Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cookie Cutter Fun

We got a neat alpaca cookie cutter from Useful Llama Items as a gift and here is what we "criated"!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year...New Life.

It is a new year and we will be having lots of new life on the farm this year. Just before Christmas, we got ultrasounds done on our girls. Of our 6 females, we have 4 confirmed pregnant, 1 girl who we are not sure about yet, and 1 girl who is not pregnant. It is awesome to see the ultrasounds, especially when they are over 3 months pregnant because you can actually see the cria. I tried to take pictures of the ultraounds, but some of them did not turn out very well because of the lighting.

Our girl Lady Liberty is bred to Irish Valley Farm's elite full peruvian, 1/2 accoyo herdsire Our Peruvian Snowstorm. Snowstorm's sire is Snowmass Millenium, his grandsires are Legacy and Augusto, and his great grandsire is Hemmingway. Snowstorm's amazing crimp, density and coverage coupled with his powerhouse line up in his lineage are bound to create an awesome cria when bred to our best girl Lady! We believe that this will be an awesome pairing and can't wait to see what they will produce. We are hoping to produce a colored cria...a fawn color would be nice. Despite Snowstorm being white, he has yet to throw a white cria, even when bred to white. Both Lady and Snowstorm have larger bones in a smaller size, which is the body type we like and are breeding for. They also both have lots of curls on their faces, so we are hoping the cria will have the same. We are hoping that Snowstorm can help to produce a cria with a little better proportions than Lady and crimper, denser fiber, while maintaining Lady's color, softness and coverage. The cria is due at the end of April or beginning of May in 2009. We only have about 3 more months to go before our first 2009 cria arrives!

Lady Liberty (above)
Peruvian Snowstorm (above)

We don't have any ultrasound pics of this cria as we got this ultrasound before I got the idea to take pics of ultraounds. We think Lady and Snowstorm are a great match and can't wait to see what we get this spring!

Our next in line to give birth is Maree Sol. We had a somewhat difficult time getting her bred in 2008 probably because she is overweight. After a few months of trying, it finally happened though. Maree Sol is bred to our herdsire Smokey for a July 2009 cria. Although both Sol and Smokey are full peruvian, they are about night and day when it comes to everything else. Smokey is dark silver grey, small and compact. Sol is white, large and lengthy. We are hoping that the cria will be colored and be smaller in size like Smokey. This was the coolest ultrasound to see because Sol was about 4 1/2 month along and you could see the cria rib cage and legs moving around. The vet tried to find the head and heart, but could not get a clear enough picture. I had a hard time getting a clear pic of this ultrasound.
The next in line to give birth are Snowflake and Cinderella. They are both due in August. It is amazing because Smokey impregnated them both on the same day, just a few hours apart. We do not normally have him breed more than once a day, but we were having a difficult time getting Cinderella pregnant and when Smokey and Snowflake were breeding, Cinderella kushed next to the breeding so we knew she was ready and did not want to risk putting it off another day. Cinderella is a tall, lengthy and petite girl. I have read and heard from vets and other breeders that the tall petite girls often mature later. This was the case with Cinderella. I recall the breeder we bought her from said that it took a long time for them to get her mother pregnant for the first time as well. Cinderella was first bred fall of 2007, but it did not take. She seemed very uninterested in the male...almost like she had no idea what she was supposed to do. Then spring of 2008 we worked on getting her bred again. She still seemed uninterested in the males and when mounted, refused to kush. She was bred, but it did not take. Finally summer 0f 2008, around August or so, it was like she went through puberty in one day and something clicked. She was very very very interested in the males suddenly. She would not leave them alone. She would kush next to the fence, rub her neck all over them through the gate, and even mounted one of our females several times making an orgaling noise. It was very strange. Anyway, she definitely told us that she was ready to breed again and we bred her to Smokey. They both have amazingly soft grey fiber, so I am hoping they pass that on to the cria. Although Cinderella's tall petitie frame is very beautiful and graceful, I am hoping for a big boned cria in a small frame like Smokey. I am hoping the cria will have better coverage, density, and crimp than Cinderella as well. I am also hoping for a girl....and grey...they both have lots of grey in their heritage, so hopefully it will come through. Cinderella's ultrasound is pictured below.


Noah and I joke that since Snowflake and Cinderella got pregnant by Smokey on the same day...maybe they will give birth on the same day and it will be like having twins! Snowflake is also due August of 2009. In 2008, she and Smokey produced Jolly Roger. We were very surprised by his color; dark fawn, vicuna. His granddam, Lady's color and markings came through. He seems to be taking more after the Smokey/Lady line than Snowflake, but that is okay with us. Smokey and Lady are the backbone of our breeding program and we are trying to produce more alpacas like them. We really liked Jolly Roger so we decided to breed Snowflake back to Smokey. We are hoping for a girl this year. It will be interesting to see what color they produce this year. Snowflake's ultrasound is pictured below.

Bringing up the rear in 2009 will be Peruvian Bellesa. This is our newest addition to our herd. She is currently boarding at Evergreen Elegant Alpacas in Indiana until she is confirmed 90 days bred. She was bred to the famous Peruvian Macusani. He is often referred to as the "original grey." He was one of the first grey herdsires to be imported from Peru in the early 1990's and is considered a Peruvian powerhouse. Bellesa had an ultrasound at 22 days bred and the vet could not confirm a pregnancy. Although behavior tests before and since indicate that she is pregnant. 22 days can sometimes be too early to detect a pregnancy, especially if the vet is not that experienced. Bellesa has been running from the males, so we are hoping that she is pregnant. We will get another ultrasound in February around 90 days to confirm whether she is pregnant or not. We are keeping our fingers crossed. If she is not bred, we will rebreed again in the spring. I am most looking forward to this cria in 2009. Bellesa has been bred to Macusani several times in the past and has produced several grey cria. I am really hoping for a full Peruvian grey cria...a herdsire quality male would be great!
Peruvian Bellesa (above)

Peruvian Macusani (above)

So we have 4 cria due this year for sure, and hopefully 5. Since we started in 2006, we have only had one cria per year, so this year will be lots of fun. We are excited for a new year and to welcome new life on our farm.