Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Love Machine

Firstly may I announce and warn readers that the following pictures contain explicit images of fawn alpacas. Not a  brownie or a blackie in sight. 

Actually I am writing this blog due to being hassled by a colleague whilst working at the day job earlier on. Thanks Jimbo, see what you've made me do? Now get on and sort out the 'follower' thing.

So to the subject of this rather hasty and short blog posting. 

We have a light fawn cria, Tarquin (otherwise known as the Mighty Quin), a lovely Jack of Spades boy. He is six weeks old and has a lovely dense fleece. He is a real character, a lovely looking boy. But. He is a bit of a lothario, a bit of a romantic, a bit of a love machine, in fact he is a bit of a sex pest. 

Furthermore he only has eyes for one female, Polly. 
Now Polly, a mother of two, is medium fawn but is perhaps the closest colour to The Mighty Quin in the mighty Patou herd, apart from the two white girls of course. 

But for Quin there is something about Polly, something that has really caught his naughty little pervy eye because every opportunity he gets he is all over her like a cheap suit. He follows her for ages, his little 'bumble bee in a jam jar' at full throttle as he relentlessly chases down his prey. 

Polly's cria, Tabitha, is now just over two weeks old and Polly has already returned to the 'Love Chamber' with the Mighty Qjori, so this is not going to end well for The Mighty Quin, no it will end badly for the little fellow. Polly, he will soon realise, is well and truly taken. Once those chemicals in her head tell her that she has been 'satisfied' I fear this will all end in tears for the Quinster.

However, until the spit starts to fly, The Mighty Quin is making his move, or moves to be precise as he is a little bamboozled by this big thing called 'love'. 

A couple of days ago I managed to catch him on my mobile phone trying to have his evil way with the lovely accommodating (for now) Polly.

Once he had 'bedded' his woman, he went at her sideways, and for quite some time.

Then, as if a cloud had lifted, his dirty little mind cleared and he went into 'straddle' mode, not quite right there but he seemed to enjoy his time and Polly, being in the 'zone' just sat there, for quite a while. The sound of furious Bumblebees was in the air!

Finally, obviously after much thought, The Mighty Quin decided that positions were to be changed and in my head 'HOUSTON THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!' sounded out at full volume.

Of course moments later Polly stood up, obviously bored, and poor old Quinnie fell on his back and did a dying ant impression for a few seconds. One day my son, your day may come.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Three Amigos!

We have never had two cria in a day. So it follows that we have certainly never had three cria in a day. 

Well we have now.

Yesterday here in Patouland I was planning to write a blog entitled '348, 352, 357'. That was the gestation lengths of the three remaining females that we were waiting to give birth. We are not waiting any more and I didn't get a chance to write that blog.

I was due to leave for work at 1130am, I had an important date with an Olympic Torch. At 7am the girls all looked settled, no tell tale signs of impending birth. Sue went out food shopping and left me to potter about for a couple of hours until it was time to leave for work. I glanced out of the window at around ten and saw Millie, one of our top brown girls acting suspiciously. In fact it was pretty obvious that she was getting ready to give birth. I watched her wander into the shed, tail stuck out, humming like very hummy thing, announcing that something was happening. 

Within two minutes I arrived at the first shed door and was met with a cria running out of the other door. I looked at the cria, it was dark fawn/light brown, it was wet and it had membrane hanging off it. That simply couldn't have come from Millie not from tail up to running in two minutes! Just not possible, and it wasn't as ten seconds later Dilly appeared in the doorway with a placenta swinging between her back legs. She had craftily dropped anchor in the shed.

By this time Millie appeared in the doorway tail still up except this time she had a head and two legs poking out from under it! I felt a bit of a wibble moment coming over me. I turned round to see the first cria who was by now running flat out across the field with Dilly sporting a pendulous placenta in tow. There was humming coming from every direction. I quickly caught up with cria No1 and sprayed and weighed (10.62kg) a big healthy boy. He seemed fine so I turned my attentions back to Millie who by now had squeezed out the shoulders and a minute later a dark brown boy slapped onto the ground. He was wriggling like a good 'un so was dried, sprayed and weighed (8.60kg) and I backed off to let the mothers bond.

