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Add Your Openherd Sales List to Your Facebook Farm Page

Leverage Social Media to Help Sell Your Alpacas!

If you have created a Facebook farm page, you can add your alpaca sales list to it by using Openherd’s free ListMirror Sync code and a free Facebook app. By doing so, you will increase your farm's exposure on social media and show off your alpacas to a new audience.

Just follow these simple steps to do this.

  1. Go to the app site on Facebook: . You should see a page like the one below. Click the ... read full article

The Road to Tisco

2012 Quechua Benefit Medical Mission

When we boarded the bus in Chivay that morning, I had no idea what our medical team was going to encounter that day other than to expect a long, bumpy bus ride to the tiny village of Tisco high in the puna (grasslands) near the source of the Colca River. What would life be like in such an isolated place? How would the native Quechua people respond to outsiders offering to provide medical care to their close-knit community? These questions kept going through my mind as we wound our way toward ... read full article

Purely Suri Magazine

Suri Network

Purely Suri Summer 2011

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Camelid Medicine Starter Series

presented by the Mid America Alpaca Foundation

Below are five modules from Kansas State University's distance learning program on camelid health. This starter series was selected and underwritten for free distribution by the Mid America Alpaca Foundation. The modules cover much of the basic information necessary for treating camelids. Although designed for veterinarians and vet techs, much of the content is useful for owners, both new and seasoned. These programs are presented in high quality video lecture format.

Basic Cameli... read full article

Suri Fiber Harvesting Code of Practice

This Suri Fiber Harvesting Code of Practice has been developed for Suri alpaca breeders by the Suri Network Product Development Committee in order to provide producers with clear and concise guidelines to maximize value. It can be implemented regardless of the operation size, location, or final textile destination. This step by step guide will enable producers to use standard fiber preparation, shearing, sorting and packing techniques, thereby improving the national clip and creating credibility... read full article

Suri Breed Standard

as adopted by the Suri Network

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Photography to Promote Your Farm

Think about the concept for your ad. What do you want to convey with this photo? Are you striving to capture an adorable baby alpaca? An elegant face? A herd sire with terrific presence? A close-up of fleece? A warm and inviting farm scene?

Once you decide on the concept, it's time to meet your subjects. If you are taking a field shot, wait till the light is right and simple hang out in the field with your camera set and ready. Get another person to help you. When the animal moves into a suit... read full article

Follicle and Fiber Types

This article from our Getting Started Guide discusses the importance of follicles and the corellation to fiber fineness.

Follicles are the skin structures from which the fiber grows. Alpacas have two distinct follicle types: the primary follicles and the secondary follicles. Primary follicles are the first follicles to develop in the fetus during the first three months after conception and are the focal point around which secondary follicles form at a later stage. Primary follicles produce fi... read full article

You’re Not the Only One Asking — Alpaca Business FAQs

“Business is not about theories or the testing of revolutionary ideas. It is about practice. Ideas and intelligence and creativity, yes, but with a lot of sheer practice thrown in…When in doubt, ask. When not in doubt, ask.” — Paul Hawken (of Smith and Hawkens), in Growing a Business.

Over the course of more than a decade teaching business principles for the alpaca industry I have found that the same questions have come up regularly. I consider these to be the FAQ’s of the alpaca bus... read full article

Getting Right with Google

Google has become more than a search engine -- it is the gateway to the Internet for most users. In discussions with other alpaca farmers, we come to the consensus that we are not exactly clear how Google works and how our farms gets listed on this very important search engine. This is a topic that has spawned an entire industry called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The good news is that there is no reason to bog down in details of how Google works or the minutia of SEO. By understanding a ... read full article

Maintaining Good Herd Records

No matter how frenetic outside life becomes, or indeed how much the sun shines, it is important to take time for the "boring" bit! Record keeping! No matter whether you have 2 or 200 alpacas, record keeping is essential. Not only will good record keeping enable you to manage your time and your herd efficiently, but will be of great benefit when a potenial buyer asks for medical and breeding history on the alpaca they are considering buying. There are several catagories of records you will want... read full article

Alpaca Cooling Options

A guideline to determine whether alpacas are at risk for heat stress is to add together the ambient humidity(%) and temperature(F). If the number is less than 120 there is minimal risk of heat stress. If the number is 150 or more it is wise to employ all precautions to prevent heat stress. When the number is 180 or above alpacas are at high risk for developing heat stress. At times like these employ ALL preventative measures, take caution, and observe your alpacas several times a day. Checking o... read full article

The Importance of Weighing

In the alpacas' natural environment, it is virtually impossible for them to over eat and get fat. Unfortunately, that is not the case in North America. As well as the obvious risk that this poses to health, obesity also leads to lower reproductive capability, and birthing problems.

At the other extreme, a sudden drop in weight should be a cause for concern as well. Alpacas are very stoic animals - they hide illness extremely well. Quite often, weight loss is the only indicator of underlyi... read full article

Is Your Trailer on Tight?

During show season, many alpaca owners will be loading our alpacas into trailers and hauling them off to win all those blue ribbons! Since we invest a lot of time and care and money into our alpacas, it makes sense to make sure our trailer is in good working order and is attached to the truck correctly.

Paying attention to the following tips will assure that those valuable passengers will arrive safely and help get your show season off to a great start.

  1. CHECK the hitch mechanism. ... read full article

Raising Suri Alpacas in Severe Winter Environments

Many people may be skeptical about raising suris in harsh winter environments because suri fleece offers less protection for the elements than that of the huacaya. Suri fiber forms a part that lies flat down the back of the animal exposing skin along the topline to the weather conditions. Suris are therefore not only exposed to the run, rain, wind and snow, but are also more susceptible to heat loss.

