Friday, July 25, 2008

Alpaca Breeding 101 / 'Paca Porno

I think that Beth and I helped Lars (Polaris) do a successful breeding with Lady Belita today. Someone told me that they watched alpaca or llama breeding on the "Dirtiest Jobs" show. I don't know why it would be considered dirty, it's not like we got spit on, or kicked, or anything like that.
First of all, if the female is ready to be bred, she will cush, like white Ariana is doing in this first picture. If she is already bred, or has a headache ☺, or something, she will spit, run away, maybe kick, or like Belita - do a growling, warning thing. Almost anything to let the male know that she is not receptive.
Belita did none of these things, but just stood there so Beth and I did a little "one, two, three, slide her front feet back" and down she went.
Now you need to know that this was Lars's second breeding attempt. He's our homegrown herdsire and only 2 and 1/2 years old.
My role was something like this "No, Lars, not the head, nope, not her side either, yep, back there, no, no, don't slide back, good boy, good boy, opps, get up there."
Beth is on her knees holding Belita's tail out of the way (tail is covered with a sock, don't want Lars getting a fiber burn), and observing and reporting to me any connections being made.
And SUCCESS! We had about a 20 minute breeding.

We will probably have our vet do an ultrasound and/or a progesterone test in a month to be sure that she's pregnant. If not, we will try again in the fall. Alpaca gestation is 11 months and we try to plan births to avoid high heat and extreme cold.
This is our handsome herd sire, Polaris, on the left. He is a very gentle guy with lovely conformation and fleece. We are hoping he has it figured out so that Beth and I don't have to be so actively involved. Sometimes we get to giggling thinking about what we would look like if someone walked into the barn.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alpacas at 4-H Fair

John decided to take Chinella to the Fair this week instead of Orion (Slammy). He can reach around her head to show her bite to the Judge and Slammy has grown considerably so that it's quite a reach.....and as it turned out, the judge didn't even require this.
John and Chin did extremely well and had a super time. The only thing that Chin refused to do was to lift her foot for him.
All my information is second hand from Beth because I wasn't able to be there. Smitty (husband) had a very serious surgery that day (Monday) and is still hospitalized.
We are hoping he will come home tomorrow (Friday).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thank You, Etsy

Oh, my gosh, friends, Etsy did a really, really nice article about the alpacas, this blog, and my shop. You might want to take a look here:

If you just double click in the middle of the blue, you will go to the Etsy article.

The dear brown girl who is pictured here is Sonata who is due in September with her first cria. She was bred to a handsome Gray and we are really hoping for a RoseGray. Of course, will love whatever she has. But, oh, I can just imagine spinning up Baby RoseGray Alpaca. Mmmmm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nursing Spot

I promised you a picture of Spot actually nursing on Ariana instead of a bottle. Here he is!!!! Melanie was out and took this picture to email to me. He will have absolutely nothing to do with his bottle and is a little aloof to me now. I'm so amazed that after 3 weeks he is figuring out the instincts that he should of had at birth. And thank you, Ariana, for being so patient with him.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Spot the Bottle Alpaca - A Minor Miracle

My friends, you won't believe this...... Last Saturday on Spot's 3 week birthday, I saw him trying to nurse from Ariana. He didn't quite get it and couldn't latch on, but at least he was in the right spot for the first time ever. I cut his bottle feedings from 6 times a day to 3, hoping to make him hungry enough to try really hard. Yesterday he didn't seem as desperate for the bottle and even left a little of the 9 ounces that he was getting.
♫♪♫ This morning he totally refused to drink from his bottle ♪♫♪
I will keep offering but am so thrilled. He wouldn't even come when I called him.
Isn't it amazing that after 3 weeks Ariana is able to restart her milk production?
BTW, this picture is of Spot and Ariana when he was just a couple hours old. I haven't been able to catch one of him nursing - but I will.

Friday, July 4, 2008

1000 Hearts

In Etsy Land if you come across a shop that you want to mark as a favorite, you can click on the shop and "heart" them. I have been watching my hearts build this week and had made up my mind that I would gift the 1000th heart with a choice of anything in my shop. I didn't want to announce what I was going to do because it would feel rather phony, like I was begging for hearts.
This morning it happened (see here) and I thanked her. Her choice for a gift is this hat. Jennifer lives in Ottawa, Canada.
Actually, I find out that she is very interested in alpacas and is considering getting her own herd so that she can spin up this wonderful fiber on her own.
Soooooo, thanks, Jennifer, for your ♥

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's a Girl!

Busy Day! Lady Belita had her cria this morning at 11:05. A white baby girl. We are going to call her Mira but can't decide to spell it with an i or a y. What do you think? The picture above was taken at 11:15 of her first attempts to get up and walk.
And here she is 30 minutes old taking a run around the pasture. Her fretful mom is behind and that's Lyra and Spot (2 weeks old now) getting caught up in her play.

Here she is at 35 minutes old meeting the fiber boys through the fence. That's Lady Belita behind her giving a fake spit warning to tell them not to get too close.

Because of all the confusion in the pasture, we carried Mira in to a pen to be just with her mom. She knows exactly where meals come from but not sure that Belita has much milk. Belita is really possessive about this, her 4th cria, and fake spits to warn us to stay away.... So we have been. Will weigh Mira and treat her navel tonight after they have had some time together.
Look at that fiber, my friends!
7 p.m. update - weighed, tempted, and treated navel without getting spit on. ☺ Smitty picked her up and hurried to the scales, which by the way are at the other end of the barn. Temp was normal but, oh my, she weighs 24.3 pounds. Definitely, the biggest cria that we have had.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Alpaca ♪♫On the Road Again♫♪

Beth and John picked Slammie (Orion) up last Friday to take him to a 4-H work session. At 165 pounds, he really fills up Beth's van now. ▲ They have been practicing walking up and down steps, side passing over a ground pole (I'm really impressed with this 'cause I remember how hard it was to teach my horse), going over jumps, backing, and turning inside a circle. The picture below show John at practice going over a tippy ramp.
Nancy Rogers and her mom Pat Slagell have started this Alpaca 4-H club and alpacas will be shown at the Alma Fair for the first time this year. I think they have about 15 kids in the group. If you would like to visit their alpacas and farm go here - Alpaca Family Farm.
♥ ♥ ♥
I'm rather disgusted with Etsy right now. I can get into my shop, but can't see images anywhere. They are boxes with descriptions in them. Right now my link on the right here in my blog is showing the no image boxes.