Friday, July 9, 2010

Kateri, Kateri, quite contrary

I don't always show it, but Kateri is actually one of my favorites. The first three alpacas we had on our farm were Victoria, Kateri and Snowstorm (a gelding - who we took because you need a herd of at least 3). Victoria was the leader, she was the most outgoing, and seemed to get all the positive attention. She will run up to visitors to eat carrots out of their hand. She has the typie look that people admire. She is a neat reddish brown color (sometimes called maroon) that people often really like. Don't get me wrong, I like Victoria. But, I often felt that Kateri has had to live in Victoria's shadow. While they aren't related, they were born on the same farm, in the same year, during the same month, in the same pasture. They traveled to shows together (of note, Kateri did do better in the show ring, so there she did have her days to shine :) ), and they went off to Wisconsin to be bred together (to the same male, Goldsmith). We purchased both of them, and they came together to our farm. The more people were drawn to Victoria, the more I rallied for Kateri. I nick named her Kateri berry, as a term of endearment.

Though she can be a difficult girl to rally for. She is not cooperative with herd health. She's a spitter, and a kicker, and will run off if given the chance. She's best from a distance. Victoria will run, but once you catch her, she just lets you do whatever you need to. Not so with Kateri. I remember a time when she was pregnant with Tehya that J yelled, "I'm going to keep your baby and sell you!" he was so mad at her.

In reality, Kateri has been the best production female for us. Every one of her cria has won 1st place, and 2 of the 3 have received color banners. She is the definition of a show quality production female.

Another interesting thing about her, is that she has not yet had a solid colored cria. Her first cria, Princess, is bay black (a mix of brown and black). Her second cria, Tehya, is a fading fawn (fading from medium fawn to light, to almost white). And last year's cria, Pocahontas, is Indefinite Dark (really a dark rose grey, just not quite as much grey as the show ring wants to classify her that way). I love the mixed colored blankets! They are so fun to spin into yarn.

This week I'm not to happy with her. And it's not the spitting accident from last week. I'm getting over that. It's this pregnancy. As of today, Kateri has held onto this little one for 350 days. I know we set her due date for 350 days, but she has always delivered before the due date (day 342, and 338). We've thought about setting her due date for 335 days (which some farms use as standard procedure), because she usually delivers before 350 days. I've never sat around waiting for her cria like this.

She looks miserable:

I think it's cute that the cria inside her is more to her left side. I've heard that alpaca females have two horns in their uterus, and carry the cria in one of the horns. For some reason, it's most common for them to carry in one side, but I can't remember if the common one is the left or right horn. I do remember that one year Victoria carried in the unusual one. At the time, I wondered if that is why she didn't show her pregnancy as much.

She walks like she's miserable:

Both of my kids were 9 pound babies. I remember how uncomfortable I was, especially near the end. I cannot imagine the 15 to 20+ pound cria these females carry. I know alpacas are built different than humans, but still, these females weigh around 130 pounds (Victoria) to 190 pounds (Sancha), proportionally that baby is huge compared to what we birth. I've read the average adult woman is 150 pounds, so we are close to what female alpacas are, but we don't birth babies that big!

Since it's been so hot out, I've made a point to really cool off the most pregnant of our herd. Kateri and Victoria are the only ones left to birth yet this year. I spray all over their chest, belly, and into their arm pit (I don't think it's called an arm pit on a four legged animal, but I don't know what else to call it):

Kateri likes to cush after I wet her down, and wallow in the puddle on the ground. I spray the extra cold water from the hose right on her chest:

I wonder if she's waiting to have this cria until this heat wave passes? It has been warm here (over 90* for several days in a row). If so, I hope to see this cria this weekend. I'm anxious to see what she has. Will she have another girl? Will it be solid color? So many unknowns.

No comments:

Pin It button on image hover