Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Such is Life...

Noah and I were planning a trip to Palmyra, Indiana to Evergreen Elegant Alpacas to pick up our newest addition to our herd, Bellesa, in March. We purchased her in November of 2008 and she was bred to the famous Peruvian Macusani. She appeared to become pregnant on the first try. An ultrasound was completed approximately 20 days post breeding, but the vet could not confirm whether she was pregnant or not. The breeder said her vet has been wrong before when it came to reading ultrasounds that early. The breeder continued to behavior test Bellesa on a weekly basis and Bellesa continued to want nothing to do with the males. The breeder reported that she would run with her tail up and ears back. We were hopeful that these were signs that she was bred. We did not want to breed her any later into the winter because we did not want to have a baby born in the cold winter months this year. She was due in late October/early November 2009 and that was late enough in the year for us. We decided to leave Bellesa at Evergreen until she was confirmed bred 90 days by ultrasound. We have had quite a few incidents of our alpacas absorbing their fetus' within the first 90 days of pregnancy in the past (almost always in the first 50 days), so did want to take the chance of transporting Bellesa 7-8 hours so early in her pregnancy, then have her lose it, and have to bring her all the way back to Indiana to rebreed. I have read that alpacas have a 25% chance of absorbing/aborting their crias in the first 90 days, so we figured we would rather be safe than sorry. So Evergreen Elegant Alpacas has done an excellent job of giving us weekly updates on Bellesa. They continued to behavior test her over the 90 days and every report came back positive.

Bellesa was schedule to get an ultrasound around her 90 day post breeding mark last Friday. The vet was also going to run a fecal and complete a CVI so we could come pick her up in the next few weeks. On Thursday, I received a call from the breeder. She said that 2 days prior, she had found the remnants of a recent abortion in the field. It looked like it was a female who was bred last fall. She was unsure of who had aborted and kept an eye on her girls. Two days after she found the remains, Bellesa was showing a definite interest in the males. The breeder reports that she was kushing next to the fence and allowing open females to mount her. We decided to have the ultrasound done anyway to confirm and to make sure, if she did abort, everything came out okay.

The ultrasound showed that Bellesa had recently aborted her cria, just shy of 90 days. Her uterine lining was thick and there may have still been fluid in her uterus. Fortunately, it looked like everything came out okay. The breeder reports that she is behaving normal.

This is bitter sweet for us. We were really looking forward to having 5 cria this year. Now we just have 4, although that is considerably better than years past. We had also planned to not breed Bellesa again this year after she would have had the cria in late fall because we didn't want to have a late fall cria in 2010 as well. We had planned to breed her spring of 2010 again, so really, this will not put us back much in our plans. Instead of having 5 cria this year and 5 cria in 2010 as was our plan, we will have 4 cria this year and 6 cria in 2010. Either way, we will still have 10 cria in the next 2 years if all goes as planned. Another positive thing is that Noah and I do not have to make a heated area in our barn this year in anticipation for a cold weather cria. That will be something we can check off our to do list for now and save a little money.

Although this is a sad situation, there is nothing we can do about it. These things happen sometimes and we have to trust nature. We have arranged to rebreed Bellesa in May to Peruvian Macusani for an April 2010 cria. While one was lost, we look forward to the other four cria we have on the way this year. The countdown has started for the arrival of our first, due in less than 2 months. Then one to follow in July and two more cria due in August.

Peruvian Bellesa

Some of its magic...some of it's tragic...such is life on an alpaca farm.

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