A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 7, 2009

So Which Handsome Prince Created Sleeping Beauty?



Sleeper Enjoys Some Hay

Sleeper Enjoys Some Hay

I finally got around to sending in the last of the fall cria ARI registrations the other day. With the online registration complete, I mailed in the crias blood cards for DNA analysis for parentage verification. We often wait before sending in our ARI registrations for a few reasons. First we want to make sure that the cria makes it through the first few months of life. You hate to think of losing a cria but if does happen then it is usually within the first 30 days of its life. Some may argue that it would be useful to have the cria registered for the national herd records, but at the end of the day economics comes into play and to me it does not make sense to pay to register a cria who is no more.


Another reason we hold off registering our crias is that sometimes they change color as they mature. We have had several crias who start off beige at birth and change to white by the time they are six months old. Our Kanika looked to be dark brown or bay black when she was born but by the time we came to shear her she was the most beautiful true black. A client of ours delivered his dam to us for breeding with her white cria by her side. When he came to pick his dam and cria up he was surprised to see that the cria’s fleece was no longer white. The fleece looked white from the outside but when you parted the fleece the fiber inside was a definite light fawn (and no it was not staining from our red dirt!). Crias definitely can change color.


So often our crias are five or six months old before we register them, sometimes even older.


The registrations I sent off the other day were for Chandra and Sleeping Beauty (whom we call Sleeper) and they are both definitely older than six months. Interestingly in my herd book I show that Chandra and Sleeper could both have been conceived on the same day November 11,2007. I say “could” have been conceived on the same day because when it came to their birth dates there was quite a bit of difference. Sleeper was born on September 27, 2008 and Chandra was born on October 17, 2008. Chandra’s birth date is in the range of her being a full term cria. Sleeper would have been a little premature (and that was the note I had in my herd book).


Going back a little further in the herd book I could see that Sleeper’s Dam Keeva bred about three weeks prior to the November 11 breeding, so maybe that was the breeding that resulted in Sleeper, if so that would mean that Sleeper’s sire is our herdsire Travesura’s Altiplano Treasure rather than our herdsire Tobiano – hmmm…


My records show that we had tried breeding Keeva to Treasure but the breeding didn’t seem to take. As Treasure was in his first breeding season we didn’t like to force the issue and so decided to put Keeva with Tobiano instead at the next breeding attempt. Tobiano and Keeva bred without a problem and from then on Keeva was not receptive to any male alpacas, so we assumed that Keeva was carrying a Tobiano cria.


Thankfully when you go to register a cria you have the option to list two potential sires, and so that is what I did the other day. I personally feel that Sleeper is Tobiano’s cria, she has certain traits that I have seen before in his offspring and Keeva as an experienced dam is not likely to cush for a male when she is already pregnant.


Now we will wait and see what Sleeper’s DNA blood card reveals – is she a Treasure cria or a Tobiano cria? Time and DNA will tell.



January 7, 2009

Time To Celebrate – Little Man Makes It!

Little Man aka Windrush Peruvian Tonka

Little Man aka Windrush Peruvian Tonka


To 30 lbs that is!


Clarissa’s cria who we fondly call Little Man has finally passed the 30 lb. mark.  When he was born in October he weighed in at only 11.5 lbs.  Little Man had a slow start on the growth curve, sometimes only gaining 0.1 lbs in a day compared to the other crias who were happily gaining 0.5 – 0.75 lbs. per day.


Clarissa has been a good milk producer in the past and so we are not sure why Little Man was so slow to grow.  We increased Clarissa’s feed to help her produce more milk, which did help a little but still reaching 30 lbs. took a long while for Little Man.  I guess when you start off tiny the road to size is an uphill one.


We do not expect that Little Man will ever be a big alpaca.  His dam Clarissa is on the small side as is his half sister Willow.  We are still waiting conformation on Little Man’s sire; he is either an on time offspring of Travesura’s Altiplano Treasure or a premature offspring of Windrush Moonlight Surprise.  Just looking at his bright, bright white fleece and feeling it’s almost waxy handle I suspect that Treasure may well be Little Man’s sire.  Treasure has won best brightness awards in fleece shows as well as blue ribbons and championship ribbons in both fleece and halter.  As Little Man’s body style develops he is looking more like Treasures stocky, compact stature than Moonies taller, longer frame.  We will just have to wait and see what his DNA tells us.


We did delay in sending Little Man’s blood card in to the Alpaca Registry for DNA testing, only because we could not decide on a registered name for him.  Little Man is a broad chested, heavy boned young man, a compact alpaca in miniature and we were not certain that to give him a registered name of Windrush Little Man was the right thing to do.  Thankfully Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas came to our rescue, when she said Little Man looked like an alpaca Tonka toy and so that is how Little Man has come to be registered as Windrush Peruvian Tonka (but he will always be Little Man to us!).



May 16, 2008

To the Vets, to the Vets we go.

Just when we thought our regular trips to our small animal vet were going to stop another of our dogs has decided it is her turn to use up her veterinary allowance.  We finally got the all clear on our Pomeranian Toby who had been seeing the vet on a regular basis since he developed acute hemolytic anemia following a vaccine reaction.  Toby will be on half a prednisolone tablet for the rest of his life, but thankfully his blood levels are back to normal and he is once again the speeding ball of fur that we know and love.


Now Sandie our Aussie Shepherd/Retriever cross is under the weather.  Sandie has been acting a little oddly since I came back from England, but by yesterday she had developed a head tilt and her right hip gave out on her yesterday evening.  So off to the vets we went and Sandie got to spend the night there.  So far her blood work looks fairly good with just a slight anemia and so the vet will be taking X-rays of her hips this morning to see if that is where the source of Sandie’s problem lies.  Sandie is at least 13 years old (she was already an adult dog when we found her) and so unfortunately age is not on her side.  Still there is a lot that can be done with modern veterinary medicine and hopefully Sandie will be home soon as the house does seem empty without her.


Having spent time at the small animal vet it was then time to head off to the large animal vet with Queen and her new cria in order to get the cria’s blood drawn for his IgG test, BVDV (Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus) PCR test and his registration blood sample.  Not all breeders do IgG tests on their crias but we have always run them on our crias and it gives us a good idea of the immune system of the cria.  A negative BVDV PCR test will be required for us to eventually be able to show the cria.  It is a one time test and so we figure it is just as well to get that done and obtain blood for the crias registration card all at the same time as the IgG test.  Queen’s boy is a very lively lad and so I am sure his test results will come back good.  He loves to run and during our late night check of the girls yesterday he was seen to be chasing all over the pasture, bugging the other alpacas and then eventually returning to Queen so that he could nudge her to get up from her cushed position so he could nurse.


So yesterday was a day of veterinary appointments, and today who knows maybe, just maybe someone else will decide to have her cria and hopefully without the need for a vet.  I’ll keep you posted.



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