A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 22, 2009

Guess the Weight of the Cria

 

McKinley

McKinley - He's heavier than he looks

 

 

If we had been playing that game at the weekend we would have lost!  As part of our routine we had scheduled to weigh Whisper and McKinley.  Whisper was born August 31 with a birth weight of 14.7 lbs, while McKinley was born September 5 with a birth weight of 19.1 lbs.

McKinley is quite a tall cria and Whisper is just the opposite small and compact.  They were the last of the summer crias to be born and are very close in age.  With the exception of Theresa’s cria, the latest cria to be born on our farm, McKinley and Whisper are the two smallest crias of our summer cria crop.

When Ric picked up McKinley it was obvious from Ric’s face that McKinley was a little heavier than expected.  Ric valiantly carried him to the scales and back, but by the time he got to the pasture gate he was calling out “help me” for McKinley indeed was no light weight having weighed in at 54.5 lbs.

Next to go to the scales was Whisper – surely she weighed a lot less.  Were we in for a surprise!  Again as Ric picked up Whisper his face showed the strain (is Ric really getting out of shape I began to wonder, no more Open Farm Day cookies for him!), but Ric had good cause to be taken aback by Whisper’s weight for she weighed in at 58.7 lbs!  She weighed even more than McKinley!

 

Whisper

Little Whisper - only she is not that little anymore!

 

 

 

We have been raising alpacas now for over 10 years and so usually are pretty in tune with how much a cria weighs based on its size, but these two really have surprised us for they do not look that big.  Both McKinley and Whisper have dense fleeces though and I suspect that some of that weight is fleece weight.    Whatever the reason for McKinley and Whisper’s weights, I think it is safe to say that they are both healthy, hearty crias and that their dams Bjorn and Willow are doing a great job in the milk department!  Keep up the good work girls (and stay away from those cookies Ric!)

 

Rosemary

November 11, 2009

A Long Awaited Cria Arrives

 

Theresa Checks Out Her New Female Cria

Finally its a girl for Theresa!

Finally it happened, at 11:10 on November 10th (now how’s that for coincidence being born at 11:10 on 11/10) Theresa’s cria was born – and after five boys in a row Theresa had a girl!

Theresa was bred on November 15, 2008 so by my calculation she had a gestation of 360 days – phew!

We suspected that Theresa was finally thinking of having her cria when she started acting differently late in the day on Monday.  We noticed Theresa was standing a lot, not eating as much as usual and when she did cush it was very slowly.  By 8 p.m. Theresa had started to hum which was a bit concerning as it was an indication that labor was getting closer and we didn’t want a cria born during the night.  Apart from the humming though Theresa seemed otherwise comfortable.  I monitored her until 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday and as she still seemed comfortable at that time I made tracks for bed.

Of course you never really sleep that well when you are wondering if one of your alpaca girls is outside in the throes of labor, by 5:15 a.m. I was up to check on Theresa and could see that she was still cushed comfortably.  Theresa ate well at feeding time, although the humming was still continuing, but after feeding she isolated herself from the herd and then I was certain her cria was on its way.

By 8:50 a.m. Theresa was starting to push.  I have known Theresa for many years and have seen her give birth several times.  I know that with Theresa labor does not progress quickly and just when you start to think you should call the vet she gives a huge push and out pops her cria.   Theresa’s labor progressed as I expected and by 11:05 a.m. I could just see the tip of the crias nose.  Next came Theresa’s usual huge contraction and at 11:10 a.m. her cria was born.

By the time the cria arrived the other alpaca girls had gathered round to check out the new arrival, much to Theresa’s annoyance, so as soon as Theresa was rested and up I took her and her cria and put them in a catch pen to bond.

