A cute and fluffy new arrival!

We are delighted to announce the birth of a baby girl at Breezy Hill!

Her mama is blue ribbon winner Dream Possession,
and blue ribbon and champion sire Fast and Furious is her pops.

You can tell just by looking at her that she is a pretty incredible little alpaca.

alpaca cria

alpaca cria

Her mother, and sister Mavrolita, have welcomed her with ‘paca kisses and smiles.

alpaca cria

alpaca cria alpaca cria

The whole family is doing great!

alpaca cria

BHF at South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream (and/or beautiful yarn)!

During the weekend of April 28 and 29, Breezy Hill Farm will be a participating as a vendor at the South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival.  We are thrilled to be part of such a fun weekend, full of games, activities, hay rides, food, and locally-based vendors. There will be something for every member of your family to enjoy!

We will be selling our wonderful alpaca yarns and roving, as well as hand-crafted scarves, pins, and accessories.  Bring the whole family and make a day of it – and be sure to stop by our booth and say hello!

Saturday, 4/28: 10:00-5:00

Sunday, 4/29: 11:00-4:00

Festival Address:

8305 Bolivar Rd.
Middletown, MD 21769

For more information visit the SMC Spring Festival website!

Shearing Day!

Back in April at Breezy Hill we had shearing day!  With our herd of about 40 alpacas, it was quite a project to get them all rounded up to the shearing shed and then trimmed up for summer.  Fortunately, we had great shearers (from Shear Perfection Farm, in Windsor, PA), who do good work quickly, and some wonderful volunteers who helped with restraining the alpacas and collecting the fleece.  Many hands make light work, or so they say.

alpacas

The alpacas mosey up toward the shearing area.

alpacas

The alpacas are not good at waiting single file.

There are a few different ways to restrain an alpaca during the shearing process, and none of them, done properly, cause the alpaca any pain.  On the contrary, the restraint prevents them from injuring themselves or the shearers, and makes the process go much more quickly.  It’s really better for everyone involved!   The method preferred by our shearer is called Australian Restrained shearing.  The alpaca is restrained between two “anchor points” and laid out on a mat, with its front legs bound together in one direction, and the back legs bound in the other.  This gives the shearer great access to the alpaca’s body and prevents any struggling that might result in bruises or worse.

shearing

“Oh, hello there.  I’m about to look so fresh!”

During the shearing, the alpaca gets turned over just once, which is nice for the animal and the shearer.  The shearing happens in specific sections: the blanket (back, sides, and belly), the neck, and the legs and haunches.  The blanket provides the best-quality fleece by far, but the other sections work well for felting, especially, and can become fiber for rugs and baskets and the like.  Depending on the size of the alpaca, and the density of the fleece, the fleece from one animal can weigh anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds!

Don’t tell the animals, but after shearing they can look a little silly.  You’d never know it by the end of the winter, before the shearing, but they have little noodle necks!

How does such a noodle neck hold up the head??? It’s a mystery.

Needless to say, we now have mountains of high quality fleece to clean and get to work on.  Before too long, we’ll have roving to dye (or not – the natural colors are beautiful too) and spin into incredible yarn or use in felting projects.

This fluffy cloud of roving (with a hint of filament for shimmer) . . .

. . . can become some of our beautiful hand-spun yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We take a lot of pleasure in working with our animals to produce unique fiber products truly from scratch.  It’s incredible to look at the alpaca, then look at the yarn we’ve created from its fleece – the transformation is definitely a testament to the quality of our herd’s fleece and to Heather’s creativity when it comes to dyeing and spinning the fleece into yarn!  Stop by the boutique when you visit the farm, and see how beautiful alpaca fleece products can be!

Caring for Alpacas: 5 Essential Facts

Alpacas are one the most interesting animals in the world. Caring for alpacas is not difficult – in fact, they are easy to keep and even easier to maintain. One of their major advantages is the fact that their fleece makes one of the strongest fibers and is used in many industries.

We have a lot of alpaca farms in MD. Farmers have already discovered that these friendly animals are worth keeping. How do you take care of an alpaca?

1. Build a good shelter for them

Though they have the capability to survive cold and harsh environments, it is advisable to build a good and comfortable shelter if you plan on keeping alpacas. During the summer when the sun is scorching hot, and the temperatures are high, provide a shaded area for them.

If you are grazing them, fence the grazing area to keep them safe from predators. You do not know what’s lurking out there.

Always make sure that the shelter is clean.

2. Provide vet care for them

Alpacas also need medical care just like human beings. You will not spend much on their medical bills, but you must be willing to part with some money.

