Black Wolf Ranch News

Livestock Protection Dogs

Let me introduce you to what we affectionately call our puppies.

The Anatolian Shepherds originated in Central Turkey guarding sheep from wolves, bears and cheetahs. They have acute hearing, exceptional eyesight; a muscular breed with thick necks, broad heads and sturdy bodies. Males are normally 26 to 31 inches and females are generally 27 to 30 inches tall and weigh between 90 to 200 lbs. Anatolians have a double coat that is wiry and thick for protection. Most Anatolians have a sleek appearance with a large rib cage and small stomach. Generally a healthy breed they have a longer than average life span for similar sized dogs.

We have eight of these amazing dogs; Ronan is our largest at 212 lbs. Teyla is his full sister and she is 145 lbs. Ayla is their youngest sister and is about 165 lbs. We have Thor who is our oldest and is 125 lbs. and very tall. Thor is amazing and is the first to alert at possible trouble calling all the others to high alert. He is also the most gentle with the cria, children and anything small. Rex and Tala are affectionately called T-Rex and are our most protective. No one can get close to them or what they deem as theirs. Tala is our smallest at 88 lbs. but I would not underestimate her in any fight and Rex is about 117 lbs. We have two new additions they are Hoss and Bud, and are three years and very full of themselves as they are still puppies, they greet us with lots of excitement are just behind Thor on alerting the rest of the dogs to pending threats. Let me just say we buy dog food by the pallet!

All our dogs are independent, forceful and intelligent they learn quickly but mostly choose not to obey! They like to roam and when out in the larger fields with the alpaca are always on high alert. They even know how many are in each herd and will not come into the barn and interior pastures until all of the alpacas are there! Just how do they know! As I can take pictures of the dogs I will add them to this feed.

Lily

We Welcome Lilianna to Black Wolf Ranch!

Lily has joined our family and is already a treasured member! She braved the drive from Texas to Montana in November of 2011 and joined us on December 1st.

Immediately she made an impact, her background includes fiber arts, textiles, sales and lots and lots of organization skills. Lily comes to us via Argentina and the great southern states of Florida and Texas.

We are sooo happy to have her as part of our family!

She is working on fleece skirting, sorting and yarn products now to help us prepare for the farmers markets and various shows we will be attending throughout 2012. She is also working with the animals and getting to know our livestock guard dogs and all of the various animals on the ranch.

We are very excited to have her join us and look forward to the many years of happiness! Please keep an eye out for her and all her knitted and hand-woven articles at our shows.

We love you Lily!

Take a look at Lily's amazing works of art!

2012 Show Circuit

Home Shows 2012

For those of you who supported us last year at the Missoula Home and Garden Show we will be returning! The show will be at the Adams Center in Missoula on March 31st and April 1st 2012. Look for us!

Fiber Shows 2012

We are pleased to announce we will be a MAWS in Missoula which will be at the Adams Center on June 8th through the 12th.

We will also attend our local farmers markets so keep your eyes out for us!

Nationally we are attending the Vogue Knitting Show currently scheduled for September in Chicago! As we learn more information we will pass it along.

Bison Cabin

Bison Cabin

The Bison Cabin continues to improve. We were able to use it this summer for several guests who enjoyed cooler weather than where they live in Texas!

Coined, "Agritourism" it is broadly defined as involving any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. Agritourism was made popular in Italy and is slowly taking a hold in the United States. Agritourism can include a wide variety of activities, including buying produce direct from a farm store, feeding animals, or merely staying on a ranch or farm.

The cabin will allow Black Wolf Ranch to highlight the ranching lifestyle to a wide variety of tourists. It will allow visitors to experience Montana, see local attractions, participate in ranch activities if desired, or merely enjoy the relative quite of country living.

Kitchen

The Kitchen is completed, and fully stocked awaiting this years guests! It has an amazing view looking west towards our closest park the Bison Range.

Dining Room

Our Dining Room is right off the Kitchen and Living room, and is big enough to seat six people. It also opens to a covered back porch that looks over the Bison Range and a 60 acre field that is almost always full of deer. Enjoy a meal indoors or out on the porch.

Our Comfy Living Room

I am especially pleased with how the living room turned out! It has large oversized furniture that is perfect to curl up on and enjoy looking out towards our girls barn and the weanling boys. In addition both are in the foreground of the most amazing Mission Mountains!

Entry Way view

Our front doorway welcomes you to the Bison Cabin and hopefully makes you feel welcome from the start.