 

Theresa's Cria Standing Strong

Theresa's cria tries out her long legs

 

 

For Theresa there had been a long gap between crias, following the birth of her last cria she had developed a uterine infection which took a long while to clear up.  Once the uterine infection was gone Theresa was bred again but sadly lost her cria at 90 days gestation when the crias umbilical cord became wrapped around the crias neck.  We have not had that happen before, it was an unfortunate accident but there was nothing we could have done to prevent it and nothing we could do about it.  Theresa was bred again (after we had allowed her body to recover from the loss of her cria) and this time all went well.   Theresa had a good pregnancy, even though it was another long one.

So now Theresa finally has a daughter and what a good looking girl she is.  Her fleece is very curly and soft and like her mother she loves to eat (or in her case nurse).  Theresa’s cria wasted no time in getting to her feet and having a nurse as soon as she was able and Theresa was more than happy for her to do so.

Our congratulations go to Theresa’s owners Troy and Mary Ogilvie of Timber Lodge Alpacas.  Troy and Mary were very patient during the process of getting Theresa bred again, through all that happened their only concern was that Theresa be healthy and given all that was needed to help her have a good pregnancy.  Troy and Mary’s patience paid off and now they have been rewarded with a beautiful female cria.  I am sure Troy and Mary will love her when they get to see her, and knowing them I am betting that will be soon!
Rosemary

September 6, 2009

It’s hard to have a cria when your back’s against the wall!

Bjorn's cria - glad to have found his way into the world!

Bjorn's cria - glad to have found his way into the world!

That’s what we had to tell Bjorn yesterday as she tried to deliver her cria.

Yesterday wasn’t particularly a hot day, but it was a humid day making it feel hotter than it actually was.  As we fed the girls in the morning I noticed Bjorn cushed shortly after eating which was unusual for her.  Sure enough she was in labor and once we let her out of the pen where she eats she made her way to the shade of the shelter.

As Bjorn’s labor progressed she wandered around the pasture.  I prepared a pen to put her in once her cria had been delivered.  Being on dry lot I prefer to have a pen with blankets or bedding to put new crias and their dams into so that they can bond after birthing.

Bjorn was definitely seeking out the cool breeze of the fan, but she had strong competition for the prime spot immediately in front of the fan.  Ivanna had already staked her claim to a spot in front of the fan and Black Prince and Buccaneer were cushed there also.

Before long I could see the nose of Bjorn’s cria emerge, but by now Bjorn had firmly wedged herself in front of the fan with her rear pressed up against the wall of the shelter blocking the cria from making any progress.  I tried to move Bjorn so that there was space behind her but as fast as I moved her she moved herself back.  The crias nose came out and went back in again at least twice, and once the cria’s head and feet had fully emerged Bjorn was pushing but there was nowhere for the  cria to go.

Eventually I manage to get Bjorn’s rear away from the shelter wall and with a few more pushes she delivered her cria a large white boy.

Bjorn usually has large crias and at 19.8 lbs this was one of her smallest cria.  You would have thought that Bjorn would be anxious to get her cria delivered quickly rather than position herself to where her cria could not come out.

Bjorn’s cria didn’t seem any worse for wear once he was fully delivered, and was cushed and then up on his feet in a short while.  Bjorn though looked tired after the birthing and took her time resting after the cria was born, but some MSE drench, a bowl of alfalfa and a nice cold bucket of water to drink soon had her up on her feet again.

So we have another white boy to add to our herd.  He’s a handsome looking cria with bright white silky fleece and the dense bone of his sire Zin.  I think he will be quite the good looking lad as he grows up and will be competitive enough to take part in the white classes at the alpaca shows once he is of age.   Now he’s finally out I suspect nothing will stop him!

Rosemary

August 9, 2009

Remember When …

 

It only took us 30 minutes to do toenail trimming for the whole herd. That was several years back when the herd was really small! These days it takes us a lot longer.

 

It would be nice to be able to do maintenance tasks for the whole herd in one day, but with over 60 alpacas on the farm and just Ric and me to do the work that is not a realistic expectation. So instead we break the tasks down to groups of alpacas. One day we will do the junior males, the next day the senior males, the following day the female herd and then the next day the quarantine pen. It makes the work load a little easier and by doing tasks by groups then it makes the record keeping a little easier too.

