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About Applegate Lama Stud

Welcome to the Applegate Lama Stud!

I imagine some new people to alpacas and llamas are wondering why my ranch name is The Applegate Lama Stud! The one L llama stands for llamas and alpacas, vicunas and guanacos. It is the family name for the four Camelids. Many think I have misspelled the Lama in my ranch name. It is just shorter than saying The Applegate Llama and Alpaca Stud. A Stud farm specializes in breeding outside females as well as producing quality breeding stock for others to begin a profitable business of their own! I hope to explain efficiently the purpose of our farm, our standards and the things that new alpaca owners need to be aware of in starting a profitable new livestock business.

Perhaps you have visited our site before and wondered why it was so dated and stale! Our former ranch manager, Bambi, was the only one who found the computer, friendly. She was married and made new priorities in her life. We closed the B&B and The Lama Loft Gift Shop since I could no longer handle those responsibilities and care for the animals properly. The computer is a dirty word to me. Consequently, my web site passed away when Bambi left. We have been reaching for retirement, but somehow it has eluded us for the past five years!

We are however, down to twenty animals that we enjoy immensely! All but two of our six remaining llamas are elderly and will live their lives out on our beautiful ranch. We had to put Gentle Ben down at age twenty-two in 2009. We thought he was going to outlive us! He had a great life, never sick, even once. Legend and Treasure had to be put down at nineteen and eighteen respectively. We continue our breeding program occasionally with an outside breeding to Applegate's Silver Bullet, a Legend son.

Of course, our alpaca herd continued to grow and we are extremely happy with the results of our breeding program! Our Bolivian/ Chilean cross gave us the best of both worlds! As a breeder of Arabian Horses, I have based all my conformational expectations on Arab Horse Standards. I also became extremely against inbreeding and line breeding while developing our Arabian Horse Farm. I have carried on these principals and applied them to my llama herd and then with our alpacas. Since all our imports to North America came from just a few sources, that limited the gene pool that arrived from each Country. That is why I feel safer not having Pure Peruvian, Pure Bolivian or Pure Chilean. I find the Chilean lines crossed on Bolivian and Peruvians assure color genes and genetic out crosses.

As near as I can remember, my ex-husband, Herman Rowland, and I traveled to Kay and Dick Patterson's Arabian Horse Ranch in Sisters Oregon in about 1978. We were in the market for an Arabian mare. Upon our arrival, I was mesmerized with a herd of 500 llamas. Never having seen one up close and personal, I asked if we could go in the pasture and look at them while we discussed buying one of their mares. There was a young black and white male cria, with a tuxedo type look. His name was Little John. (By the way, a cria is a baby.) Little John had a level topline, an upright neck and banana shaped ears that almost touched in the middle. I knelt down and he came right up and touched me on the face with his soft little mouth. I said immediately, I want one of these! Dick promised us a llama if we bought the mare! That cinched the deal! However, when I said I wanted Little John, he declined. It took his wife, Kay, to finally convince him to let me have Little John. I shall be eternally grateful to her! Since "John" was only about a month old when we first saw him, I was awe struck when he unloaded at my ranch at the age of nine months. Most llamas at that time were tall and rangey with very little leg fiber! Little John had fiber all the way to his toes and coming out of his ears! He was breathtaking! He became the foundation of our entire breeding program.

We became one of the first ranches to hand breed instead of pasture breed and were the first to groom our animals. They were never shown to prospective buyers unless perfectly groomed. A cria was always trained to lead and load into a van before leaving the ranch. We used our llamas to show, pack, pull carts and a chariot and even let our son Christopher ride them! The entire family headed for the show ring. It was a fabulous family affair and kept our son involved in wholesome activities. Showing my animals from Arabian Horses to our Llamas and subsequently to Alpacas has been a most enjoyable activity for me over the past thirty years.

We began another exciting adventure when we bought our first alpacas in 1989 from Eric Hoffman who represented, Camelids of Delaware. Christopher worked with the alpacas and llamas until his father and I were divorced in 1993. At that point I moved to Oregon, took back my maiden name of Applegate and changed Blackwood Farms into the Applegate Lama Stud. I had hoped Chris would move with me, but with only one year left in high school, he decided to stay in California. He is married now and has two gorgeous daughters and a lovely wife. Perhaps some of the alpacas will return to California for Isabella and Sophia to enjoy as their Father did!

Our animal husbandry practices have continued and the reward of raising healthy, beautiful, friendly and gentle animals continues to make for happy times and happy customers! We pride ourselves on producing animals with correct conformation and fine fiber that also have friendly and gentle dispositions.

When other alpaca breeders visit our ranch, they always comment on the fact that our alpacas come up for kisses and hugs! We really don't know how we make them that way, perhaps the llamas tell them we are ok to love!