Familiarize yourself with various alpaca diseases and their symptoms. This will help you to know when an animal is unwell and call a licensed veterinarian for a consultation.

They should also be vaccinated twice every year. The vaccine is the same as that used for sheep.

3. Feed them well

For your alpacas to grow strong and healthy, you will have to feed them well and adequately. Typically, they feed on grass and hay, but they also take specialist concentrated foods. Alpaca food is cheap and easily available, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

You should ensure that they do not feed on poisonous weeds like ragwort while they are grazing. They should also be regularly supplied with clean water.

Most alpaca farms in MD allow farmers who are interested in keeping them to visit and learn more about them.

4. Carefully breed them

An alpaca is ready for breeding at only 18 months old!  However, you should be very careful when breeding your alpacas, especially if you choose to do it yourself.

A baby alpaca, which is referred to as a cria, should not be hand-reared unless there is no other option. This is because managing them might turn out to be difficult as they grow older.

5. Shear them once a year

Alpacas should be sheared once a year since they produce fiber. Shearing should happen primarily during the spring to enable them to comfortably deal with the humid summers. This greatly enhances their survival chances even under harsh conditions.

An alpaca shearer who is experienced takes at most 7 minutes to shear one animal. Shearing is a critical maintenance task, and it should never be missed.

Successful alpaca farms in MD are enough evidence that caring for alpacas is easy and rewarding. The benefits are also great and farmers enjoy huge profits. If you can keep a sheep or any other domestic animal, you can also keep alpacas. Trust me, you will love them!

7 Reasons Alpacas Make Great Pets

Most people know that alpacas can be used as pack animals and that their fleece is valued for its silkiness. Pet lovers often ask if alpacas can make friendly pets. The truth is, these llama cousins are friendly and easy to handle. Besides being inquiring, they are also intelligent and sensitive. Additionally, they are calming to be around and show a quick response to gentle handling. Here are 7 reasons alpacas make great pets.

1. Alpacas Have Super-Soft Hypoallergenic Fleece.

If you have never touched alpaca fleece, you will be delighted at how soft it feels. Besides being fluffy and soft, alpaca fiber is naturally free from lanolin and other allergy-causing agents. Whether you want to hug an alpaca or make a blanket from its fleece, you are not likely to suffer the same redness and itchiness caused by other types of fiber. Additionally, alpaca fiber has been granted a class 1 rating by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission because of its flame resistant nature. This fleece is also water resistant, making it a warmer alternative to cotton, and a lightweight option to sheep’s wool.

2. Given Time, Alpacas Are Typically Receptive to Human Touch.

Every relationship is founded on trust. Once this amazing animal becomes acquainted with you, it will be much more receptive to your contact and touch. In fact, alpacas tend to be more similar to cats in behavior than to dogs. After establishing trust from familiarity, most alpacas will allow you to stroke their backs and necks, and even hug them! What’s more, alpacas are very friendly and even more receptive to children than adults, perhaps because children are small, and therefore less intimidating to be around with than adults.

3. Alpacas Have Different Personalities and Come in Many Shades.

Like people, alpacas are individuals, each one with a different personality. Some are shy and passive, some playful and boisterous, while others are proud and determined. They are not only fun to be around, but also curious about everything happening in their surroundings. Furthermore, alpacas are colorful creatures; their fur has been classified in 16 different shades. This attractive range of colors eliminates the need for artificial dying when their fleece is used in interior design or fashion. Alpacas’ special blend of characters and colors will make you spend most of your time strolling among them, watching, and being entertained by their antics.

4. Alpacas Are Easy to Train Compared to Other Pets.

Alpacas are perfect animals for training and can even be trained by kids using a leash and a halter. It is wonderful to watch children put alpacas through their paces — walking over crinkly obstacles, navigating between hay bales, walking across bridges, and even jumping small fences!

5. Alpacas Are Tidy.

As stated earlier, alpacas are more similar to cats in behavior than to dogs. An example of this is that they tend to love a communal dung heap. This quality is beneficial to you because it relieves you from the stress of collecting randomly scattered droppings. Thus, you can select an ideal spot for your alpacas to deposit their beans. Not only does this make clean-up easier, it provides you with a great source of perfect garden fertilizer. Alpaca dung is not “hot”, so you can take it directly to the garden without the risk of scorching your plants.