 

The female herd is by far the largest group and Saturday morning found us giving all the girls and crias a pedicure and manicure (toe nail trimming), treating their ears for ear ticks and weighing all of the spring crias. We didn’t do badly, and were completed with chores and our maintenance tasks by noon. Considering the temperature was headed to the 100’s as we worked we don’t think we did too badly.

 

Thankfully all of the spring crias have now reached the 40 lb. mark and so instead of the weekly weighing that has been happening since they reached 30 lb. they can now go onto the monthly weigh schedule – and at 40 lbs each its time to start some halter training as we don’t want to be carrying them over to the scales any more!

 

The next couple of days will see us taking care of the maintenance tasks for the rest of the herd. It’s not difficult work, it just takes a little time, but it is work that needs to be done and also it gives us a chance to get our hands on each alpaca to make sure everyone is hale and hearty.

 

Following our morning working in the heat it was time to retreat to the cool of the house and enjoy a nice cold drink, write up the herd notes and take care of a few things inside the house before starting afternoon chores. Not a bad way to spend a day really!

 

Rosemary

July 24, 2009

Keeping The Bugs At Bay

Natures Defender Alpacas and Llamas Insect Spray

Natures Defender Alpacas and Llamas Insect Spray

With our recent rains and warm weather the fly population is rapidly increasing. As we live in an area that is highly populated with dairy cows flies are a part of life. The dairies do their best to keep the fly population under control, many of them use fly predators and some spray for flies but the flies still manage to repopulate. The other insect of concern is the mosquito who is no doubt laying eggs like crazy in any water that has collected as a result of the rain.

We use food grade diatomaceous earth as a top dressing for our feed (it is most important it is food grade and not pool grade) and that helps not only with the flies but also with other internal parasites. For our stock tanks we use something called mosquito dunks which effectively kill mosquito larvae while leaving the water in the stock tank safe for our horses to consume.

With alpacas being fleece animals there is always the risk of lice getting your herd. We have unfortunately experienced lice in the herd in the past when some alpacas brought to us for shearing managed to pass them on to our herd. That was in the pre-quarantine days when alpaca owners would casually allow visiting alpacas to intermingle with their own herd. Now we know better and visiting alpacas are quarantined for three weeks prior to joining our herd and we are careful to clean our shearing mats and equipment after shearing visiting alpacas or llamas.

We are always on the lookout for new products that are helpful in keeping the bugs at bay and recently came across one that really has impressed us. “Natures Defender Alpacas and Llamas Insect Spray” is an all natural topical insect spray. Made from Cedar oil and Silane Fluid this spray is USDA approved and safe to use on most animals (it is not suitable for exotic birds). To us one of the best features of this product is that you can safely use it on pregnant alpacas and llamas.

Our past experience with lice in the herd has shown us how difficult it is to eradicate lice when you have pregnant females. Most lice treatments are not safe for pregnant and nursing alpacas which means that your pregnant and nursing alpacas cannot be treated for many months, preventing you from being able to treat the herd 100%.

The Nature’s Defender spray though allows us to spray pregnant and nursing alpacas if needed and as it is safe to use on crias we have been able to provide some fly relief for our crias whose beautiful young eyes often attract flies.

In addition to killing flies and lice the spray also kills ticks, mites, bacteria and fungal infections. You can also use it around the house to repel and kill insects. Actually we are finding more uses for this product every day – we have sprayed the alpacas, sprayed the dogs (including our puppy Blue), we have even sprayed Ric (well we sprayed his t-shirt before he did chores and the flies left him alone). We have also used the Nature’s Defender product on our alpaca products to keep moths away including lightly misting our fleeces that have not yet been shipped for processing. We didn’t experience any staining on our products as a result of using the spray and everything has a nice cedar scent to it.

You can read more about Nature’s Defender Alpacas and Llamas Insect spray at http://www.alpacasllama-insectspray.com/ and if you check out the distributors page you will see we are listed as distributors. We like this product so much we decided that we wanted to be able to supply it to our clients and friends.

