A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 1, 2008

People Arriving, Paca’s Leaving

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, Crias, General, shearing — Tags: , , , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:31 am

Rosson

Rosson

 

Yesterday saw the arrival of Kathryn and Tracy Annis from Dripping Springs, Texas.  Kathryn and Tracy are here to pick up four of their girls, Rebecca, Rosson, Athena and Zoie and take them back to Texas.  The alpacas have been boarded here while on consignment sale but now Kathryn and Tracy have a place where they can board them at no cost and so decided to take up that offer.  Rebecca, Rosson, Athena and Zoie will still be listed for sale from our farm so if you are looking for some beautiful alpaca girls to either get your herd started or add to you herd let me know!

 

I will be a little sad to see the girls go, they have been here for close to two years and during that time I have seen Rebecca and Zoie give birth and have raised their crias.  Zoie’s cria Zeus who we worked so hard on getting to gain weight when he was younger will be staying with us and soon joining our herd of junior boys under the watchful eye of our herdsire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel who does well with the younger males.  Zeus is a beautiful young male with such a bright white fleece that shines in the sunshine.  I am looking forward to seeing him mature and using him as a herdsire in the future.

 

Rebecca and Zoie are old hands at traveling and Athena has been to a show or two, but little Rosson will be in for her first long trailer ride.  She did go to the vets with us when we took Rebecca and Zoie for Brucellosis and TB testing, the testing being a requirement for re-entry of alpacas into the state of Texas.  I know that Rosson will miss her seven little cria buddies, it will be very strange to her to be the only cria in her little group, but she will have Rebecca with her and maybe even Athena will buddy up with her.  Athena herself will be leaving her herd mates, but being a little older will probably adjust easier to the change.

 

Of course waiting for the girls in Texas is a real treat – grass!  Not lush pasture right now, but at least some grass to graze.  The shorter grass will give them a chance to gradually get used to grazing having been in a dry lot situation for so long.

 

We will enjoy our time with Kathryn and Tracy, they are both a lot of fun to be around and it has been well over a year since we have seen them.  Poor Ric will be putting up with a weekend full of alpaca talk and fiber talk as Kathryn is also a knitter and now also a weaver and Tracy is a herd manager, shears alpacas and is a Camelidynamics Practitioner.  I am sure Ric will manage to keep his sanity though.  Most likely will busy himself with projects in his workshop where it will be relatively peaceful compared to the chatter of three women who have a lot to catch up on and a lot to talk about!

 

Rosemary

 

June 18, 2008

Another New Addition to Introduce

Rebecca\'s New Cria

Except this little girl does not have a name yet.  She was born on May 29 to Rebecca, who is owned by Kathryn and Tracy Annis of Dripping Springs, Texas. 

 

Rebecca’s little girl was somewhat of a surprise.  We knew Rebecca was close to her due date, but our late night check the night before found a happy and content Rebecca chewing her cud and sitting comfortably.

 

On the morning of May 29 I followed my usual routine of looking out at the girls pasture as soon as I got up.  It was about 6 a.m. and as I looked across the pasture I could see a black alpaca and a medium to dark fawn cria sitting out by the big blue shelter.  Our Queen had delivered her cria on May 13 and as I looked across the pasture I thought that was who I was looking at, until Queen’s cria Atlas ran past the other cria that was sitting in the pasture.  Hold on a minute I thought, that’s one too many crias! 

 

I called to Ric that we had an extra cria in the pasture, pulled on some clothes (although the neighbors are getting to used to seeing me in my pajamas in the pastures these days!) and ran out to see who had delivered a cria.  As I got nearer I could see that it was Rebecca who had given birth and her cria was sitting happily beside her – a beautiful medium fawn girl out of our herdsire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel.

 

The cria still had the membrane from the amniotic sack attached to her, but it was dry and flaked off easily.  A check of the pasture revealed that the afterbirth was in the big blue shelter, indicating that was most likely where the cria had been born.  Rebecca’ is no fool and choose a comfortable, sheltered place to have her cria.

 

We got busy drying off the cria, dipping her naval in Iodine, checking to see that Rebecca had milk and removing the wax caps off her teats and watching to make sure the cria was nursing and getting milk.

 

It seemed as if we were not the only ones who had missed the big event, as once the other alpacas saw us in the pasture they realized something was going on and all rushed over to greet the new arrival.

Rebecca and her new cria

Rebecca’s cria has proved to be an independent, strong girl.  Rebecca keeps her on a fairly close rein, calling her back to her side if she strays too far, although she does allow her to join in with the crias nightly gallop and chase around the pasture.  Rebecca as always is an excellent dam and has provided great milk for her cria.  Already Rebecca’s cria is over 30 lbs. and is bearing a striking resemblance to her half brother Atlas (they share the same sire), although Atlas is a shade darker than Rebecca’s cria.

