On Tuesday I flew to Kerikeri. This is a town in the far north. The plane was small. The airport was small. But hey, there was a fence between the grazing cows and the runway, so everything is fine! I was picked up there by Jeanette, and taken on a driving tour of alpaca farms in Northland. I was there to look at Totara Heights Joy, a female whose background and fiber traits seemed to match what we are looking for. Plus she was cheap, and cheap as any breeding female ever is. This was way up in Kaitaia, even further north. But it was nie and warm up there, and Spring was well along.
Joy was born and bred on the farm, and her owners were not into the “latest care practices”, so she never saw Vitamine D when growing up, yet her legs were straight and her conformation was great. Good signs of her strong genetic background. I was there to essentially give her a vet-check, as we had already decided her fiber stats looked pretty good. The vet-check involves going head to tail, looking for faults or problems. I tried listening to her heart, but it was so windy I could only hear the occasional beat. At least I could confirm she was alive!
As you can see, Joy is a lovely red-brown, with white markings down her neck and on one leg. The little boy in front of her is her cria from last year. (She was not bred this year because they didn’t have the money for stud fees. The current owners are selling her so they can afford a good stud for their remaining girls).
If we wanted to get Joy shiped to our place sooner rather than later, she needed to come back with us to Jeanettes place. Easier said than done, as she had never been haltered before. The three of us got her in the van. Poor girl, going away from the only home she had ever known! Back at Aurora Alpacas, we had to get her out into a paddock for the night. Of course, all the alpaca have to cross a stream, and she had never seen a stream before. With some effort on our part, and a number of slip-and-falls on her part, we got her across the stream as the last light faded. A long, tiring day.
On Wednesday we drove to another farm and saw another Chilean girl which Jeneatte had thought we might be interested in- Honey. (The three girls were named Chocolate Sunday, Honey and Cinnamon. I think you can guess their colors. I have since discovered that her “official” name is Tuhara R77, but apparently they thought calling her “R77” was a bit impersonal!) This farm was a small place, only 5 acres on a rather steep hillside, and they needed to de-stock before the next round of cria were born. I don’t think we will go for Honey, as her fiber stats are not very good. We will let Jeanette know that if they get desperate and drop the prices a lot, we might come back to them. But for now, no Honey for us.