A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 5, 2007

Getting Feedback from the Girls

TobianoHaving settled back in at home it’s time to get back in the groove of things here at the farm.  As the fall temperatures start to drop we are preparing for our fall breeding schedule.

We have several females that we bred in the spring and we need to establish if they are definitely pregnant or not.  We also have some girls who will need breeding this fall so we need to test their reaction to a male.

Tobiano was the lucky boy who got to try out the females this time.  He is one of our more aggressive breeding males and usually provokes a response from the female.

We kept the females we wished to behavior test penned up after morning feeding and then brought Tobiano over to a spare pen in the girls pasture.  As we walked Tobiano into the pasture Theresa came over with her tail held high and clucking at Tobiano.  We have seen Theresa exhibit this behavior before when she is pregnant, but she also exhibits similar behavior sometimes when she is not pregnant.  As Theresa seemed determined to get Tobiano’s attention we allowed her to go into an adjoining pen to Tobiano’s, we then caught her and put her in the same pen as Tobiano, within seconds of entering the pen Theresa was spitting hard so we let her back out in the pasture.  Theresa must have felt that she needed to be even more emphatic about her not wanting to see any male alpacas as she stayed a few feet away from Tobiano’s pen spitting and posturing the whole time we were testing the rest of the girls.  I tried telling her that we had got the message that she is pregnant, but she still insisted on hanging around to send some more spit in Tobiano’s direction. 

Fortunately Tobiano was not put off from his task by Theresa’s behavior (some breeding males, especially the younger ones can be put off by behavior such as Theresa’s) and he successfully behavior tested the remaining females.  Willow, TeQueely, Ivanna, Anya and Rebecca were all pretty admanent that they are pregnant and have no further use for a male alpaca at this time. 

Cinnamon too spit hard at Tobiano but we are not entirely convinced that she is pregnant.  We had thought Cinnamon was pregnant in June but then she cushed (albeit reluctantly) in July so we had thought she was no longer pregnant.  As a maiden alpaca it could be that she was confused in July when she cushed and was pregnant at that time, so to make certain that we establish Cinnamons status we will book her in to see the vet for either a progesterone test or an ultrasound.  Fingers crossed our pretty Cinnamon is pregnant. 

We did have one girl cush for Tobiano but he was not allowed to breed her.  Keeva cushed within minutes of entering the pen.  I was not entirely surprised to see Keeva cush, she had a terrible dystocia (bad birthing presentation) last year and had some scar tissue as a result of the vets efforts to birth the cria.  Keeva did breed in the spring but apparently the breeding did not take, or she has aborted her cria in the early stages of pregnancy.  My suspicion with Keeva is that she has a uterine infection, we did flush her following her dystocia but feel our next step with Keeva at this time is to talk to our vet about her and perhaps also flush her again.

So Tobiano had a somewhat frustrating morning, but he did a good job for us and was pretty good about backing off the females once we were satisfied that they were pregnant.    Now having established the status of the girls we can plan to actually breed those females that are open (not pregnant) in the next week or two.


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