Here is cria No 1, (as yet unnamed) with his mother Dilly, one of our two white girls. Qjori has done a decent job on the colour front and he has a lovely dense fleece. 

Millie's cria has been named Tsar. We have given him a name with a bit of clout because he is an absolute cracker. A beautiful dark brown (well done Qjori!) and a super tight crimpy, greasy feeling fleece. I know it is only early days but he is very, very exciting. He looks the part completely. Millie is a double reserve Champion brown female (Futurity and SWAG 2010) and we thought her and Qjori would combine perfectly. Early days but we will be watching Tsar very closely. Remember his name people for it will strike fear into people's hearts at shows one day, be warned and be afraid. In fact, take cover.

Here he is with his gorgeous mother, Millie (daughter of Lily, my favourite alpaca in the whole wide world).

At this juncture I should point out that all of our alpacas don't have names ending in ly or llie, as in Dilly, Millie and Lily. No, just those three. Oh and Polly, I forgot her, just the four then. Moving on.

So there we had it, two cria, both healthy and both up and feeding quickly whilst Sue selected sausages and bananas in a supermarket far far away. I delayed my departure for work until Sue got home and we made sure everything was well. Alice, the last female cooking a cria was lounging about ominously, she was humming and huge and it was just a possibility that we would do the treble.

Alas I left for work and Sue was left in charge. At 6pm I received news by way of a text message that we had had another cria, another boy (good job we wanted lots of boys this year............. did I tell you that we wanted lots of boys this year? No? Well we did.) Anyway Alice (to almost prove a point about the name thing) had given birth to a lovely little pie face, and here he is. Qjori has worked his magic over 98% of the little chap, he is a beautiful shade of brown but the final 2% Alice has had something to say about. 

I know I shouldn't say this, my credibility as an alpaca breeder (what credibilty?) will be tarnished but he is a very handsome fellow, I like him a lot and he is destined to be a real favourite here. He has been named Todd.

I won't go into describing want went on during the evening, night and morning following Todd's birth. Suffice it to say that I did not cope very well with him being slow to feed. I crumbled desperately, lost the plot, swore way too much, slept briefly on the sofa and spent a large amount of time in the field watching and waiting whilst muttering under my breath. Sue, calmness personified, revealed that he was feeding well first thing this morning and quite embarrassingly I shed a few tears. I know I am an idiot but bearing in mind that we lost the first three cria this year I have become a little bit paranoid and pathetic. I will buck up and now that birthing is over for the year we will concentrate on keeping everyone dry, warm and healthy.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Hairy Sardines.

It's raining again. A prediction on the weather forecast this morning stated 'a month's worth of rain in one day', that was for Oop North, not down here in the South. Well I feel for you my Northern friends as it's absolutely wazzing it down here and we aren't getting the worst of it. You are. 

I know there isn't anything that can be done about the weather, it is what it is. However, that doesn't stop me stomping out into the field glaring skywards and shaking my fist at the sky whilst uttering the vilest insults I can muster. It doesn't make any difference but it makes me feel marginally better

I have been a little silent on the blog as little Tabitha, who is a week old and absolutely gorgeous, has been through the mill a bit. Eagle eyed Mrs S noticed something was up, she was lethargic, a little hunched and just not herself, so a full investigation was soon launched. At the time I was stuck in the pouring rain on the A36 directing traffic around a broken down articulated lorry for four hours so was both incommunicado (left my phone in the car as I was drenched) and of absolutely no use to Sue. 
Luckily His Royal Incaness was available for telephonic advice and upon my return (I am the jabber here) anti-biotics (Nuflor) and anti-inflammatories (Finadyne) were administered. She is picking up now but the weather really isn't helping!

The shed has been available to the girls in the bad weather and I can reveal that it can officially fit 29 alpacas in it as can be seen below. That's a 12' x 24' shed and 29 alpacas, that's just under ten square feet each which is obviously just enough.

Right I really must go and wring out my pants again.