Alpaca psychology is just so interesting. Usually when I’m doing spit checking I wear a certain hat, mostly because I don’t want to get caught in the cross fire, when I lead in the male. The other day I went in the female pen to do something else, and I was pretty much ignored by everyone for about ten minutes, until I put on that hat. All of a sudden one of my females charged at me, exactly as she does to a male when spit checking, did the whole “standing sideways, don’t mess with me pose” and started spitting at ME! Conditioned response much? Out of all the females, she’s the only one that made the hat/spit check connection. She also stopped as soon as I took it off, and went on her merry way. Lol Normally she is a pretty mellow girl, that’s what makes it extra funny to me. Looking forward to her cria…she’s definitely pregnant!
Well, we still have a couple of feet of snow on the ground, and a huge risk of flooding, so keeping these guys clean and dry for the show is going to be a challenge! Today the weather is supposed to warm up to +4 so we should get some halter training done…. less than one month until the show! Yikes!
I love spring, and the arrival of cria season, there is simply nothing better than baby alpacas bouncing around the paddock. I love our experienced alpaca mums, and I have far less apprehension when I see one of them go into labour. Usually they know what’s going on, they are so calm and cool about it, many of them continue to eat while they are having strong contractions! Our experienced mums have never had any milk supply problems either. Although we have a supply of colostrum on hand just in case there are any problems, for our “been there done that” mums it’s never really been necessary. Here is a video of one of my experienced mums, from the point of her water breaking (right at the beginning of the video) to baby delivered…takes just over 6 minutes! THAT is a textbook awesome birth!
It was an unseasonably warm day in April 2010, when I decided that I should do some pregtests on the females, to make sure everyone I thought was pregnant was in fact pregnant. I walked over to the stud pen, and said “all right boys, who wants to get spit on?” most of the boys just went back to eating, But our Black stud male Turbo seemed to be volunteering for the job. So I haltered him up and went to the girls pen, it took him a while to really get into the whole orgling thing, although he did manage to get some of the maidens to cush, he didn’t really seem to be “into it” like he usually is. I started leading him out of the pen, when he stopped and sniffed at a “pile” and decided to drop and roll on top of it. It was right then that I saw something, for a split second that did not look right.at.all.
I led him up to the house in search of a flashlight, being such a dark male, I could not see anything wrong with him when he was standing normally. The flashlight revealed what I thought I had seen, Our stud male had a laceration and his penis was hanging out a couple of inches before where it should be hanging out! We were absolutely shocked! How on earth did he manage this?!! We are adamant about checking for fighting teeth, so that wasn’t it, we checked of fences for wires sticking out, our fences are to high for anyone to even think about jumping them, and getting caught up… very mysterious. We had been shearing earlier in the day, so we led him into the shearing area and used the tie downs to investigate further. Upon further inspection, it seemed as though this wasn’t a brand new wound, and in fact everything seemed to have healed up….and he didn’t seem to be in terrible pain remarkably. We took some photos and consulted some vets, this was not something anyone had really seen before. We even emailed the photos to our friends in Australia, their vets had never seen this either, and none of us could figure out how he managed it! Our vet said that the regular opening for his penis was sealed up and all scar tissue, so “putting it back” wasn’t really a great option.
Of course this would be our champion black male, the one we bought specifically for our grey and black breeding program *sigh* Well we did get 2 years worth of crias from him, and this will undoubtedly make them more special to us, but it is still disappointing. Turbo used to settle the females right away, and they usually caught on the first breeding, he was always ready to go! Well the desire is still there for Turbo, but he is unable to “extend himself” properly due to his injury, poor guy! The search is on for a Solid (built like a tank) Black male, with excellent fleece characteristics, that can stamp his crias as well as Turbo did. It will be another year or two before his male offspring will be able to take over.
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A few days before Christmas, I went in the Mum’s and Babies Barn to check on everyone, and throw down some extra kibble, when I discovered our Turbo cria “Propane” was standing perfectly still, not heading towards the feed with everyone … Continue reading