Chain, Chain, Chain…

What link are you in the value chain? “What are your objectives,” she asked?  My husband and I turned to one another, sheepishly smiled, and said, “we have no idea?  What are our options?” That was our first response to the first alpaca farmer whose farm we explored the possibility of owning alpacas.  After visiting a few farms and being asked similar questions, like “what type of alpacas are your looking for?” or “what do you want to do with your alpacas?” we began to develop a more sophisticated and sarcastic response, like, “we hope to breed them and continue to improve the herd in Ontario through our breeding efforts”.  Or, quite simply, “we hope to do no harm!” Our hay and feed suppliers nourish the herd. The question at the time, so early in the game, was very intimidating.  We had no idea what we were getting into; the scope of the industry, what a business our little farm would become, or how critical it is to pick your role in the value chain that is the … [Read more...]

A 10-Year Check Up for a Family Alpaca Farm

Where have all the years gone?  Our family farm has reached a milestone as we enter the 10th year of alpaca farming and take time to reflect on what lies ahead.  … [Read more...]

Shear Chaos: How to Make Shearing Day Simple

Planning is what I do. So a day like shearing day – with all its potential chaos – is a day just waiting for me to get my hands all over it. … [Read more...]

Readying Alpacas for a Canadian Winter

To everything there is a season.  This is true on any farm, and an alpaca farm is no different.  … [Read more...]

What Keeps Me Up At Night

What’s on an alpaca farmer’s mind?  Well, that becomes abundantly clear in the wee hours of the night as you lay in bed and your mind plays a reel of images and thoughts round and round.  If you are thinking of becoming an alpaca farmer and wonder what that reel will include – read on!  … [Read more...]

What to Expect When You’re Expecting … Alpacas!

You may be a seasoned farm family, or a newcomer to farming altogether.  Either way alpacas offer a completely new adventure.  Having little in common with traditional livestock, these intriguing, fibre-producing animals come with their own learning opportunities and rewards.  So what should you expect when you are expecting alpacas on your farm or rural homestead? … [Read more...]

Truth Be Told…

Seven years a farm, and we are a family that has learned many truths raising alpacas.  Seven years later, we are happier than ever with the decisions we have made, the friends we have found, and the business we have developed.  Many truths have revealed themselves along the way.  Wondering what alpaca farming is all about?  Truthfully – it’s a blast! … [Read more...]

Alpaca Farmers: Who We Are

Paris?  Barcelona?  Bora Bora?  No – just take me home.   Don’t get me wrong, you will find me with a boarding pass in my hand and ready to go at a minute’s notice to any of the above, but when you dig a little deeper, and really think about your favourite journey and place to be, there is only one answer.  At least for me. … [Read more...]

Finding Your Focus: Where Do Alpacas Fit?

We have been alpaca farming for 7 years now and we are still filled with the enthusiasm of brand new, first time farmers.  Doing what you love can make work seem like play.  Better than that, alpaca farming is filled with rewards when you find your focus and determine where alpacas fit into your lifestyle and farm style. … [Read more...]

Retail Revelation

We are alpaca farmers. You, me, and others who have created our farms, and raise these lovely, elegant fleece producers. And with the improvements to the Canadian herd that we see at our shows each year, we are definitely demonstrating that we are heading in the right direction. But most of all, we love what we do, and it shows. But we do more than just run our farms and raise our livestock. Many of us also sell the unique, elegant fleece products that are derived from their fibre. And while it is true to say that these products do sell themselves, the reality is that to be successful in retail, it takes a unique set of skills. Retail success is more than just selling products, and turning a profit. It’s about creating an experience so unique and meaningful for your customers, that they share your passion by the time they leave your farm. … [Read more...]