Saturday, September 30, 2006

El Barto does his job!

El Barto has done his job in one try!

The female we bred to El Barto, Consuella, has spit him off twice! This usually means that a female is pregnant! We will have her progesterone tested in a couple weeks to make sure.

This is good news because it shows that not only is El Barto a potent stud, but that he can "get the job done" in one try! This will be useful information to give people who'd like to use him as a mobile herdsire (the sale is still on, everyone!).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Still still waiting

We're on Day 16 of being over due, Dawn! It's time to have a baby so that Charles and I can get on with our lives!

So much for planning. We had it all worked out so that the critters would be done birthin' by the time school started. We also had it worked out so that the babies would be born within 2 weeks of each other so that we wouldn't be on cria watch forever.

Then Cabernet had her baby 2 weeks early and Dawn is working on 2 1/2 weeks late (so far). Consuella was two days late, which was basically right on time.

Alpacas are such contrary animals. Dawn keeps looking at us like, "What?" whenever we look at her through the binoculars from the kitchen. The baby is kicking and rolling around inside her and seems very interested in getting out.

Ugh, it's frustrating. But that is the way it goes.

I am now trying to plan what to do next weekend when we are going to Central Point, Oregon, for an alpaca show. If Dawn hasn't popped before then, we are going to have to make more arrangements than if she has had her baby. Hiring a farm sitter is much more expensive than having my mom come out to feed the critters at night. The farm sitter would have to sit at the farm and watch Dawn, assist during the potential birth and call the vet if necessary. It's more time consuming because she can't leave the farm at all before noon, and has to check on Dawn every couple hours after that.

Well, the good news is that the baby is still alive inside her, and she is healthy and happy (if pig-headedly stubborn and uncaring about how inconvenient she is).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Still waiting on Dawn

Dawn is now eight days late. She's going to mess up our plans if she doesn't have her baby soon.

She has minimal udder development, but her hind-end is definitely relaxed (it jiggles when she walks). Her vulva is slightly larger, but not enough to scream "Today!" at me. She passed what we think was a mucus plug on Monday, but that can happen several days before actual birth.

We are planning on sneaking off to the coast on Saturday as my birthday present. It would suck mightily if we had to put that off because Dawn was still waiting to deliver. The weather is supposed to be perfect this weekend, and there are no guarantees about next weekend.

Plus, school starts on Monday, and I have to teach beginning at 10 am. This means that Charles would have to take care of things on Monday, were she to deliver. That isn't to say that he couldn't take care of things, but we would both prefer that both of us were there for the event.

The baby is kicking and thrashing about inside her, so we know it's alive and well. The baby isn't doing the creepy Aliens thing as Lisa was inside her momma, but it's still a little odd to see it writhing about in there.

Anyway, any day now we'll have another cria to coo over. I'm thinking I'd like to re-breed Dawn just a week earlier so that next year she won't bump up so close to the start of school.

We are planning a mobile breeding for Dawn at NWA, too, since she had that allergic reaction in August. We'd like to keep an eye on her. I think we'll be using their stud Impact this year.

That's all for now!

Link to Alumna profile

I had been looking for this since February when the article came out. I finally found it!

This is a link to the article published about me and our alpaca farm in the Mount Holyoke Alumna Quarterly. I was interviewed in September 2005.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Little Lisa has arrived!

This is baby Lisa!

She the first female cria born on our ranch, so we are very excited!

We worked outside until 12:30 PM this morning. Consuella (mom) was acting normally. Her teats weren't any larger than they have been in the last week, she was eating fine, and her vulva wasn't any larger than it has been this week.

However, after we showered and had worked for a bit, Charles peeked out the window. He called to me, saying, "Hey, what's that next to Consuella?"

That something turned out to be little Lisa. Sneaky Consuella had delivered all by herself, without showing any signs of labor, hard or otherwise. In fact, if Lisa weren't white, Charles might have mistaken her for Willie and not said anything. Consuella certainly looked content and unconcerned.

We went to the pasture to take a look. Lisa popped up to standing and then tottered over to get a drink. She must have been less than half an hour old because she was still wet.

We decided to towel-dry her and dip her umbilical cord in iodine while we were in the pasture. This is a much more difficult feat than it was with Cabernet's baby because Consuella hates it when people touch her babies. She bites and spits, so one of us had to hold a towel up for protection while the other dove in and worked with the baby.

After a couple hours of quiet (away from boisterous Willie), we swapped pastures so that Willie and his mom could be in the barn and Lisa and her mom could be outside without being bounced. We hope that he will wear himself out running the fence so that when everyone is in the barn tonight, he won't have the energy to play too roughly. Otherwise, we might have to separate them in a separate stall.

Well, that was exciting! I'll get statistics and details for you later!