Alpaca

Slow Fashion : Alpaca Fashion

At Little Valley Farm we are very excited about the changes to the Australian Alpaca Industry. 

The Italian fleece buyers have been around for many years buying Australian fleece, now China is on a growth path as they are starting to appreciate the quality of our Australian fleece and genetics.  We can thank the Australian Alpaca Association for helping with this growth.

Over the years, there has been an increase in family run mills across Australia.  We have used a small mill to clean our fleece and make our own alpaca yarn knitting balls. We also work with a local artisan in the Wollombi Valley to hand spin our yarn.  You can see our products for sale online here.

We have made pillows, cushions, bed throws, a scarf, a beanie and a super warm and heavy winter quilt for us to use. Its heavenly! 

We will send our next batch to the clever people at Adagio Mills who are based in Orange.  Our shearing day is booked for 13th October 2018.  

We recently purchased two top fleece girls and one super stud to change our genetic and fleece structure at Little Valley Farm. With the new fleece, we will start to produce 'slow-fashion' which is 'sustainable fashion' made by family owned businesses in Australia. 

This kickstarter campaign from Adagio Mills will help take this industry to the next stage. We are in! Are you?  If you would you to help kickstart Adagio Mills then click here

Spinning 2018 fleece collection

At Little Valley farm we are getting ready for Alpaca shearing day so looking at what colours we should spin together. Should I keep our yarn knitting balls one colour or add colours to our fawn yarn ball. Here is a sample we spun which is 100% Alpaca fleece in fawn with black. Do you like? Hmmm should I do both or stick to one colour?

#littlevalleyfarm #alpaca #alpacas #australianalpacas #instaalpaca #knitting #alpacafleece #lagunaNSW #visitwollombi #touristdrive33 #myopenkitchen #myopenkitchenstories

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Shearing day is 13th October, 2018 at Little Valley Farm, we will be shearing 14 alpaca's in white, fawn and one chocolate brown alpaca. We can't wait.  If you would like to help out and get some hands-on alpaca experience please contact us. 

We also have the train and shepherd's hut accommodation available for that week. 

Alpaca cuddle anyone?

Say hello to Majestic and Suki Oberon. They are the sweetest alpacas you will meet and they will come up to you to eat out of your hand. Their fleece is outstanding with lovely crimp and we look forward to shearing them in October and then spinning their fleece.  Its glorious!  

Both girls are pregnant and due early 2019 so we will have three different blood lines at Little Valley Farm. 

Book your farm stay with us at Little Valley Farm.  Couple farm stay for 4 adults so book online before Spring 2018 books out. Alpaca cuddles are free.  

www.littlevalleyfarm.com.au

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Photo taken by Daniela 31st July 2018. You can see how dry the grass is here. We are so looking forward to some rain.  We have only received 2 mls for July. 

Drought2018

Its just on six months since we did the ABC Newcastle drought interview.  It was a stinking-hot summer and I looked like I had enough.  I had never felt so un-glamourous in my life! 

But now looking back to February 2018 after my interview, we luckily did receive some rain but definitely not enough and definitely not constant rain.  We are lucky, as we are a small farm but we all have livestock and produce to grow so it all affects us - whether you live on a farm or in the city, the produce quality will decline and our grocery costs will slowly increase, I won't even mentioned the hay costs for us! 

So I think its time to do another interview as after our ABC interview it rained two weeks later and we received some good rain with 104mls for that month but sadly not enough. March onwards it reduced down to 69mls and April was 26mls, May 15mls, June 72mls and July only 3mls.  So maybe if I do another un-glam interview I will make it rain! 

We finally managed to sell our mini-cattle only two weeks ago and buying hay was getting harder and also feeding the 15+ alpaca's who are all pregnant so that will expand quickly up to 25+ alpacas, which means a lot of lucern hay for my babies next season. 

Hope you have all seen the images of the Upper Hunter drought and how worse it is across NSW and QLD.  The good team at Buy a Hay Bale have been working non-stop delivering goods to large farmers who need help.  You can make a small donation to them here

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Photo taken June 2018 its all very crunchy under foot. The alpaca having brekkie on lucern hay and they love it. 

Click here to read the February 2018 ABC Interview. 

Bernie versus Beanie

Jack Frost is back and my 100% handmade Alpaca beanie now back on my head. It’s cold here but now my noggin Is toasty and warm. Bernie the sheep is wondering why I am wearing Alpaca..... Bernie mate, it’s a lot warmer than sheep and does not smell of lanolin like you, Matie!

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This fleece was shorn from Allessandro back in 2016. Allessandro is light fawn alpaca with a chocolate kiss on his neck. He is a sweet little thing and our first born.  We love working with the alpaca fleece as its so clean, warm and easy to use without that lanolin smell and oily feel that sheep's wool has. 

You can always purchase fleece from Little Valley Farm either raw, spun or milled. Click on our website for online sales or simply send us an email. 

PIC - do you have one?

