— The Openherd Team

Hidden Hill Farm

A Fleece Apart from the Rest.

Carol Karsten
27 Mattheson RoadAntrim, NH 03440
603-831-0315
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Keep Your Own Counsel

Ben Franklin had it right, right from the start. Did you know our early coinage had the words "Mind Your Business" on them? Well, they did. An astute businessman if ever there was such, Franklin meant business when he used the term!
How does this relate to alpacas, you might ask. Well, since I have been raising alpacas for twenty years and counting at this point, it means a lot to me. First of all, except for the examples at zoos, alpacas did not start entering the US until the mid 198 read more...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Praise of Older Females and Other Musings

Man In Motion, Dam Nuzzling

Man In Motion, Dam Nuzzling

Well, as I write this, our farm is in the full throes of farm babies. My brother secretly allowed all his Toulouse geese to set eggs -- as if I would not notice, mind you -- and all of a sudden I heard the peeps coming from the antique barn and then the cutest goslings were running hither, thither and yon. My Royal Palm turkeys have no poults as yet, but they figured out the egg sitting business, and my Tom is basically the main egg sitter! So, I suspect we will see poults hatching naturally. read more...
Man In Motion, still wet

Man In Motion, still wet

Dam, Not Too Typey but...

Dam, Not Too Typey but...


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Getting It Right At the Outset: Notes for Newbies

We all were there once, and the memory of those days has yet to fade from view, even though I have been raising alpacas for twenty years. I wrote this piece originally as part of a new breeder package I used to hand out but, with all the people buying online, I figured a rework of this piece was in order and adding it as a blog made sense as well.

There is nothing more important than the selection of your first foundation female alpacas, and no one will know exactly what you need bet read more...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Breeding for Keeps...Then Selling Your Best.

Well, it is now June (please, please tell Mother Nature, if you have her ear, as I am tired of wearing a winter jacket to do my barn chores), which means breeding season is upon us here at Hidden Hill Farm Alpacas. Ideally, by now I would have submitted all my fiber samples so that I can assess the 2016 cria crop but, being a fleece sorter, I know a lot already. Regardless, statistics can give us a great deal more with which to evaluate animals.

On shearing day, I collect that prime read more...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Musings on Breeding While Doing Chores

I think I do most of my thinking when I am working in my two alpaca barns. So, here are a few "off the top of my head observations" from the last couple of days.

If you want to be known for your stud males, be known for the quality of your dams. Now, this really is true. New market entrants go through a couple of phases, including the "research phase," the "build-out phase," and then the "build from within phase." Whenever I meet someone in the "build-out phase," I try to advise t read more...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fleece or Be Fleeced -- Part Two: Cria Fleeces

A gentle snow is falling here, and all the tree lines, fence lines, barn roofs are featuring softened edges. Postcard images of New England in winter are the order of the day here. So, I am at my computer and musing about fleeces, once again.

As someone that has focused primarily on production of elite whites and lights over more than seventeen years in alpaca breeding, I think it is time to discuss the wide range of “first fleeces” on crias, as these come in a wide array of styles read more...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fleece or Be Fleeced -- Part One

Fleece is the most important characteristic involved in breeding alpacas, after sound physical structure. We know that the pre-Incan civilization selected for fleece on alpacas and with llamas they selected for their ability to act as beasts of burden. From archeological records, we also know that these pre-Incans had some mighty amazing fleeced alpacas. Now, there are a dazzling array of fiber statistics that are used to entice potential buyers. My suggestion is that, when handed a histogr read more...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Form and Function: Channeling Your Inner Alpaca

Brillanta

Brillanta

Now that I know we have a classic Nor’easter bearing down on our neck of the woods, I have some time to commit some of those thoughts I have always had about alpaca breeding to virtual print form.

I always encourage prospective new breeders to keep visiting as many farms as they possibly can fit into their schedule, and you might ask why. I sincerely would hope that people that take up alpaca breeding in all seriousness develop a set of “must haves” that would make up that ‘total p read more...
Casanova, Dually, Pundit

Casanova, Dually, Pundit

Dually Noted

Dually Noted

Accoyo Goodfella

Accoyo Goodfella

Bonhommie

Bonhommie


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rainy Days...Heaven Knows, We Need Them!

Suri on a Rainy Night!

Suri on a Rainy Night!

Despite the dreary weather, we continue to prepare our farm for the eventual onset of winter. We are busy getting wood for the woodstove, resurfacing barns, figuring out when and where that next hay delivery is going to go. Now, we can see the several days of rain in a number of different ways. For one thing, provided one of our local hay suppliers planned for it, these are good soaking rains that will help them cut a third cut of hay, and wouldn't that be a wonderful thing! Once you are a s read more...