Sunday, March 7, 2010

Locked Out

I accidentally locked myself out of the house today. Luckily the weather was beautiful so I spent some time out in the barn. Probably the most time since I have spent out there since before the snow fell last fall!

The alpacas are really loving this sunshine. They lounge outside soaking up the rays instead of kushing huddled in the barn to stay warm. Most the snow is melted off their field, so they have been out there nibbling the brown grass. We plan to do ivomec shots later today in case the meningeal worms and other yucky parasites are out and about with all the nice weather.

I spent some time cleaning up the barn, although it still needs a major spring cleaning once all the snow is gone. I also worked with the crias on their halters since their first show is next weekend in Columbus, OH. d'Artagnan is a pro on the halter and really doesn't need any more practice. He has always been pretty laid back and seemed to enjoy taking a walk around the yard with me. Riphaeus did okay on the halter. Not quite as good as Dar, but pretty good. He will need at least one more practice sessions this week. Jolie Rouge was almost as bad as her mom Snowflake used to be on the halter. Snowflake was our first cria ever and we spent countless hours training her on the halter and lead. She was so spunky and always hated it! Jolie seems to be taking after mom. I can get her to walk, but I have to apply pressure to the lead the entire time and she insists on pulling and jumping around. She whines and even gets foamy spit on her lips. She has quite the attitude. I plan to do some intense training this week so she behaves in the show ring this weekend.

After halter training. I sat in a chair in the barn door for awhile with our barn cat Ellie (who I have had now for 14 years) and watched the 4 ducks and 3 chickens make their way around the yard looking for morsels. They really seem to enjoy the sunshine. When the snow was deep, they just sat in the barn all day fighting with each other.

After relaxing, I thought I would do some belly spying to see if I could catch any of the crias moving around. Bellesa and Lady are the furthest along. Bellesa is due in April and Lady is due in May. Both girls have big round bellies. I did not see any movement from Lady's cria, but I got quite the show from Bellesa's belly. She was laying down with her hind legs kicked out slightly to the side so one side of her belly was resting on the ground and the other side was sticking up in the air. Bellesa is a small girl and is just about all belly right now. The first thing I saw when I started watching her was her whole belly do one big jump...like a reflex or a spasm. Then I saw her belly start to have waves and ripples go across it. It was very easy to tell the cria's movement apart from her normal breathing because her breathing was very even and shallow and the baby's movements were very jerky, pronounced and a little alien like. The baby jumped, kicked and rolled around for about 15 minutes until Noah finally came home to rescue me and she sat up straight as soon as he came in the barn with the dogs.

It is quiet, peaceful days out in the barn like this that really make me love being an alpaca farmer!

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Sounds wonderful. It will take me a week to clean the barn after the winter! I have been working on the paddocks as the snow melts.
Love the description of feeling your new crias. Enjoy. I have to wait until fall.