** (August 28, 2009) You can now purchase the Nature’s Defender Alpacas and Llamas Insect spray through our AlpacaNation Farm Store at

http://www.alpacanation.com/alpaca-stores/03_viewstore.asp?name=11586

If you are looking to keep the bugs at bay try Nature’s Defender Alpacas and Llamas spray, I’m betting you will like it and will soon be using it for many things as we do!

Rosemary

July 13, 2009

Talk About Picking The Moment

TeQueely's Cria - new born, wet and wobbly

TeQueely's Cria - new born, wet and wobbly

When we first started raising alpacas another more experienced alpaca breeder told us when it comes to the delivery date of crias the dam chooses the week and the unborn cria picks the day.  If that’s the case our latest cria must like his mother to work hard for he (yes another boy!) decided to be born at 2:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon when the temperature was 104.

We had noticed that TeQueely had seemed a little uncomfortable during the day and was visiting the poop piles frequently.  Seeing that activity we expected a cria shortly after the end of morning chores, but by then TeQueely had settled down, eating hay and chewing her cud in the shade of the shelter while sitting in front of the fan.  This was not the first time TeQueely had behaved like this during the late stage of her pregnancy and on previous occasions TeQueely had settled down and the cria had not been born.  During the course of the day TeQueely went through having moments of discomfort and then settling down again.  TeQueely never seemed to be in distress but I was starting to get a little concerned that perhaps something was not right.

Fortunately my fears were unfounded.  I had a vet appointment for Blue the puppy to receive her second shots at 2:45 p.m. but when I went out to check on TeQueely one last time before I left for the vets I found her actively pushing.  She was definitely in labor this time.

A quick call to the vets rescheduled Blues appointment, and by now I could see a little nose starting to emerge.  I decided that the sundress I was wearing was probably not the most appropriate attire and so made a quick dash to the house to get changed, grab my cria kit and some blankets and towels.   I am so glad we chose to have our female pasture right in front of our house so that I can get to my supplies while still keeping an eye on what is going on in the pasture.

By the time I got back to TeQueely the cria’s head, neck and front legs were delivered and I could see he was a big cria.  TeQueely was holding up remarkably well considering how hot it was but I knew she must be tired and she still had to deliver the crias shoulders, which were not exactly small.  So as TeQueely had the next contraction I assisted her in getting the crias shoulders out.  Those shoulders took a little manipulating but with another good contraction out they came followed a short while later by the crias body and hind legs (by now I was covered in birthing fluids and was really glad I wasn’t still wearing a dress!).

TeQueely is a great mother and was soon sniffing and clucking at her cria, while her cria, who by rights should have been tired, after such a delivery was full of life kicking and rolling around on the blanket I had placed him on.  I wonder how many human mother and babies would have been that lively after a delivery in 104 degree heat?

Just looking at TeQueely’s cria you can tell he is no lightweight.  His sire is Snowmass Andean Night owned by our friends Bob and Regina Dart, I have seen several Night crias and they were nowhere near as big as TeQueely’s cria, I guess TeQueely must have been feeding her cria well during pregnancy.    Later when we weighed TeQueely’s cria he was 20.6 lbs, that combined with the 9 lb placenta TeQueely delivered a few hours later meant TeQueely had lost close to 30 lbs in an afternoon!

TeQueely's cria, dried off and taking a well deserved rest

TeQueely's cria, dried off and taking a well deserved rest

I still cannot believe that TeQueely’s cria would decide to be born on such a hot day, but thankfully all went well and I accredit that partly to TeQueely’s general good health that gave her the stamina to go through the birthing process.  Usually we plan for our crias not to be born during such extreme temperatures, but some early very hot weather thwarted our plans this year.  TeQueely is the last of the spring pregnancies though so now we can take a break from cria watch until the early fall.

