Aragon Alpacas, breeding for fine color fleece

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breeding for fine color fleece
Aragon Alpacas Breeding & Sales
 

Canzelle's Orion, 2 months old"Alpacas are the life of me!"  This thought came to mind when driving back from the ranch where our animals were agisted (boarded). The joy I felt when seeing them emerge from the feed trough with hay atop their heads, or a mom kissing her newborn, or a pregnant female disdaining male advances, brought a smile to my face every time. And the enthusiasm spills over onto other daily tasks.

Before our farm was ready, our herd was agisted at two ranches where the animals received top quality hands-on care. I took every opportunity to visit them, whether for vet day — pregnancy checks, toenail clipping, shots, halter training — or to just sit in the pasture and observe their behavior. Often I took carrots to offer as treats, rewarding them for their trust in allowing me be among them.

Now our herd lives with us, or we with them. Each morning I walk right out the front door toward the magnificent red gambrel barn, and eagerly look for their faces. Most times they are looking for mine, too, knowing it is time to be let out into day pastures for grazing.

Respect is the keystone of Aragon Alpacas: for our
animals, our clients, our fellow ranchers, and ourselves.
Aragon Alpacas
are friendly and healthy.
We breed for fineness in fleece of dark colors, and
are committed to the growth of a superior national herd
that will support this economically viable fiber industry.

Beginnings...

suri alpacas, AlpacaFest West 2004On a lark one Saturday afternoon, we went for a drive in the country and happened upon an odd event held in the meadow of a local winery called AlpacaFest West. Curious, we stopped in to see what it was all about.

I felt as though we had walked onto a Jim Henson movie set: stunning, graceful creatures were being lead around by leashes attached to little halters. Some alpacas were fluffy, some were shaggy, all were curious, alert and peaceful.

We strolled about, eyes wide in wonder. Friendly people answered a multitude of questions as quickly as we could think of them. They seemed to be having a lot of fun. Spinners and weavers chatted about their craft with us. Children played or helped with the animals. The ranch names were clever, their presentations professional. Humming (akin to 'baa-ing') was the only sound from some of the animals.

What manner of 'subculture' had we stumbled into?

show ring at AlpacaFest WestWhile walking through the pen area, we collected brochures from ranch displays and stared at the alpacas up close. One young man was tending his animals so we stopped to chat. Some of the wording he used was strange to us — huacaya, suri, cria? — and Dakota simply explained each term. Then he scooped up a young one (cria!) for us to pet, and my hand melted into the softness.

We watched the show ring. For the most part, the creatures behaved even though they were being felt up and their teeth and privates examined. The judge made her selection, awarded ribbons, and explained her placements. They marched out, others marched in.

hand spinningAdjourning to the winery for a tasting session, we mused over what we had just seen. I was fascinated by the whole production and curious about alpacas. I'd never seen or heard of these animals before.

Online, I located ranches near us and arranged visits, to ask more questions. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know, so I volunteered on two ranches for a few months. We already had in mind a retirement plan to relocate to yet-to-be-found acreage, and soon we added Alpacas to the equation. Not wanting to wait to start our herd, we began by purchasing two breeding females and board them at a local ranch.

'Girls in the meadow' at Canzelle Alpacas
Canzelle Alpacas

Our chosen mentor, Carol-Anne Lonson of Canzelle Alpacas, was recommended to us repeatedly for both the quality of her animals and her personal integrity. And even though we have moved to our own farm in another state, it is a privilege to continue working with Carol-Anne.

With births and acquisitions, our herd grew from 2 to 12 in just one year. A few of 'the girls' were at home in the Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, at Aplacas of Cusco North, where I visited once a week and 'talk fiber' with Bonnie Ottoman.

People involved in this business — for it IS a livestock business, no matter how 'cute' the product — are generally friendly competitors. Ranch owners assist each other, knowing that sometime they may be the one in need. The industry is so new in the United States that we are all still learning about herd maintenance, medical procedures, reproductive choices, nutritional impact, etc. Our collective goal is toward higher quality fleece from the healthiest of stock; meanwhile we are the caretakers of these intriguing, gentle animals.

Thus began our journey with the New World Camelids. If you have any questions about alpacas or would like to arrange a visit to meet them, please contact us.



"Don't ask so much what the world needs.
Go out and do what makes you come ALIVE,
because what the world needs most
are people who have Come Alive."
- Howard Thurman -

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Aragon Alpacas

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Alpaca Sales & Breeding
Alpaca Sales & Breeding
33005 Dillard Rd.
Eugene, OR 97405