Thursday, 16 July 2009

A rainy day in Devon

The weather is really miserable. Mike has gone to do his monthly day at the garage and I was hoping to get lots of odd jobs done. Can't dry the washing. Can't mow the lawn. I am down to making cakes and cushion covers and grooming the dogs. Even the hens have only laid 4 eggs. They laid one each at the weekend when I was away. Is it something I said?

We are well into our 2009 mating programme for the alpacas. We are planning to stop mating by the end of this month to try and condense the birthing season to spring and early summer next year. This allows us more freedom and more importantly means that the cria have all summer to build themselves up ready for the winter. Also they will be ready to wean earlier which takes the strain off their mothers in the winter months.

My favourite female (isn't it always the way) did not give birth this year as expected so we assumed she needed remating.

She was mated 5 times in 2008. She first spat off in May 2008 after three attempts.

She was remated in June 2008 and spat off four times, appearing to be certain she was pregnant. Cria was due in May 2009 and she did appear to gain weight and look possibly pregnant. We did not have the females scanned this year as usual because we had quite a lot of births expected and felt that the odd missed one was acceptable. In the past we have found the spit offs quite an accurate way of diagnosing pregnancy.

Her due date has long past and she will not accept a male at any costs. She rears, spits, kicks, attacks us if we try to hold her, and as her grand finale yesterday she jumped out of the mating pen whilst spraying all and sundry including passing alpacas with spit - luckily without hurting herself.

We have tried putting her near the male paddocks to stimulate ovulation or at least interest, I have injected her with 2ml receptal prior to mating attempt.

If she was not such a good female I would write her off but I would like to breed from her.

As she is quite big I wonder if it is hormonal or if she needs estrumating. I emailed all of this to the Vet and Tessa phoned me back. Apparently my email had caused some hilarity and some of the girls at the vet thought we probably had a lesbian alpaca. Others just sympathised with Emilia (the alpaca) saying that they know just how she feels.

The serious outcome, however, is that Tessa is coming to estrumate her tomorrow. This is an injection which causes to body to reject anything that might be blocking the tubes such as the corpus luteum.

Once the egg has been released from the follicle, the cells re-arrange and over a 3 to 6 day period continue to grow into a solid mass called the corpus luteum (CL), the producer of progesterone.

I am hoping that Emilia will behave nicely for Tessa - I think it is only the attentions of males that upset her.

Next time you feel upset with your male try spitting, kicking and rearing up. He might get the message - although the alpaca males just seem to find the whole thing very exciting and challenging.

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