Thursday, 12 January 2012
After a very positive start to the new year we had a blip yesterday. Unfortunately, whilst doing the poo picking Paul found a foetus in the maiden field. No more than 2.5 inches long (base of neck to tail) we knew by it's size it had to be one of the younger females mated late in the year. We checked everyone; no tell tale signs under the tail, no one showing any obvious change in behaviour.
This morning I decided we should spit off the girls, that way we could give prophylactic antibiotics if we felt this to be necessary. Our young working stud males can all be a bit eager at spit offs, thus wanting to keep disruptions down to a minimum, I decided Explorer, who is not yet working, could have a little venture across the lane to the girls.
He started off well with his 2 favourite girls; Lucie and Roma. Both spat off. Next Renata, he wasn't as keen but did enough to get a rejection. Biba, our black girls was fourth to be presented...now he wasn't keen at all...positively turned up his nose in fact...I did my best ogling impersonation...still not interested...then something caught his eye...something white...something gorgeous...he looked back at Biba then back at this thing of beauty...he went closer then stepped back to admire...what was it he saw?...it was himself in the mirror! Yes, I kid you not...he then lost all interest and started going round all the mirrors...a whole room of gorgeousness! So that was it... I will spit off Nicola and Biba tomorrow using Legacy (old and wise and knows when they are pregnant by the merest whiff...and not quite so vain).
I remember going to a lecture at our first British Alpaca Futurity and being surprised to hear that 20% of alpaca pregnancies do not result in a cria (a live cria at 6 months of age). This seemed to us to be high, although I now believe that this is similar to many mammals. Last year we lost no pregnancies, but have lost 2 cria (one at birth and one at 3 months of age). Hence we did prepare ourselves that we would be very lucky if all the girls actually delivered. At least no one appears to be upset by their loss of pregnancy.
We have actually had a couple of dry days this week so I have been able to have a good look at some of the cria fleeces...what a difference a dry windy day makes...especially when trying to assess the finest fleeces. Hopefully we will have a few juniors making the show team this year. If anyone has any concerns as to whether showing is a stressful experience for juniors...I found a photo from Northumberland Show...that is Explorer asleep with Poppet using him as a pillow...you don't get more chilled out that that!
Explorer and Poppet asleep at Northumberland Show.
I always find it interesting to see how mums and cria cope at weaning time. It isn't always as predicted; with some of the most protective mums accepting weaning without a backward glance, and others who have appeared a bit indifferent coping less well. This year it is Camilla who is the surprise, last year she was glad to be rid of Explorer (to be fair he was trying to mate everyone...bit of an embarrasment to her) but this year she has been moping around since the adorable Rumour has been weaned. I will be interested to see how Lady Gaga copes...she must be the proudest mum ever...despite Boots being very independent...touch Boots and you get the glare...the Gaga glare has to be seen...ice cool!