Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alpaca Agistment

We are currently boarding, also known as agisting, a female alpaca and her female cria. They are from CR Alpacas in Ohio. They have been with us for about 2 months now. The female's name is Nike and her cria's name is Sasha. When Nike and Sasha first came to our farm, the other girls took awhile to warm up to them. The poor new girls were spit on for a few days, but our now like part of the herd. They often do the spitting at our alpacas that are lower on the totem pole now. Nike was brought to our farm to be bred with our herdsire Smokey. Alpacas have a high rate of fetal absorption in the first 90 days of pregnancy and especially in the first 30 days. Approximately 25% of pregnancies will be reabsorbed in this 90 day period. Therefore, Nike and Sasha are staying with us until Nike is at least 50 days bred before she is transported back to her home farm in Ohio. She is currently acting like she is pregnant (running from, kicking at, and spitting at Smokey whenever he is near her). We will have her ultrasounded by our vet to confirm that she is pregnant before she returns to Ohio. Here are some pictures of Nike and Sasha.

Above is a picture of Nike and Sasha cuddling.
Above is a picture of Sasha nursing.

Above is a picture of Nike. I believe she was named Nike because of the Nike like swoosh on her face.

Pictured above is Sasha(left) and our Jolly Roger(right). Jolly Roger was the only cria born on our farm this past year (remember what I mentioned about the high fetal absorption rate?...we had 3 pregnant alpacas the fall of 2007 and 2 of them reabsorbed their pregnancies over the winter). Anyway, it has been nice having Sasha around to play with Jolly Roger. Crias love to play. They run around the field pronking, frolicking, jumping, and neck-wrestling. The older alpacas do not seem to appreciate the adorable horseplay, and will spit on the babies when they try to playfully jump on them. Sasha and Jolly Roger have been excellent playmates as they are the same age. I only catch them spitting on each other and biting each other once in a while.

Pictured above, Jolly Roger is chasing Sasha, but don't be fooled, she usually beats on him pretty good too.

Pictured above, they both have their ears down and are glaring at me as I take their picture.

Sasha and Jolly Roger often take naps together as their mom's graze.

Above, Sasha, Jolly Roger, and Apple are all running around playing together. Apple is the next youngest alpaca in our herd (she was born fall of 2007) so she still acts like a cria once in awhile if Sasha and Jolly Roger can convince her to kick her heels up.

Above is one of my favorite pictures. Don't ask me how I happened to snap the picture at just the right moment. Many alpaca farms build mounds in their pastures because alpacas love to play on them for some strange reason. We were lucky and happend to have a small mound already where we wanted to put one of our pastures. I snapped the pic after rotating pastures (to let the grass grow and cut down on parasites); I just let them all into the new pasture and they went crazy. Alpacas are very curious and even our older girls joined in the horseplay this day. In the picture, Jolly Roger is trying to fly off the mound while his mom and Sasha try to avoid his landing.

Having Nike and Sasha on our farm has been a delight. Jolly Roger made a new friend and Smokey got a couple dates. We will miss them both when they go home to Ohio. We are excited to see what Nike and Smokey's cria will look like when it is born fall of 2008!

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