Finally after a hugely busy couple of weeks I get time to sit down and update you all with news from Patouland.
We now have 9 cria on the ground, 5 females and 4 males. Colour wise we are very pleased, all brown until last night when the first black girl arrived.
We also have a confession to make, bad herd management I'm afraid, all a bit embarrassing but very cute nonetheless.
On Monday this week I went out to check on the portly ladies to see a female with a head hanging out. When I got closer I could see that it was Tabitha, our lovely dark brown Qjori maiden. The problem was that she had been mated to the awesome Jack of Spades in September and therefore wasn't due until August!
I immediately expected the worst. A premature cria who, at not even 9 months gestation, would be dead on arrival. However, a short while later out plopped a lively little male who was only showing slight signs of dismaturity. According to my records it was a gestation of 268 days. No, the general consensus and the text books suggested that it was not possible. But how could it have happened?
When Sue got home we discussed it at length and tried to work out who had been responsible. It remained a mystery until 5.45am the following morning when I was awoken by Sue declaring "It was Qjori".
During last summer we kept all the males in fields in the next village. They would have had to catch a bus to do the deed. But Qjori kept coming over to do some matings and spit offs. When he was visiting he stayed in a paddock next to the girls. Sue recalls finding him grazing in the girls paddock one day. That day must have been the day he carried out the filthy deed. So Qjori's daughter, Tabitha, has produced a son and a grandson for him. Line breeding or just plain incest?
And here he is, we have named him QT. As in 'on the QT (quiet)', it also stands for Qjori Twice.
Our other cria seem, after a tricky start for some, to be thriving. Here is the gorgeous Rio, she is full of beans. Her mother, Minstrel, is a Jack of Spades girl. In fact Minstrel was the first ever Jack of Spades girl, how about that!
The unnamed brown boy who spent the night in our bedroom is now doing very well and has been named Branson. He is perhaps a little too friendly but has worked hard on his mother's, initially unfruitful, udder so much so that we have now stopped bottle feeding him as she is now providing sufficient milk. He is a nibbler of trousers and a nipper of bottoms.
The only one still being bottle fed is little Pepper. Her mother, Poppy, is not really doing the job we want her to. Frequently wandering off, often in the middle of a feed, she seems oblivious to the fact that she has a cria. Pepper is feeding from her when she can but is not getting enough just yet. We are monitoring her intake and her weight gains very carefully and will reduce the bottle when we can. She'll get there, they are amazing little suckers these cria.
A perfect result from Fifi, finally, as she produced her first ever female cria! A beautiful little thing who we have called Bijou. Text book everything from the word go, just lovely, lovely, lovely.
Bijou, with her mothers ears, bless her and the Qjori greyish head. It usually fades to brown.
I have no pictures of the new black girl as yet, she is a whopper though and was up very quickly last night. She was born at 6.10pm following a quite lengthy assist. Her head was somehow twisted around one leg and upside down so I was up to my elbow for ten minutes sorting it all out. However, she took the longest first feed I have ever seen from a cria. She stood absolutely rock solid for 15 minutes, glugging away before she was even an hour old.
So the first batch are now done. All sired by Qjori. We now have a few days respite before the next dozen.
We have cria from four other herd sires to come so exciting times ahead!