SASKAPACA is located South of Lintlaw, Saskatchewan and is the home of Bob and Polly Schindel and over 100 alpacas. Bob works off the farm in the construction industry and Polly, an ex-teacher, now has a showroom with an excellent selection of all the handmade alpaca fibre products, yarns, rovings, and batting. We also carry a broad selection frozen “La Viande” Alpaca meat selections.
We proudly offer a curated collection of premium alpaca products produced locally from our very own alpaca fibers.
The SASKAPACA Story
We fell in love with alpacas back in 1996 when we were looking to diversify. Back in the mid-nineties, “diversification” was the buzz word for farmers. We were a mixed grain and cattle farm on our third generation family farm, however, the mix was becoming less profitable thus we began looking for something that would fit in and add value to our operation.
While others were opting for elk or bison we wanted something that wouldn’t require a lot of handling equipment and the associated dangers. As my husband, Bob, was reading through a livestock article, we were introduced to this beautiful new-to-North America creature called the Alpaca. Our research promptly led us to the purchase of 2 male and 3 bred female Chilean Alpacas and we quickly adopted the slogan, "Embrace the Lifestyle!" to describe our new venture. We knew right away that this was going to be a major transition from the Grain and Cattle handling life we were used to.
By the time our 5 alpacas arrived on our farm in the middle of a cold Saskatchewan winter featuring -30 degree celcius temperatures, we were surprised to learn that our females had been pregnant and we now had 6 Alpacas with a 7th due any time.
You can imagine the excitement as our three young daughters anticipated the arrival of our first “cria." The due date came but no baby. Through our research, we were amazed to learn that alpacas are ‘induced’ ovulators and that they have an ability to delay labour at will. We assumed in this case, it was due to poor weather as the usual 11½ month gestation period was stretching to 13!
Perhaps it was the shock of such cold weather or maybe the breeding records were in error, we weren’t sure, but the cria was finally born in late December of 1996 to the delight of all.
Needless to say, we quickly adjusted our birthing schedule to mid-summer and have since had the joy of many many birthings or “Criations,” as they are called in the alpaca world, over the years since.
I would have to say that many of the attractions and benefits we were hoping for when we began our adventure as Alpaca Ranchers have proven true. We have sincerely and full-heartedly embraced this fulfilling lifestyle.
Alpaca Fibre Products
We eventually decided to get out of cattle ranching altogether and moved to organic grain and alpaca fibre production. We joined the Saskatchewan Alpaca Breeders Network (SABN) and The Canadian Llama and Alpaca Association (CLAA) and began our journey with new friends and new skills.
As we never had the gumption for traveling to the alpaca shows and competing as registered breeders, we decided to look in a new and exciting direction… The “commercial” Alpaca fibre industry.
This decision lead us to concentrate on increasing our numbers and the quality of our fibre. With the help of the SABN and CLAA and the events they sponsor, I became more and more educated on alpaca fibre and have completely fallen in love with its beauty, its feel, its practicality, and its diverse value.
From our small beginnings of a few animals and shearing them ourselves, we have experienced growth to the point of hiring a capable shearer, a quality control production line where we sort the fibre according to length, colour, and quality — each intended for a different end product. We then tumble the fibre to pre-clean it and send it to a mill for washing, carding, spinning, and dyeing.
We are proud to have found highly capable knitters, crocheters, weavers, hookers, felters, artists and furriers to work with and create the diverse array of amazing Alpaca products we carry today.
Alpaca ‘La Viande’ Meat Products
We have only recently entered the livestock meat market, first through the pet food industry using our cull animals, but now due to the rising demand, we also provide the grass-fed Specialty Meat Products for families who enjoy these tender flavourful cuts.
Pet Food: We learned that pet owner loved the noticeable effect that alpaca meat was having on the health of their pets. Once fussy and allergic pets who were hard and expensive to feed were happy and healthy; older less active pets were also becoming livelier. In fact, it was such a success that alpaca culls were not keeping up to the demand and the pet food company had to temporarily stop production.
Tender Meat Cuts: We are now much better prepared for the demand and offer a wide array of Fresh Meats such as Ground Meat, Alpaca Steaks, and Roasts as well as a selection of mouthwatering Alpaca Sausage. Garlic, Pepperoni & Breakfast Sausage.
For our customers who prefer Freezer Load quantities, entire Alpacas or Alpaca Sides are available which are a highly economical investment since an entire carcass only amounts to a maximum of 100 lbs on the rail. As always, we continue to follow the principles and values of sustainable farming in our alpaca operation.