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The Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a species of the South American Llama. Alpacas are smaller than llamas, have noticeably different ear shapes, and different type of fiber. There are two breeds of alpaca: Huacaya and Suri.
Huacaya Alpacas total about 90% of the Alpaca population. Huacayas have a denser fiber content, which grows out and away from the skin. This quality allowed them to live in the most northern regions of the Andes mountains. Suri Alpacas comprise about 10% of the Alpaca population. The Suri’s fiber grows downward from its body in silky, curly locks. The fiber is extremely soft and once it is spun and woven into fabric; drapes elegantly.
Alpacas were not bred to be working animals, as Llamas, but were bred specifically for their fiber, which was reserved for royalty.
Llama – (Lama glama) are members of the camel family. Llamas have a fine undercoat which can be used for handicrafts and garments. The coarser outer guard hair is used for rugs, wall-hangings and lead ropes. The soft undercoat is used for hand spinning. Breeders have consistently tried to bred out the guard hair in Llamas over the years so the soft undercoat is more apparent. The fiber comes in many different colors ranging from white, grey, reddish brown, brown, dark brown and black. Llamas have been used as pack animals for centuries. They weigh from 200-250 pounds and can live about 20 years. When provoked or showing dominance in their pack, they have the ability to spit, but normally do not spit. When they have recently spit, their lower jaw hangs loosely until about 20 minutes.
Angora Goat – The fleece taken from an Angora goat is called mohair. A single goat produces between 9-11 pounds of hair per year growing about 1 inch per month. Angoras are shorn twice a year, unlike sheep, which are shorn only once. Turkey, United States, and South Africa are the top producers of mohair. For a long time, Angora goats were bred for their white coat. In 1998, the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association was set up to promote breeding of colored Angoras.Now Angora goats produce white, black (deep black to greys and silver), red.
Shetland Sheep – A small, fine-woolled breed of sheep originating in the Shetland Isles, but now also kept in many other parts of the world. It is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group, and is closely related to the extinct Scottish Dunface. Shetlands are classed as a landrace or “unimproved” breed. This breed is kept for its very fine wool, for meat, and for conservation grazing. Although Shetlands are small and slow-growing compared to commercial breeds, they are hardy, thrifty, easy lambers, adaptable and long-lived. The Shetland breed has survived for centuries in difficult conditions and on a poor diet so they thrive in better conditions. Shetlands retain many of their primitive survival instincts so they are easier to care for than many modern breeds.
Angora Rabbit – The most important aspect of raising Angora Rabbit fiber is harvesting the wool. The finished product will display a fuzzy halo, called ‘blooming’. French and English Angora rabbits “blow their coats” (or shed or molt) about every third month. This means that the hair just about falls out into your hand with a gentle tug. Typically, English and French Angoras produce 2-3 ounces of premium rabbit fiber every third month. The rest is not 1st quality wool and there is only an ounce or so of that. If for example, the rabbit molts in January, April, July, and October, one can expect to harvest 8- 12 ounces of premium wool a year from a rabbit
Scottish Highlands Cattle – The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed. The bull’s horn angle straight out from their head, where the cows horns angle out and up from their head. Colors range from white, red, brindle, blond/tan, black and grey or silver. They are raised mostly for meat, very low in cholesterol but give excellent rich milk, rich in butterfat. Bulls can weigh up to 1800 pounds and cows could weigh close to 1000 pounds. Their coats consist of an outer hairy guard hair that sheds rain, and their downy undercoat keeps them very warm in the harshest of winters. Gestation is 277-290 days and could live to be 20 years. The Highland registry was established in 1885, making it the oldest cattle registry.
Black Spanish Turkeys – The Black Spanish Turkey is a heritage breed whose lineage can actually be traced back to Mexican Turkeys that were taken back to Europe in the 1500s. Black Spanish Turkeys, as they were called in Spain, were brought back to North America with the colonists where they were crossed with the Eastern Wild Turkey to form today’s Black Spanish Turkey. With the rise of commercial broad breasted breed, the Black Spanish Turkey numbers began to decrease and are presently listed as ‘critical’. However, because of the rise in sustainable agriculture and free range turkey popularity, the Black Spanish Turkey will soon recover.
Honey bees: Apis mellifera is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. Apis is Latin for “bee”, and mellifera is the Latin for “honey-bearing”.
The honey bee is eusocial, creating colonies with a single fertile female or “queen”, many normally non-reproductive females or “workers,” and small proportion of fertile males or “drones.” Individual colonies can house tens of thousands of bees. Colony activities are organized by complex communication between individuals, through both pheromones and the dance language
Apis Mellifera work endlessly to gather pollen in the late winter from Maples, Willows, and Redbuds. In the spring, bees gather nectar from buckwheat, blackberries, wild flowers, Sunflowers, Salvia, and of course, vegetables.
For their winter food, bees are busy on Aster Goldenrod, Sedum and Joe Pye Weed. Once the Goldenrod start to bloom, it’s time to harvest the extra honey. A honey bee visits between 50-100 flowers during one collection flight and in order to make 1 pound of honey 2 million flowers have to be visited. Hives contain 10-60 thousand bees. It is important to let those weeds on the roadside and ditches grow. Plant some trees and flowers for the bees. At this time, Jehovah Raah Farm raises 3 hives. We are happy to share their sweet nectar with you.
The Golden Comet has reddish brown feathers with occasionally having white feathers intermixed. Females weigh about 4lb and males weigh about 6lb. Their single upright comb and wattles are red in color.