A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 24, 2009

And The Result Of The Paternity Test Is…

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Reproduction, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — alpacalady @ 6:31 am

Little Man - looking a little grumpy as I take his picture!

Little Man - looking a little grumpy as I take his picture!


This sounds like a line from the Jerry Springer show doesn’t it!  Of course life at Windrush Alpacas is nothing like the lives of the participants on the Jerry Springer show, but we did recently send in blood work to The Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) to determine who was the sire of our cria Windrush Peruvian Tonka (or, as we prefer to call him Little Man).


All alpacas registered with ARI have their parentage determined by DNA.  A small drop of blood is placed on a blood card and sent in to ARI along with details of the sire and dam of the alpaca.  A DNA test is then run on the cria’s blood sample and compared to the DNA of the sire and dam (which will be held on file with ARI provided the sire and dam are ARI registered alpacas).  Until fairly recently you usually sent in the details of just one sire and if that did not match ARI would contact you and you would then give them the details of any other potential sires.  Now you can put two sires on your original registration application and ARI will compare those two sires with the DNA of your cria.


I like the two sire option.  Usually we are certain who the sire of a cria is, but once in a while you will get a female alpaca who, for various reasons, may be bred to more than one male alpaca.  To be able to submit the information of both the potential sires is helpful and a time saver.


Little Man’s dam Clarissa Dawn was one of those female alpacas who was bred to more than one male alpaca.  We started off by breeding her to our junior herdsire Travesura’s Altiplano Treasure, but Clarissa did not seem to get pregnant.  As Treasure was an unproven herdsire we decided that perhaps he wasn’t quite ready for breeding and so switched to breeding Clarissa to one of our proven herdsires Windrush Moonlight Surprise.  After that breeding Clarissa behaved as if she were pregnant and so we did not breed Clarissa again.


Now the real fun came when Clarissa delivered Little Man around the time that would coincide with her breeding to Treasure.  However Little Man was very small and so we felt it was possible that perhaps he was a very premature cria from Clarissa’s breeding to Moonie.   Apart from being very small and slow to gain weight Little Man did not show any other signs of being premature.    His lungs were fine, he was lively, he was not weak and he had good muscle tone.  So we really couldn’t decide if he was an on time Treasure cria or a premature Moonie cria.  To complicate things further Little Man bore no resemblance to either Moonie or Treasure.


As Little Man has grown we have started to think he must be a Treasure cria.  His body style is compact and sturdy like Treasure’s and his fleece is exceptionally bright like Treasure’s. As Little Man’s fleece grew the crimp style of his fleece was closer to Treasure’s than Moonies.   When we recently sent in Little Man’s blood sample to ARI for DNA testing we felt fairly certain that the results would confirm that Treasure was Little Man’s sire.


Two days ago I finally received an email from ARI informing me that Little Man’s registration had been completed.  This indicated to me that Little Man’s sire must have been determined.  So with flying fingers I logged into my ARI online account to find out who Little Man’s sire was – and discovered that surprise, surprise (get the hint here?)  Little Man’s sire is Moonie (Windrush Moonlight Surprise).  So Moonie now has another cria on the ground. 


The more I think about Little Man the more remarkable it is to me that he showed very little sign of being premature.  We have had very premature crias born on the farm before and they were certainly not as strong and sturdy as Little Man was when he was born.  So while Little Man may be small he must also be made of some stern stuff to survive his premature delivery.  Just imagine how strong he would have been if he had been a full term cria.


So congratulations go to Moonie and Clarissa.  Little Man still doesn’t look really look like either of them, but that could change as he ages of course.  What is interesting though is that he bears such a stronger resemblance to Treasure, because Treasure and Moonie share the same grandsire, Peruvian Presidio – just goes to show you how powerful good genetics can be.




  1. Very interesting read, Rosemary! 🙂 A soap opera of sort, but I definitely enjoyed the mystery (almost read the ending early to find out). What a handsome “little man” he is too! Congrats. 🙂 Kelly

    Comment by Kelly L — January 26, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

    • Hi Kelly,

      Glad you enjoyed the tale of Little Man. It is interesting isn’t it. I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops as he grows up and will post updates on the blog.

      Hope all is well with you and your family.


      Comment by alpacalady — January 27, 2009 @ 2:16 am

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