Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Cabernet is confirmed pregnant via progesterone test! Yay! Her travel date is 11/2, but we may pick her up a few days early so that we can go see the alpaca show in Southern Oregon at the same time.

We are awaiting new ultrasound results for Consuella, so no news on her yet. She has been spitting off the males for a couple weeks, however.

Dawn and her baby (christened "Duffman" by birthday party goers on Sunday) will go to NWA on Sunday for her breeding to Patacuti.

After that, it will be a little lonely on the farm because the only alpacas we'll have will be the three boys. Milhouse will have to learn to get along with Bart and Tony until his mother comes back. The good news is that the boys will have the run of the place, so they don't have to be in their barren pasture anymore.

In other news, we had a birthday party for me/welcome little alpaca party on Sunday, Sept. 25, where we had a naming contest for the alpaca and the new kitten we found by the side of the road.

Finally, we have had two more acres cleared of forest, and Charles spent yesterday purchasing grass seed, and will spend today spreading it. We will fence in the spring after the grass has had time to establish itself.

Oh, yeah. School started for us on Monday, so summer is officially over for us. Boo hoo. And I still haven't hung up pictures or sent fiber to be processed.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Our new baby boy!

See him at

Dawn had her cria on September 9, but not without difficulty. When we found her in the barn, her baby’s head was out and breathing, but there were no little feet. Typical alpaca births are toes first, then nose. Charles ran to call the vet and Polly, our alpaca friend, and I lubed up and reached in to see what was going on (I’m surprised I did it, too!). I felt a pair of knees pushing up against Dawn’s hips, which meant that Dawn was not going to deliver the baby by herself.

By the time Polly arrived, I had fished out one leg, but the other was now back deep inside. Neither Polly nor I could maneuver it out, so we could only wait for the vet. By this time, Dawn was lying on her side moaning, and the baby was making “Ow! Ow! Ow!” sounds. It was weird to see a two-headed animal making noises like that.

The vet finally came flying up our driveway at unsafe speeds with his gallon jug of lubricant. He reached in and in about two minutes produced another leg and then a whole baby alpaca! He made it look easy, but that is what we pay him for. It was such a relief to see the little cria out because Polly and I were very worried that even the vet wouldn’t be able to get that last leg out. I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if he couldn’t.

The vet was concerned enough about the difficult birth that he asked us to call the Vet School at OSU if the little cria wasn’t up and nursing by noon (he was born around 9 AM). The vet also gave us penicillin to give Dawn, since no fewer than three people had been working inside her. I have to administer this via syringe, so I gave my first shot yesterday! I am such a farmer’s wife.

I am glad to say that the little nameless boy was nursing by 11 AM, and was out of the barn exploring the nursery pasture by that afternoon. Today he was doing what we call “Speed Racer,” where he runs in ever-larger circles, all ending up back at his mom. Dawn is a fierce mother, and boy, does she have milk! The swelling around her vulva has gone down significantly today, too.

The picture at the website includes Milhouse, who is now 6 months old. His mother is off being bred at another farm, so he has attached himself to Dawn, who only barely puts up with him. Now, his place as the baby has been usurped by a much smaller baby, and he is sulking a bit. The next time I see him kick at the cria, though, he is going to find himself in the pasture with the bigger boys, who will put him in his place. I’m reluctant to do so because this has been such a bad couple weeks for him, but the baby must be safe.

Dawn and baby will be on our farm for the next three weeks or so, at which time we will load them up so Dawn can be bred at NWA. Come and see them while you can! They will be gone until Thanksgiving, which is hard for us. We will miss our little whatever-his-name-will-be.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ribbons and sex, sex, sex!

Ribbons and sex, sex, sex!

Our new ribbon!

El Barto has done it again! He won 3rd place at a confirmation-only show at the Oregon State Fair on Friday! We are very proud of him.

The show was put on by WABA, at the last minute. Someone in our association knows someone at the fairgrounds and was asked if we could use the brand-new pavilion at the fairgrounds for one day for free. They had a cancellation or something and needed to fill it. We jumped at the chance because the State Fair has built-in advertising and walk-in traffic that we would never be able to muster at an alpaca-only show. As it was, we saw lots of people who came in out of curiosity and left with our card and some information. I hope it is an annual event.

The only downside to the show was that I was sick as a dog with a head cold. I tried not to touch anyone and smile a lot, and I ran mostly on adrenaline. I am still suffering from the cold and feel wretched, but it was worth being sick a couple extra days to be there.

Bogart baby on the way!

Dawn is due on September 5, (tomorrow) for a baby by the above stud. He’s a son of Hemingway, who is a magnificent stud, and father of many champions. We are on criawatch, which means that we are on the farm all morning, watching Dawn for signs of labor. She was a month late last year (or two weeks late, depending on how you count gestation). Either way, I don’t expect a baby for a week or so, but we are stuck here just in case. Most babies are born without incident, like Consuella’s baby in March. However, there is always a chance of a dystocia, or incorrect position of the baby. These can be bad, so we need to be here in case she needs help.

Right now, our other two female alpacas are off the farm being bred. Consuella is up at Northwest Alpacas, where we bought Dawn and El Barto, being bred to Canadar, a new stud that Mike Safely discovered standing idle in Canada. He is also a Hemingway son, and Mike is very excited about him. He can be found at the following link: This was a last-minute decision, made at the farm as we dropped Consuella off because he was so handsome.

Cabernet is at Alpacas at Lone Ranch, where we bought her, being bred to Barolo, who can be seen at: -- go to “herd sires” and then to his page. She and he had their first date on Friday, and will try again on Tuesday, too.

About two weeks after Dawn has her baby, we’ll send her to Northwest Alpacas, too, and have her bred to Pachacuti , who we hope will add his denseness to her fineness.

So, once Dawn and her baby are gone, we will only have the young males on our ranch. It will seem lonely with only three alpacas all of a sudden. The girls will be gone approximately two months each because alpaca pregnancies can be delicate for the first couple months, and transporting them before then can turn a pregnant alpaca into a not-pregnant alpaca.

However, we will have the whole crew back by early November, with Dawn’s baby to entertain us through the winter.