Sunday, March 28, 2010

Does Your Belly Hang Low?

Spring is upon us and the birth of cria is right around the corner. Our first two girls that are due and Bellesa and Lady. The alpaca gestation ranges anywhere from 335-350 days, but can really go another 15-20 days either way. Also, alpacas gestational lengths tend to be longer in the spring and shorter in the fall. The shortest gestation we have had on our farm so far over the last several years is 327 days and the longest was 367 days (waiting over a year is a very long wait!). We try to base our girls estimated due dates on their gestation history if we know it. If they are a maiden, or we do not know it, then we estimate early at 335 days.

Bellesa is 311 days along today and tends to birth at the earlier end of the alpaca gestation spectrum. Bellesa is an older girl who was imported in 1997. She has lived at the same farm since coming to the US, so we have a pretty complete and detailed health and breeding history for her. She has had 8 cria to date and her gestation lengths have been as follows: 336, 340, 321, 328, 349, 338, 342, 337. I anticipate that Bellesa will give birth right around 335 days (her average being 336). She is bred to Peruvian Macusani. I am really hoping for a grey cria. She has been bred to Mac 4 times in the past and out of those 4 cria, 2 have been rose grey, 1 has been silver grey, and one has been light fawn. Bellesa has always been bred to grey males and out of the 8 cria, 5 have been silver or rose grey, and 3 have been fawn. Also, out of those 8 cria, 5 have been males and 3 have been females, so I think she is definitely due for a girl (although I wouldn't mind getting a boy out of this breeding)....hopefully grey! In her health history, it says that her belly and udder really get large and hang low the last month or two of pregnancy and that she starts laying around a lot more, which we have really noticed. She will kush out in the pasture with the other alpacas and doesn't bother to get up to follow the herd when they move on. Also, while everyone runs in from the field for grain time, Bellesa slowly waddles her way in. Here are some pictures of the very pregnant girl.

Here is a picture of Bellesa very early in pregnancy:
Here are some pictures of Bellesa 10 1/2 months pregnant.

Notice Bellesa's big round belly below:

Lady is the next due. She is 298 days today, but she tends to birth at the later end of the gestational spectrum. She has had 4 cria to date, but we only know the gestational length for 3 of them and they are as follows: 358 (summer), 350 (fall), and 367 (spring) days. You can see that Lady's gestation lengths seem to be affected by the seasons somewhat. So far, lady has had 2 males and 2 females. Cria colors have ranged from dark silver grey, fawn, beige, and white. She is bred to Incan Alchemy, a medium fawn male from Flying Cloud Alpacas. I am hoping for a little fawn girl. Lady's belly tends to get really big and round and hang low the last 4 months of pregnancy. Here are some pictures of the pregnant girl. Can't wait for the arrival of this cria sometime in May.

Here is a picture of Lady when she is not pregnant:

Here are pictures of Lady and her 10 month pregnant Belly:

I tried to get a picture of Lady with her 3 living offspring, Smokey (DSG), Appalachia (Beige), Riphaeus (White).

While I was outside over the weekend, I snapped some pictures of the whole herd. Here they are:


cara said...

I love the picture of Lady with her offspring. That's a neat idea! I often joke about our "Kateri Clan" when I see Kateri and her 2 girls off by themselves (we don't have her oldest girl, Princess, though, we have cria 2, 3 and 4 is on the way).

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

They all just happened to be standing near eachother. This is Lady's 1st, 3rd, and 4th cria and her 5th is on the way. Her 2nd cria died shortly after birth. I like the "Kateri Clan" has a nice ring to it.

Anonymous said...

How many do you have in your herd now? I seems like a very tight-knit group! :)

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

There are 10 girls (2 of them are boarders) and 3 boys on our farm right now. We have 7 crias due on the farm this year between April and September. They are a pretty tight knit group and almost always move around in a herd. They do have their favorite friends though, who they tend to hang out with more than the rest. For example, Bellesa and Soxy hang together and Apple and Jolie hang together and Riph and Dar hang together.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how much depth alpacas have emotionally and socially? :D

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...