Friday, July 30, 2010


Snickers (official name Persnickety Miss) came to our farm just a couple months ago. She had been bred to Conan (6Peruvian Conan 5039 IMpr98). We were very excited about this breeding.

When she first arrived we spit tested her. This is where you put a male in with her and if she cushes, she's open (not pregnant). But, if she's pregnant, she will run and spit and get mad at the male. Initially she spit tested as pregnant. But a couple weeks ago when J brought a male back to spit test Maddie, he feared Snickers was no longer pregnant. Then this week he brought a male back to breed to Kateri, and indeed, Snickers is not pregnant. It is not usual for an alpaca female to absorb the pregnancy. I don't know the official stats, but I've heard as high as 30% reabsorb. Some you never know that's what happened, because by the time you test them, it has already happened and you're more likely to think the pregnancy just never took. I'm leery how accurate that statistic is, but if you do add in all rebreedings, I can see it. (though I would point out that all rebreedings are not absorptions, but I don't know how to sort out which is a breeding that didn't take and which is a reabsorption. I don't think that statistic sorts it out either). While we've had to rebreed a couple times, we have not experienced a later term reabsorption. Snickers is the first that I can think of where it truly is a reabsorption. Of course it happens when the male is far away. It would be easy if it was a breeding from a male on our farm.

We'll need to figure out who to bred Snickers to now. I was really looking forward to that Conan cria too :(

You may have noticed that I started putting some tickers at the bottom of the page for 2011 cria. Tehya, Cafe and Sancha are all spit testing as pregnant, and have been added to the bottom of the page with a due date ticker. (I actually need to take Cafe's down now that she is no longer on our farm). Maddie has been bred, but I never heard if she's spitting off or not (J usually handles the breeding schedules and spit testing). Kateri was just bred this week, so it's too early to tell. Victoria just had her cria, it's too early to breed her. Add on Snickers who we now will need to breed - that's 7 breedings we've had to work out!


Back last winter when we aquired Rosco, we promised our friends that they could have one of our girls in trade. We added into the choice any of our female offspring from this year. What we didn't expect to happen was that we'd have only 1 female cria this year, and that girl is out of their male!

Now that all our cria are born for this year, they came over to decide which girl to take home. They chose Cafe.

Here is Cafe au Lait from this past spring before she was shorn:

Cafe has some very nice fiber:

Cafe is bred to Georgio, so they got a 2 for 1 in this deal. I am excited to see how that cria looks next summer. Thankfully we live very close by and can come and see the cria when it's born. While we are sad to lose Cafe's genetics, we know this was the logical choice for them.

We are very happy with our very fine, very black Rosco:

Rosco's fiber:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fiber and yarn

My favorite part of the alpaca's fiber is having it in yarn form. The yarn I made from Cafe's fiber turned out incredible! I started knitting with it and it's a delight.

Yarn in a skein:

Yarn in a ball with my knitting started:

My dream is to have enough of this yarn to sell skeins of it on my etsy page but so far I don't have enough spun up (I'm using the skein I do have). I only have her raw fiber at this point. But someday :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Herd Health

Every month to six weeks we set aside a day to do herd health. It really only needs to be done about every two months, so if we miss a month or have to postpone a little bit, we have room to do so. This month we wanted to weigh all the little ones to make sure they are growing well. And since we haven't trimmed the boys toe nails for awhile, we had to make sure to do that. Saturday morning we managed to get it all done.


Rose is exactly 3 months old. She weighed in at 58.4 pounds. She's gained 9 pounds since we last weighed her, three weeks ago. She is growing well.


Copper was born at 20 pounds. Now he is 2 months 3 days old, and he weighed in a 55.6 pounds. He's gained 7 pounds since we weighed him three weeks ago. He's growing well.


Twilight was born at 17.2 pounds. She is now 3 days short of being a month old. She weighed in at 32.0 pounds. She's gained 6.2 pounds since we weighed her two weeks ago, 9 pounds since we weighed her three weeks ago. Twilight is growing well.