Winter 2010 Store News

Open House

Black Wolf Ranch held our first Holiday Open House and while the weather did not cooperate we did have several guests who enjoyed holiday wine, cheese and desert.

The party was our official kick-off for the holiday season as well as the opening of our farm store! Our store is open when we are at the ranch, please call ahead or make an appointment, we can be reached at 406-745-6000.

Our ladies collection includes sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves. We place a grouping of products so that customers can visualize multiple items together.

Below are pictures to show off our product and farm store...

Men's Collection

Our men's collection, pictured here, has both lightweight and heavier sweaters. We added scarves and hats to accentuate the sweater and provide interest. We offer several colors and all sizes.

Accessories

Black Wolf Ranch offers a variety of accessories for the skier or outdoors man/woman. We offer both casual elegance and versatility.

Our ski line includes earflap hats with tassels, mittens, glove inserts, socks and knitted caps.

The outdoorsman line includes socks, gloves, felt lined watch caps, gloves and vests

Casual Elegance includes hand-knitted scarves, hand-woven scarves, ponchos, gloves, boucle hats with pins, knitted caps.

We also carry teddy bears, coloring books and hand felted animals.

Craft Products

We offer hand painted yarns, natural yarns, roving, felted garment pads, raw pack felt pads and raw fleece for hand spinners.

We specialize in alpaca but will soon carry Shetland wool yarns.

If you are interested in alpacas as a lifestyle, here are some suggestions:

  1. Research, research, research! Potential new alpaca owners have a wide range of resources available to them; AOBA has an extensive library including books, videos and articles on alpaca husbandry, management, fiber, etc. all of which can be borrowed. Attend local events, such as clinics, shows or the national conference. Use the Internet we found articles describing the alpaca industry, where it's headed, the risks and rewards of ownership.
  2. Contact breeders in your area and arrange for farm visits. AOBA can send a packet of information containing regional listing of farms. Visit as many breeders as you can. All farms operate differently; you can gather ideas on what may be useful, such as fencing, barn structures, etc. Also, visit different sized farms to get a variety of farm philosophies and breeding programs. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!
  3. Develop a business plan. Ask yourself the following questions… What do you want to do with the alpacas? Breed? Fiber production? Amount of initial investment? Land and shelter considerations? What will be your philosophy? What is your targeted clientele? Where do you want to be in 5 years or 10 years?
  4. Focus on quality - When selecting your initial purchase of alpacas. Find the best female alpacas for your initial investment and goals. Purchase the ones that meet your business plan and are right for you. Bred females offer a quick return on your investment. Always have a pre-purchase exam, which is required for insurance purposes. Check bite, teeth, eyes, ears, hearing, lungs, and legs for correctness and all over conformation.
  5. Locate a vet in your area, before you bring your alpacas home. If you can find one with camelid experience, great, if not find one who will work with you and explain his fee structure. Find a good source of hay, and look into grain and mineral supplements too!

Black Wolf Ranch started as a dream and is now a reality. Bret and I began looking into ways we could live in a rural setting and make a living. During our search we discovered alpacas and began diligently researching these amazing animals.

We continue our education daily with regard to the animals and thier fiber. We share our successes and failures with our clients, other breeders and friends. We continue to carefully research and plan our breeding program and practices and are working with fiber experts like Ian Watt (www.elitealpacabreedingsystems.com) to insure we can measure our results as we hone our own specific breeding and fiber objectives. We have been working with Sertified Sorters and NAAFP.

At Black Wolf Ranch, we dedicate our efforts to preserving the value and integrity of alpacas. However to sustain this life we are committed to the fiber industry and the alpaca breed. We breed for quality fiber, confirmation and character and work hard at promoting the alpaca lifestyle. Black Wolf Ranch is working towards the breeding principles developed and promoted by Dr. Jim Watts in Australia. His philosophy is known as SRS® and promotes soft bundling locks of fine and closely aligned long fiber. Dr. Watt’s breeding program is based on the selection of animals through objective measurement and visual markers of fiber characteristics.

Bret and I will discuss openly and honestly what is involved in starting an alpaca ranch and fiber business with any and all visitors. We will discuss the financial aspects, as well as the emotional aspects, because the alpaca’s well-being is the primary concern in our industry.

Our website offers some of the information we found as we researched the breed. Please look around and if you would like to talk with us, give us a call…we will be more than happy to share our experiences!