My wife Debbie and I live on a farm in Alhambra Township, Madison County Illinois. We are about 45 minutes outside of St Louis, Mo. In addition to our day jobs at the phone company in St Louis, we work on our farm at Circle B Alpacas. After raising 2 kids we were looking for a new project so we purchased our first alpaca in 2009. We now have 11 alpacas with 2 babies due in the fall. Alpacas are from South America and were bred by the ancient Inca’s as fiber animals. Only Inca royalty were allowed to wear alpaca so it is sometimes referred to as “Fiber of the Gods”.
Our main goal is to provide the highest quality fiber on the planet and to accomplish this we have a breeding program with 3 different aspects, genetics, science and nutrition.
Genetics: A lot of research is done before we purchase a breeding female. We only buy alpacas listed in the national database of alpacas called the Alpaca Registry. We research previous generations all the way back to the 1980s when the importation of alpacas was halted. At this time we are breeding our females to a herdsire that we own but sometimes we purchase breedings from other farms. Alpaca Veterinarians are telling us we should only be using the top 2% of male alpacas in the country in our breeding program. Science: We use skin biopsies to get a glimpse of the fiber producing capabilities of an alpaca. We send this skin sample to an alpaca veterinarian and he sends back a report with metrics on many different aspects of the fiber characteristics. Nutrition: A lot of alpaca farms tend to skimp here and buy less expensive hay and feed. I have found this to be important enough that you can see the difference in a fleece when you compare one that has been fed Mazuri Ultimate to a fleece off an animal that has been fed cheap feed. I call it “ Well Nourished Fleece”, you will see me using this phrase a lot.
In the past we have been sending fleece to small fiber mills in the Midwest but we have decided to start processing our fiber by hand on “cottage industry” milling equipment we have recently purchased. After this years shearing all of our fiber will be grown and processed locally.
Thank you for this opportunity to get to know us a little better. Please feel free to contact us with your questions or if you would like a custom fiber order.
Rich Brandt 618-401-3398 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 618-401-3398 end_of_the_skype_highlighting o http://twitter.com/circlebalpacas Debbie Brandt 618-401-3398 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 618-401-3398 end_of_the_skype_highlighting o http://twitter.com/circlebdeb
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