Chaska was born at 20.0 pounds. He is now two weeks old and weighed in at 31.6 pounds. He's gained 11 pounds in two weeks! They do tend to gain more in the beginning, but Kateri is also a very doting mother who makes sure her cria eat lots.


Challenger was born at 19.2 pounds. He is now 8 days old and weighed in at 22.2 pounds, a gain of 3 pounds. In general I'd like to see a bigger gain that first week, but, he seems to be growing and thriving. He has plenty of energy to run and play. I also know that Victoria's cria tends to follow a little slower growth pattern. Both Shelby and Cavalier consistently gained a little less that the other cria. But both have been strong and healthy with no concerns. We had Cavalier's thyroid checked to ensure there isn't a problem and his blood work came back fine. They just tend to be a bit smaller. But then Victoria is only about 130 pounds herself, so she is on the smaller side too. I personally like that body type best, the compact style that I've heard referred to as "medium small." (Don't get me started on the name. I think it's silly to call them "medium small". I personally think it's a reaction because people don't want to be accused of having a "mini alpaca" so they avoid saying it's "small" and instead call it "medium small". I have no issue calling them "small" because I know that's not the same as "mini" but since I've heard quite a few bigger farmers and even a judge refer to them as "medium small" I guess that's the more recognized name.)

All the cria seem to be doing well. The only issue we've noticed is with Chaska's poop. He has yellow poop that is pretty liquid in form. Tehya also had this (his older sister). I remember when Tehya had it, I remembered back to the days my kids were infants and the information I had read that mother's milk can cause this to happen. I can never remember if it's too much foremilk or too much hindmilk (foremilk is the milk the first comes out when the cria nurses, and hindmilk is the milk that comes out later, it is richer too. If a cria nurses often, but only for a short time, they will get more foremilk. If the cria nurses less often but for a long time, they will get more hindmilk). I think this has more to do with Kateri's method of mothering and her nursing that her cria often get this. It isn't harmful, provided the liquid poop doesn't dehydrate the cria. Chaska is gaining weighed well, and runs and plays, so he appears to be healthy and fine. I'm more concerned about a sore bottom for him from the liquid poop, than I am of any health issue. Like with Tehya, it should resolve itself as his nursing habits improve.

When we were taking the cria to weigh them, we decided to start some halter training too. We put the halter on them, and had them walk from the paddock to the scale. We did this to all of them except for Challenger, because he's so young even the weanling halter doesn't fit yet. I'm impressed that every one was able to walk all the way to the scale. Of course they did some bucking, but that's nothing with a 40+- pound cria (compared to some 100+ pound yearlings I've had to halter train in the past). It's the earliest start to halter training we've ever done. I always seem to wait until spring, when the shows are only weeks away. This year I am determined to start much earlier.

We also got the cria used to toe nail trimming. I held them like I do the older ones, and J lifted each foot to trim. Only Rose needed trimming, the others are too young to have enough nail growth yet, but it was good practice. Like with halter training, it's a lot easier to get them used to this as a small cria, than to wait until they are older and stronger. We like to have well trained alpacas that are easy to care for.

We already registered Rose, Copper, and Twilight. So on this day we needed to draw blood for Chaska and Challenger.

Another herd health day completed :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Special Treat

As a special treat, I let the ladies into our back yard to trim down our grass a bit. We never put in a lawn when we built our house (we don't even own a lawnmower - neither of us wanted to spend time mowing a lawn). The ladies loved the fresh grass, now they stand by the gate and beg to come back in. I can't let them be there on a regular basis because that is where our house dogs go outside, and there are too many tools and such that a cria could get injured on. I only let them in there for a treat when I can be right there to keep watch of everything.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our 2010 Cria

These are pictures of our 2010 cria. The big thing about this years crop of cria is this is the first year we picked all the breedings (this does not include Rose, she came as a separate deal with her mom, Snickers). The first year we were alpaca farmers, our girls came bred. Of course we purchased them based on who they were bred to, so we did "pick" it. But, they came that way. The decision had already been made. The second year, we had several breed backs as part of purchasing the females. A breed back is when the farm you purchase the female from allows you to breed to one of their males, as part of the deal for buying the female (no additional cost). Some females come with no breed backs, some come with one or two or whatever the selling farm offers. For example, when we bought Victoria and Kateri from South Haven Alpacas, they put as part of the deal that we could have some breed backs to their males. We used one of them when we had Kateri bred to the Buccaneer, producing our Pocahontas. This year we were totally on our own, no breed backs used. We also for the first time had some of our own males to use. In the end we had four girls bred, and all had an *unknown* factor. (unknown in that they had never had a cria previously).

