Carrageen Suri Alpacas LLC

Serious about Suris

John and Carol Furman
82 West Gray RoadGray, ME 04039
207-653-1144
207-653-1759

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's a hot day....keep your Alpacas cool!

One of the first alpaca questions that people from out of state ask is "How do they do they stay warm in the winter"? While this is an issue here in Maine, a bigger issue is dealing with heat. Yes there are many warm days here in the summer!
Alpacas are very susceptible to heat problems. One must always be observant that they are not showing signs of lethargy, labored breathing or of being unsteady on their feet. All of these are signs that the animal is in trouble.
Make sure that they have access to cool water at all times. Also fans should always be on in the barn so that they can lie down and "feel the breeze". Hosing their bellies occasionally is very good for them, and is a lot of fun!
Young crias have to be watched even more as they tend to follow their mothers (who can stand the heat better). Babies will often not know to find a cool spot and can get in to trouble quicker. White crias also can become sunburned, so watch out for that.
We add the temperature and humidity numbers. When the combined number is 150, we are very observant. When it approaches 180, no alpaca is allowed out of the barn area.
By being a good observer of your animals you can prevent many heat related problems.
Carrageen Suri Alpacas prides itself on the excellent care it gives it's alpacas!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lots of excitement here at Carrageen Suri Alpacas!

Alvino, Luken and Caralee

Alvino, Luken and Caralee

It's been a while since I have updated this blog. That's because things have been really busy here.
We had a very successful shearing on May 19th. Lots of people showed up to help and things went very smoothly. I'd like to thank Tom Monroe for being there when we needed him. Also I would like to thank my music students Dilyse, Maureen and Elizabeth from South Portland, Maine. They did a great job bagging!
On May 21 our Sweet Suri Ciara gave birth to a beautiful light fawn girl! Her name is Caralee. Her sire is SBS Accoyo Starcatcher. Wow.....is she beautiful. Fabulous luster and density. She looks to have very nice lock structure. And what energy! We have very high hopes for her.
Then on May 22 our Rose gave birth to a stunning medium fawn boy, Luken. His sire is Snowmass Silken Gold. This little guy is really something. His luster is amazing with very good density and coverage. Lock and twist is excellent. He and Caralee are quite the site to see running in the pasture!
Then......on June 9, our Jasmine gave birth to another Snowmass Silken Gold boy. We named him Alvino. When he stands in the in the sun, his white fleece just gleams! What a site he is. Great density and lock structure plus his luster makes this fellow one of our best.
We here at Carrageen Alpacas continue to work hard to improve our genetics and to breed alpacas that we are proud of. We love the challenges that comes with making our farm successful and being involved in such a wonderful industry.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Farm History

As we sit waiting for the pastures to dry out, we thought you might like to know how we got started in the Alpaca business.
Our interest in alpacas began in 2008 when we went to the New England Coastal Classic Show in New Gloucester, Maine, Having bred Irish Setters for many years and attending shows, we thought this might be a fun thing to do on a Saturday. Little did we know how much fun it was going to be!
At this show we were lucky to meet someone who would eventually mentor us through the process. We want to emphasize how important it is to have a mentor. Please do not try to do this on your own. Having someone working with you who has "been there and done that" can save you many wasted hours (and dollars).
We were also fortunate to meet several successful breeders. Not only did we learn much about the animals themselves, but also about the BUSINESS of alpacas. This is very important if you want to make some money along the way.
The next step of our journey was the fun of visiting alpaca farms. We went to several farms in Maine and Ohio. Alpaca people love to talk about alpacas! Plan on at least 3 hours per farm visit. Ask lots of questons and take notes. We learned much about care, feeding and housing.
After all of this, we decided to take the plunge, get out our check book and buy alpacas!
There are at least two schools of thought on the initial purchase of alpacas. One is to start with less expensive animals and through selective, long term breeding, build quality genetic lines. The other is to start on the high end of the gene pool, pay more,and start the initial herd with higher quality animals. We decided on the second option.
The first suri alpacas we bought are from Ohio and are out of Sweetbriar's Crown Royal and SBS Crown Prince . They are beautiful. Great luster and fineness are their traits. We are also drawn to color. The fawns and brown colors of the 16 animals ( 3 "on the way") we own are more than we ever hoped for.
After buying the alpacas and having them moved to an area farm, we agisted them (boarded) during our barn construction.
Barn construction is a personal thing. It is based on your land configuration, size of herd and the obviously the amount you can pay. You do need to do much research as alpaca barns are unique in design compared to that of others ( cow or horse barns for example). Alpaca barns all need certain things regardless of size. They need to have good ventilation, roof extensions ( at least on one side) to provide shade, an area for feed storage,a watering area (we opted for automatic waterers, pricy but worth it) and a separate area for sick or quarantined animals. Also a walk-on scale for regular weighing is important as weight gain or loss can indicate certain health problems.
Alpacas are easy to take care of as long as you provide shade in the summer, a place to get out of the wind in the winter, good hay (preferably orchard grass), plenty of water and a clean place to walk in (no poop).
Now we have a barn and fenced in lush pastures. The fencing includes a 5' no-climb fence and a 6' deer fence. In our area of Gray, Maine we have coyotes and deer so we need extra protection. We opted for a double fence system as our property borders homes that have small children. This prevented us from having an electric fence. It is very important to fence properly! It is a big expense but needs to be done very well.
Well that's where we are at the present time. Check out our pictures to see further progress. There is certainly more to come!! Please e-mail or call with any comments or questions. We love talking ALPACA!

Carol and John Furman




Saturday, May 5, 2012

Alpaca Welcome, Herd Health, Wet Pasture and Shed

One of the most pleasant parts of the day at Carrageen Suri Alpacas is going out to the barn and being welcomed by our alpacas. They see us approaching and all gather in eager anticipation of surrounding us as we do the chores. It's really a lot of fun.
Tomorrow is monthly herd health day. We weigh and body score them. They seem to all be in great health!
We're also going to be haltering them and posing them for pictures for the website. That should be interesting.
The weather has been wet though today we are seeing a bit of sunshine. Tomorrow and Monday are supposed to be great. But then things are going to get wet again! :( We love the rain for what it does for the pasture but the alpacas need to get out and run!
We bought an 8x12 shed. It arrived yesterday. It's amazing that no matter how much you plan for space, you always need more!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pasture!

For us here at Carrageen Suri Alpacas, one of the most exciting times of the year is seeing our alpacas finally escape the confines of the dry lot and experience fresh pasture. Nothing can top the sight of alpacas running, rolling and eating on fresh spring grass. They are so happy!
It's especially great to see our youngest on pasture for the first time in their lives. Their world has suddenly become much larger! To see them running at full speed is quite a sight.
Of course we need to be careful not to let them be out too long right now. They are going out for about 1 1/2 hours per day. As the days go by we'll be letting them out for longer periods.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roth is here!

I returned last Thursday from Ohio. I brought back Roth from Sweetbriar Alpaca Farm in Ohio. Jim Barker and I ( and my wife Carol) are owners of him. He is beautiful! If you are looking for Crown Royale genetics in your line, Roth is the one. Look on the Sweetbriar for a picture of him. You will be amazed. He will be here at Carrageen Suri Alpacas in Gray, Maine for the summer and be available for breeding in 2 weeks. Please give us a call to discuss price and schedule.