Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Double Delivery

Trillium's cria (left) and B'Nita's cria (right) 5 days old
We have been raising alpacas for 16 years now and have had years where we had up to 8 crias (baby alpacas) born in a season.  Only once have we had 2 born on the same day.  Until last Friday.  And we only had 2 females this year who were pregnant.  Maybe it is because it was B'Nita and her daughter, Trillium, who were both pregnant by the same male. I don't know.  But I noticed Trillium, for whom this is her first cria, in labor early in the morning.  I do not usually expect first timers to progress and deliver quickly, and this time was no exception.  When I checked on her about 2 hours later, I was surprised to notice that B'Nita, pregnant with her third cria, also seemed to be in labor!  B'Nita delivered a 16.4 pound female cria around noon, and her daughter, Trillium, continued to labor until 3 pm, when she finally delivered a female cria just about exactly the same size, with assistance from me.  Trillium is a good bit smaller than her mother, so this cria was a very tight fit.  I prefer to see them a little smaller, especially for a first-timer.

Both mothers bonded right away with their crias, but the crias, as crias do, were looking in every available spot for a meal and I was worried about there being confusion as to which cria belonged to which mother.  I put each mother/cria pair in separate pens for the first night, just to reinforce the bonding and everything is grand.  Both are gaining weight and are healthy and active.  Mothers and daughters are still in a separate pasture from the rest of the herd, but I will put them all together when the crias are a week old.  I need to be sure they can defend themselves from Buck, who likes to lick crias excessively when they are newly born and unable to get away from him.  He means no harm, but he licked one or 2 raw in the past and I just like to keep him away from new babies.

We have been attempting for some time to see a window in the weather forecasts in which we would have 3 or 4 good days to mow, rake and bale hay.  We thought we had one, albeit a tight one, this week.  Our alpacas do better on second cutting hay, but in order to get a second cutting, the first cutting has to be done.  

  So despite slight chances of rain, Sam mowed hay on Sunday.  And then we watched the forecasts change and it got cold.  Monday dawned at 46 degrees and very overcast and it really never warmed up past the low 60's.  I tedded the big hayfield on Monday afternoon.  Tedding fluffs up the hay and helps it to dry more quickly.  And then it rained.  And Wednesday the sun never shone and the temperatures never got even to 70.  But Sam tedded again Tuesday evening and he said he thinks the hay will be fine, as long as we get some nice weather today (Wednesday).  We shall see.  We need to see how the new to us round baler is going to do.....The rain HAS been good for the garden.

Not much else new.  I am looking forward to my next trial which is about 10 days off.  I am also hoping to get some more work done on my blanket this week here at the office.  Also in the plans are knitting the sleeves on 2 sweaters which are complete except for the sleeves.  I finished the little cropped sweater I was knitting for mom and mailed that off to her this morning.  She needs it for a wedding the weekend I will be there for the trial, but I figured this way if it does not fit or she does not like it, she has time to acquire something else.  I also mailed off 2 boxes of fiber this morning. One is washed alpaca to be made into rug yarn for a custom rug for Mom.  She would like a 9' runner and I just did not have enough of one color on hand to accomplish that, but I did have lots of fiber I could get processed.  The other box was the shetland fleece I purchased at the Great Lakes Fiber Show along with 3.5 pounds of lovely brown/grey alpaca. I am having that blended into a roving that I hope to spin into yarn to make sweaters for Sam and myself.  I have a lot of grand plans, don't I? 

 And I finally got around to finishing the binding on the last rug I took off the loom.  It is 46" X 28".  I sold 2 more rugs this past week at the Monroe Arts Center, so I was kind of inspired to get this one finished.  I took 2 more rugs to the Arts Center to replace the one that sold.  I am keeping 3 rugs there on consignment and have now sold 4 since April.  I am surprised and quite pleased!  This will also inspire me to get that blanket that is almost on the loom finished so that my loom will be freed up for more rugs.  

Sometimes I have a hard time getting photos of crias.  They often are very curious about what I am doing......

And this is what I get!