Tuesday, July 22, 2008


For Kateri's breeding we are cashing in on a bred-back that was part of our package deal when we purchased from South Haven Alpacas. We have wanted to use The Buccaneer, but were worried he might not be ready. Just in time, he is ready! He has proven himself and has his first female pregnant. The Buccaneer has been winning in the show ring and we think will be a great match with Kateri. He is Victoria's half brother (same mom) so that does mean adding in a cria that will be related to 4 of the girls on our farm (mom will be kateri, sister Tehya, aunt Victoria and cousin Shelby). But we think he's worth that.

Kateri (back when she had fleece):

SHVN The Buccaneer

THE BUCCANEER TAKES ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP! The Buccaneer took an impressive first over tight competition at IAOBA. First of thirteen then Champion over 28. We can't stop smiling.

From the time The Buccaneer hit the ground we knew we had a very special animal. Our initial observations have been proven. When we take him to shows we often have other breeders compliment his appearance before he even gets to the ring. His conformation is flawless. Covering his perfect frame is dense, soft, well structured fiber. His color is a very dark true black with no secondary fibers of any other colors. We have even looked between his toes but not located any other color. This trait was pointed out by a senior judge during a show. Another show brought the description of "a complete package". We always look forward to showing him and plan to continue showing into adulthood.
The Buccaneer bred for the first time on the Fourth of July! At one week the female spit like she was possessed!! When he figured out what was going on he bred gently but like an old pro. We are eager to share his genetics with others. Take advantage of this opportunity to add this exquisite boy's genetics to your herd.

Watch this boy for updates.

Awards Received
1st of 10 True Black Juvenile Males,Spring Fling 2007
1st of 15 True Black Yearling Males, Empire Alpaca Extravaganza 2007
COLOR CHAMPION Black Males, Empire Alpaca Extravaganza 2007
2nd place Bay Black Yearling Males, Northern Illinois Alpaca Extravaganza 2007
RESERVE COLOR CHAMPION Black Males , Northern Illinois Alpaca Extravaganza 2007
1st of 13 True Black Yearling Males, OABA Alpacafest 2007
2nd Place Wisconsin Spring Bling 2008
1st of 13 True Black Yearling Males IAOBA
1st place Yearling Black Males, Michigan Breeders Show 2008.(no championship)

Stud Fee: $1500 Introductory

Our goal for Victoria was to find a male that has good crimp. Victoria has lots of thick fleece and great conformation. What she lacks is crimp and that hurt her a lot in showing. We decided to use a herdsire from a local farm, Sanborn's Norther Alpacas.



Twister is the son of Show Me the Money (an Accoyo Royal Fawn son & half brother to Dom Lucilio), an amazing full Peruvian fawn multiple Color Champion. Twister has lustrous fleece with consistent crimp. We expect to see a high quality fleece on him as he matures. He keeps looking better the older he gets. We can't wait to see the quality cria he will 'criate'.

Check out what Zodiac Ranch has to say about his granddam! "100% Peruvian. A proven One of the Top five Unique Dams in the country and our best foundation female... Her 2003 offspring Seena's Goldilocks was consigned to the AOBA auction in June, 2004 and sold for $68,000.00 and took Fawn/light Reserve Color Championship. Seena's Goldilocks has won two prior Color Championships in 2004 including 3-1st and 4-2nd places in Halter. Consider the fact that Seena has only had girls and they have all been some of the most elite alpacas in the country. She is in a class of her own. A Color Champion producing female no matter who she is bred to. Her female 2004 cria Zodiac's Peruvian Casanova's Princess took second at both the Futurity and MaPaca shows in 2005 at 6 months old. She was auctioned off at the Nationals in Salt Lake City in June of 2005 as lot 59 the last grey lot for $38,000.00... Her crias are in so much demand that her latest yet to be born has already been sold in utero seven weeks prior to her birthing date at $47500... Seena just gave birth 10/21/05 to a stocky medium fawn male cria weighing 20 pounds...Her last 5 crias sold for a combined $220,500 and some were never shown in the ring.
We are not planning to sell anymore crias from Seena at this time but if we did we would want $75,000 in cash and in full for an in-utereo cria no matter what sex...
Price: $225000 Elite Peruvian Dam "

It's no wonder his Granddam & Dam are not for sale!

