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.

 

Rosemary

May 20, 2009

Spinning Wheel or Kid Magnet?

The Spinning Wheel has a magical attraction for children

The Spinning Wheel has a magical attraction for children

 

The last couple of days have found us with school groups, first a group of nine kindergartners (along with a few parents and siblings) who visited the farm for a field trip, then a visit to a local elementary school to talk about alpaca fiber and the process of taking raw fiber to cloth as part of their medieval arts project.

It is always interesting to see the reactions both of the children to the alpacas and the alpacas to the children.  The kindergartners proved to be very interesting to a couple of the alpacas, Sleeper and Cinnamon took time to check them out reaching their necks forward to sniff the children and also being very interested in the artificial flower on one the little girls hats.   We used Pride as the alpaca for the children to touch and also to show off his teeth and feet pads, he behaved very well and was very tolerant of the small hands that all wanted to touch him.  Having learned a little about alpacas and met the alpacas and llamas the children declared that they were now hungry and were happy to eat their lunches on our front lawn in front of the girls’ pen.  I reckon two of the llamas Maya and Griffin must have encountered kindergartner lunches before as they hung by the fence line and were eventually rewarded with pieces of apple from the children’s lunch packs – smart llamas!

The elementary school visit also went over well, although Blast and Atlas, the two alpacas we took with us, were a little overwhelmed when they walked onto the school patio to be greeted by the first group of children who were kindergarten through Grade 2.   There were a lot of children and a lot of noise as their excited voices reverberated against the patio walls.  Blast and Atlas bravely entered the patio although I am sure they were wondering what on earth all that noise was.  The children soon settled down when asked and enjoyed learning about the alpacas and spinning alpaca fiber.   Blast was particularly taken with one of the teachers who offered to hold his lead rope, giving her kisses and checking out her sandals on her feet.

The second group of children was Grades 3 through 6 and so was a little older.  They soon settled down and had plenty of questions about the alpacas and alpaca fiber.

One thing both groups had in common was their fascination with my spinning wheel.  Since owning my spinning wheel I have learned that spinning wheels are “kid magnets”.  Children are absolutely fascinated with them and almost cannot stop themselves from coming up and touching the wheel.  I have seen many usually well behaved children defy their parents “do not touch” request when it comes to a spinning wheel; as with the yarn it spins the wheel just seems to draw the children in.

This group of children was no exception and shortly after I started spinning in front of the first group I discovered that I was surrounded by small children who had completely forgotten that they were supposed to be sitting on the floor listening to Ric’s presentation.  The children had lots of questions too “where does the yarn go”, “what’s this”, “is that hard to do” “how does that happen”

The older group of children did manage to stay in their seats a little longer, but as soon as they were told by their teachers that they could get up came over to the spinning wheel reaching out to touch the main wheel, the drive belt, the yarn and anything else they could get too.  They were just so curious and fascinated by the spinning wheel that they too could not stop themselves from making a connection with the magical machine.

It struck me as I spun in front of the children that it would be pretty cool to have spinning as a regular school activity.  Certainly spinning is very relaxing and helps your mind to focus.   In these days of high technology and instant communication I wonder what effect it would have on school children if they had start and end each day with 30 minutes of hand spinning.  I suspect it would have a very positive result.

Rosemary

November 6, 2008

Time for the Winds of Change

 

It seemed appropriate that yesterday, November 5, 2008 the wind blew hard for most of the day.     The election results of November 4 told the world that many in the US are ready for change and it really felt as if the winds of change had physically reached the high plains of New Mexico by Wednesday morning.

 

The alpacas, of course, are not at all concerned with elections or politics; they instead put their attention to chasing the leaves that blew across the pasture.  For some the leaves were even more enticing than their morning ration of grain and I had to go and show them their food bowls before they would take their attention away from their leaf eating quest.

 

During the day the temperature was still in the 60’s and the crias took to cushing in the straw and sunning themselves while they were low enough to the ground to avoid the wind.

 

The fall crias are all developing their individual personalities. Sleeper (Keeva’s cria) still lives up to her name and can usually be found stretched out in a relaxed pose, when not sleeping though she has developed quite the appetite for hay and will let you know her displeasure if you try and move her away from her food.  Chandra (Carina’s cria) can usually be found close to Sleeper, although does not sleep as much as her buddy.  Chandra loves to come up and enquire as to what you are doing, tipping her head to one side and giving you a quizzical hum.   Nochi (Glow’s cria) is a little live wire, zipping across the pasture usually with a buck or a kick thrown in to the mix, she has to check out everything that is going on and often gets into mischief.  Little Man (Clarissa’s cria – not his registered name but that is the name that has stuck for now) is a quiet but determined little guy.  He might be small but he is sturdy and enjoys instigating some of the cria play, usually with Evelyn who is closest to his size.  Evelyn  (Essie’s cria) has just the sweetest of personalities, coming up to you to offer you cria kisses, calmly enjoying her neck being stroked and nuzzling you for attention.  Then there is Atlanticus, who always walks around the pasture with a purposeful attitude, almost as if he has tasks to complete during his cria day – but if he loses sight of his dam he lets out the most heart wrenching cries (I guess he’s really a sensitive boy at heart).  Finally there is Nazca (Kimmie’s cria) the last to be born and already growing like a weed.  Nazca enjoys sitting in the sunshine with a regal air about him, he’s still figuring out the other crias but has already started to join in the evening cria races, usually running side by side to Little Man and Evelyn.

 

By the time the sun set yesterday, the wind was still blowing at 26 mph with gusts up to 40 mph and with the sun’s disappearance the temperature dropped rapidly.  Time to bundle up the crias in their cria coats with the three smallest crias (Little Man, Evelyn and Nazca) and their dams being moved to the stall in the big shelter to give them some extra protection for the night.  With nighttime temperatures being predicted to be in the 20’s it seems as if winter is starting to head this way.  We have been spoiled recently with a beautiful Indian summer but it seems as if the winds of change are bringing in more seasonal and colder days – oh well, it was nice while it lasted and before we know it spring will be headed our way.

 

Rosemary

Blog at WordPress.com.