6. Alpacas Are Helpful.

Alpacas make great guardians of other herd animals like cows, goats, and sheep. They can co-habitate peacefully with most domestic herd animals, as they are not very intimidating to them. However, even though they are smaller than llamas, they do an excellent job keeping away small predators like possums, coyotes, weasels, and skunks. As a bonus, alpacas can help with your lawn mowing, because they bite off the tops of grass while grazing, rather than pulling it up by the roots like sheep.
And always remember, if the need arises, you can use them to transport your luggage from one place to another!

7. Alpacas Are Easy to Care For.

If you have one acre of land, you can comfortably keep up to ten alpacas. Their day-to-day upkeep and training is easy, but like any animal, alpacas need care and attention. Alpacas require regular feeding and easy access to plenty of clean water, of course, as well as adequate shelter from the elements. Additionally, plan on annual shearing, regularly scheduled vaccinations and de-worming, and routine toenail trimming. The cost of keeping alpacas varies depending on your plans and herd size.

Even though alpacas have some quirky behaviors like spitting when they are unsatisfied, more and more animal lovers are opting to keep them as pets because they are easy to look after, intelligent, and tidy. Time spent with alpacas is stress-relieving — perfect for forgetting about all the troubles of the world!

If you’re in the area and want to see just how friendly alpacas are, you should stop over at our alpaca farm in Md. We think you’ll agree that alpacas make great pets! After a fun visit with the animals, you can visit our store as well to see a beautiful variety of alpaca fiber products.

Join us for our Wearable Art: Silk Scarf Needle Felt Workshop

Breezy Hill Farm’s new fiber workshop is finally setup, electrified and will now offering monthly classes. We start with a felting class this Saturday at 11am. Beverages and snacks will be provided to feed your creative minds as you learn how to make a free-style, needle felted silk scarf. In this 3 hour course you will learn the skills and techniques needed to complete a beautiful, one-of-a kind, wearable piece of art! No prior felting experience – just enthusiasm and a love for creative projects. Hope you can make it.

All felting materials are included with your registration fee and yours to keep, including: Felting needles & foam mat, silk scarf, luxurious and colorful fibers

NOTE: space will be limited to 6, to be sure to register while you can! Click on the meetup link to register!

 

Feel free to call me with any questions.

National Alpaca Farm Days is Here!

Come out to Breezy Hill Farm for Farm Days this Saturday and Sunday, September 26th and 27th.  We are waiving our tour fees so you can see and learn about alpacas as you visit them in the fields.  Say hello to our other farm friends such as our donkey, goats, sheep, chickens, and other animals.  They love visitors! Browse our boutique for that special gift for you or someone else.

We have had several recent alpaca births on the farm – these little cria are quite playful! Hope you can come and enjoy this truly unique experience! We are open this weekend from 10am to 6pm. Please leave your four legged friends at home so as not to scare our other animals.

November 29th is Shop Small Business Saturday!

Don’t forget this Saturday, November 29th,  is Shop Small Business Saturday! Support local businesses by coming to our Little Boutique at Breezy Hill which is stocked with alpaca fiber made products. We have warm weather wear, accessories and hand made jewelry – all perfect gifts for your holiday shopping! Can’t make it out on Saturday? Visit our online store: http://breezy-hill-boutique1.mybigcommerce.com

small business

Show Season is Here!

We are very excited to be heading into the 2014 Fall alpaca show season as we have gorgeous entries planned who we believe will be ones to watch out for.  We’ll be putting our best junior alpacas up against some very tough competition and can’t wait to see the results.  Our entries:  name/color/class/sire

Our daughter is extremely excited as well, as she will be participating in her first junior’s obstacle and costume contests with her favorite alpaca, Angeloua.  Their costumes – Cleopatra.  We will be sure to provide updates from each show:  (NY Empire, another I don’t remember, MABA and VAOBA).  Get dates/locations and links for any who want to come watch the MABA or VAOBA.

Breezy Hill Knitting & Crochet Club started

Our visitors requested and we delivered with the start of our very own club for fiber enthusiasts.  This group is open to any and all interested in fiber arts of knit, crochet, spin.  We have held 2 meetings at our farm (September & October) and have been thrilled with the turnout.  It has been wonderful seeing the beautiful projects participants are working, and so nice to see everyone sharing enthusiasm and knowledge with others.  New to yarn art; don’t let that stop you from joining us at our next event – there is always someone willing to help get you started on learning!  Spinners and peg weavers (new or seasoned) are a delight to have in the group also – we had 3 seasoned spinners at our October event.  I was certainly excited about it as I (an extremely novice spinner) learned some tips that resulted in me spinning 5 bobbins of yarn (vs the half bobbin that took me 1.5 years to spin up to then)!  We welcome you to join us for our upcoming club meetups – to register go to our sign up link.