Why Show? Because You Love Your Pacas!
By showing we are adding value to our alpacas, which will increase the chances that each alpaca will be valued throughout it’s entire life. We like to think we’ll always keep these little darlings – and we don’t always foresee the upcoming changes that life may take us through. We can’t imagine that anyone would not adore and treasure these babies throughout their lives. But in the real world, having a few ribbons attached to them will help to insure that they will secure homes that will value them and treat them with respect. This is our most compelling reason for showing. What is good for our farm’s reputation of quality, is good for securing the very best future for every alpaca we produce.
The experience of showing is new and sometimes overwhelming -
for pacas as well as owners. But for pacas as well as owners, each show builds confidence and security as we step out into the alpaca world.
Later, whether it’s a girl that you’d like to send out for a breeding when she’s 3 years old, or a boy you sell as a herd sire, having had the experience of showing makes future adventures less stressful. Less stressful for your alpaca, for the transporter, and for the receiving farm.
Are your pacas too young to show? 6 months is the minimum age - but that’s just a number. We have shown alpacas at the ripe old age of 6 months and 1 day – but there have also been 9 month olds that have not reached the size or maturity required to comfortably leave our farm.
We start weaning a 6 month show baby at about 5 months and 1 week – “day weaning” for a week - and then we have 2 weeks to very gently work on encouraging their independence. But Never is there a “Must Go” rule. Yes we’ve already paid the entry fee - but if the little one is having troubles - they don’t go.
And if they aren’t ready to wean – we don’t wean.
Also consider how long the trip is. Are you under a few hours away, so you could bail out and take the youngster back to mommy if needed? Or are you heading down the road for a 3 day trip just to get to the show? Do you have the experience to allow you to feel comfortable recognizing an alpaca in trouble at the show? You will be their advocate, on the road, as you are at home. Will they have friends with them at the show that they have bonded to? We often encourage a yearling female that will be going to the shows to become buddies with the youngest ones during weaning time. Weigh all of the factors involved with the show, the transport, yourself, and the individual baby paca, when making these decisions.
We realize that the illnesses that can sometimes be contracted at shows, are potentially serious risks to health. We have found that our babies generally “pick up” some type of issue (diarrhea, etc.) at the shows, every other year or so. But we have also had the good fortune of having our show babies recover quickly. They also seem to acquire an immunity to many of these issues, and may as a result remain healthier in subsequent years.
Most importantly, check to see that your show babies are strong and healthy, so as to easily recover from any exposure. If there is any question as to the health of an individual you plan to show, then don’t. Assume that they will be exposed to something new at the show - and don’t bring any alpaca that you would not expect to easily handle a minor infection. If the alpaca is underweight, or has been one that seems to run into health problems easily, this alpaca could also be the one that brings diseases to the show and exposes others.
But we do not hesitate to bring a strong healthy individual to a show. It’s a bit like kindergarten - yes they will be exposed to stuff - but in the end, most of us are far better off for having gone!
Have you heard that showing is too expensive?
You cannot buy the increase in your business that a good show can provide. There is no better marketing. If you have just started your alpaca venture, and you haven’t allotted any funds for marketing - then you need to know - no business succeeds without it. The number one place to put those limited dollars? Shows. No business succeeds without a thorough knowledge of your product either. The best alpaca education you can find? Shows.
What do you get for your investment?
Ribbons to add value to your individual alpacas,
add value to their moms and dads and siblings at home,
and even add value to the alpacas you have already sold, related to your new winners.
You get to learn just how good your alpacas are - not only from the judge’s opinion, but by learning to have more confidence in your own assessment. This comes from seeing Lots and Lots and Lots of other alpacas. Seeing which ones get the championships. Get your hands in those fleeces! Talk with other alpaca folk about how they succeed, and share your tips. There is something to be learned every step of the way.
Think of it as sending your paca kids to college. It costs in the short term - but adds value to your entire business, while insuring that the individual alpaca has a better life ahead as well.
Plus - the best folks in the world happen to be found at alpaca shows!
Why show? It’s Fun!!!
Linda graduated from Bel-rea Institute of Animal Technology in 1983, enjoyed an externship at the Denver Zoo, and then worked for ten years as a Certified Veterinary Technician at small animal practices in Colorado and in New Jersey. From 1989 thru 1991, she was the Veterinary Assistant Program Instructor at Denver’s Pima Medical Institute, while also working at Colorado Veterinary Laboratory in Broomfield, CO; with a focus on hematology and microbiology. After discovering and falling hopelessly in love with alpacas in 1991, she made her way to the 1993 AOBA conference,
and shortly afterwards bought her first three alpacas!
She now shares her life with her partner Rus, a pair of Pyrs, a couple of couples of cats, and a passel of some of the finest colorful alpacas in the country.
Visit her openherd site at http://www.openherd.com/farms/843/delphi-alpacas