GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA — Growing up, these visits to the barn or pasture happened a lot earlier in the morning for Bobby Dickerson.
“We used to get up at 2 o’clock in the morning,” he says.
He spent his formative years at a dairy near Tishomingo then couldn’t wait to join the military.
The Dickersons bought a nice little acreage after he retired.
Bobby had cattle on his mind again.
“I was looking at some Dexter cows,” he recalls, “and the wife told me no.”
So they settled on Alpacas and the Rock’n D Ranch was born.
“We started out with 4 back in 2009.”
On this morning Dickerson was headed out to feed and check on his herd of 25 alpacas.
In the early spring his Suri’s are pretty easy to care for.
Nutrition is important.
He also likes to keep the young ones out of the burrs and red dirt.
This group is small enough that he still knows all their names.
“I can call them and their ears perk up,” says Dickerson.
They’re gentle in an odd sort of way, but the one thing he really looks for in all these animals is the quality of their fleece.
The Dickersons breed carefully to get a soft, full coat that actually shines in the sun.
Bobby pulls back the fleece of a prize-winning alpaca and points out, “You can see the luster on him. That’s what the judges look for.”
Over the past several years the Rock’n D has done something right.
The alpacas were happy and healthy enough to produce the right kind of fleece, the kind that might fetch as much as $5.00 per ounce to make thread or yarn.
He says, “It’s almost compared to cashmere. It’s a really nice fleece.”
Their spring show season started out really well too.
The Rock’n D herd with 7 different banners from the largest national show for alpacas in the U.S.
“They have the halter class. Then they have the walking fleece class,” he says.
These animals do get a little hot in the Oklahoma Summer.
Bobby and Diane are not above bringing some of these animals into their air-conditioned house to cool them off.
But something here seems to agree with both animal and animal husbandry.
The Rock’n D is rolling right along.
The Dickersons are headed to another big alpaca show in Kansas City April 13-15.
For more information about their farm go to www.rockndenterprises.com