The Fall of 2000 is when the Alpaca adventure began....read an article about non-traditional livestock and so I started the research. The internet became an easy resource. I became a member of the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association in the United States in 2001 mainly to use their library. Farm visits began as well, and by March of 2001, I had purchased my first pregnant female, Dynasty, whose first cria was due in June, 2001.
On the Saturday before Father's Day, Carmen was born. An inquisitive bright boy, he soon became the darling of the herd where he and his Mom were agisting.
Carmen became our farm ambassador, a gelded male that enjoys meeting the public. He attends the venues away from the farm where he can greet the public at fairs and agricultural exhibits
While attending a conference in Alberta the following year, I visited several farms and eventually purchased three maidens to be bred the following year. These three females stayed in Alberta until the summer of 2003 when they were shipped to Ontario. In the fall of 2003, my herd had grown to Dynasty, her son Carmen, her new female cria Aida, Sierne's Snowfake, Taza and Fancy Doll from Alberta. This herd was now living at a friend's farm near Uxbridge, Ontario.
Four crias were expected in 2004. Two females and two males were born. Sirene’s Snowflake gave birth to a male we named Largo; Taza another male, Torzido. Fancy Doll gave birth to a female we named Loza, and Dynasty had another female we named Lavita. A successful beginning to an expanding herd.
The barn and fencing were the big projects for the summer of 2004, with some new boys coming at the end of August. Neko, a new herdsire was purchased along with a prospective junior herdsire named Auregon. The main herd arrived in mid-September making Andre’s Alpacas an active alpaca farm for the first time.
Where we are now...
Averaging over sixty alpacas, Andre's Alpacas shears the annual harvest of fibre on the long weekend in May. Henry is the shearer but has a team of trusted helpers with varying roles from “head man” to hug the alpaca's head, another to trim toe nails, one to hold the alpaca's hips down for security, another to remove fibre to the fibre room. In the fibre room, a team headed by Dee Graham (a certified classer of alpaca fibre) skirts and grades the fibre, bags and tags the contents and records weight, grade, staple length and writes comments on a recording sheet to assist in batching the fibre in preparation for the mill to process into yarn. Henry is also a certified classer of alpaca fibre.