the shahrizai blog
The past six months have been so busy at Shahrizai that blog posts took a little tumble down the list of priorities. But it would be an understatement to say that things have changed just a little. As I write this, we have almost completely settled in to our new home and a new role at Ambersun Alpacas in South Australia. It was with a little sadness but great excitement that we left Queensland for the journey to the Fleurieu Pennisula and Mount Compass to join a great stud and to bring our animals to a more fleece-friendly environment.
It would be in poor taste if we didn't begin by acknowledging some wonderful people in Queensland who we will always appreciate and be able to call friends. Each of the members of Sunshine State Alpacas were such wonderful friends and reminded us each day why we chose alpacas. It is such a supportive, progressive, team-oriented group of breeders, and they made breeding and showing so much fun and so rewarding. And we did quite well together, that's for sure. In particular, though, we would be remiss not to mention Margaret from Double-H and Mary and Deb from Shikota. The friendship and partnership they showed us was extraordinary. They truly will be missed but not forgotten. There were so many great people we met in Queensland during the previous ten years, and we appreciate all we learned from each of them.
That said, we could not pass up the opportunity to move south and to give ourselves and our herd the best chance to succeed in the world of alpacas. At the end of March, we packed our house and loaded up about 90 of our best animals and headed to Mount Compass to join the Ambersun team. It is a breath of fresh air to be in an area where breeders really take so much care and pride in their herds, their progress, and their commitment to the full spectrum of possibilities that the industry provides. We are right in the middle of the very best alpacas being bred in Australia, and we are now elbows-deep in commercial fibre production, elite stud breeding, value adding and retail sales, tourism, exporting, and the burgeoning meat industry. THIS is what breeding alpacas is all about, and here, we will be a part of that.
We wish all of our old friends and colleagues in the Sunshine State all the good fortune we can. We hope to see the continued progress and improvement that we all started together in the last ten years, and we can wait to hear your news, even if we are bundled up while we read it!
What a great day at the 2016 Bundaberg AgroTrend Show for Shahrizai. We have had a number of wonderful show days in the last few years, but this one was special. The judge on the day, Dean Ford, gave us some of the best commentary we have ever had, and it was even more meaningful because of how tough he was overall. We were very impressed with the high level he set very early in the day, and we were honoured to receive some of the critiques he offered. The highlights of the day included a rousing appraisal of the Supreme Champion, Shahrizai Crash. Other notable moments included multiple broad ribbons including champions for Galactica, Nowhere Man, and a couple of females that have been recently sold to Timani Alpacas - Shahrizai Ob La Di - Ob La Da and Shahrizai Hippy Hippy Shake. We were also awarded Reserve Champions, sometimes in classes where we had already won the Champion, with Shahrizai 200, Shahrizai Two to Tango, and Shahrizai Revolution. We entered only two fleeces (not our forte!) and won two firsts and a Reserve Champion Suri ribbon. It is made even more special considering the extremely hot summer, the prolonged drought, and the mineral-poor soils we are reported to have all across Australia and Queensland. For complete results, visit the SHOW RESULTS page.
For the second time in a year, the local news crew from WIN News stopped in at Shahrizai to check in on our alpacas. They chose Alpaca Week this year to come say hello. The video is what aired on local television on May 3, 2016. I have been told it was on as far away as Victoria to the south and Emerald to the north. The reporter, Caitlin Holding, does a great job of weaving a story from a bunch of footage.
What a great start to the 2016 show season, highlighted by our great friend and partner, Jessie Raines of Golden Charm Alpacas. The Royal Toowoomba marked the first time in their 13 year breeding and showing career that Golden Charm won the Supreme Champion! In a monster line-up, Moscato wow'ed the judges! But it was a great show all around for us. The weekend started with Shahrizai winning both fleece championships - huacaya with Cointreau and suri with the young and beautiful Primal Fear. The suri section on Friday started with Shahrizai Hippy Hippy Shake, owned by Timani Alpacas, being the "clear winner" champion in the junior females. The junior males saw both the Champ and Reserve come from our pens - Crash and Mr. Moonlight - and was followed by Ob La Di - Ob La Da winning the Intermediate female championship.
Things got fun then, when the intermediate boys came into the ring. Three wonderful males challenged for two ribbons, eventually ending with Moscato as champion and a lovely male, Nowhere Man, winning the Reserve. It was a close race with one of our favourite males, Ticket to Ride. That section may have been the best one we have ever seen in QLD. The huacayas were fun as well. Cointreau and Two to Tango were easy winners in their sections and both stood proudly in the final line-up. Cointreau also ended up winning Best Mid Fawn as well, completing the sweep of mid-fawns for Shahrizai. In the end, we could not have been more happy with the first show of 2016! Thanks to all of our friends who helped get the animals in and out!
Though we primarily breed white and light fawn - for commercial purposes - we do love colours. But generally speaking, the colours do not carry the fleece qualities of their white counterparts. It means, that when you are breeding colour, it isn't just about the colour. There has to be a quality component, and that quality must translate into the colour. We have two ways by which we try to put the white fleece qualities into our colours. The first is to use the best white males we can over darker coloured females. The second is to use the best dark males we can find over very good whites, and often we aim at the white animals with colour in their backgrounds. In late 2014, we put a number of our very best girls to dark males, and we are thrilled at the results. Late in December and early in January, we have had a number of high-quality coloured suri cria - one LF, three MFs, a DF, and two ripper BROWNS. We are over the moon with our colour project!
We are always so happy when new breeders get their first alpacas from us, join the Association, and then have their first cria. It is so great to see their faces and hear their excitement when those first steps are taken, when those first feeds are achieved, and when the first photos are taken. We also love when established breeders have wonderful cria to our males. It is fun to see them light up when they talk about the progeny. It is the reason we do it!
Earlier in the year, this little chap was born at Shahrizai, our 200th registered cria over the years. We have presided over far more than 200 births - some unregistered little boys, some cria of our agistees, but this little man was the 200th we registered with the AAA. And what a little treat he is. This is Shahrizai 200, from our exquisite stud male, Pucara Cointreau. We can't wait for #300, possibly as early at 2016!