TeQueely’s boy is a beautiful cria; he has a shiny, soft bright fleece that has beautiful crimp when parted.  At the moment his tendons are a little lax, a side effect of being such a large cria cramped up in a small space, but with some exercise, sunshine and supplemental vitamins A, D and E those tendons will soon adjust and I think we will have a handsome future herdsire on our hands.

Well done TeQueely!

Rosemary

June 30, 2009

Meconium Matters

 

Meconium or rather the passing of meconium from a cria really does matter, a point that was reinforced at the farm recently.

Following the birth of Shiimsa’s cria Rio all seemed well.  We found a good sized meconium plug in the pasture the following day, Rio was lively and alert and gaining about a pound a day.

The following day though Rio had a large weight gain, Shiimsa was producing lots of milk so the large weight gain was not too out of keeping with our expectations.  Rio was still looking good, running around the pasture with the other crias despite the high temperatures.  I kept and eye on the crias throughout the day for signs of overheating and was pleased to see them taking frequent breaks in the shade, napping and nursing from their dams.

At evening chores though it was apparent something was not right with Rio.  He was squatting funnily with his rear end.  I watched him, he did not appear to be straining to poop, but Rio was obviously uncomfortable.  In addition to the squatting, Rio would also hang his head down and then eventually cush – he was not a happy cria.

Having seen the meconium plug in the pasture we were dubious that a blockage from meconium was the problem, but whatever the problem was it was bothering Rio’s hindquarters.

We took Rio’s temperature and it was slightly elevated, but in a young cria even a slight elevation can be a red flag. 

Of course Rio’s problem appeared outside of the hours of the veterinary clinic, while his condition did not appear life threatening it was concerning.

Our first suspicion was that Rio perhaps despite us having found a meconium plug in the pasture Rio had retained a piece of meconium.  This would prevent him from being able to poop properly and could cause him discomfort, it might also explain the larger than normal weight gain.  We gave a shot of banamine to help keep his temperature down and to help him relax, we then gave him an enema to see if he would pass anything.  The banamine seemed to provide Rio with some relief and a little while after the enema was administered he stood up and started to strain.  First Rio passed a black thin sticky stream that did look like meconium, and then he passed a much harder lump.  This harder lump was about the size of a large peanut, but it was definitely hard and large enough to have caused a blockage.  Once that hard lump had passed Rio continued to pass what appeared to be normal fecal matter.

It took a couple of hours before Rio was looking truly at ease again, but by the morning he was back to his usual self, chasing around the pasture and nursing up a storm.

Our thoughts are that a small piece of Rio’s meconium did not pass when he passed his meconium plug.  That small piece was enough to prevent Rio from being able to pass poop and as he ran around in the heat he became a little dehydrated making that piece of meconium hard and not easy to pass. 

It is always important to monitor young crias to make sure that they pass the meconium plug; sometimes it is hard to find the plug in the pasture especially if you have long grass.  Often once the cria has passed the plug you will see some evidence of fecal matter on the crias rear, but not always.  A crias behavior can let you know a lot about how he or she is feeling which is why it is important to get to know your crias.  If a lively happy cria starts to become lethargic or uncomfortable that cria is trying to tell you that all is not well. 

We were fortunate that Rio’s problem was easily fixed, if he had not shown improvement as quickly as he did we would have called out the vet, even after hours.  Crias can deteriorate quickly when they are not well and often time is of the essence when it comes to treating sick crias.  In Rio’s case meconium certainly mattered – even if it was just a little piece causing the problem.

 Rosemary

June 26, 2009

Next Please!

Shiimsa and her cria Rio

Shiimsa and her cria Rio

With Queen, Chai and Rosie all having had their crias we still had Shiimsa, Ivanna, TeQueely and Willow to go. 

Shiimsa is now owned by Terri Faver of Almost Canyon Ranch.  Shiimsa is one of Terri’s first alpacas and is her first pregnant dam, so Terri has been anxiously awaiting the birth of Shiimsa’s cria.  With Shiimsa being so far along with her pregnancy when Terri purchased her it was decided that Shiimsa would stay with us until after she delivered her cria.

