Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Crias are All Here! AND, There's More Than One Way to Move an Alpaca!

Ah, first cutting hay is done!  Our neighbors cut and round bale the first cutting from our big hayfield since we don't use it.  I was amazed that Rowdy had no trouble scaling this 5' bale.  Here is is surveying his kingdom.

I love how the field looks with the scattered bales
I know I always say things have been busy, but honestly, it has been crazy-busy this week.

Friday, we started off with the birth of our 5th cria of the year and our first female.  She was unfortunately born pre-dawn in a fine drizzle and was out in it at least 1to 2 hours before I found her.  She was weak and hypo-thermic and so she got off to a slow start.  She was the first cria for her dam, B'Nita which was another worry, but B'Nita stepped into the motherhood role perfectly.  She had plenty of milk and was very attentive.  Baby is doing fine today, active, gaining weight and is beautiful.  She was sired by a multiple champion male owned by a farm in Pennsylvania, and she does look gorgeous.  
B'Nita's cria 2 days old
 She and Margarita's cria have become fast friends.  I had to remove Tunita's cria from the pasture the day this cria was born because he was stealing milk from B'Nita, and it is really important that the new baby gets that first milk, or colostrum, from her mother.  

B'Nita's & Margarita's crias
So last Friday was a stressful day since I was trying to make sure this cria survived AND I was getting all my fiber ready to take to the Great Lakes Fiber Show the next day.  I was able to get everything together and weighed and labeled and loaded into the back of my car.  63 pounds of skirted fiber for rug yarn and another 11 pounds for knitting yarn.
That makes for a car load!
The fiber festival is about a 2 1/2 hour drive and I wanted to be back in time to go to a cook out at our neighbor's so I left around 7:30 am.  Mission accomplished, the fiber was dropped off, I enjoyed a lamb sandwich and greasy fries and did some shopping and socializing.  It was a beautiful day and the festival was busy.  It is held at a fairgrounds and there are 4 barns of fiber vendors, lots of outside vendors with animals and a sheep show is going on across the way.  Someone even had border collie puppies for sale!  I did NOT buy one!

 Sunday, my friend Becky, who is also an alpaca owner, came over and helped us get another 13 alpacas shorn.  Another friend and neighbor, Viktorija stopped by just in time to take some photos of us trying to move a particularly stubborn alpaca from the garage pasture to to the main barn for shearing.  So what do you do when an alpaca absolutely refuses to walk on a lead rope?  

he's not moving

I think Sam has been wanting to do this for a long time..

Sam has suggested using the loader on the tractor before, but I really did not think it would work..........

 The creek was the scary part.   That alpaca sat completely still the whole way.  No alpacas were harmed in the taking of these photos.

This alpaca is Yosemite Sam, the yearling we had gelded about 10 days prior to this.  Once we got him to the barn, we proceeded to get him on the shearing table 

 And off came the fleece


And then he was loaded into the trailer to move to the pasture across the road from the guest house. He did not want to walk to the trailer, either, but it was just outside the barn.


A big thank you to Becky for her help and to Viktorija for her photographic skills!

I forgot to mention that once the rain stopped on Friday, the mercury started to rise and by Monday, we were in the 90's.  My boys are posting photos on Facebook of the deck of their Lake Tahoe condo which is covered with a dusting of snow.  But summer has definitely arrived in SE Ohio.

Tuesday night we sheared another 3 alpacas, so I think we are down to 9 adults, 4 juvvies, and 6 crias to shear.

The fleeces are once again stacking up in my studio.  This year I am determined to get them all skirted and sold or sent out in a timely fashion.  Check back on that later
: )

Speaking of crias, the very last one of the season arrived yesterday, June 1st at exactly 365 days gestation.  This cria is from Micki and our male, Eclipse.  This is Micki's 3rd cria and all 3 have been very small.  I was hoping this one would be bigger, but Micki was not very big.  The cria is extremely small at only 9 pounds, but SHE (yes, it's a girl) seems to be a fighter.  All her ligaments are loose and her joints seem to bend the wrong way.  Strangely enough, this is fairly common with very long term pregnancies.  We call this DYSmature as opposed to early babies which are PREmature.  The dysmature babies can often have problems similar to premature babies.  Micki, the dam, is white from 2 white parents, and Eclipse, the sire, is very light fawn, from 2 white parents, and this cria is a medium fawn all over, not fading, like Margarita's cria.  I have already named her.  Bit-O-Honey seemed appropriate for such a tiny thing.

Bit-O-Honey at 4 hours old.
 I have had little time for fibery things other than sorting fleece this week.  I am also preparing for a big fund-raiser for our Humane Society this coming Saturday.  We are doing the food concession at a large estate auction and it is a first time for us to do something this size, so we have been very busy planning that.  I think 400 to 500 people are expected.  Yikes!  That's a lot of hot dogs.


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