As a rule, we breed our females by the time they are two years of age. Yearlings are sometimes bred and birth well, but they rarely make good mothers at such a young age. Many cria's born to young dams are shorted on colostrum as well. Our females are vaccinated and wormed two weeks before breeding, their private parts are washed and if they are maidens, or being bred for the first time, the hymen is ruptured. A Veterinarian may do this for anyone who does not feel qualified to perform the procedure. Over the past thirty-four years, we have found many persistent hymens that ultimately prevent conception. Thus, we help out the males to increase the fastest conception possible! The female's tail is wrapped with vet wrap to protect the male from having the possibility of hair getting wrapped around his penis. This is not an unusual occurrence. We have seen one male who came for an exchange breeding who almost lost the front half of his penis due to a large amount of hair that had wrapped tightly around it. Had we not been hand breeding, we would never have seen his condition! A prompt visit to the Vet saved his breeding ability and we were able to use him after healing took place. Hand breeding is done after careful teasing of the female. Receptive females and their breeding mate are taken to a neutral, safe and comfortable breeding area. By comfortable, we mean a soft grassy, level area in the shade!

We continue to have a 100% conception rate on our females each year and attribute that to hand breeding and careful teasing of our females every other day until they are ready to be progesterone checked and then ultra sounded, pregnant. Speaking of being bred, our females are rebred twenty-one days after birthing. As a Mother, I used to feel sorry for my females being pregnant for most of their life! However, unlike humans, all they do is eat and sleep while life goes on! A female left open for any lengthy amount of time becomes obese and has difficulty conceiving and rarely has a good supply of milk. An aged female is more likely to never conceive if left open for a long period of time.

We rarely miss a delivery, as we know our "girls" very well. We make sure the cria nurses every half hour for the first 8 hours. That sometimes means getting up at night too! By the end of a few hours, the baby heads under it's mother to nurse when they see me at the stall door! This practice assures us of IgG levels over 2000! An IgG level, which requires a blood sample be taken from the cria, is a most important part of postpartum procedures. This test is given to assure us that the cria has received enough colostrum, or first milk, from its mother. This protects the cria from disease until it takes over providing for it's own immune system. We always give our females a CD&T shot four to six weeks before birthing. This immunity is passed on to the cria and makes it unnecessary to give the cria a CD&T at birth that requires a large dosage. However, by the third week of the cria's life it must have a CD&T to protect against "over eating disease" a clostridial disease. A shot given at this time requires a normal dosage and does not stress the cria so much.

In addition to good breeding habits, another important part of raising llamas and alpacas is the adventure of showing them. Some people don't enjoy this part, but it has been the highlight of the wonderful trip I have taken with my precious animals. Because of the great care that goes into training and keeping our animals on clean and lush, green pastures, I have done exceedingly well in the show ring. Of course, buying the finest foundation stock, and breeding for correct conformation, presence and fleece has rewarded me over and over. Every one of my llama foundation females was shown to Championships. I have always believed that the females are just as important as the males. Females have a short amount of time to be shown. By the time they are bred, I rarely hassle them with a trip to a show! Males, likewise, if shown to Championships, are also usually retired from the show ring by three years of age because of breeding commitments!

A third component of a successful "Lama Business", is the art of marketing! A suitable ranch name, the ability to provide a web site, and ethical business standards are the most important aspects of selling livestock. When unable, as I am, to adequately work with computer sales, one must hire a good web site provider and designer for a web site. Advertisement in the phone book is still recommended, but on-line sales are the place to be! In spite of the Internet, I still sell most my animals by word of mouth. Being fair and honest and standing behind your stock assures that you will have return customers and referrals!

The next item that gives people confidence in a breeder's abilities is a clean and attractive farm. Animals as expensive as alpacas should have beautiful homes. Your farm does not have to be large, but it must have safe, clean and comfortable stalls and pastures for all of the animals. No one is impressed with dirty stalls or a make sift lean-to for a barn!

If you are just beginning to think about starting an alpaca and or llama farm, now is the time to do it! In the oppressed economy that we are facing today, alpaca prices are at an all time low. As an example, my pure black female, Knight Image, by my precious Black Knight sells for $12,500. Her full sister sold for $48,000. If I weren't old and hadn't been in the business for thirty-four years, I would be out buying every top, producing dark colored female and colored male studs that I could find!

Speaking of Studs, I still have some extremely beautiful males at stud and will continue to stand them until they are sold. Some are for sale below their value as are my females. We stand by our stock and also our customers. We support in any way possible the people that purchase animals from us.

We are not limited to Llama and Alpacas. We have Peafowl and Australian Black Swans as well. We hope you will call for an appointment to visit our beautiful farm. We are blessed to reside in Southern Oregon, the Banana and Bible Belt of Oregon. We are nestled in the beautiful Applegate Valley on the banks of the Applegate River. Please come and visit us!

Sincerely,
Andrea Applegate
7980 New Hope Road
Grants Pass, OR 97527

541-291-8611