Our Copper Canyon

Sancha was bred to Apollo producing Our Copper Canyon

Copper's birth story link
Copper's alpaca national page

The unknown factor for this breeding is that this was only Apollo's second breeding, his first cria was born a couple months prior to Copper. We did not know what Apollo could produce.

We were very happy to see this cria! For one, it shows that Sancha's secondary color is black (see this blog post for more about color genetics). We like the darker colors, so were excited to see that Sancha can produce darker colors. I love how his face is woolly (a trait I like), and that he has nice straight lines (great conformation). We were excited to see his crimpy zig zap fiber. We are anxious to see how his fiber grows back in since it was shorn, and we are eager to see how he does in the show ring next fall.

I would say the thing we are most concerned about is his density. We were not home when he was born, so we don't know how long it took for him to dry off (a sign of density is that they take a very long time to dry). It's hard for me to feel density on a cria. We will continue to evaluate this, and ask other farmer's opinions also. So far he looks and feels great.

Smokey's Twilight

The second cria born this year came from Maddie and Smokey. While Smokey is an experienced male with several cria on the ground, Maddie was a maiden, so she was the unknown. Together they produced Smokey's Twilight.

Twilight's birth story link
Her alpaca nation page.

While Twilight looks like a mini Maddie, I think next spring after shearing when we have Twilight's fiber analyzed, we will see Smokey's impact. I think Twilight's histogram will show that she is finer than Maddie ever was. As far as how she will do in the show ring, I'm not sure. I thought Maddie would have done well. She has shiny bright black fiber, with a short frequency crimp. Though more recently I've noticed Maddie is a bit soft on her back pasterns. This may have been more of an issue in the show ring than we ever knew (no judge ever said anything, we didn't even notice it until recently). This is an example of something that would have been nice to have known before. A live and learn experience. I do know Maddie's fiber is weak on bundling, staple length, and fineness. It's too early in Twilight's fiber growth to know if she will have those. But I do know she is not at all soft on her back pasterns. She is rock solid in her conformation. So far her fiber looks very shiny, soft, crimpy, and to have bundles. She has potential to do well.

OHVNA Chaska

The third cria born this year came from our Kateri bred to Express's Accoyo Adonis. Adonis is the unknown in this paring. This was his first breeding ever. Adonis is a Accoyo Express son, and is 100% Peruvian Accoyo! (Kateri also has quite a bit of Accoyo in her.) Pictures on his site (link on his name) show how woolly his face is. He's reported to be a fiber machine. Together these two created OHVNA Chaska.

Chaska's birth story link
Chaska's alpaca nation webpage

We had high hopes for this pairing, but in reality there was some risk. It was a risk in that the sire did not have any cria on the ground. Adonis was not in the show ring himself. So while he has the traits we wanted for Kateri, he held a lot of unknowns. We know Kateri can produce incredible cria, and we felt Adonis has what Kateri needs - mostly fineness. Kateri and her offspring are a bit higher in micron than we'd like.

We were incredibly pleased with the birth of Chaska. While we weren't really thinking of such a light color (at this point he is beige, though if after he is shorn if he ends up being white we would not be surprised), we knew this was a possibility from the pairing. We are amazed and impressed with his fiber! He shows all the signs of being incredibly dense. It took forever for him to dry after he was born. He has lots of rolls in his neck, another sign of density. His fiber is hard to part, it's hard to get down to his skin, another sign of density. One of the pictures above shows the fiber cracking in his neck, which can be a sign of density. I have never seen such bright, shiny fiber on a cria! It is not like anything I can describe. It's almost like he has a glossy conditioner on. The pictures don't capture that part of it at all. The pictures do show his curly cue crimpy bundles - how incredible are those! Most tui tips do not show the bundling crimp like that. He has a nice woolly face, I don't think we'll see anything but fuzz come spring time. He has nice straight lines, all great conformation.

