A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

April 24, 2009

On a Happier Note

 

Following a sad start to the week, it was good to see something happier happen in the herd.  For the first time in her pregnancy I saw Shiimsa’s cria kicking.

 

Shiimsa is a maiden alpaca and while I was sure from her shape and her recent ravenous appetite she was still pregnant I had not yet seen her cria move.  I find that sometimes in maiden alpacas you do not seem to see the cria move as much as in those alpacas who have had a cria or two.  I suspect that the toned muscles of the maidens hold up stronger than the muscles of the older girls and thus hide the movement of the cria until those movements become really strong.

 

As Shiimsa’s pregnancy has progressed she has been gaining a nice round shape and definitely looks like a pregnant alpaca but there is nothing quite like seeing that cria move to make you feel confident that all is progressing as it should be.

 

Shiimsa is not due until the beginning of June and it will be interesting to see what color her cria is.  Shiimsa herself is a true black alpaca and we have bred her to our herdsire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel who is a light fawn.  Shiimsa’s dam Chai (AB Iyiyiy) is a medium fawn but has grey and black genetics in her background.  When we bred Chai t0 Zin we got Kanika who is also true black.  Shiimsa’s sire Tobiano is dark brown but his sire was true black so we feel that we have a chance of Shiimsa producing a black cria from her breeding to Zin.  Then again at times it seems as if alpacas have not read the book on color genetics and we could end up with a totally unexpected color on Shiimsa’s cria.

 

Shiimsa’s owner Teri Faver of Almost Canyon Ranch is very much looking forward to the arrival of Shiimsa’s cria.  This will be the first cria born to Teri’s alpacas.  Teri plans on coming to visit Shiimsa this weekend and I think she will be surprised by how much Shiimsa’s “bump” has grown since she last saw her.  Teri will then have the anxious wait that all first time alpaca owners have for their first cria to be born.  Let’s hope Shiimsa does not go too far past her due date and keep Teri waiting too long, still at the end of the day as long as Shiimsa produces a healthy cria I suspect that Teri will not mind the extra wait!

 

Rosemary

 

 

February 14, 2009

Today’s The Day

Dream's beautiful head

Dream's beautiful head

 

The show classes begin today at the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular.  Alpaca show classes run the darkest fleeced animals first gradually working toward the lightest fleeced animals.  With this in mind I fully expect Kaneka (black), Mags (dark brown), Athena (medium brown), Atlas (who color checked as light brown rather than dark fawn), Pride (who color checked dark fawn rather than medium fawn) and Dream (medium fawn) to show today.  Zianna who is light fawn may also show today but may show first thing on Sunday morning depending on the speed at which the classes progress.

 

Young Dream has been receiving lots of attention and admiring looks from other alpaca breeders at the show.  Dream has a stunning head and great coverage making her very striking.  Dream is still not too enthused by all of the attention but I suspect by the end of the show she will be getting used to it.  Mags too seems to be settling down to all the attention.  At home he actively seeks out attention, but as of yesterday evening he was starting to remain cushed when visitors came to our pens indicating that even he had more than enough human attention to satisfy his needs.

 

The fleece show started judging yesterday and hopefully will be completed by this afternoon.  Once the fleece show has been opened for viewing we will be able to fins out if the any of the fleeces we entered won a ribbon.

 

Back home things have been reasonably quiet.  The four girls in the weaning pen who did not go to the show were a little unsettled the first day after their pen mates left for the show, today they are settled and more interested in hay than anything else.   Once the show alpacas return home the four girls in the weaning pen will be rejoining the main female herd group and the show alpacas will be put into the weaning pen for a three week quarantine period.  By the time the show alpacas return home they will be more than ready to stretch their legs and take a good roll in the dirt and then happily relax in familiar surroundings – even for alpacas there is no place like home.

 

Rosemary

February 13, 2009

Off To The Show They Go

In the early hours of Thursday morning Ric and I loaded up the alpacas going to the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular into our trailer and then Ric drove the seven or so hours to Fort Worth, Texas.

 

Ric’s journey was long but uneventful and the alpacas are now in their pens at the showground.  Atlas, Pride, Mags, Kaneka, Athena, Song, Zianna and Dream are the alpacas at the show this time and with the exception of Kaneka and Athena this is the first show for this group.

 

Ric reports that for the most part the alpacas are doing well, Zianna though is doing quite a bit of humming and seeking attention and Dream is also humming too and was not pleased to have her fleece color checked at the showgrounds – she growled at the volunteers checking her fleece!  Dream is so much like her dam Rosie who is very vocal and has that same growl when she wants to express displeasure.