Awards Received
1st place, Fawn Yearling Male Shorn Class, 2005 MIAF
One & Only Time Shown

Stud Fee: $800 For a Limited Time FULL PERUVIAN-1/4 ACCOYO

And Sancha has been confirmed pregnant by Lord Stanley.

Sancha (full fleece):

Lord Stanley

Lord Stanley is a 6X Color Champion and our signature herdsire. He is off and running in the cria production department. His first 3 offspring took Get of Sire at the '08 WOTC and Mirage just came back from the Indiana Invitational Show (level V) with a blue and Fawn Color Champion. **Update-Mirage just did it again, she took first at IAOBA out of 12 and finished ahead of a Jeremiah offspring. She then went on to take the Reserve Color Championship. His first son, Slick has already notched 2 Color Championships as well.

Stanley capped off his stellar show career with a First and Color Championship for fleece at MAPACA. In another notable performance at OABA, Stanley got the nod over his 1/2 brother who also has 6 Color Championships. Isn't sibling rivalry great?

Stanley has inherited brightness, uniformity and a high frequency crimp from his sire, Conan, a nationally known herdsire who now resides at Dos Donas in Missouri.

Currently Stanley has 10 cria on the ground with more than a dozen on the way. So far he has produced from white to brown and a couple of multi's. He has tree trunks for legs and recently tipped the scales at 234 Lbs. To top it off he has a black face and black points.

Stanley just sheared a remarkable 13.5 Lbs and is now available for mobile breeding. This Get of Sire winner has already produced multiple Color Champions. One of his daughters just won Fawn Color Champ at the Indiana Invitational so he is stamping out winners at the highest level shows (Level V over 1100 alpacas) Now you can let him do the same for you farm.

Awards Received
1st Place 2008 WOTC Get of Sire
1st & Color Champion 2006 MAPACA-fleece
1st & Color Champion 2006 IAOBA-fleece
1st Place 2006 MOPACA-fleece
2nd Place AFCNA Nationals-fleece
1st & Color Champion 2005 MIAF
Best in Show 2005 MIAF
Judge's Choice 2005 MIAF
1st Place 2004 MAPACA-fleece
1st & Color Champion 2004 MIAF-fleece
1st Place 2004 Michigan Breeders Show
2nd Place 2004 MAPACA
1st & Color Champion 2003 OABA-fleece
1st Place & Best Crimp 2003 Northern Illinois
1st Place 2003 MIAF
1st Place 2003 MIAF-fleece
1st & Color Champion 2003 Llamafest
2nd Place 2004 PAOBA

Stud Fee: $3000 6X Champion

Normal or not

It's our first year with alpacas which means we constantly run into things that we aren't sure if they are normal.

We had some concern about Shelby upon her birth. She was doing everything in the right time frame, but she didn't seem as alert or as fast as Tehya. I've since decided Tehya is a feisty girl and Shelby is more laid back (just like their moms!). But we did have some concern in the beginning. We also wondered if Shelby might have a hernia, but the vet felt her belly and did not report one.

Then Tehya gave us a bit of a scare when she had soft yellow poop, along with straining at the poop pile. I remember back from the time my kids were infants that babies who are nursing can develop mustard colored poop from having the wrong ratio of foremilk to hindmilk. I wondered if something similar could happen in an alpaca. Who knew all that reading on breast feeding would come to some good. Turns out it is due to the mom's milk becoming richer and the cria's stomach a bit immature yet. It will sort itself out. phew

The next issue was Kateri had some discharge. At first it looked like tissue hanging out of her, but upon investigation it was discharge. We worried about infection, but turns out alpacas get lochia postpartum (similar to humans). I never noticed it in Sancha or Victoria, for whatever reason it isn't always noticeable. It seems to have gone away already.

It's definitely been a learning experience. It's hard to know what it normal and what isn't; when to do something and when to step back. Between things we've read and the forums on alpaca nation we have gotten a lot of information, but sometimes actually seeing things make them see more concerning.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hot days

Hot days are really hard on alpacas. They do not handle the heat well. We usually will hose them off (spray cold water on their bellies) to help them cool down. Though only some of them like this. Max and Snowstorm are the biggest fans of this. Victoria and Kateri will let us spray them too, though they cush in it (sit down on the ground when wet). Mattie and Sommer won't have anything to do with it. Sancha usually won't stand there to have her belly sprayed, but if the pool is out, she will step in and wet down her belly.

