Friday, December 30, 2005

Everybody is home!

We brought Dawn, Duffy, and Consuella home on Friday, December 23 from Nortwest Alpacas where they have been for many months for breeding. In addition, NWA "lent" us another baby alpaca! When Steve heard that Duffy would have no one to play with on our farm, he let us take one of their orphans home as a buddy. So now we have a little white male suri named Kapono on our ranch. We call him "Snowball One" to keep with the Simpson's theme. Eventually, we'll either give him back to NWA, or buy him for ourselves. Snowball is small for his size because his mother died when he was three months old, and he missed out on some good milk. He is the same size as our three-month-old Duffy, and he is extra sweet because of his contact with humans.

On Christmas Eve we went to our neighbor Polly's place (Fernhill Ranch Alpacas) to pick up Cabernet, who has been there since October because she was lonely at our ranch without her friends. She seems glad to be home with her girlfriends.

We have quarantined all of the returnees in a stall out of spitting distance from the boys because all of them have come back from farms with known coccidia problems. Even though only Dawn was ill with it at NWA, we are treating all of them on the recommendation of our vet. This is because coccidia establishes itself in the soil and then becomes a recurring problem. We hope by treating them all, we can keep this parasite off of our ranch. At the moment we are treating their water, but once we get some minerals delivered, we'll treat that as well.

One difficulty with our quarantine plan is that the far stall where the girls are is wet. We have had a lot of soaking rain in the past couple weeks, and that stall is the lowest point in the barn. Even though we put gutters up this summer, the stall is still a muddy wet mess. It breaks our hearts to put them in there every night, but we're stuck for another week of quarantine. After that, we can move them into stall #2, which doesn't have the wetness problem. Next year we ARE going to put in a drain around that side of the barn; the gutters are obviously not the solution to this problem.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmahanakwanza, and a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Everybody’s Preggers!

I am astonished.

Not only is Consuella pregnant, but she’s been pregnant for 75 days! Yes, that means that she has been pregnant since approximate September 30. She’s acted pregnant because she HAS been pregnant. I do not know how to explain the inconclusive ultrasounds, or the negative progesterone, but the veterinarian saw a 2 1/2 month-old cria when he ultrasounded her on December 12. So, she knew all along, and kept telling us.

So, we will go pick up the three of them (Dawn, Duffy and Consuella) sometime before the first of the year since we are on break. Then we can bring Cabernet home as well.

First, however, we have an appointment with Dr. MacGuire tomorrow to talk about quarantining them once they are back on the farm. Dawn’s bout with coccidia during her stay at NWA makes it necessary for us to keep her separate, but we are going to keep everyone that’s been off the farm separate d for a while. Cabernet is currently on a farm where a young cria seems to be battling coccida , too. Dr. MacGuire will help us make up a solitary confinement plan.

It will be so nice to have the girls back on the farm! I am looking forward to having a full barn again. Plus, we haven’t seen Duffy since he was three weeks old! He is now three months old, nearly the same age as Bart when we brought him home! We’ll have to start working with him on halter training. If he’s nice enough, we’ll take him to Heart of the Valley with the other boys.

Awesome news.

Monday, December 05, 2005

We’re pregnant!

Well, actually, Dawn is confirmed pregnant, and due around 9/13/06. Dawn is Duffy’s (Mr. “Let’s come into the world head first, not feet first”) mother. We’re glad to hear it. She is bred to Pachacuti, one of Mike Safely’s Studmaster studs. His babies win ribbons. More importantly, he shears many pounds of fiber a year, whereas Dawn shears around two pounds. She needs his density to pass on to her crias. She is ready to come home now.

We think Consuella is pregnant as well. She finally settled for Haldane last month (see the previous blog entry). If she is pregnant, we can get her the week after Christmas. If not, we may have to hold her over until spring. I really don’t want to do that, but having babies in November is not such a good idea, first from a weather standpoint, and second from a last-four-weeks-of-the-term standpoint. If we hold her over, though, she will have been open for a year. That’s a huge waste of money (a whole cria could have been made in that time).

If Consuella is pregnant, we’ll probably get the two girls at the same time at the end of December. If she isn’t, then we may get both of them anyway to take them home for the winter.

Keep your fingers crossed.

The other news is that while I was sick for two weeks this month, Charles taught Milhouse how to eat pellets! This means that we no longer have to give him a daily dose of carrot toothpaste, which is what I called the vitamin paste we were giving him. It’s kind of a shame because he was beginning to enjoy the contact (I think). However, he LOVES his pellets now. He’s like a little Hoover. Vrooom. Now we’ll see if the added nutrition straightens his legs out any.