After filling ourselves up at Bob’s Red Mill, we drove straight to an Alpaca farm. Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t think I could have gotten there any faster. I was so excited to see the alpacas and play with them. Well, we didn’t actually play but I did get to pet them and learn all about these amazing animals.
We pulled up to Marquam Hill Ranch later in the day, around 3pm. I knew they closed at 4 so I didn’t know how much time we would get to spend there. We were instantly greeted by one of the workers who was more than happy to show us around. Before seeing the alpacas, my attention went straight to the guard dog. He’s a great pyrenees and was huge. I’m not scared of dogs, but I definitely was careful around him. He only allowed you in his area when his owners were around. Once he knew we were allowed to be back in his space, he was the sweetest dog ever.
After getting around the big guard dog, I was in alpaca heaven. There were a few inside that I got to pet and guess what? They are even cuter up close! To be honest, I didn’t know a thing about alpacas before going to Marquam Hill Ranch and I left with an abundance of info.
One of the craziest facts that I learned was about mating the alpacas. It’s breeding season at the farm so they’ll take a female alpaca in to a stall to mate with a male. In exactly seven days after their mating session, the female is brought back to the male. If she spits on him, that means she is pregnant. If she doesn’t spit, they’ll mate again. If she does spit, they’ll bring her back in another 7 days (so 14 days since 1st mating) and if she spits again, it’s a confirmation that she is pregnant.
When I heard that, I was baffled and so intrigued. I told my husband if I ever walk up to him and spit, then walk away then he knows I’m pregnant. Can you imagine?
Alpacas are pregnant for 11.5 months and it only takes them 20 minutes to deliver their baby. I got to hold one and I was so excited. Can you guess how old the sweet alpaca is that I’m holding?
He’s only 1 week old! Those poor mama alpacas have to hold so much big babies but they are too cute. Marquam Hill Ranch had about 90 alpacas at the time of our visit and 23 of them were pregnant. That’s a lot of pregnant animals in one space.
The Marquam Hill Ranch is approximately 18 acres and has an amazing story. The owners of the ranch only got started in this business 10 years ago. She visited an Alpaca Show in Portland out of curiosity and it never left her mind. She talked with her husband all about alpacas and how they could turn it into a business. After lots of research and learning, they purchased their first 5 girls. Even since that day 8 years ago, this has been a full time job with lots of growth each year.
I love that I learned so much while I was at the Ranch for only an hour. They were so helpful and full of knowledge. I’ll definitely be visiting again next time to head to Oregon’s Mt Hood Territory.
Marquam Hill Ranch is located at 35835 OR-213, Molalla, OR 97038.