I snatched some pictures of Sancha in the pool. She sat and got up so fast I missed her sitting it in but I got pictures of her getting in. The others like to watch her, but so far none of them have taken a turn.

Cria integrated into the herd

Here they are out with the others, being alpacas.

Lightning, Tehya, and Shelby with Victoria:

Kateri in the far back, then Victoria and Sancha, up closer is Shelby and Tehya.


nah, but the alpacas seem to think so. What are they are looking at?

Just Quinn:

But actually a dog can be a big deal, most injuries to alpacas are caused by neighborhood dogs that get loose. So it's good that a dog puts the alpacas on edge. Quinn is pretty harmless, given his personality and the fact he's so much smaller than the alpacas (see Snowstorm looking down at Quinn):

But not all dogs are harmless. Alpacas have been known to stomp dogs, though there are other cases where the dogs attack and injure (even kill) alpacas.

Vet Visit

On Wednesday we loaded the moms and babies in the trailer to go visit the vet. The Vet took the cria IgG's, inserted their micro-chip and made sure all shots were up to date. All looked good.

We had an ultra sound done on Sancha that confirmed her pregnant. Her due date is May 16th. Does that seem like a long ways away!

Here is the gate on the trailer that we got to try out for the first time on this trip:

In this picture you can see J starting to open the side door, letting in some light. It's hard to see the alpacas in there, but there are 3 moms and 3 cria in there, plenty of room for all of them.

The gate worked great. We could open the back door when we stopped and let air in, but keep the alpacas safe inside. The only trouble we had was when I lead Kateri in the trailer but didn't have her cria right there and Kateri freaked out to get out of the trailer to find her baby. We made note to always put cria in first, then mom.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cria Pictures - Tehya

The precious beauty, Tehya:

We still haven't figured out what her color is. It's like a mix of light and medium fawn, with the darkest shade a strip on her spine and it's very light on her belly but her legs are a sprinkled mix of light and dark. We aren't sure either if their might be some gray in there. She almost looks like a baby deer, a fawn.

Cria Pictures - Shelby

We tease that Victoria is always interested in food. Well shortly after the birth, Victoria was eating. I know, birthing does work up an appetite. But Kateri waited much longer, spending more time getting to know her baby. They have a very different parenting style (more on that in another post).

Here Victoria is, eating (at least Shelby is laying by her feet):

and pictures of Shelby:

The rest of the herd

Nothing happens at the barn without the entire herd being aware of what it is. Some of them are more nosey then others (Victoria is known for being the first to investigate what is going on - but in this case, it was her having birth).

All the moms did smell Shelby upon her arrival. I didn't catch any pictures of that. I was able to catch some of the animals greeting Tehya. After mom had a good look and smell of her, Lightning came over to see his new playmate:

And even the kitten, Nala, had to check out the new baby:

Then there is the rest of the herd in the other pen doing their best to check out what is going on, the "audience":

We did end up moving Lightning and Sancha into the other pen. Lightning was just trying to play with the cria, but he's so much bigger (at almost 50 pounds) and with the cria still just learning to walk we wanted to give them space. So for the day we put Sancha and Lightning in with the others. At night we let them back into the pen with the moms and cria.

Birthing Pictures

I missed Victoria birthing Shelby, but was just in time to catch Kateri give birth. Some of the pictures are hard to see because the lighting is not the best (I had to adjust the brightness of them). But I think you can see the main idea. I was taking these pictures from behind the fence to give the mom plenty of space so they are cropped too.

