Monday, January 11, 2010

100 Days and Counting

This new year should bring lots of new life here at Ashton Stone Alpacas. As the Cria Countdown Clock on the side of our blog indicates, our first cria of 2010 is due in 100 days. Hopefully, we have 6 of our own females who are pregnant and two boarding females who are pregnant as well. Noah and I learned early on in our alpaca adventure that it can take lots of time and energy to make a baby alpaca...on our part and for the alpacas involved. During our first year of breeding in 2007, 2 of our 3 alpacas absorbed their pregnancies between 30 and 90 days. Studies show that alpacas have a high rate of absorption and will lose approximately 25% of their pregnancies within the first 90 days of becoming pregnant. We did better our second year of breeding; of the 6 girls we bred, only 2 of them did not become pregnant. We went from 33% our first year holding their pregnancies to 66% our second and hopefully in our 3rd year, we will have 100% pregnant! Quite a learning curve. 2009 was our third year of breeding and I am crossing my fingers that all 8 girls who were bred are pregnant. It will be a great accomplishment if they are all pregnant. We were determined to have all the 2010 cria due between late spring and early fall. I am happy to say that we accomplished this and all our girls' due dates are between the end of April and the beginning of September 2010. We spent the whole summer breeding alpacas and behavior testing them every 3-7 days. Although alpacas are induced ovulators, they don't always get pregnant with one breeding. Hopefully our diligence and hard work will pay off this year. We behavior tested all our girls this week and they were all non-receptive to Smokey's advances. We are having our vet out to do ultrasounds in two weeks, so we will see.

There are about as many ways to predict due dates are there are alpaca farms. Alpacas tend to average 11 1/2 month gestation period...around 350 days, but often range between 335-355 days. Alpacas tend to have longer gestation period in the spring and shorter gestations in the fall, possibly due to environmental differences like temperature and forage availability. So far, on our farm we have had an alpaca give birth as early as 327 days (Snowflake) and as late as 367 days (Lady). On our farm, we base our due dates on the females due date history. We find that each of our girls tend to have similar due dates each year. For girls we don't have a history on or females that are maidens, we estimate on the early end of 335 days to be safe. Here are all our girls and who they are bred to in order of due date:

Bellesa is 8 months pregnant and due the end of April. She was bred to Peruvian Macusani at Evergreen Elegant Alpacas in Palmyra, IN. She was bred to Mac fall of 2008 and absorbed over the winter. She was rebred spring of 2009 to Mac so hopefully she has held. Macusani is over 18 years old and was one of the original greys imported from Peru. This will be his last cria. I am hoping for a grey boy or girl.
Bellesa
Peruvian Macusani
Lady is 7 1/2 months pregnant and due mid May. She is bred to Incan Alchemy, a light fawn full Peruvian boy from Flying Cloud Alpacas in Plainwell, MI. We did this as a drive-by breeding and Lady took on the first try. She had an ultrasound around 30 days and was pregnant, so I am sure she has held it even though I wasn't sure she would because of the mastitis we were battling earlier on in the pregnany. I am hoping for a fawn girl out of this breeding.
Lady Liberty
Incan Alchemy
Appalachia is 5 1/2 months pregnant and due in early July. She is bred to No Small Change (Peso), a bay black boy from Windspun Alpacas in Kent City. This will be Apple's first cria. We are sure she is pregnant as she attacks Smokey when we spit test her. She is also not friendly towards us like she used to be and has become increasingly difficult to work with. I am hoping for a black or grey girl out of this breeding (Apple and Peso both have grey sires....so I am keeping my fingers crossed).
Appalachia
Peso
Onyx, one of our boarders, is 5 months pregnant and due the end of July. She is bred to our own Smokey. This will be Onyx's first cria. I am thinking they will produce a black cria.
Onyx
Smokey

Silver Sox is 4 1/2 months pregnant and due the end of July. She is bred to Accoyo Maverick's Smoke n' Mirrors, a 1/2 accoyo, full peruvian silver grey boy from Evergreen Elegant Alpacas in Palmyra, IN. Sox has had some reproductive issues in the past. She has had 3 cria, but has had a difficult time maintaining her pregnancies early on. She has also had retained CLs in the past. She is definitely acting pregnant; I am just hoping she actually is pregnant and that it is not a retained CL making her think she is pregnant. I am very anxious to find out the results of Sox's ultrasound. I am hoping for a grey boy or girl. Last year, this pairing produced a black boy.
Silver Sox
Accoyo Maverick's Smoke n' Mirrors
Snowflake is 4 months pregnant and due mid August. I am hoping the cria survived the episode of hypothermia and is doing well. Snowflake is also bred to our Smokey. I have been happy with the last two cria they have produced together (Jolly Roger(DF) and Jolie Rouge(DB/BB)) and that is why we decided to repeat the breeding. I am hoping for a fawn, grey, or black girl.
Snowflake
Smokey
Cinderella, another one of our boarders, is also 4 months pregnant and is due mid August. She too is bred to Smokey. They produced Little Miss Rosco, a true black little girl, last year. I have a feeling she will have a grey girl this year. We will see.
Cinderella
Smokey
Maree Sol is also 4 months pregnant and due in early September. She is also bred to Smokey. I am happy with d'Artagnan, whom they produced last year. I am hoping for a repeat, only a girl this time!
Maree Sol
Smokey
Okay, so I am definitely thinking pink! So far, we have held the 50/50 male/female ratio on our farm, so we will see if that will be upheld this year. I will be so excited to have all 8 girls pregnant and even more excited to hopefully have 8 healthy cria on the ground! We will keep you updated on the ultrasounds.

Now that the 2009 breeding season is over, it is time to start looking ahead and planning who we will breed who to in 2010! We will only have 6 of our own to find herdsires for and I already have some ideas in mind.

No comments: