Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cabernet cria update

Cria naptime

Here are the statistics:

Dam: Cabernet
time: 4:40 pm
time standing: 6:40 pm
time nursing: 7 pm
weight: approx 16# (our scale is inaccurate and our new scale hasn't arrived yet)

We called the vet this morning because the little guy just wasn't vigorous. Normally, crias are actually running around by the time they are a few hours old. This little guy is still tottering around unsteadily when he isn't sleeping in a coma-like state. The vet couldn't find anything obviously wrong with him, so he put him on a course of antibiotics just in case and give him his vaccines. If we're worried about him not eating enough we are supposed to milk (!) Cabernet (surprisingly, she lets us do this) and feed him with a syringe, but I think he's nursing enough that we won't actually need to do this.

Cabernet delivered this cria at 11 months, instead of 11 1/2 months, just as she has for the previous two crias. Also, like the last cria, she delivered this little guy in the evening, not the morning. She just has to be different, but at least we've identified a pattern.

We hope that a little extra nurturing will give the little (as yet unnamed) guy a chance to catch up. It's all we can do for now.

But he is extra cute. This picture is of him taking a nap on Charles's lap after we fed him some of his mom's milk with a syringe last night.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cabernet's Cria

Here he is!

Cabernet's cria arrived at 4:40 PM today, and weighs in at about 16 lbs.

More later. I'm sooo tired.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Four weeks to go!

Oh, so pregnant alpaca!

Cabernet is due in 4 weeks, August 13th. The last two years she's had her babies two weeks early, so we are going to begin watching next week, even though "cria watch" traditionally begins two weeks prior to the due date.

You can see in this picture how low she is carrying the baby. Usually, her tummy is tucked way up above her knee. It is now approaching her knee, and may be below her knee when she is close to her due-date.

So funny. So fat alpaca.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Alpaca Wethers as livestock guardians
This article is about using alpaca wethers (gelded males) as livestock guardians in Australia. I had a phone call a few months ago from someone on the East coast asking about using alpacas as guardians because someone on her farm was afraid of llamas because of their size. I told her to buy two alpaca geldings and use them together as guardians.

The main problem with using alpacas as opposed to llamas as guardians is that alpacas are at a size disadvantage. However, most predators will back away from a challenge, and my alpacas (even my pregnant girls!) will challenge stray dogs and coyotes. The advantage may be in numbers, however. I still recommend that people get two alpacas because they don't seem to bond to other livestock the same way that llamas do and get lonely without another alpaca. However, according to the article, they still bond to the flock and will protect it.

I think this is a great use for gelded males who might not have the best fiber, especially the assertive ones. I am certainly going to use this article as a marketing tool for my fiber males.