Although it can be a challenge, harsh weather conditions can be managed by using common sen... read full article

Hypothermia Prevention Tips

1. Shelter: Camelids must be provided with a shelter from which they can seek protection form environmental extremes. These facilities should have sufficient width, length, and height to allow protection from wind. If three-sided shelters are used, a portion of the open side may be enclosed to provide a more effective windbreak. The orientation of the shelter should be such that the open side is not presented to prevailing winds (e.g. in Ohio, shelters face southeast to brace against northwester... read full article

Treatment of Hypothermia

Treatment of hypothermia involves warmth, nutrition, and correction of underlying problems (e.g. milk supplements for crias whose dam is not lactating). Critical hypothermia occurs when core body temperature drops below 90 F. Consider the following treatments:

1. Protection. Get the animal into a well-insulated, preferably heated area.

2. Warmth. Wrap the animal in heated blankets. Using a heat lamp in a cold stall can be detrimental because the direct heat causes dilation of the surface b... read full article

From the Altiplano of Peru to the Heartland of NorthAmerica

History of the Suri Alpaca

The history of Suri alpacas in the USA started with the first importation of 100 white Bolivian Suris in 1991. Prior to that event this breed was unknown in this country. Even to the few camelid fanciers who had recently imported the more commonly known Huacaya alpaca, the Suri was a mysterious breed, little known outside of the Andean altiplano region of South America. Even in Peru and Bolivia it is estimated that only 3-5 percent of all alpacas are of the Suri breed. Suris may even be outnumbe... read full article

Creating Great Alpaca Photos

"Good livestock photography stands out because of its rarity," Darol Dickinson noted in the introduction to his book, Photographing Livestock: the Complete Guide. Why? Because photographing livestock is so tricky. It seems an infinitely complex mix of animals, people, actions, lighting, weather, settings, purposes and other considerations, often requiring action within the blink of an eye.

Not only is it tricky, livestock photography can be downright difficult. "This was some of the hardest w... read full article

Heat Stress Management

The initial signs of heat stress may be quite subtle and apparent to only the most astute observer. The most common early signs of heat stress may include:

  • Panting
  • Depression or dullness
  • Anorexia or off feed
  • Rectal temperature of >104° F
  • Respiratory rate >40 breaths per minute
  • Heart rate >90 beats per minute

  • More obvious signs include:
  • Drooping of the lower lip
  • Excessive salivation
  • Facial or partial facial paralysis
  • Scrotal swelling or... read full article

  • Heat Stress Tips

    From Dr. David Anderson, here are the TOP TEN things to do to prevent heat stress in your alpacs this summer. The list is not all inclusive, but these are some of the most important things you need to do to protect your alpacas from serious overheating!

    1. SHEAR - I recommend that all llamas and alpacas be sheared before June 1 every year. Barrel cuts seem to work OK, but not shearing is not an option.

    2. SHADE - Lots of shade should be available. Most critical is that there is enough shad... read full article

    Alpaca Fiber at the Cellular Level

    the difference between suri and huacaya

    The first difference between huacaya and suri fiber is that cuticle cells of the Huacaya protrude slightly more than the Suri, Having less scale frequency and a lower cuticle height, the Suri fiber feels more slippery and is more lustrous than huacaya fiber.

    The second difference between Huacaya and Suri fiber is in the internal composition of the fiber. The Huacaya has a bilateral structure similar to sheep and the Suri does not. Bilateral structure refers to the presence of the two types of... read full article

    Alpaca Fiber Structure

    what makes it unique

    Alpaca fiber is composed of three distinct elements; the cuticle or scale, the cortical cells and an intracellular binder to hold it all together. A complex protein called keratin forms the composition of the fiber. The fiber itself is a complex assembly made up of a vast number of cells. The inside of the fiber consists entirely of rounded elongated and spindle shaped cells called cortical cells. Cortical cells are thick in the middle and taper away to a point at each end. The outer cells (cuti... read full article

    The Suri Barn at Heritage Farm

    2016 Indiana Bicentennial Barn Top Ten!

    Indiana celebrates its 200th anniversary as the 19th state in 2016. Last year, a contest was launched to honor Indiana's rural heritage and its future by recognizing barns. Any Indiana barn that was built prior to 1950 was eligible. The over 200 entries that best celebrated Indiana's classic barns and their impact on our economy and history were considered. From those entries, 10 were selected as examples possessing architectural and historic features, aesthetics, character and condition, geo... read full article

    Farming the Web

    Stake Your Claim: Choosing a Web Address

    Choosing the right address for your website is very similar to choosing a site for your farm -- it needs to be flexible for any future changes you may make, you want to know if there were any harmful toxins used there in the past, and you'll be spending a lot of time there, so you better like looking at it!
    First, let's talk terms: URL is the entire address of the website, for example this site's URL is: The "domain name" is the part of your address that identif... read full article

    Understanding Alpaca Fiber Structure

    In order to make informed decisions on selecting quality foundation herd animals with desirable fiber characteristics, the new alpaca breeder must understand basic fiber anatomy and physiology. This section provides information that will help you understand the differences between suri and huacaya fiber what makes a good fiber producing alpaca.

    Alpaca fiber is composed of three distinct elements; the cuticle or scale, the cortical cells and an intracellular binder to hold it all together. A... read full article