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

 

 

March 15, 2008

Watching and Waiting For Willow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:01 am

Willow our escapologist alpaca is looking most definitely pregnant, Ric described her the other day as a little butterball as she almost looks as wide as she is long!  Willow is not a very big alpaca; she takes after her dam Clarissa who is on the small side.  Being small and having a short body does mean that for both Clarissa and Willow their pregnancies show earlier than some of the longer bodied alpacas.

As I have watched Willow’s “bump” grow, I have started to wonder if she is expecting a large cria and if so if she is going to be able to deliver without any problems.  She is maiden and so has not delivered a cria before so I hope that the delivery of her cria will be routine without any problems.  But something has been nagging me about her looking so big, we have other females due before her and even allowing for their body style they still do not look as advanced in their pregnancy as Willow does – and then it struck me, maybe I anticipating the wrong due date.

This really came to mind when I was pulling up Willow’s records the other day.  I had previously run a due date calendar from my Herdlogic software where we keep all the alpaca records and it showed Willow due in June 2008.  While I was looking up some show record information on Willow I checked her breeding records too and those records refreshed my memory as to what happened with Willow during last year’s breeding season.

Willow actually bred three times, the first breeding was one of the earliest ones we did for our herd and was to our Junior Herdsire Trevasura’s Altiplano Treasure.  Willow had cushed readily when introduced to Treasure and the breeding seemed to go well, but during one of the following behavior tests several weeks later she cushed again.  We bred Willow at that time to our herdsire Tobiano and again all seemed to be going well until during one behavior test she cushed again.  We rebred Willow to Tobiano and this time each subsequent behavior test resulted in Willow rejecting the male.  Based on those observations we based Willow’s due date on that last breeding.  Now though I am beginning to wonder.

Simply put, during a pregnancy it is the hormones in the female alpacas system that make her unreceptive to the male alpaca.   What happens though if those hormones are not produced to the necessary levels to instigate that behavior, or if perhaps the female alpacas brain does not recognize those hormones as it should.  Well then you could get a maiden female alpaca that would breed again despite being pregnant.

At this stage it is hard to tell if that is the case with Willow or if she is just carrying a large “bump” during her pregnancy.  We have heard of other alpaca breeders who have had maiden females who breed after being pregnant and then get a cria too early for the latter breeding date.  Once the cria is born the breeders realize that the cria is a result of the first breeding. 

For now all I know is that Willow is definitely pregnant, when she has her cria will perhaps give me a better idea of when she conceived the pregnancy.  Having used two different sires on Willow will also help us determine when the cria was conceived as when we submit the crias blood sample to the Alpaca Registry, Inc. for DNA testing they will let us know which is the correct sire.

I will keep a close eye on Willow in the coming weeks, if the first breeding date was the successful one she could have her cria as early as April, so we need to be prepared in case that is when the cria is born.  All we can do in the meantime is watch and wait, in time nature (and Willow) will give us the answer.

Rosemary  

Blog at WordPress.com.