Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Cria

At the bottom of the blog page I have each female's due date. We use day 350 (which means 350 days gestation) as our due date. Day 350 is the average of when alpaca cria are born. I know some farms use day 335, which many books cite as the due date for alpacas. But, we've found when we use day 335, we wait and wait and wait. We are too impatient to do that! Since most of our cria have been born from day 345 to day 360, day 350 is closer to when our females actually deliver. Given our girls our basically in our back yard, it's easy for us to keep an eye on them throughout the day, so for us "cria watch" doesn't mean much more than what we do everyday. Though I will say when we are close to day 350, I tend to rush out to the barn right when I get home from work just in case a cria was born.

We have two girls due in June 2011.

Sancha will hit day 350 on June 4, 2011 (this picture was taken pre-shearing):

And here is her belly post shearing. We are completely sure there is a cria in there, we've seen it move (alpaca farmers will talk about watching the dam's bellies, you really can waste a big part of the day watching and wondering if that cria will come today):

I know Sancha looks very thin now that she's shorn. As long as we've known her, Sancha has struggled to keep on weight. We feed her good, and actually she's at a better weight this year than in years past. All three of the cria she has had on our farm were 20+ pounds at birth, and she has had plenty of milk. While she is getting older, she is still a healthy production female.

We have our doubts if Sancha will make it to day 350 this year. She has delivered for us between day 350 and day 355 (she has had 3 cria on our farm: day 355, day 353 and day 350 - if that is a pattern then I think this year is will be day 346). This year she is due later in the year (June rather than May), and I can't help but think she holds out for warmer weather. This year she's due later so doesn't have to do that. And she looks like she's getting close. Only time will tell.

and Snickers will hit day 350 on June 30, 2011:

I couldn't get a decent picture of Snickers post shearing. I will say that her belly looks much smaller than Sanchas. We've even debated if Snickers is still pregnant or not. We believe she is, but not 100% sure

Snickers came to us bred, but absorbed that cria. It is not uncommon for an alpaca to absorb a pregnancy. This is their reaction stress, or natures way of dealing with a cria who is not developing right. I've read as many as 25% of pregnancies are absorbed (though I think that stat is high, it just shows that it is common). Once we realized Snickers was open, we decided to breed her to Georgio. Sancha we bred to SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations. This will be Greyt's first cria.

Every time there is a 50% chance of a male cria and a 50% chance of a female cria. The color of the cria goes back to genetics.

Sancha is bred to Greyt. Sancha is white and has a black secondary color (Wb). Greyt is a modern rose grey, with a brown base and a black secondary color (Bb). The modern grey color is a roaning gene and even the experts aren't sure how it's carried on genetically. (This is very different from the tuxedo grey color of our own Tucker, or the male we bred Tehya too. A tuxedo grey will pass on their grey 50% of the time. A roan grey is one that does not have white on their face/neck, the grey is mixed in throughout their blanket and fiber). Given the experts are even sure how the roan grey is passed on, we do not know what the chances are that this cria will get grey from Greyt. For color genetics (from what we've read from the experts) Greyt is basically a brown, and we should bred him as we would a solid brown, though that roaning gene could come through to produce a grey.

Sancha (Wb) x Greyt (Bb) = WB, Wb, bB, or bb

Which means the cria has:
50% chance of being white (remember the light color wins in the combinations, so both WB and Wb would be a white cria)
25% chance of being brown (bB)
25% chance of black (bb)

Snickers is bred to Georgio. Snickers is fawn with a black secondary color (Fb) and Georgio is fawn with a black secondary color (Fb).

Snickers (Fb) x Georgio (Fb) = FF, Fb, bF, bb

Which means the cria has:
75% chance of being fawn (FF, Fb, bF)
25% chance of being black (bb)

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