...And Finally!

Well, apparently I should have complained about Reba a little sooner.  The morning after I wrote the last post, I went to the milk pasture, and there was Reba with a still-wet little girl!  She's just adorable, of course, and beautiful, of course.  We've named her Patsy (Cline, obviously), courtesy of a visiting friend.  Patsy is a rich black-brown, just a gorgeous color that we don't have in the herd yet. She has striking face markings, white with black eyes and brown under the jaw (there's some photos up in the Alpaca gallery).  She's teensy, too - just 10 pounds at birth, rather than the usual 14-15.  So far she's gaining weight well, though, and we just weighed Tanya recently, she's still gaining over 4 ounces a day on average so that's great.  Knock on wood, that's 2 for 2 cria this year!  In fact, that's 5 out of 5 for this and last year together, light-years better than the first year when we lost all 4 babies by the following spring.  Also, 4 out of 5 are girls, so in a few more years, we may be selling alpacas!  Or maybe by then I'll at least be selling more fiber...

Last week, we had the 8th of 9 calves born this summer (although we lost one, so 7 living), Clover finally had her first calf.  We're especially happy because we found her the next day with a little guy trotting along (yet another red boy) and that makes 2 heifers this year that calved successfully their very first time.  As I've posted about previously, that's actually fairly rare for us, but a welcome improvement.  

We took most of the goat boys off to the sale barn today (Saturday).  It's always a bit sad to see them go, they're always such pretty animals, but there's just no place in the world for excess males :(. And they taste awfully good :).  Much more sad, we also took Sweetpea, our matriarch.  We got her at a few months old, and she kidded 9 years for us, never losing a single baby.  Her first (and only) daughter to die was 5 years old!  Last year, I counted up and out of about 50 goats, she had produced 28 of them.  She truly is the creator of our goat herd.  She also happens to be the mother of 2 of my milk goats - her mother was a dairy goat.  I always figured that when she got too old to keep kidding, that we'd just let her live out her days here, as a fair exchange for all she's given us.  Unfortunately, earlier this summer I noticed her cheek was literally the size of a baseball.  It turned out to be an enormous lump of partially-chewed grass jammed in her cheek, and in the process of cleaning that out, I realized her front teeth are either missing or worn completely off.  She's finally filled out fairly well, but she'd been looking surprisingly lean through the summer, and it turns out that she's just not able to eat very well.  As much as I'd like to let her die of old age here, that's is just not the kinder option.  We've been very lucky to have such a great mother and all-around sweet goat here for the past 9 years, though, and she'll live on through most of our goats.  I believe we have at least 6 generations of her line, so she will have a presence on our farm for many years to come.  

Comments

breeding success

Great news about girl alpacas. iN fact, healthy,thriving alpacas at all. You keep reminding us of the difficult parts of farming. Easy to read these posts and feel everything is roses, and good to be reminded of the thorns...

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