We have nothing but great things to say about Chaz. This is what his alpaca nation page says:
When we bred our best foundation female to an Accoyo Express son, Chaz is what we envisioned. As soon as he was born, we were amazed by this little boy. He took a day and a half to fully dry. He has curls from his nose all the way to his toes. He has a light fawn stripe from his top knot all the way his back. He fades from the light fawn to beige and then white on his legs and belly. He may turn white after shearing, just like his sire did. His fiber has so much luster, you would swear he could be a suri with huacaya crimp. I fully expect him to have the bold crimp style of his sire.

Chaz's sire is Express's Accoyo Adonis, an Accoyo Express son from Autumn Alpacas. We chose to bred to him, not because of his sire, but because of his dam. She is from the North Coast Alpaca breeding program. She has produced champions for them, and several herdsires. Adonis is very fine and has extreme density, shearing 10 lbs as a juvi.

Chaz's dam is our own Kateri. She is a show quality producing dam. All of her previous offspring have won blue ribbons, and 2 have taken banners.

We are expecting big things from this boy.

OHVNA The Challenger

Our fourth and last cria for 2010 came from Victoria bred to Tucker. In this pairing Tucker was the unknown, this is his first cria. They produced OHVNA The Challenger.

He was only born a few days ago (story here). It's too early for me to really give a good analysis of him. I will say that both J and I agree that if we had Tucker on our farm right now, we'd repeat this breeding. In his birth story I describe what the parent's lack and how by every appearance that we can see, Challenger got the best from both parents. We are very excited about him.

Here are a few pictures of him:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Enlightenment's Rocky Rose

Last week J did some work on our Alpaca Nation Website, updating pictures and adding new alpacas (there are still more to add, so keep your eye out for more updates). He had a chance to put up Rose's page.

While getting all this ready, he took a ton of pictures of all this years cria. Here are some of Rose:

We are very excited about Rose. I think she is a great addition to our herd, and I think she will do well in the show ring. She appears to have a consistent crimp throughout her blanket. She feels soft, with a nice handle. It's harder to tell density on a cria. Signs we've been told to look for are: how long it takes them to dry as a newborn (the denser, the longer it takes to dry), having rolls on their neck indicates density, and feeling their fiber up by their skin. Rose was not born on our farm, I don't know how long she took to dry as a newborn. But I do feel rolls on her neck and she feels dense next to the skin. There is always that balance between density and fineness. I'm also excited to add medium rose grey to the list of colors on our farm. My goal is to have a variety of natural colors available to make into beautiful color yarn and crafts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Uterine Torsion

Since I mentioned uterine torsion in the big post about Victoria's cria's birth, I thought I should explain what it is. It sounds awful, doesn't it!? It can be deadly to the cria, and the dam, depending on the situation. This is where the uterus actually turns, twists, late in the pregnancy, making it so that the cria cannot make it out the birth canal. Sometimes it will correct itself by twisting back (the female may roll on the ground trying to get it to twist back). But, other times it requires vet intervention. Sometimes the vet can turn it back manually, other times it requires a c-section.

This is what Ohio State University says about Uterine Torsion:
Uterine Torsion - Uterine torsion in llamas and alpacas usually occurs near term gestation. Camelids may show signs of abdominal pain or may simply lay down and appear to be depressed. Cebra et al (1997) reported 20 cases of uterine torsion occurring in 11 llamas and three alpacas, 19 were clockwise in direction (left uterine horn rolling dorsal to the right uterine horn). Uterine torsion was corrected by rolling in eight dams, by celiotomy in seven dams, and by transvaginal manipulation in five dams. Surgery is indicated if correction is not achieved within two rolling attempts. Uterine torsion usually occurs at the termination of gestation, does not have a clear age or season predisposition, and can often be corrected without surgery. Clinical signs may included fever, tachycardia, tachypnea, anorexia, straining, and vaginal discharge. When the uterus can not be corrected by rolling, when the cervix does not dilate sufficiently to deliver the fetus, or when fetal proportion or anomalies prevent delivery of the fetus, C-section is indicated. I prefer to perform left paralumbar fossa laparotomy regardless of the direction of the torsion.

