Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sancha's Date

While cria are being born, it is also breeding season. Since alpacas are pregnant for about 11.5 months, breeding now means a cria next year at about this time. This is why they only have 1 cria (baby) a year. Twins are extremely rare and most often do not survive. 1 cria a year is the norm. We find on our farm, between longer than average gestation and sometimes not breeding right away (waiting three or four weeks rather than just two), our due dates end up later and later each year. For example, Sancha had Lightning in early May, the next year Lily was born in mid-May, and now this year Copper was born in late May. Breeding her today, gives her a due date of May 24, 2011. This assumes that she takes on this first try (if not, the date will be pushed back a few days). Sancha tends to go just past 350 days, so I'd predict she'd deliver around May 30th.

Typically Dams (moms) are bred about two to three weeks after having their cria. Studies have shown they are most receptive at this time, and will get pregnant more easy. Many mammals can't get pregnant while the female is still nursing, but this is not an issue with alpacas. Sometimes there are reasons to hold a female open (not breed them right away). This could be due to having an out of season due date (for example, if we bought a female due in February, it's so cold here, we would not want to re-bred her in February again, we'd hold her open until at least late April or longer). Or if the female's health is compromised. Sometimes holding them open can lead to problems with their getting pregnant the next time, but it's rarely a lasting problem.

Today we bred Sancha to Greyt. Up until this year, we were not sure what Sancha's secondary color is. We thought it was fawn. If so, there was no point breeding her to a darker color animal, when she would either pass on her white or fawn, and the cria would be either of those colors, since they are the lightest two colors (dominate over darker colors). Now that Sancha had Copper, we know her secondary color is black. So, she could pass on white or black. That changes things quite a bit. If she passes on her white color, then the cria will be white, nothing beats white in the color chart. If she passes on black, black is the most recessive, so whatever color the male passes on will show. If the male passes on black, the cria would be black. This means breeding her to darker colors could produce darker colors. Greyt is a Medium Rose Grey, which is part of the brown color group. Since he is a modern grey, he should breed like a brown. Sancha did have a rose grey offspring, when bred to grey, so there is that possibility. Though the genetic experts would say this is a less likely outcome. White or brown would be the most likely color outcome.

GF Raphaella's Sancha:

SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations:

An update on Tehya's breeding: she spit off the male when we attempted another breeding. This indicates that she is pregnant. We will continue to test her, being a maiden sometimes it's hard for even them to know for sure if they are pregnant. Also, alpacas sometimes absorb their pregnancies, so while she could be pregnant now, it might not last.

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