We noticed she seemed about to poop but then we could see her birth canal bulging. She laid down in the barn (note the pink under her tail, the lower one is her birth canal):

Out came a nose, then face, then we could see 2 feet. Cria was in the right position, with the feet over the head. Then it seemed to stall, as she was standing with the cria part way out (Kateri's tail is wrapped, the cria is part way out, you can see the outline of the cria's head and at least one of the legs, the other leg blends in with Kateri's outline):

Kateri struggled a bit, getting up and down and rolling some (normal birth stuff):

Then she laid down and the cria progressed out further:

Once the cria was on the ground Kateri turned around to see and smell her baby:

All in all a textbook birth. It was fast compared to what they say is within normal range. I'm sure Kateri had an intense workout but she seemed to take it in stride. The cria was up in record time, sitting sternal and even standing within a very short time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Farmer's birthing necesity

What is the thing a farmer needs at the barn? A good seat :)

we spent much of the day sitting there and watching.


Well, they have the same father, and were born within an hour of each other :) We had 2!! 2 cria born this morning!

I was right on a few things. Kateri did have a girl, she is fawn and she is bigger than Victoria's baby. But just about everything else.... well it played out a bit different.

Our day started as usually, a walk to the barn to feed the moms. J tried feeling their ligaments and thought both Kateri and Victoria's were soft. We also tried taking their temp (there is a theory that their temp dips within 24 hours of birth). We weren't convinced of anything, but looking at Kateri, she looked so miserable and looked ready to birth. She seemed to be humming more than usual and her birth canal looked ready to pop open. We decided we would be checking on them a lot today and wandered home.

J went up by the barn awhile later to get the mail and found a baby in the poop pile. I was home cleaning and didn't hear him yelling. With a bad back he ran home yelling for me to come (something he has paid for ever since). He said he found a baby and surprise - it's Victoria's!!

I arrive at the barn to see this:

A beautiful baby girl :) She looks like Victoria, brown with black points. She seemed to be doing well, already sitting sternal, looking around, and alert.

We decided to name her Shelby (not what we had planned but seemed to fit her better), Victoria's Shelby.

While we were admiring her we could tell Kateri was close to birthing. Plus Victoria looked like she was about to birth the afterbirth. Both happened at the same time.

Kateri started to hum and out comes a nose then face, then we see the 2 feet. Cria was in the right position. We keep behind the gate, watching and waiting. It seemed like it took a long time but really the birth was short. I have pictures I may post another day of the birth. They aren't that graphic (I let my 5 year old watch the birth and my 8 year old has seen the pictures because she wasn't home at the time of the birth). But I'll put a disclaimer on that post in case anyone is faint of seeing those things.

Here is Kateri's baby right at birth (Kateri is smelling her for the first time):

We had no name for this baby at first, as it's a girl and we only had a boy names agreed upon. She was up in a very short amount of time and actually has seemed more alert all along than Shelby (but Shelby is doing great, both are tons better than Lightning was, that was a rough first birth for us and him!).

Here she is sitting sternal:

We think this one is fawn, maybe with some vicuna shading. J looked up a picture of Goldsmith (the father) and said he has similar coloring (darker on top and lighter on the belly). We wondered if she could possibly be a rose grey because she looked almost pink colored at birth. We might not even know her color until her fiber grows some (their color is what their fiber is right at the skin).

After much discussion we agreed upon Tehya for the name, it's American Indian for "precious". Kateri is American Indian for "Catherine", Kateri was an Indian princess. Her first baby (who is at South Haven Alpacas) is named Princess (she has won some impressive awards too!). We liked the princess and Indian theme, so tried to stick with that. Oh and Kateri's father is Tecumseh. Tehya seemed to fit with the family tree.

Birth Weights
Shelby = 14.6 pounds
Tehya = 15.6 pounds

Both moms are great, attentive and seem healthy. Both cria are doing great. Both stood within a short time of birthing and both nursed well within a short time of birthing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This is how Victoria looks:

While she does look pregnant, notice how her tail is laying down. Kateri's tail is up and her birth canal is much more enlarged. Here are the two of them:

Kateria, now she looks like she has a huge belly, her tail is slightly up (we wrapped the tails in vet wrap to help us see without having to touch them, and to help in breeding later on). It's almost like I can see a cria leg pushing on Kateri's side.

And she has a sag in her backside, like Sancha did. On their back just above the baby it indents:

Kateri acts like she's uncomfortable. Victoria doesn't seem bothered. Course, this doesn't mean Kateri will deliver first, but there are a lot of signs pointing to her going first.


J started the new barn (shelter) back by our house. Unfortunately he threw out his back and is out of commission for a bit now. It's ok, they have plenty of room up where they are, for now anyway.