We read in our book the Alpaca Field Manual by Norm Evans, DVM:
... uterine torsion, often 3 to 6 weeks prepartum. This female is up and down, strains, rolls and is constantly uncomfortable.

Of note, the book did mention other reasons for a pre-partum female to be straining and uncomfortable, the other two reasons being: cystitis or a cria in the birth canal near the obturator nerve. In retrospect, it likely was the obturator nerve in Victoria's situation. But, we couldn't know for sure. And we still don't. It may have been uterine torsion that did correct itself. I would have much rather had the vet say "no torsion" than to not go to the vet and have it be a uterine torsion that needed veterinary assistance. In the end, we lucked out and everything worked out *phew* I do think J walking her helped, so I would definitely do that if we run into something similar in the future.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cria Update and Naming

Naming at our farm is often a couple day event. We suggest names all throughout the pregnancy, but we've found with cria, so much depends on what they look like. We wait to decide for sure on a name until after they are born. We've had with several cria that we had names we were thinking of that just didn't fit them once they were born. For example, last year we were thinking of Titan or Renegade when Cavalier was born, but he was just too pretty of a boy for those big macho names, it just didn't fit him. It took a bit before I thought of Cavalier, and instantly we all agreed that fit him. We do have themes for each of our breeding females. There are several reasons we do this. One is that if someone asks me which dam one of them came out of, I can think of it quickly because of the theme (if the name is Native American, I know instantly it's out of Kateri). This might seem silly when you only have 7 alpacas (which is what we had that first year) but every farm grows and soon it becomes more difficult. We visited bigger farms where they had to really think which family tree a particular animal came from. I figure this is an easy way for us to keep family trees straight. It doesn't work to do themes for males too (how do you mix the themes for the offspring? and for outside breedings, no one using your male is going to agree to a theme, they'd think I was crazy for suggesting that :) ). Themes also help us to narrow in on a name. Often we can come up with a few ideas within the theme that we would agree to for the cria. Then as a family we discuss it, and come to a conclusion. If we didn't use themes, I can only imagine how many options we would have for each cria, we'd never narrow it down. And then those unique names that Zack sometimes comes up with, I wouldn't have a good response for why that's not an option (it works to say "but that doesn't fit the theme"). I've heard of farms where each year they use names starting with a certain letter (like their first year with babies to name, they use all A names, the second year all B names and so on). I've also heard of doing a theme each year, so all cria born that year fit a certain theme. Coming up with the name can be fun and exciting, but it's also difficult at times too.

This naming decision started as soon as Victoria's cria hit the ground. We all had ideas. I again tried to use Renegade (I love this name), J suggested Patriot. I liked that a lot. And this cria is white and sort of a red/brown, born in July, that fits. We were both on board with Patriot, but then Emma said she couldn't stand that name. There was no talking her into it. She said if we used that name, she was going to call him "Rammy" instead (long story!). So we did some talking and all agreed on the name:

OHVNA The Challenger

Challenger was born on July 16th, weighing 19.2 pounds! This is the biggest cria Victoria has had. We've had a lot of big cria this year. Here's a run down:

Copper: 20 pounds (he was weighed a day after birth)
Twilight: 17.2 pounds
Chaska: 20.0 pounds
Challenger: 19.2 pounds
(link on their name is to their birth story)

This makes Twilight the only girl born this year, and the smallest of the crew (but certainly not small as far as alpaca babies go). I believe average birth weight for cria are between 14-20 pounds. We certainly were at the top end of that! All nice big and healthy cria! We are blessed.

Here is Challenger!

