Sunday, October 31, 2010

Growing alpacas and herd health confessions

When we did herd health, we weighed our alpacas who are 2 years old and under. Here are their stats:

Eclipse' Ginger Ale (1 month old) ~ 27.4 pounds

OHVNA The Challenger (3.5 months old) ~ 48.2 pounds

OHVNA Chaska (3.75 months old) ~ 62.0 pounds

Smokey's Twilight (4 months old) ~ 55.4 pounds

Our Copper Canyon (5 months old) ~ 82.0 pounds
(the small brown one is Copper):

Enlightenment's' Rocky Rose (6 months old) ~ 78.0 pounds

Ashton Stones Little Miss Rosco (1 year, 2 months) ~ 111.0 pounds

OHVNA Pocahontas (1 year, 4 months) ~ 100.6 pounds

Kateri's Tehya (2 years, 3 months) ~ 152.8 pounds

Our guide for alpaca weights is that most of ours are born between 16 and 22 pounds, by 6 months we'd like to see them around 60 pounds, and by a year at 100 pounds. Grown adults can be anywhere from 100 to 230 pounds. Most alpaca farmers prefer not to breed an alpaca until they are 120 pounds, that's about when maturity seems to be reached. We have some that are on the smaller side, some that are bigger. Outside of a medical issue, size is a purely a matter of personal preference. I actually like the ones that are a bit smaller. For example, Victoria is my favorite phenotype and she is around 130 pounds. Greyt is another one that I would say is my favorite size, and he's around 140 pounds. We have other grown alpacas that are 200+ pounds. I know some people prefer the bigger sizes, it really comes down to what you personally like. In the end, it's really the fiber that counts, not the size of the animal. We only monitor their size to make sure they are healthy and thriving like they should be.

My herd health day confession is that today Lucy managed to throw and stomp on me. Alpacas are not typically aggressive, this only happened because I was restraining her so that J could clip her nails. Lucy is new to our farm, and this is the first time I have restrained her. She's a big girl, and very strong. J clipped 2 of her nails, while I wrestled with her to keep her still, then she suddenly jumped up. She bucked me in the chest and I went flying into the air and landed on my back. I don't know what happened to my leg. I don't know if my ankle twisted around or she stomped right there on me, but my leg instantly hurt very bad. Thankfully she was the last alpaca we needed to care for, because I limped inside and now have ice on my leg. I suspect by morning I will not be walking very well.

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