When buying an alpaca or three, make sure you have a PIC for you property.  You will need a PIC (Property Identification Code) if you keep alpacas even as a hobby?

A PIC is an eight-character code allocated by the state department of agriculture (or an equivalent authority in each state or territory) to identify a livestock-producing property. The PIC forms the basis of Australia’s food safety and traceability programs and is used in cases of disease outbreaks, bushfires and animal emergencies.

Individuals must, under law, have a PIC if you own or keep 1 or more cows, sheep, goats, pigs,  deer, alpacas, llamas, horses, ponies, donkeys, or more than 100 poultry (i.e. domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail or pheasants) or 10 emus or ostriches.

In NSW all livestock owners and occupiers of land that carries livestock must have a PIC, regardless of whether the livestock are moved or not. This is a requirement under the Biosecurity (NLIS) Regulation 2017 and Biosecurity Act 2015.  Contact your Local Land Service to obtain your PIC today.   Click here on how to apply.

Watch the LLS video on PIC’s here.

When purchasing an alpaca from Little Valley Farm please ensure you have your PIC code ready and can be easily obtained from your Local Land Services. Refer to the link above to obtain yours. We will now include your PIC number on our invoice for traceability.  Image above courtesy of Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm.

When purchasing an alpaca from Little Valley Farm please ensure you have your PIC code ready and can be easily obtained from your Local Land Services. Refer to the link above to obtain yours. We will now include your PIC number on our invoice for traceability.

Image above courtesy of Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm.

Alpaca Health Winter 2018

Most farms would have enjoyed an extended period, where drenching has been unnecessary, due to dry conditions.

It would be advisable to faecal test, following rain or for those that primarily drench when they consider it necessary, to consider drenching now that the ground is moist.

Most areas have enjoyed some rain lately, drenching for Barbers Pole after a few wet days following an extended dry period may save a stressful and urgent situation, that comes with Barbers Pole burden.

Fluke is hard to diagnose and requires a specific drench, if animals are in very wet paddocks or paddocks that may be affected by swollen creeks or flowing water, then you need to keep this parasite on the radar.

Tape worm can also be an issue following extended dry conditions, in drought there is an increase in wildlife sharing our paddocks looking for food and water, they are renown for bring tape worm with them, please keep this in mind. Keeping a check on dung piles, for tape segments, is the undisputed evidence of tape presence, please check drenches are adequate to treat the parasite you are targeting..

Thank you to Deb Trostian, Animal Health and Welfare.  AAA NSW Region of the Australian Alpaca Association.   Click here to find out more about the AAA. 

Photo courtesy by Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm

Photo courtesy by Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm

Meet Neve-Maria - a very special little alpaca

Meet our one year old, Neve now called Neve-Maria for a really good reason.  Her mother is feisty Bianca and the crankiest one of the lot but she is my favourite as she keeps everyone in-check!  Bianca is my second eldest alpaca and has given us the most wonderful and full-of-personality alpacas over the years.

Usually we have several cria's born at the same time but our mating schedule did not go accordingly to plan so Neve was solely brought up by her serious and stern mother.  We do find it so much better to have several cria's born around the same time, so they can buddy-up and get up to mischief together. 

The interesting thing about Neve is that she is a very shy, quite and non-pushy alpaca - nothing like her mother!  She has never pushed in or spat at feeding time and always kept to herself - a gentle little soul. 

On the saddest day of my life, when we received news a family member has passed, I was down at the feed shed and visibly upset. This little alpaca, Neve, walked straight up to me and put her face in my face.  She then allowed me to hug her. Alpacas are generally not affectionate creatures but are definitely inquisitive creatures and Neve was one never to be touched, so this was really quite out of character for Neve. 

Anyways, after this day, whenever she see's me, she comes up to me and kisses me, sometimes she will cush (sit down) in the paddock and hang out with us mere mortals. 

Here is one of my fav photos taken by guests, @arlie4cake of @mellybic hanging out with Neve.  Looks like it should be a famous alpaca sweater commercial.  

So if you have the chance to stay at the farm, you may also be able to take a photo or three of Neve-Maria my little angel. 

This post is lovingly dedicated to Maria-Adele, Naples, Italy, 2018. Bacci!

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Photo by @arlie4cake featuring @Mellybic and Neve-Maria, the alpaca. 

Small Business Rebate 2018

Last year we applied for the Small Business Rebate for our alpaca farm.  It helped us set up some safety guide lines and have on-stock some PPE (Protective personal equipment), which we should have had from day one. 

Anyways, the rebate had us thinking about the alpaca pens set-up especially at shearing time when there are over 20+ alpacas lined up to be sheared, can be slightly chaotic especially for the couple of alpacas that are slightly nervous and flighty and the 5-6 people that are on-deck helping us out. 

We created five pens to sort and shuffle the alpacas in and out of the shearing bay. The rebate, had us thinking about the safety elements including gates and pens. 