We disagreed on whether to separate them up front. I felt that Kateri was holding back on delivering because there are so many of them all around. Though they had access to 2 barns, they all (8 of them) stayed in the one barn. Kateri isn't that friendly, and likes her space. I think having them all around like that was uncomfortable to her.

Plus, I have heard of yearlings hurting cria. With all 8 of them around it would be possible for one of the other ones to be mean or accidently do something. We have pretty low key alpacas (none of them are agressive or rambunctious). But you never know.

So, last night I separated them (nothing like taking advantage of a man with a bad back who isn't there to put in his opinion). Emma and I separated them at grain time. I think the younger ones, Maxito and Sommerfield and Mattie were the only ones upset. Lightning possibly too as he's use to being able to bug the young maidens. But the older ladies, Sancha, Victoria and Kateri didn't seem at all upset.

We'll see if this helps Kateri deliver or hinders it. J thinks it will hinder it because any change makes the alpacas uncomfortable. It's been said that the female will hold off on delivering if they are moved to a new area. But then, this isn't a new area that she's in. It's the same area for her, just the other 4 can't get by her to bug her (yet she can still see them, so no wondering where they went).


I haven't mentioned much about the labor signs we've seen. I was hoping not to watch them like a hawk like we did with Sancha, only to wait for what felt like forever. But, seems that the idea of seeing these little ones made me crazy whether I admit it or not.

Victoria is due (day 350) in mid-July (I think the 15th). Then Kateri is on day 350 about 5 days later. But they can deliver any time after day 335. We are past day 335. Though there have been cases where they went to day 380? (not sure on the exact number of days but they can go over a year).

Victoia barely even looks pregnant. She's a bit overweight and the way she is carrying the cria, it's not that notieable. She doesn't act pregnant at all. She's the same as she's ever been: curious, friendly, and stealing anyone's food. Her birth canal is long, but nothing else noted.

Kateri on the other hand seems to be getting more ornery every day. She won't take treats from us anymore (though Emma did get her to take a carrot yesterday). Kateri looks huge! She is hanging and sagging and looks plain old miserable. We've also noticed Kateri straining over the poop pile. And I swear last weekend I saw some contractions. We've seen discharge from her birth canal. Her birth canal is long and elongated, and her tail is up almost all the time. We thought for sure she'd deliver on Sunday. All the signs seemed to be there, except for a cria emerging. I didn't think she could make it through the week. But here it is Thursday and she's about the same: straining on the poop pile, uncomfortable, and her birth canal looks ready.

So, we are watching and waiting.

I still hold onto my theory that Kateri will deliver first and will have the bigger cria. I know I'm setting myself up because she is due later, if she does go first the cria should be smaller, but just the way she's carrying, I think it's a big one in there. I picture a fawn girl for her. Victoria will deliver after Kateri and will have a black boy. Ok, just my fun guesses.

moving dolomite

Sounds like fun, huh. Well, I'm pretty frugal and the thought of renting something to move the dolomite wasn't appealing to me. J just said that hauling it wasn't going to work with his back so he was pushing to rent a front loader. Well, one evening I asked Emma if she wanted to help, and we dug in.

This is the pile that was at the barn up front:

The first trip is always a learning experience. What we found worked best was to use a shovel to dig up the dirt/sand or dolomite, put it into a pail. Then use the truck to get the pails back to the new shelter (appoximately .17 of a mile away). From there we could dump the pails wherever we wanted it. These are the pails we used to put the dolomite in:

Emma helped me that evening. We felt like the dolomite wasn't going very far in the new barn so started hauling dirt to fill in first, then topped it off with dolomite. The dirt/sand was acutally easier to haul because it was a bit lighter, and much easier to dig up. Emma was a great help and by the time we were finished my 2 neices were helping too. The next day all 3 girls helped me move the dolomite.

This is what it looks like in the new shelter:

The girls were a great help to me. I say "girl power" :)

J started putting up the shelter, note the sides are in place by the time I took the picture of the dolomite.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Jungle

we called the wild plants that grew over the drain field our "jungle". They grew so well they were taller than J.

J took a weed whip while I took a pruning scisors and we cut down the jungle:

Here you can see the start of the shelter:
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