There is a lot of grey on his neck and legs:

Like many gray alpacas, he has some different colored spots. He has a brown spot on the top of his head that almost looks like one horn (I mentioned he might be a unicorn, J thought we should call him Lone Star because of it).

He has one fawn colored toe! I think that is so cute.

And there are a couple small fawn spots on him other places (back thigh, leg).

I don't see a lot of spots on his blanket, which is how I prefer it. The spots can be pretty, like our Navigator, he has a lot of spots everywhere. The multi-colors can be fun to spin into yarn (variated color yarn). But I like the look better of less spots. That was something I really liked about Tucker, he has almost no spots on his blanket. The thing with grays though, is that spots do not count against them in the show ring. It's that common to have the spots that they are freely accepted on a gray. On other colors, it's considered contamination (because if you want to make yarn for example, you'd either have to pick out the spot, or have multi-color yarn). We'll see better when Challenger is shorn in few weeks. When they are shorn down those spots really stand out. I'm also not sure how much gray is in his blanket. He clearly has grey on his legs, and there are sprinkles of gray all over him, including his blanket. But how consistent it is in his blanket is hard to say just yet. I do know often times the gray does not show until after they are shorn (such as with Pocahontas last year. We thought she was brown or bay black, it wasn't until she was shorn that we saw the gray). The fact I clearly see gray in his blanket already makes me think that he will have no problems qualifying as a Dark Rose Grey (rather than an indefinite dark or even a multi).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Last Cria for 2010

Every year up to this year, I've been disappointment when the last cria for the year was born. It was like we waited and waited and waited, the cria came, and there was all this excitement, but then there was nothing to look forward to (being that it will be a year before the dam has another cria, that's too long to already start counting down to the due date). This year has been different. I've had a bad feeling that something bad was going to happen. First I was just sure there was something wrong with Maddie or her cria. It didn't help when she went over 370 days with her pregnancy. Nothing like making me wait in worry. Nothing was wrong. Maddie and Twilight are doing great. Then Victoria gave us a scare this past week. Our last cria for 2010 was born this morning, and for once I'm relieved cria season is over. I want to cherish these little ones for now. I'm sure come next year, I'll be more than itching for cria season again!

This last cria was a special one. It is out of our favorite girl, Victoria, and the first cria out of our male, Tucker.

Tucker (sorry this is an older picture, Tucker is currently in Ohio, so I can't get a current picture, he'll be back on our farm by next year):

Victoria (I love her shiny maroon color, and how woolly her face is, so far all her cria have had very woolly faces, which I love):

There is no perfect alpaca. There is always something that could be improved upon. With Victoria, it's crimp. She has very little crimp (which we've been told is a common trait from her sire). Crimp is the wave in the alpaca's fiber (I'll post another time about crimp and what it does in yarn etc. but this post is already too long to go into that now). I've often said a Victoria with crimp would be a show stopper. Then came Shelby, and she sure was! Tucker has now been to several shows, and the only negative ever stated is that he's not as fine. Victoria has fineness, that she passes onto her cria. We were hoping for the perfect combination: a cria with Tucker's crimp, and Victoria's fineness. If we could hope more, we were hoping for that gray gene to be passed on, but that was only icing on the cake. There was also a chance for black, which is one of my wishes too, as I'd love a true black boy. So we bred Tucker to Victoria and hoped for the best.

We first noticed something odd with Victoria in how she was carrying this cria. With previous pregnancies, you could hardly tell she was pregnant. The day she delivered Shelby, we weren't 100% sure she was even pregnant, we couldn't see any belly on her. Last year with Cavalier, no belly again. This year, even early on, we could see a belly. As her due date came closer, I worried she wasn't carrying this cria quite right. It was like she had a tire around her:

We witnessed Kateri's entire labor on Saturday. We saw everything from her early signs, to the final delivery. This left fresh in our mind the signs of labor. On Tuesday, we were quite sure Victoria was going to deliver. For lack of the technical terms, I'll just say her back end was puffy, just like Kateri's had been on Saturday. We could see what I've heard other alpaca farmers call "alien butt". This is when you can see the cria poking on the mom's back side. Victoria was visiting the poop pile frequently, with little poop, and lots of straining. She was restless, getting up and down a lot, just like Kateri had been in labor. She was grunting, and sometimes laying on the ground and grunting. At 1 p.m. I took Zack to see a magic show at the library, I had previously promised him I would do this. I figured by the time we got home, Victoria's cria would be here (J was at home, keeping a very close eye on everything). When we got home, no baby. I sat outside and watch Victoria for awhile, and all that behavior we had previously seen had stopped. She was back to usual Victoria.