 

The alpacas will not start showing until Saturday, so they will have time to settle into their surroundings before the classes start.  Ric will walk them as and when he can to get them used to their new surroundings.  Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas, our alpaca neighbors (they also have alpacas in Clovis, NM) will be arriving on Friday and will take over caring and showing our alpacas for us.

 

Ric will be pretty busy during the show as he is the show superintendent along with his business partner Danette McCleary.  Danette and Ric worked together as Show Superintendents in a volunteer capacity at some earlier alpaca shows and worked so well together that they decided to form a company M & M Supers and contract to work as show superintendents at various alpaca shows around the country.  The position of the Show Superintendent at the show is a big one, among the show superintendent’s duties is the receipt and verification of all of the entries, compilation of the class list, contracting the judges and ensuring the health and color compliance checks are carried out on all alpacas at the show.  The show superintendent basically coordinates the show making sure it runs smoothly – with over 500 alpacas at the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular that adds up to a lot of hard work.

 

As for me, I have remained home to care for the herd and will anxiously wait to hear how our young alpacas do at the show.   We have spent many hours preparing our young alpacas for the show and can only hope that they show well.  Here’s hoping for lots of ribbons, preferably in blue (1st place) and purple (Color Champion and Reserve Color Champion)

Rosemary

November 19, 2008

The Chai Family – Masters (or Mistresses) Of Distraction

 

Our alpacas never cease to amaze me with their creativity, especially when it comes to getting more food!

 

I have mentioned before how we are fortunate enough to have several family groups of alpacas.  By family groups I mean alpacas who are directly related to each other mother/daughter, sisters, even now some grandmother/grand daughters.  The more I watch the family groups the more I realize how bonded these groups become, how they enjoy each others company and have a relationship with each other that is different from the relationship they have with other alpacas in the herd.

 

Such a group is the Chai family, which consist of Chai and three of her daughters, Cinnamon, Shiimsa and Kaneka.  The Chai family has been taught by their matriarch (Chai) that humans are to be tolerated from a distance and that all food in the immediate area is really just for them, despite what the other alpacas think.  Not one of the Chai family is backward in coming forward when it comes to food.

 

When it comes to evening chore time, certain alpacas get an evening ration of alpaca pellets.  These are alpacas that have a greater nutritional need such as late term pregnant dams or growing weanlings.  Currently none of the Chai family falls under that category and so they are not on the list to receive evening pellets.

 

According to the Chai family though there must have been some mix up in the selection of alpacas who receive evening pellets.  They feel they should get extra pellets and that I am totally wrong to exclude them from the pellet feast.

 

Our alpaca girls are pretty well trained to head into their appropriate pen when it comes to feeding time.  Most of them are standing waiting in place when I walk in with the stack of bowls containing pellets.  I say most of them, because every night without fail, there, in the last pen to be fed, stand Cinnamon and Shiimsa.

 

Cinnamon and Shiimsa are clever girls, they don’t want to stand out and get noticed, so they stand nonchalantly looking around as if they are just meant to be there.

 

So every evening I go through the process of herding Cinnamon and Shiimsa out of the pen, except now they have called in reinforcements to help them with their quest – Chai and Kaneka!  As I herd Cinnamon and Shiimsa out, Shiimsa will hesitate in the gate just long enough to let Chai and Kaneka in, so for me it’s back to square one as I start to herd Chai and Kaneka out of the pen.  But wait, just as Chai is headed out, Shiimsa or Cinnamon will cause a distraction and then bingo, before I know it another member of the Chai family is back in the pen and that family member gets really sneaky and hides from view (there are 3 –4 other alpacas in the pen who are meant to be there and who provide good cover!).

 

I’m probably not describing this as well as I could, but the actions of the Chai family are more than just a casual attempt to remain in a pen with food, it is an organized effort to ensure that at least one of the Chai family outwits me!  Without fail, I just think that I have all of the Chai family out of the pen; I shut the gate and up pops a head from one of the Chai girls!

 

I am beginning to think that the Chai family are actually a highly skilled group of distraction artists, they remind me of the gypsy children in Italy who will surround you and distract you while one of them adeptly removes your wallet, or the distraction burglars who will knock on your door, keep you busy and distracted while another one of the team steals from your house.  The Chai family are skilled at their task and succeed in outwitting me most of the time!

 

I will keep insisting to the Chai family that they are not going to get evening pellets, and they, I am sure, will in turn insist that the evening pellets should be theirs!

 

Rosemary

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