I know its only a $500 rebate but it certainly helped out in the cost of the pens and gates.  

If you have an ABN you can apply for the $500 rebate back to small business owners who buy and install eligible safety items to address a safety problem in their workplace.

You can find out more on how to what to do to apply for Safe work NSW. Click here

A day on the alpaca farm

Well, we welcomed Sir Richmond in our earlier blog post, (view here). And here he is in action! 

The other alpaca's are in a seperate paddock whilst one wether intriguingly watches over and one cria thought it would be fun to join in.  Luckily for us, our gentle stud, does not mind the interference.  He is way to focused "singing" to this maiden. 

As alpacas are induced ovulators they are stimulated to ovulate by the act of mating. The male sings (orgles) to the female during the act of mating and it is believed that this also encourages ovulation. A female ready to accept a male will “cush” (sit down) and allows the male to mount her. One who is pregnant will run from him and spit at him. This is called “spitting off” and is a useful tool in determining whether a female has previously ovulated, or is pregnant.  Otherwise stick to the tried and tested method of ultra sound and/or blood test to determine pregnancy.  And very importantly, record all mating dates as 11.5 months later, you wont be able to recall anything! 

Turn on your sound to hear the famous male alpaca “orgles” love song.

Find out more about Little Valley Farm alpaca's here and when we have them available for sale as pets. 

Welcome Sir Richmond

Well, I wanted to introduce Sir Richmond to you all but Richmond had other things on his mind. So in all his glory.....  Welcome Sir Richmond, our working stud!   He was brought onto the farm and did not disappoint.  Straight to the job and no mucking around with this fella. 

Maiden Merribelle was the first female to greet him and sit down for him very quickly. Too quickly, I thought, but our maiden lady, had been waiting way to long. 

I was once told by a breeder many years ago, that alpaca's like to be pregnant.  Gosh, I thought, that's weird right? Well after nearly five years of breeding alpaca's at Little Valley Farm, I can see, they do like to be pregnant.  The girls temperament changes once they are pregnant and I usually notice the change a couple of months in.  

The breeding girls are usually serious and too busy raising their cria or working out how to steal as much hay as possible from each other.  Well, the herd of wethers we have, are just too entertaining. The wethers are usually rolling about the grass, leg wresting each other or just trying to get involved in the courtship process! (That's another video for later!).   Wethers are fun and entertaining so we usually have a small herd of them, one for protecting our girls and two, because they are just great farm-tv. 

Keep an eye on our page for when we have wethers, cria's and pregnant girls coming up for sale. Our herd is growing ever so quickly and our fleece and genetic's are improving every year. 

They are lovely natured alpaca's and some love a cuddle but mostly they love the bucket of feed.

Click here to see our current Little Valley Farm livestock sales. 

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Australian Alpaca Association

Australian Alpaca Association

The Australian Alpaca Association are coordinating the 2018 Australian Alpaca Weekend over 5-6 May!

It’s a great opportunity, whether you are interested in joining this growing agricultural industry, thinking of owning just a few alpacas as pets, or simply want to learn more, visit a farm and talk to a breeder in your area.

Visit: www.alpaca.asn.au/alpaca-info/australian-alpaca-week to find an alpaca farm near you!


Alpaca Grooming Day

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the next Grooming Day. You will be taught how to handle, hold and cut alpacas toe nails. We do this every three months and if it has rained, its even better as their toenails are lovely and soft to cut, making the whole process nice and swift. It’s also the day to check their fleece, teeth, eyes and give them a cuddle or two. 

 

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Daniela with Bianca, Sophia and Zoey taking a casual walk around the paddocks. 

Fun fact: Alpacas come in two types: Suri and the huacaya . The huacaya has a wooly, dense, crimped fleece — like a teddy bear, giving it a very wooly appearance.  The suri's are long, shiny and dreadlocked looking.  At Little Valley Farm, we specialise in the huacaya.  (Pronounced wah-KI-ya).

Photo courtesy of Jim Merchant

Meet Sophia and Loren

Our beautiful girl, Sophia arrived at Little Valley Farm about over four years ago.  She was so pretty with her glamorous fluffy ears and long skinny legs. She was glam but over the years, she become goofy and oh so playful. She went from Sophia Loren to Lucille Ball! 

She was soo goofy in fact, we wondered what she would be like as a mother.  Well, our girl did not disappointed.  She produced a lovely little fella named Loren and then a second male, one year later. She is now feeding and caring for her new cria and loves being a mum. I do have to say, these animals are wonderful with their young and all day and night long you hear mum calling for her bub when they wonder to far. Its just simply lovely having little cria about. I think Sophia, would agree with me. 

 

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Here is Sophia and her bub. 

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Lilly and her bub born around the same time. So we have double trouble pronking about the farm. 

Contact Little Valley Farm for alpaca sales from wethers, females with cria-at-foot and pregnant females.  Training days on how to care and maintain alpaca's can be arranged. Simply email us your requiremnets and we will send you a quote.