Sunday, August 1, 2010

Welcome M Peruvian Macchiato

Today, we added M Peruvian Macchiato aka "Otto" to our herd. He is a full peruvian grey suri who will be turning 1 year old in another week. We currently only have 1 suri alpaca, Paisley, a silver grey full peruvian suri female. I absolutely love the grey, appaloosa, and fancy suris and have been looking for a male to breed Paisley to this fall or next spring. I found Otto at Nel Vickers Farm, Maplewood Farm Alpacas in Charlevoix, MI. He is young and still needs to grow and mature. He won't be ready to breed until next fall, but I have high hopes for this little guy. We hope to show him and see how he matures over the next year and then hopefully add him to our herdsire line-up. Here is a picture of Otto when he was a cria.

Not sure if Otto is rose grey or silver grey. He appears to have black, dark brown, white and grey fibers in his blanket. His face is black with grey freckles all over it which I love. Otto looks very similar to his sire, Peruvian Gryphus, who is a Peruvian Condor son, so he has lots of grey in his background. Otto's dam is a Peruvian import. She is a very unique looking alpaca. She is a brown and white pinto with appaloosa spots all over her. Otto definitely carries some unique genes and should hopefully produce some interesting looking cria. I think he will make a great match for our little Paisley. She is a tuxedo (white markings on her extremities) and has blue swirls in her eyes, so it would be best to breed her to a darker colored male like Otto who does not have white spots or patches to avoid getting a blue eyed cria. Otto also has density which Paisley lacks.We picked Otto up at Nel's farm in Charlevoix today. We took the scenic drive up there through Traverse City which was really nice. Then we spent a few hours with Nel. I always love visiting with her! She has been in the alpaca industry since the very beginning and is an absolute wealth of knowledge. She and her husband who was a veterinarian imported some of the very first alpacas from Peru 25 years ago. She has pretty much seen and been through everything alpaca related! After our visit, we loaded Otto up in the back of our pick-up truck (it has a cab so he can't jump out....we didn't want to drive our trailer up there since he is one small alpaca and hauling the trailer sucks so much gas). After a half hour of standing, Otto kushed and spent the rest of the 3 hour drive munching on hay.

When we got him to our farm, I had hoped to put him in with one of our bigger males Smokey or Seqouoia. That did not work out very well. We brought him into each pen on a halter and haltered the big boys one by one. They were very aggressive towards him and pummeled him. Otto is only 100 lbs and the big boys are about 150 lbs. If Otto was a little larger or older, I may have just left him in there to fight it out, but I don't think he is mature enough to stick up for himself at this point. So, we ended up putting him in with the girls for now. In the 4 years that we have had our farm, we have never had many males, so have never really had to experience male fighting. We have always had our breeding male Smokey and he has always done pretty well with our little weanling boys when we put them in with him because they are so submissive. Things completely changed when we got another older breeding male. Now those two are constantly at each other through the fence and seem much more agitated and aggressive in general. We read a bunch on the Alpaca Nation forum this evening about it. When Sequoia came to our farm, his fighting teeth (razor sharp, hooked canine teeth used for fighting) were not cut, so Noah plans to put him in the ropes and cut his teeth tomorrow. This is important because male alpacas can really do some serious damage to one another with these teeth, including splitting ears open, gashing each other especially in the neck and face and doing damage to one another's testicles. Noah and I have noticed at other farms and most of the farms on alpaca nation agree that the more males you have together, the less fighting there is. Possibly because they work out a better pecking order and there are more males to mediate and diffuse aggressive situations. Also, people agree that gelded llamas or big gelded alpacas or livestock guard dogs tend to help mediate and keep the peace as well. Also, males tend to fight less the farther away they are from the females. They seem to fight the most if they share a fence line with the girls and fight the least if they have their own bachelor herd where they cannot see or smell the ladies. Unfortunately, on our farm, we don't have it set up to separate the girls and guys by more than a fence line or a few pastures. Also, we only have the 2 old breeding boys and 2 young male cria, and at this time, I am not really interested in committing to a livestock guard dog, a gelding, llama or a bunch of boys, so we are going to have to try and figure something else out. So back to the plan, we read that it might help to mash the boys in a trailer together, take them for a short ride and then plop them down in a pasture that neither of them have been in, so they don't feel like they have to defend their territory. People also suggested having the hose ready to spray them when they get aggressive, because it usually deters them. I think our plan tomorrow night is to cut Sequoia's teeth, put him and Smokey in the trailer together, take them for a drive and then put them in the pasture furthest from their current pastures and away from the girls. Then we will have the hose ready and maybe the video camera to see what happens. We will not be including Otto in this plan because I don't think he is big enough to defend himself yet against the big boys. I do think that Sequoia and Smokey are pretty evenly matched....they are both older, pretty aggressive and about the same weight (although Sequoia is taller). I am hoping they will just duke it out for awhile and then establish who is dominant and then leave each other alone. We will see how it goes. I have gotten a little side tracked. We are doing all of this craziness because I am hoping that Smokey and Sequoia can live in one pasture without injuring one another, so that frees up another pasture to put Otto and other younger males in. Right now, we don't really have anyone to put in with Otto as a buddy though, and he is getting a little old to be with the females since he was trying to mount them at Nel's farm, so we will have to figure something out until our cria boys get a little bigger. I thought about putting our suri girl in with him since she is old enough to breed in case anything happened and we planned to breed her to him anyway once he matures. We will see what we come up with I guess. This will be quite the experiment! Despite the extra work and hassle, I am still so happy that we added Otto to our herd! He is quite the handsome boy.

4 comments:

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

Jillian,

Congrats on your new boy!

If you guys want to borrow our gelding, Snowstorm, as a buddy for a while, we'd loan him out. He has been known to break up fights with our big boys (and he's big enough to stand up to them). And we've had him with little boys (and maidens) before and he did fine. He can be gentle. He's like the herd uncle. I know it can be difficult to figure out arrangements. I do think after a time Smokey and Sequoia will figure things out. Though at our farm, I'm pretty sure Apollo and Navigator fight daily (and likely the other ones too). But no lasting injuries noticed. Boys!

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Thanks guys! We may take you up on the offer to borrow Snowstorm! He might make a good referee for the big boys or pal for Otto until the crias are weaned and ready to move...Smokey and Sequoia are ridiculous. I hope they work it all out. We will see how tonight goes and let you know. Thanks again!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Oh how beautiful. These creatures
Are so elegant in their poise,
And to see such an incredible
Animal makes my heart flutter.
I run a sheep and arable farm and
Even though I have several hundred
Sheep and lambs all looking the
Same, they are each individual
Creatures with wonderful
Personalities.

CJ xx

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Hello Crystal,

Thanks for checking out our blog. Alpacas are such wonderful creatures! Maybe you need to add a few to your farm ; ) We have a few sheep farms around us and I love watching them. They seem so gentle. Thanks again for reading!

~Jillian