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).

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