On June 18 we thought Shiimsa was in labor and so called Terri to let her know.  Terri was able to take time off from work and come over for the day, but alas it turned out to be a false alarm and no cria arrived.

On June 21 though it was a different story.  Following chores Ric and I noticed Shiimsa stretched out beside the hay wagon.  Shiimsa typically spends a lot of her day at the hay wagon, but she rarely stayed there to stretch out or sunbathe, so to see her lying beside the hay wagon was a clue that she might have started labor.

We watched Shiimsa for a while and we could see that this time she really was in labor.  I called Terri who was taking part in a horse show that day and left her a voicemail to let her know that Shiimsa was in labor.  A short while later I received a call back from Terri, she had finished showing her horse and so was leaving the horseshow to take her horse home and then head our way.

By the time I spoke to Terri I could just about see the birthing sack starting to emerge.  Progress was a little slow, but Shiimsa is a maiden alpaca and so her body had to do some new stretching to accommodate the progression of the cria.   I decided to go into the house to collect my birthing kit, towels and other supplies, thinking I had several minutes before the cria was born.

By the time I had gathered my supplies I could see two little legs flapping around behind Shiimsa.  From her earlier slow progress Shiimsa had gathered speed and the cria was nearly fully emerged! 

I made it to Shiimsa just as her cria landed on the ground.  I moved the cria onto a clean blanket and started to dry it off and then checked to see whether the cria was a boy or a girl – it was another boy and another handsome boy at that.

Shiimsa’s cria is either bay black or black and has an unbelievably soft handle to his fleece.  His fleece is crimpy, shiny, fine and dense – what more could you ask for in such a dark male alpaca.

We knew Terri had been hoping for a girl, but once she arrived and saw her new cria she was very happy with him.  Terri already had a name picked out for him – “Rio”.
It is sometimes hard to tell the quality of a young cria, so much can change as they grow up, but little Rio is already showing a lot of potential.  Conformationally he is well put together and with that spectacular fleece I see the words “Color Champion” in Rio’s future.  If that is the case Rio will be following in the footsteps of his sire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel as well as his grandsire Dom Lucilio and his great grandsires Royal Fawn and Acero Marka’s Champ.

Shiimsa has proved to be an excellent mother; she is very attentive to Rio and gets quite distressed when he is out of her sight.  Shiimsa also has lots of milk, a great trait for a female alpaca.  I think Shiimsa has given Terri a great new addition to her alpaca herd.

Ric and I will look forward to seeing Rio grow and mature, we will be making a point to monitor this young male’s show and breeding career, but that is all in the future, for now we will have fun to watching him gallop around the pasture with the other spring crias. 

Rosemary

June 11, 2009

Someone Was Paying Attention!

What a handsome boy!

What a handsome boy!

Well its good to know that someone listens to me once in a while!  Following my previous blog entry about our overdue pregnant girls Queen’s cria decided to be the first to make an appearance.

Queen had been particularly large during her pregnancy, so we were not surprised when she delivered a 20.2 lb. male cria at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday morning.  No wonder Queen had cria limbs poking so prominently during her pregnancy, this is one sturdy boy and he also had an 8.2 lb. placenta to go with him.  I am sure Queen feels a little better for lightening her load!

The delivery of Queen’s cria went smoothly, we noticed her separated from the herd when we first got up on Tuesday morning and as the morning progressed she spent her time cushed and getting up and down to visit the poop pile.  Queen did come in to eat when we fed the girls but she soon cushed again, so as soon as she had finished eating we let her out of her pen.  A short while later the cria’s head presented and a couple of contractions later two feet popped out.  Queen did take a little rest before pushing the cria’s shoulders out and then one last contraction delivered the rest of the cria.