I continued to keep a very close eye on Victoria. By Tuesday evening, around 8 p.m., I went out to check on her, and she was back to straining over the poop pile, and grunting. If J had been home, I would have suggested we give her some pain medication. He was at work, so I decided not to attempt on my own. Victoria seemed uncomfortable though.

Wednesday I was home most of the day, and kept a close eye on her. She'd go through periods of time, several hours at a time, when she was acting like she was in labor. Then it would stop for a few hours. She seemed uncomfortable, and I worried how long this had been going on, but the pain wasn't horrible. I figured it was pre-labor or braxton hicks contracts. Thursday I went into work, leaving J on Victoria watch duty. He witnessed the same things I had seen on Wednesday, there were times you could swear she was in labor, with grunting and straining, then other times she acted normal. Thursday evening he agreed with me that some pain medication would be a good idea. Victoria seemed uncomfortable and unhappy. It wasn't getting better, in fact she seemed more uncomfortable. I felt so bad for her. By this point it had been two days of this for her. When J pulled out a book to check dosage for the pain meds, he came across a section that described the signs of uterine torsion. Oh no - stuff like "straining over the poop pile but labor does not start"!!!! Now I was really alarmed. The book suggested taking the dam (mom) for a walk, to see if that settles the cria into place for birthing. If the behavior continues, you need to get her to a vet. A uterine torsion is when the uterus turns, flips around, and prevents birthing from being possible. Sometimes it will correct itself (often times the dam will roll on the ground and sometimes this does correct it). Other times it cannot correct itself without vet intervention (either a manual exam or sometimes a c-section is necessary). The cria and dam (mom) can die, depending on the severity of the uterine torsion. So, we haltered Victoria and gave her some pain medication. Then J walked her around the pasture for almost half an hour. By this point is was getting dark, so we headed to bed. J didn't think it was uterine torsion, but was concerned by the length of time she has been so uncomfortable.

Friday morning when I woke up I though Victoria was dead! I looked out our bedroom window into the pasture where I saw Victoria laying, neck and head on the ground, in the entryway into the paddock. She seemed motionless. This is not a usual place for her to lay, not at all. I ran out there to her, to find that she wasn't dead, just sleeping. But she also was not herself. She let me walk up to her and touch her without her getting up or moving, she just laid there. Victoria is friendly and usually pretty good tempered, but even for her, this was unusual behavior. I consulted J and we decided she needed to see the vet. I'd rather go all the way to the vet to hear "no uterine torsion" than to go through this day and all weekend worried sick about her. We waited an hour for the vet office to open. Then we found out our vet was not in, no large animal vet would be in today.

To shorten this story a bit, I'll just say J did a quick exam on her, took her for another walk, and I left for work. I was at work only a very short time when J called to say Victoria was in labor, he could see her amniotic sac emerging!!! Yeah! No uterine torsion *phew*

Due to what I had planned at work for this day, I opted not to rush home. I could have. I am very lucky in that I have a very flexible job and could have. But, I do have to get my work done and the thought of rescheduling everything sounded like a lot more work, so I completed my day at work, then came home to see this:

He is a tuxedo dark rose grey. He has his father's face and gray on his legs like his sire, but his body is a maroon brown like his dam (mom), yet with grey sprinkled throughout. We are very excited about his color and that he has really nice crimp! His fiber looks shiny like I remember Shelby's being, but as J said so well, he has even more crimp than Shelby.

Here you can really see the gray on his legs:

Some more pictures of him that I took:

The other cria are very curious about him. Rose came over to smell him:

And in true Rose style, she came over to give me a kiss too!

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