow we use a professional shearer who takes great care to produce our harvest of fleece quickly and efficiently with as little discomfort to the alpaca as possible. Below is a youtube video of our shearer Jay Mariacher at work. Although the video was taken in 2011 it is an accurate portrayal of how he shears today. Additionally, click here for a link to an official statement from the Alpaca Owners Association which describes with much detail how NOT shearing an alpaca would be much more cruel than the 8 or so minutes of discomfort shearing causes. It contains a lot of information and is much more succinct than we could ever be. If you are concerned about alpaca shearing please take the time to read it.
It was an exciting day! We were at Market Days in downtown Waynesboro while back on the farm - our long expected cria was born! Fortunately our daughter Julia was there and able to attend the birth and everything went off without a hitch. Our newest arrival is a girl and we named her Cecilia after the Simon & Garfunkel song from the 1970 "Bridge over Troubled Water" album. She weighed in at 17.7 pounds and at 5 days old is running around the pasture trying to fend off our 4-month old boys Deacon Blues and Abracadabra who are very pleased to have a new playmate!
Congratulations to Lia Mort of Richfield, PA on her recent purchase of Matoskah's Johnny B. Goode! Lia was looking for a companion alpaca for her 8-month old male cria Buck who was about to be weaned and Johnny was a perfect fit for her needs. After arriving Johnny seemed to really enjoy his new surroundings, new friends and new home and we know he will spend many happy years ahead on Lia's farm!
Here is a line up of our fall events as they now stand:
In celebration of Small Business Saturday we will have our farm store open from 11:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, November 28. There is no need to call ahead! Just come on out to find that special Holiday gift for your alpaca loving family and friends.
Christmas Holiday Market is being held in conjunction with the Waynesboro Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting on Saturday, Nov 21. Come join us in Mainstreet Park from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM. The parade begins at 3:00 PM with the tree lighting occurring immediately afterward.
Holiday Open Farm - Saturday, December 12 from 10:30-4:00. Come see the alpacas in the weather they love - COLD - and warm yourself by our fire pit with some hot chocolate or coffee. After consuming some Holiday treats, visit the farm store to finish up your last minute shopping and then treat yourself to some warm alpaca mittens, gloves, socks, hat, or whatever else catches your fancy!
Our yearling male Born to Run placed third out of 11 in the white color class at the 2020 Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association Fleece Show held on August 7 & 8 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. His score of 84 earned him an Advanced Fleece Award and was high enough to have taken the blue ribbon in other classes, but white is always a very competitive class in which to compete. He scored well in all the categories that help make his fiber a joy to spin into lovely, soft yarn. With a score of 19.5 out of a possible 20 in fineness and handle, 8.5/10 in uniformity of micron (commonly known as consistency) 5/5 in uniformity of length, and 5/5 in uniformity of color he confirmed that we are on the right track with our breeding program toward our goal of producing alpacas who will produce outstanding yarn!
Congratulations to Bryant Greene of Sewell, NJ on the purchase of two of our breeding males - Honey Boy Edward and Jumpin' Jack Flash! They will make a terrific addition to his farm where he intends to raise alpacas for yarn production among many other activities. Honey Boy and Jack will produce offspring with great characteristics for quality alpaca yarn production. Honey Boy was in the top 15% of EPDs for Mean Staple Length (fiber length) and Standard Deviation of Average Fiber Diameter (consistency). Jack was in the top 1% for Average Fiber Diameter (fineness), SDAFD (again, consistency), and Spin Fineness. We hope the sires will provide Bryant with many wonderful fiber producing alpacas and wish him the best of luck in all of his farm endeavors!
The second of our 2 expected spring cria's arrived on May 29. Abracadabra (named from the Steve Miller Band song) weighed in at 17.6 lbs and was standing and nursing in about an hour. Deacon Blues, our cria born about 2 weeks earlier, was very happy for a playmate and was anxious for "Abby" to get big enough to run around the pasture with him. Fortunately, thanks to mama Rhiannon, Abby was strong enough to play in just a few days. Now the two of them are inseparable and tend to annoy the adults as they romp around the pasture!
The first of our two expected Spring Crias hit the ground on Sunday, May 17. In keeping with our classic rock theme we have named him Deacon Blues. He weighed in at a healthy 18.7 pounds. His mama, Sweet Caroline, is very attentive and is providing him with plenty of nutrition. He gained more than 2 pounds in three days! Now we are waiting for our true black female Rhiannon to give us cria number 2. Her due date just passed so it won't be long now!
It was cloudy, but the rain held off for our shearing day on April 27. Jay Mariacher and his shearing crew harvested the fleece from our 18 camelids in about 2 hours and 45 minutes. If you do the math that's about 9 minutes per animal (although the llamas throw off the average a bit because they take longer). Kathy has begun skirting the fleeces to prepare them for processing at Blue Mountain Farm and Fiber Mill just north of Harrisburg, PA. For your enjoyment here are some before and after pictures, plus our llama Gabriel being sheared standing up! (The alpacas are all sheared lying down).
We are Jay & Kathy Brown of Sugar Hollow Farm Alpacas in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Learn more about us here.