Friday, October 13, 2006


The Alpacamania show was October 7 and 8 in Medford, Oregon. I had never competed in a show besides Heart of the Valley, so I was eager to bring one of our animals to an outside show, plus I wanted to take Duffman to a show before the next HOTV in May when he will be 20 months old. I convinced Polly McCrea to send a couple of her animals along, too, so that we could split the price of a pen.

The animals we brought were: Duffman, our Hemingway grandson; Eli, Polly's Tocto son; and Montiero, Polly's black boy who won a ribbon at HOTV '06. We supposed that Montiero had a really good chance of winning a ribbon, Duffy had a chance if he had 2 testicles that day (since he had a habit of hiding one), and that Eli was just there for kicks.

It turns out that Eli, who was scared spitless the entire show, was the one who won a blue ribbon. The judge was very impressed with his "showmanship," which floored me. I didn't even think he was talking about us as he went on and on about how well this animal was showing, etc.

Duffy ended up with a fourth place ribbon out of four, even though his testicle was nowhere to be found. The judge was very kind about giving us a ribbon for what can be a disqualifying fault.

Monty didn't get a damned thing, which was the biggest surprise of the show. However, it was understandable. He was in a class of thirteen, all but two of which were older than he. They were all lovely, and the first and second places were won by near-two year olds. It was disappointing. However, I have never seen such a strong class of black animals.

We spent the time we weren't showing talking to people and handing out flyers for El Barto's stud services and Polly's retirement sale of alpacas and her ranch. (See her alpacanation [] site for more information.) I gave out all of Polly's flyers and I had to make more copies of ours since I left one at every stall at the show, and handed them out to people. We hope to get one or two breedings for Bart out of it (which would pay for the show, plus some), and maybe sell some of Polly's animals.

Plus, the show was lots of fun. :)

Barnyard surgery

Dawn isn't going to NWA this weekend because we had the huge, quarter-sized corn removed from her hind foot yesterday. The vet (and us) was eager to take off the corn because 1) it continued to grow, 2) Dawn isn't pregnant or lactating, 3) we weren't 100% sure it was a corn (read: we hoped it wasn't a tumor). So the vet sedated her, and removed it right there in the barnyard.

Now, my little brother is a surgery resident, and I'll bet he had never sutured something while kneeling in the gravel while shooing stray chickens away.

All went well, and Dawn is now sporting a pink bandaged leg.

This does complicate re-breeding her because, ideally, we'd keep her on our farm until the stitches are out...another 2 weeks. This presents two problem: 1) the stud we'd like to re-breed her to leaves at the end of October, and 2) the later we breed her, the more likely she'll have her baby after school starts.

So much for my well-thought-out plan for pre-school cria. :)

Dawn isn't pregnant

We had some disappointing news before I left for Alpacamania on Oct 5. We had a couple people look at Dawn and they confirmed our worst fear: Dawn isn't pregnant. I had been saying for some time that she wasn't big enough to be late-term, but I held out hope.

It turns out that Dawn is actually just fat. This is a first for her. We think she lost the baby when she was so sick in the spring with diarrhea,and she became so painfully thin. We changed her diet to a high-calorie, high-fat feed and put her on a daily diet of probiotics. That fattened her up, but it must have been after she lost the pregnancy.

The bad news is that we've lost a year of "production" out of her. The good news is that she is fat and happy and is in perfect condition to get pregnant. We're working out the details for when she can go back to NWA and see Pachacuti again sometime this month.