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Box 39 Site 7 RR#1
Okotoks, Alberta T1S 1A1
CHAMPION ALPACA BREEDERS & EXPORTERS
t: view phone (403) 938-7639
f: view fax (403)398-1492
Aztec Alpacas is a partnership of two brothers and their families. Art & Jill live on a farm outside of High River, Alberta (just 30 miles south of Calgary). John and Val have retired from their city jobs and are now self-employed alpaca farmers. They moved to a new farm location south of Okotoks (15 miles south of Calgary) in 2003.
We started with two pair of Chilean Alpacas in 1991, imported via New Zealand. After 100+ births, a couple trades, multiple sales, and an importation of 5 Peruvians (Feb '98), our current herd size is around 40. We also provide breeding and boarding services to our clients, so at times we have over 50 alpacas on our two farms.
The temperature in summer is about 20C to 25C with a few days to 30C, winter days are about 0C to -20C with some lows to -30C. Some winters we can have about 12" of snow on the ground. We do not have any heated facilities for the animals and they seem to do very well. At the lowest temperatures they require some extra hay, and the shelters allow them to get out of the wind.
Both farms use 1 to 2 acre pastures with three sided shelters and access to heated water. Our fencing includes 48" field fence, 48" and 60" no climb as perimeter fencing. We have no climb, field fence and high tensile wire fence for cross fencing. The main objective of the fence is to keep dogs and coyotes out.
Five to six acres of pasture at each farm has supplied summer pasture. In winter we feed grass hay, and pellets formulated for camelids. Free choice salt/mineral is available year round.
We use the hand breeding method, meaning keep the males and females separate except when we want a specific male to breed with a female. This gives us the exact date the female was bred and to which male.
We have had cria born throughout the year, in 1996 one was born in December. About 90% of our cria have been born between 9:30 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. Of the 100+ cria born here, we had not had any problem births until Y2K, when we had our first still birth and one vet assisted successful delivery.
We give our animals an 8 way vaccination once a year, worm them every three to four months, trim their toes every three to four months, and have the teeth looked at once a year. Our animals have been very healthy. There have been less than 10 times in 12 years that we needed to call our vet out to see a sick animal. We do use a veterinarian for blood samples and ultra sound pregnancy checks.
We try to shear the animals from early to mid May. Our average yield is about 6 lbs of fibre from each alpaca, the high is 10 lbs for one year's growth. Most of our fibre is processed by Jill and we are also members of the Canadian Fibre Co-op - Can Cam.
Fibre samples are taken from all our alpacas at shearing time. The improvement in microns and CV has been quite amazing. In the early to mid 90's our herd was 100% Chilean. Our 1995 fibre results averaged 31.6 microns with 60% of our alpacas being over 30 microns. In 1998 we imported a Peruvian male, Snowtex. We used him for 3 years and since then have used 2 other Peruvian males, Viracocha and Avalanche. Our fibre results in 2002 from 26 alpacas averaged 21.8 microns with 23 of 26 alpacas under 25 microns. 17 of the 26 have CV's under 20.
We are proud to be founding members of the Canadian National Alpaca Sale & Futurity, held each spring in Red Deer, Alberta. The stud auction in November raises the prize money for the Futurity - this year over $80,000 was paid out.
John is an elected member of the CLAA (Canadian Llama and Alpaca Association) Board of Directors and Jill is in demand as a judge at both halter and fleece shows. She also classes fibre for the Canadian Fibre Co-op (Can-Cam).
This industry has been good to us in many ways and we believe in working to make it better for all alpaca breeders.
Please visit our website for more information:
Near Okotoks, AB
Near High River, AB