Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Adriana was one of two black females we took to a well known breeder of black alpacas for stud services. Both she and Jacquenetta, another black female, failed to conceive the first year and had to have a couple more attempts the second year. It was poor Mike's job to load them in the trailer and take them back for remating and he was complaining that we would soon have spent nearly as much on fuel for the truck as for the matings. Anyway, they finally got pregnant and Jacquenetta had a very nice black female cria and now Adriana has had another nice cria, this time a male. Still at least we have now got our money's worth, albeit two years later.
We have decided not to use outside stud services again unless it is by swapping with another breeder and letting them use one of our males, because the cost of travelling to and fro for a mating when you might end up with a male which would not even cover the stud fee is just not cost effective. It is a bit like losing money in a fruit machine.
In the first photo Caquiningora, the Inca name for a type of bird, has only just been born. (He will probably be called Kacky for short!!) In the second Adriana is proving how strong the maternal instinct is. She has just had her very first cria and yet she is immediately protective of the newborn. She tolerated me towelling the cria dry and spraying his navel, mainly because she was still recovering from the shock of the arrival of the little stranger who dropped out behind her back, but very shortly afterwards she was ready to defend him against all comers and Dolly, who normally herds the alpacas with their reluctant consent, realised that she was not welcome, as you can see from the change in her body language between photo 2 and 3.
In photo 4 all the "aunties" have come to visit. This nearly always happens when there is a birth. It is probably so that they register a new herd member. Shortly after this ( I had taken the camera indoors) quite a few of the cria gathered round for an introduction as well, but Mum quickly shooed them away, which saved me doing it. Occasionally older cria can steal the new Mother's colostrum which is vital for her own cria's wellbeing, passing on her immunity to disease and helping to stimulate his immune system.
We have had some poulry netting around our agility training area to keep the grazing animals out, but in the last few days two of the cria have managed to get themselves caught up in it. We have been careful not to go out and leave them unattended in that area, but decided that even if we are here a youngster could be trapped and even injured before we noticed, so we have taken it down. The result seems to be that this is now the favourite place for all of them. Perhaps because they have been kept out, the grass is sweeter. They are going to have to move on soon so that we can use the area ouselves, but I do not think we will be popular.