Thursday, August 31, 2006

Herdsire Stud fee sale!

El Barto
Introductory mobile stud fee special
Sliding scale $550-$950 until 1-1-07

This is our stud, El Barto. We are offering a fall 2006 sale for the first five breedings (total) on his stud fee for mobile breedings. We don't have the facililities for traditional breedings (we don't have a proper quarantine area), so this is our compromise.

El Barto has lovely, 19 micron fleece with high-frequency crimp. It is delicious to work with.

He is a Glacial Storm son and an Augustus grandson. He is also the son of our import Dawn who has incredible 22 micoron fleece at NINE years old.

Go to our website for details:

We'll go up to 100 miles for the cost of the breeding, and charge $.75 mile thereafter.


Still waiting on Consuella

Consuella is due tomorrow, but we've been watching her closely for the last two weeks. I have been sure that she was going to deliver a couple different times this week because of a couple things: 1) her udder is pretty full, although not engorged, and 2) the "alien" thing.

On Monday I noticed that something was moving under Consuella's tail. There was a bulge by her anus that was moving in and out. It was very creepy looking, but it was obviously the cria's feet. I thought, "Aha! The cria is in position and so Consuella is going to have her baby today!"

Not so.

I saw the feet again on Tuesday. "Surely today!" I thought. Nope.

We've seen the feet moving every day since, and Consuella still shows no signs of going into labor. She is very content to eat, chew her cud and look at us with her wise look, mildly puzzled by our attempts to look at her backside.

The best news out of all this is that there are feet in the birth canal. This is much better than any other single body part. I'm not even concerned whether they are front or back feet. Feet in the birth canal mean that we should have an uneventful birth (knock on wood).

Eventually, anyway.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dawn Scare

We had a scare yesterday with our 10-year-old import, Dawn. At breakfast, she was normal, wolfing down her pellets, etc. When we got back outside to scoop poop, she was standing with her head down, drooling and coughing. She was obviously miserable.

I called another alpaca owner who has many more years of experience than we do and asked her what she thought we should do. We decided it was probably a case of "choke" where a blob of food gets caught in the esophogus and the alpaca tries to cough it up. You are supposed to massage the neck to see if there are any hard lumps and then try to break it up with your fingers. I tried this, but I couldn't feel any lumps.

We finally called the vet after about an hour of Dawn alternately coughing or standing very still going "uhn, uhn, uhn," and then holding her breath. The vet told us to get her into the barn where it was probably cooler (it got up to 94 yesterday).

By the time the vet arrived, Dawn was much worse. She had cushed down and was looking more and more depressed. The excitement of shooing her into the barn had caused another coughing fit and she was exhausted. She didn't even get up to get away from the vet, although she spent the entire visit with him screaming as only Dawn can (this made listening to her lungs difficult).

Dr. MacGuire heard fluid on her lungs and decided that perhaps she was having an allergic reaction to something. He gave her an antihistamine, a diuretic, and a tranquilizer that acted as a mild cough suppressant. Within five minutes she was breathing better, coughing less, and within an hour (after the vet had gone) she was up and eating.

We don't know what caused this reaction, but we have a syringe of antihistamine in the fridge from now in just in case. I'm thinking that she may have been stung by a bee or something.

It's the weirdest thing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Alpaca comics

Check out our new gallery. Not only do we have pictures up on, but I have discovered another time-wasting device: a program called "Comic Life" which allows one to take photos or drawings and plop them into a comic format. It has automatic speech balloons. So fun!

I've posted the first alpaca comic, entitled "Pool Party!" Enjoy.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Mobile Breeding

We are going to try mobile breeding with El Barto. We are not really in a position to quarantine animals sent to us effectively, so we think that this is a good compromise. We can disinfect a trailer and get health certificates more easily than we can build a quarantine pasture.

This link is to Mike Safley's article on mobile breeding.


More baby pictures

He's so handsome!

Look at that bright fiber!

So content.

We are now over 26#, so he's put on ten pounds since he was born three weeks ago.

We are thinking of calling him "ETF G.K. Willie" for Grounds Keeper Willie on the Simpsons, the only character on that show that has red hair.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Flikr address

I'm lazy. I admit it. I am going to forgo re-vamping the photo gallery on our website in favor of using super-easy Flikr.

I've got some photos up already. Take a peek!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cria update #3

Well, Cabernet's cria is 2 1/2 weeks old, 24# 4oz., and is acting like a normal cria. He is running laps around the pasture for the sheer joy of it. He's chewing on our pantslegs for the fun of it. And he's getting into trouble, like "bouncing" his mother and his aunties, again for the fun of it.

Polly (our alpaca friend) says he is a very lovely little boy, and shows signs of being herdsire quality. Yippee!

He is still unnamed, but Apu and G.K. Willie (for Grounds Keeper) are the front-runners for now. Willie is the only character on the Simpsons with red hair (besides Ron Howard).

In other news, we are going to take Duffman to his first show in October. We are also taking two of Polly's little boys since she is going to a wedding that weekend. See you at Alpacamania!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Another use for alpaca geldings?

Just in case you thought alpacas were all love and fuzz.


Cria update #2

It's been a tiring few days since our little baby boy was born. As we indicated before, he was two weeks preemie, so we had been administering TLC until yesterday. This included waking him up every two hours (during the day) and encouraging him to eat and milking his mother and squirting milk down his throat once or twice a day.

TLC seems to have worked! It took him until Thursday to begin acting like a normal baby alpaca; that is, doing some running, nibbling on leafy things, and going on exploration missions away from mom.

He was able to cush upright with his head up without shaking by Tuesday night. Before he would topple over and then just give up and sleep all stretched out. The vet was very worried when he saw the cria on Sunday because the baby was practically unresponsive until we walked up to him and picked him up.

Now the baby fights us when we pick him up instead of hanging limp. This makes it somewhat difficult to weigh him since he messes up the reading on the hanging scale when he kicks. We are certainly not complaining, though. Better to have an inaccurate weight due to kicking than an accurate reading due to lethargy!

I am no longer deeply worried about this little boy. I think he's going to make it. We still have a couple days of antibiotics to get through, but I am very pleased with his progress so far.

Now we just need a name!