We had been curious about what color Queen’s cria would be, he is the first cria from our herdsire Travesura’s Altiplano Treasure who is white but whose sire 4Peruvian Altiplano Gold threw a lot of colored cria.  Queen is black but does have a black and white udder and a small white spot on her hip.   Queen has never had a cria that is lighter than medium fawn no matter what color she has been bred to and she didn’t let us down this time.  Queen’s boy is a medium brown and fades to a light fawn on his belly.  He has a broad dorsal stripe and has black on his muzzle and ears.  His legs also are either black or dark brown blending to a medium brown as they reach his blanket area.  What a handsome boy he is!

Queen's cria trying out his legs

Queen's cria trying out his legs

 

When Queen’s cria was first delivered he was wet and his fleece was long but not yet curling, as soon as that fleece dried though what a difference.  Lots and lots of curls of silky, soft, bright fleece – Treasure and Queen did us proud.

The rest of the day was spent making sure that Queen’s cria was nursing well, allowing the two to bond and then introducing our new arrival to the herd.

So at least one of those crias was listening when I told them that it was time to make an appearance, I wonder who will be the next one to come forth into the world.

Rosemary

March 30, 2009

Warning – Crias In The Pasture May be Heavier Than They Look!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpaca Nutrition, Alpacas, Cria Care, Crias, General, shearing — alpacalady @ 6:36 am

 

With the snow clearing from the pastures it was time to get back to routine chores and maintenance tasks.

 

One task that needed doing was weighing the fall crias; we like to weigh them about once a month and knew we had gone past that time period.  Our teenage helper Bethany was with us over the weekend and so it seemed an ideal opportunity to get all seven fall crias weighed.  While I can weigh alpacas on my own it is always so much easier to have someone else around to open gates and write down the weights during a weighing session.

 

Bethany and I started off the weighing session while Ric dumped the poop wagons.  Nochi was the first cria we selected and as I picked her up to carry her to the scales I realized that Nochi was considerably heavier than the last time I had weighed her!  I made it to the scales with Nochi, but my muscles were telling me they were ready to put her down.  Nochi’s weight made me think that it is also time to train the crias to stand on the scales on their own.  Up until now we have used the tare function on our scales, which deducts our weight from the total weight of handler and cria displaying the crias weight only.  That tare function is a handy tool especially for those of us who are challenged in the area of mental arithmetic, but as heavy as Nochi felt it was time for her to stand on her own four feet.

 

Nochi weighed in at 52.8 lbs!  No wonder my muscles were telling me to put her down!  We still had six more crias to weigh, this was going to be quite the work out!  I decided that while I could carry the crias one way to the scales I would walk them back using my catch rope – one of the tools I use to start halter training.

 

Bethany and I continued with the cria weighing, but had already decided that Ric would get the job of carrying Chandra (the biggest of the fall crias) to the scale.  As it turned out Ric was soon back and put to work carrying crias.

 

All of the crias weighed in at over 50 lbs.  It’s hard to think that those tiny crias we had in the fall were now that big, but it is good to know that they are healthy and growing.  Even our Little Man (aka Windrush Peruvian Tonka) weighed in at 50.9 lbs!  Way to go Little Man!

 

Knowing that Chandra was the largest we left her until the end, by which time Ric had announced that not only did her refuse to carry Chandra back from the scales he was also refusing to carry her to the scales (he kept muttering something about his back).  So we introduced Chandra to the catch rope, got her moving while wearing it and over to the scales we went to discover that our little Chandra a mere 17 lbs when she was born on October 7 was now 74.4 lbs!

 

With the crias all doing so well we need to start planning weaning as it won’t be long before they are ready to wean (and Chandra is already more than ready but I would rather wean her with her group of friends than alone).  Halter training is also on the agenda, while all the fall crias are used to the catch rope it is now time to go a little further with the halter training and help them to learn to be completely at ease with wearing a halter and walking on a lead rope.  Besides which Ric has told me that he absolutely refuses to carry any one of those crias to the scale again – and I can’t say that I blame him (although he could move the scales nearer to the girls pasture which would also solve the problem!)

 

Rosemary

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