Hello :)

It is the middle of Summer already! Can't believe its going by so fast. Lots of changes are happening in the land of A to Z and some of it is pretty exciting and some is very scary. My father has been ill, on and off since my brother's passing last May. He was able to power through and Shear the alpacas in April, but hasn't felt great since. Some days its hard for him to manage his un-diagnosed pain, nevermind manage to do much on the farm. It has left us wondering what the future of the farm might be. 
I don't want to give up on the business I have worked so hard to build! I just need to keep giving my all and pray for a miracle! so it can all work out. I really appreciate that I have such a large fan base and am hoping I can count on you to help us through this scary time. If you can't support us financially by purchasing thats OK! Sharing about us with your friends on any social media outlet helps! And is so so very appreciated <3

A few Ideas I have come up with to hopefully help with sales!

  1. We will be playing Name That Yarn Game until all of the hand dyed yarns are named. I have added all of my hand dyed stock to albums on Facebook (Public so you don't need facebook to see them!) Here they are in separate weight classes. Lace Weight - Sock Weight - Worsted WeightBulky Weight - Chunky Weight I'll share one photo per day, some will need more than one name (which will mean more than one winner) . Winners receive a 15% off any hand dyed skein, AND an entry for the grand prize. The winning names will be posted to my website herePlaying along totally helps! I appreciate each and every comment! Even if you don't have any idea what to name them (like me) posting a simile face to let me know you are still interested helps too.
  2. I've started an AUCTION! And will be adding all sorts of greatness to it! Yarns, Rovings, Fleeces, Socks, Bedding and MORE! This is currently exclusively on Facebook. BUT if you don't have facebook you can still view the items and then message me to place your bid. Check out Auction Here! 

    Please NOTE: Every bid that is placed in my auction = an entry into the draw for a $25 gift card!
     

  3. Years ago I did a large giveaway, that has been on my mind and I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in collaborating with me to put something together. Last time I gave a deal on the yarn. I wouldn't be able to just give it away. But don't want to charge more than you can afford. So we can figure it out together whats fair and what works for both of us. The concept would be this.. If you are a designer or crocheter, or weaver, or knitter.. or needle felter, or whatever you are or do with yarn or fiber! You use my product to create something for the giveaway. Submit a photo and it will be added to the giveaway album. I would like to have at least 10 items and wouldn't do the giveaway until closer to Christmas time. So there will be lots of time to get yarn to you and for you to create something beautiful!  Email me if you are interested!


Please Note:  Most of my etsy listings are expired and for some reason all the expired posts got deleted so for now the best place to see ALL of my hand dyed skeins is to view the facebook albums. I hope to get a shopping cart system on my website by Fall! 
Lace Weight - Sock Weight - Worsted Weight - Bulky Weight - Chunky Weight

The Etsy shop is still packed full of a variety of items. www.atozalpacas.etsy.com
Please email me regarding orders of items not on Etsy. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

DiD yOu KnOw!? There are two types of alpacas! Huacaya (pronounced Wuh-kai-ya) (which is the kind that we have and pictured on the right below) and Suri  (pronounced surrey) (photoed on the left) 


Photo Credit: Alpaca Association New Zealand

They both need to be shorn once a year and generally have the same weight of fiber, but the characteristics are quite different. The Suri is longer, silkier, and more similar to a camel, or an angora goat. It hangs off their body in long locks. The Huacaya fibre is similar to sheep's wool, but much finer and way softer. Plus it is considered hypoallergenic so its a better alternative to someone who finds sheeps wool itchy. Huacaya fleece is dense, soft, with a bright sheen and a defined crimp. Huacaya fibre is easier to spin by hand than Suri fibre. 

Huacaya alpacas are hardier than Suri alpacas, so they are easier to keep healthy, especially in our cold Winters.
Eighty two percent (82%) of alpacas are huacaya! (I just learned this!)

Some other fun facts!

  • Alpacas have Three Compartment Stomachs! So weird! By chewing cud and having the three compartmentalized stomachalpacas get as many nutrients out of the low forage grass as they can. They don't eat that much food compared to other animals; they only need to eat roughly 2% of their body weight to stay healthy! (Copied from BioWeb Alpaca Nutrition)
  • No Horns (thank God! Could you imagine! lol)
  • No Hooves (they have soft padded feet) 
  • No Claws (they have nails that need to be trimmed) 
  • Alpacas live to be about 21 years and have 1 baby a year (twins are extremely rare but possible) They are pregnant for nearly a full year! And get rebred about 10 days after delivering. 
My father and I have been raising alpacas for many years. It was 1999 when we got our first little herd. And I'm still learning new things about these awesome animals! We just delivered another 85 cria this year and its as exciting as it was the first time. 
Thank-you all for being here and supporting us. 

With love, 
Leslie

 
 

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Hello! And welcome to our homepage :) A to Z Alpacas is a small family farm located in Southern Alberta, Canada. We own over 300 alpacas and have been building our herd since 1999!

I am Leslie Unruh, my daughter, Kayla and I live on the family farm with my dad, Rod Unruh. Kayla and I moved back home after my mom passed away. Being here wasn't planned but it sure did work out to be a dream life.

A to Z Alpacas is one of Canada's largest commercial alpaca farms. My parents (with a huge push from me) bought a herd of 20... some Canadian registered and some dual registered (Canadian and American), over a decade ago. They were all very average alpacas but when we started we didn't know anything.... except what we were told. We did everything by the book and registered all the cria, hand bred, dna tested and the whole bit... Until we literally ran out of cash and just simply couldn't afford to dna test and register. The hand breeding went out the window as soon as we hit 30 females to breed and we simplified the entire process by allowing a single herdsire to reside with a pen of females for the duration of breeding season. We have 3 or 4 pastures running from May 15- July 15. That way we have shortened up our cria time to just the summer and have way less problems with birthing. Our records are fairly minimal. Commercial alpaca farming is MUCH easier without all the paperwork. Each cria gets assigned a number the day they are born and an ear tag is put in before their first night. We don't bother worrying about anything except producing great fiber, and happy alpacas! Our entire focus became fiber.. and nothing else mattered really. I'm glad we made the change to commercial farming. Its been a rollercoaster ride for us but somehow we are still going :)

This year - a decade after losing mom, my brother (32 yr) took his own life while living here with us. It has been a HUGE blow to all of us. I apologize for my spotty absence this year as I tried to make sence of my new life. There were times when I thought I didn't want to be here on the farm anymore. But truth is I love it here, and even though its a place of pain its also comforting at the same time. I can't thank you enough for supporting us through this difficult time and helping us get through. 

abo atoz 4

About our farm name:

When we first started with the alpacas we named each cria crop with a single letter starting with A and we have kept the fun tradition! Last year we had over 100 cria (baby alpacas) to name with the letter U!! That was really tough so we decided to combine the finall letters  U V W X Y and Z this year and start with A again next year. However I have to admit, now that we are so high in numbers we rely quite heavily on their ear tag numbers to make sure we keep them all straight. They are all unique and recognizable and up until we hit 200 i could point out and name each one. Much harder now to keep them all straight! 
Because we are A to Z Alpacas.. I like to have A to Z Sales where I offer numerous products for discounted prices and label them A, B, C, D and so on. I usually host these on Facebook. Watch for them! and Sign up for the Newsletter to get notifications via email of my A to Z Sales :)

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