 It is difficult to name a cria when you are hundreds of miles away as Kathryn and Tracy are.  I tried to email them some pictures of their new girl but they were unable to open them.  Hopefully they can access this blog entry and at least get an idea of what she looks like and be inspired to give her a name.  In the meantime we will call her RG for Rebecca’s girl and enjoy watching her grow and thrive. (By the way Rebecca and her new cria are up for sale so if you are looking for an excellent black dam who throws some gorgeous crias and who has a beautiful female cria by her side send us an email and we will give you more information.)

 

Rosemary

April 3, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury Like…….

Theresa

A mother alpaca who feels that someone has threatened her cria! 

Just as I was finishing chores yesterday morning I heard a huge commotion coming from the large blue shelter in the girls pasture.  A group of the girls came running out and I could hear a couple of them screaming.  While the girls do squabble from time to time this was more than squabbling and I couldn’t figure out what on earth was going on.

As the dust settled I could see that the two screamers were Theresa and Rebecca.  Both girls are due to have their crias in May and both are very hormonal!  Alongside Rebecca was her last year’s cria Athena.  Athena is weaned and now over a year old, but she still likes to spend time with her dam from time to time.

The screaming continued as Theresa and Rebecca faced off and along with the screaming there was also some spitting taking place. 

When alpacas get into squabbles I usually wait a little while to see if they sort things out for themselves, more often than not they will.    Occasionally I do have to intervene if a couple of the boys are fighting too hard, but with the girls their battles are usually short.    That was not the case today though as Theresa and Rebecca continued to chase each other in circles, screaming as they went.

I went over to see if I could at least break their eye contact and diffuse the situation.  Fortunately I was wearing one of my hooded sweatshirts – the hoods provide excellent spit protection when required.

The two girls were as mad as they could be at each other.  I walked between them and Theresa stood in a defiant pose with her head and tail up, her lips trembling with anger.  Rebecca was very agitated and continue to scream and spit but now was directing her anger toward me.  I stepped toward her and Athena (who had remained by Rebecca’s side), put my hand up in front of her and firmly told her “No”.  The girls know that this means I am not willing to take any more spitting or screaming and will usually stop at this hand signal.

 Rebecca did stop, but then Athena decided that under the circumstances maybe she should return to nursing, putting her head under Rebecca.  As Athena is well weaned, Rebecca was not going to allow her to nurse and now directed her fury at Athena.  Poor little Athena flipped her tail up over her back in submission, and so I stepped between Rebecca and Athena and again raised my hand in front of Rebecca and told her “No”.

By this time Rebecca was getting the message, but there was still a lot of posturing going on between her and Theresa.  I got the girls moving and did my best to make sure that Theresa and Rebecca went in separate directions, but neither one of them really wanted to back down from the other.

Eventually Rebecca and Athena went into one of the feeding pens and Theresa headed off toward another.  I decided to take each girl a little hay, not as a reward, but rather as a way for her to clear the spit out of her mouth.  Alpacas and llamas will usually head to the hay following spitting, and use a mouthful to get the taste of the spit out of their mouths.

Theresa accepted her hay quite readily, Rebecca was a different story.  Athena by this time had cushed in the pen with Rebecca and looked a little shaken, so I walked over to check her and was met by Rebecca who started to scream at me again.  Athena remained cushed but again flipped her tail over her back.  It then struck me that something had caused Rebecca to be protective of Athena, while she had appeared to be directing her fury at Athena a little earlier, I think she was actually trying to protect her.  What I saw perhaps was not so much anger but fear that something was going to happen to Athena.

I stayed with Rebecca and Athena for a while, talking calmly to Rebecca and letting her see that I was not a threat to Athena.  She started to calm down and then sniffed Athena all over, checking to see that her daughter was okay.

I think that most likely this whole episode started when Theresa chased Athena away from one of the hay feeders.  Theresa can be particularly grumpy at the end of her pregnancy and I have seen her chase other alpacas away from her patch of the hay before.  She can become quite angry in the process and on one occasion a couple of years ago we ended up putting her in a pen on her own for a while until she calmed down.  I guess those hormones are just too much for Theresa by this time of her pregnancy.

Rebecca on the other hand is usually very calm.  She does get excited at feeding time and is quite vocal, grumbling to let us know that we should be getting her feed to her sooner, but I have never seen her get as angry as she was today.  While she has always been attentive to Athena, she has never been a dam who is extremely protective of her cria. She certainly showed Theresa today that even though Athena is more than capable of surviving on her own, Theresa had better not mess with her or else she will have to deal with Rebecca!

The rest of the day was peaceful with Theresa and Rebecca settling down to eat hay in separate areas and Athena joining her weanling friends in an afternoon chase around the pasture.

When I think of all of the girls we have in their last 60 days of pregnancy, I realize that we have quite a hormonal concoction in the pasture right now – maybe I will be wearing that hooded sweatshirt with it’s built in spit protection for a bit longer yet!

Rosemary

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