Saturday, December 12, 2009

Farm Days and Farm Growth

Days like today remind us that we really are running a farm business. Today J got up at 5 a.m. to drive to Ohio to complete a 3 farm alpaca deal. Thankfully it's not snowing today and it should be decent whether. He does have 4 wheel drive, but ice concerns me, especially with the trailer. He has something like 16 hours of driving ahead of him. We decided that I would not go with him. If I were to go, then we need to decide what to do with the kids. They do not travel well, and 16 hours in the truck isn't fun for anyone, worse with fighting, ornery kids. We could have someone watch the kids, but we like to save those requests for times we absolutely need to. So, I'm home doing the usual weekend stuff, and he'll be gone all day completing this alpaca transport. I do also want to see my grandma today. She is having a gathering for her 90th birthday! May we all live a long and healthy life!!

J's trip all came about after we started thinking about the future of our farm. While our farm is growing nicely, and we are very excited about all the cria that we have had. They are living up to what we want our breeding program to produce. But, we noticed one hole - lack of enough good quality males. This year we bred 4 girls, and will have 4 babies come summer. We used 2 of our males, neither of whom have been used before. It is unknown what cria they will produce. Do we use them again this coming year, before we have a chance to really see how their cria turn out? And by using them, we create a genetic deadlock in that the next generation is all related to each other and we can't breed them with each other. Our other two breedings for this past year were deals we worked out with other farm. Now for this coming year, Tehya and Shelby will be ready to breed. That means we need to figure out 6 breedings, and the next year 8! That's a lot of breedings to work out. We have some breedings worked out with other farms, so this year is actually all set. But, then comes concern on which girl to breed to which boy.

Like, right now we do not really have a male to breed to Sancha. We don't want to risk a BEW, so I would have concerns breeding her to Tucker (BEW = Blue Eyed White, a genetic condition where the animal is white with blue eyes, and often deaf. It is caused by two white spot genes. We know Maddie has a white spot gene. We do not know if Sancha does. I actually do not think she does, but it is impossible to tell because she is white, you would never see the white spot). Plus, I don't see that as a good match (he doesn't have what she needs - when breeding you look at the animals weakness and make sure their mate is strong in that area). She is now bred to Apollo, and I'd want to give that cria a chance to mature before we decide if we will do that breeding again. Lightning is her son. So that knocks out all our males for her. We could send her off to another farm to breed, but one issue with Sancha is that she struggles with being thin, especially after giving birth. We do spend extra time making sure she has extra grain and supplements so that she does not get too thin (she did after Lightning was born because we did not realize her additional needs, after Lily's birth we were on top of it, so we need to make sure to do that again after this next baby). I'm leery to bring her to another farm and ask them to take on the extra work of feeding her (I'm sure all farms we have deals with would be careful with her, but it's an extra thing to ask, and I'd worry about her the entire time she was gone). A drive by breeding would work, but all our deals at this point are out of state, too far to do a drive by.

Another girl that we struggle with is Maddie. She has a white spot, so I would not bred her to Tucker (risking a BEW). Apollo does not have what Maddie needs (she needs density, fiber bundling and staple length, he does not have the bundling that she needs, nor would he add fineness to her). Lighting being white would not be my choice either (risking BEW, plus, I don't want a white animal out of her, for several reasons that I can get into at another time). We would prefer not to send Maddie off to another farm for breeding when she is going to have a brand new baby at her side, being that she's a new mom. Again, I would worry about how her and her baby are doing, being that she is a new mom. I'm sure she'll be a good mom, she has the instinct, but I hate to send a new mom away. We feel better sending away either a maiden who would not have a cria at side, or one of our experienced moms (like Kateri or Victoria, we know how they are and they do just fine). These are some examples of the breeding issues we have come across.

So, we decided what we need is a good male at our farm that we could breed to Sancha and Maddie (and of course our other girls, but they have more options since none of them are at risk of BEW, and we would be fine sending them elsewhere). J managed to work out deals with 2 different farms. We now co-own Tucker, who will be gone for the next year. I will miss him! But, our farm will be busy with different boys, and he'll be back in a year. In return, we now co-own a Dark Silver/Rose Grey Tuxedo Male, Our Peruvian Navigator .

He will have some of the same issues as Tucker (I wouldn't bred him to Sancha or Maddie due to BEW concerns), but he adds other genetics and will work for any of our other girls. I love that he is rose grey! And his face, so cute!

We also will have SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations a medium rose grey:

Here is a more recent picture of him:

We can breed him to any one of our girls! We hope he will work out as a good mate for Sancha and Maddie. Sancha has a rose grey daughter, so maybe we can get another one out of her.

I'll get pictures of the animals after they get to our farm. We also have a young boy coming, and a young female. By tomorrow, we will have four new animals at our farm.

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