Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lisa's late

Lisa's at day 378 of her pregnancy, based on the one pasture breeding I observed May 15, 2008. I think if I had been pregnant that long, I would have done something desperate.

When I took these pictures, Lisa was chowing down. When I was about to leave, though, she cushed down and began panting. She pants with her whole body, so she was either just cooling off, or in labor. She's been doing this off and on for the last few days, so I think she was just hot. It did hit about 85 degrees outside today. A few minutes later, she was in the field, grazing contentedly.

Here's the best shot of Lisa that I could get today. She is a big alpaca with lots of fleece, but you can see that she's also heavily pregnant.

Here is Lisa the chow hound. She's the one who overturns the hay bins and eats the bottom hay.

Apu is home!

Here's a picture of Apu from today. He and Cabernet are back on the farm after Cabernet's "date." He's probably about 35 lbs. now. He looks almost exactly like his older brothers did at his age. His brother G. K. Willie will make his breeding debut later this year.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pre-schoolers visit!

The woman who runs the daycare our daughter goes to also runs a little pre-school. She and a couple other women brought nine kids under the age of six to our farm on Thursday. The weather was perfect, and the kids had on closed-toed shoes, so we were good to go.

First, they had brought bread to feed the chickens. They thought it was magic when I produced an egg from the hen-house. In reality, we had checked in the morning for eggs and left one there just so we could "find" it for the kids. 

Then we took them into the barn, and sat them in a row on the hay bales (I should have told them to smile in the picture). Then I called the alpacas in for treats. They have learned that anytime there are people in the barn, it's a good bet that pellets are to be had, so they all come in at a run. I gave them pellets and closed the stall doors so the kids could take a long look at baby Doc (almost 3 weeks old). Then I grabbed a yearling (Manjula) and held her against the stall gate so that the kids (one at a time), could reach through and pet her. 

Of course, the alpacas were upstaged by the barn swallows who are building a nest above one of the stalls. They swooped in several times with mud in their beaks. The kids just went ga-ga for them. 

After that, we went inside. I passed around fleece, yarn and a knitted hat for them to touch. They got a kick out of the before/after shearing pictures I showed them, too. 

As luck would have it, it was someone's birthday, so there were cupcakes to eat, too. Everyone went home with a fleece sample and a coloring sheet with alpacas on it. 

My cost: $0. It was fun, too. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Preparing for preschoolers

I like this shot, though we've fixed Julius's ear.

On Thursday, we'll have eight preschoolers come to the farm for a little field trip. The daycare our daughter goes to also has a preschool some mornings, and they are studying farm animals this month.

They are so excited to see baby Julius. I'll make sure to get lots of pictures of adorable little kids with adorable baby alpacas.

I'm also going to dig out the little alpaca display I made for such occasions and give them each a little baggie of fleece to take home.

First, though, I have to clean our house. That's the big job.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Meet Dr. Julius Hibbert!

Here he is!

Check out his namesake.

I wish we didn't have to tape up his cute flippy ear, but as Alpaca Farm Girl said, I wouldn't want a herdsire with inside-out ears. That would just be too hard to explain.

He's up to 17 lbs. and 14 oz. at four days old. And he's so soft! Yummy fiber.

All that cuteness makes me smile.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Alpaca Color Genetics

Kelly Kissane, a colleague at WOU, brought her biology class on a spider-hunting trip to our ranch last week. My theory is that they used the spiders as an excuse to pet the alpacas (as if you need an excuse!)

I sent Kelly the link to Consuella's baby here on the blog, and she sent me this email to help me understand why brown + white = black.

She agreed to let me post her response here. Enjoy!


I teach genetics, and do behavioral genetics research. I have a guess as to the genetics of the little guy so far, which matches genetics in other animals (horses and cattle are a bit different), based on the information you gave:

Dominant non-albino white is epistatic to all other colors (same in cats).

W- is white, ww = non-white B- = black, bb = brown

Sire (white) = Ww Bb
Dam (brown) ww bb
newborn(black) - wwBb

If I'm right, then 1/2 of the time you will get white, 1/4 will be black, 1/4 will be brown with this cross.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Consuella's Cria

Here he is!

He's 16 lbs, 6oz and black as can be.

Yes, his ear is kinda curly. If it doesn't straighten out on its own, we may have to tape it. But it's cute right now.

His birth was a highly anticipated, but only a little stressful. Once we realized Consuella was in labor, we called a neighbor, Kelly, who said she had "never seen anything born." She was excited to come over and watch.

The first thing I saw come out, though, was a little nose. I called the vet who told me to feel around for feet and call him back if I couldn't find any. Fortunately, his feet were out by his nose by the time I got back to the pasture. I pulled the legs out so that he wouldn't get "elbow lock" in the birth canal.

Then we waited. Consuella was tired, and the cria hadn't moved in 10-15 minutes, so I got Charles to hold Consuella while I gently pulled on the baby's feet. When that didn't work, I pulled a little harder, more leaning into it than anything, and got those wide shoulders out.

I'm still flabbergasted that he's black. I was hoping for a brown, but I was expecting a white. This is a bit of a coup for El Barto our white herdsire.

For names, we're thinking Carl Carlson or Dr. Hibbert.

Cast your vote as a comment!


Sunday, May 03, 2009


Consuella finally had her cria after 364 days!

16 lbs., 6 oz.
black as night!

I am truly amazed by the color. By my understanding of alpaca color genetics, I figured we'd have a white or brown. He also has one ear that's turned inside-out. It's cute.

Anyway, more pictures tomorrow.