Cria season has been keeping us busy here at Pronkin' Pastures!
We started with Little Sandy Farris - a bit of a difficult delivery and a little slow to get going. We ended up bottle feeding him the first 2 days to keep him going, but since then, he's been up and running (literally, running)! We love how he is maturing and we love his sassy, silly personality.
Just as we felt good about Little Sandy Farris' progress, Janey delivered her baby. Like Tiki (Little Sandy's mom), Janey is also a first-time mama. At 337 days gestation, she delivered easily and without issue, except that her baby is the tiniest we have ever had born here - just shy of 10 pounds! Another boy, Harley (his dad is named Triumph), was born small, but healthy and robust. He was up and active right away, and looking for mama's milk...
Unfortunately, Janey's milk did not come in, so we were back to bottle feeding. Though we bottle fed powdered colostrum to Harley the first day since he was unable to nurse, we didn't feel good about how he was doing. Due to his diminutive size and lack of mom's colostrum on his first day, Harley had his first vet visit on Saturday. He was given a plasma transfusion to jumpstart his system and provide some immunity.
It's been a tough go with little Harley, but he is persistent and we will be, too, with his continued care and bottle feeding. He is now almost a week old and we are getting quite attached to him!
We had such high hopes for Janey in our breeding program, and she is proving to be a sweet and attentive mama, but because of her milking issues, this will be her only experience with motherhood. We are so disappointed.
That brings us to today! A happy day! At 342 days gestation, Serena delivered a lovely, healthy and active.... GIRL!!! Can you tell we are delighted?
Serena delivered seemingly effortlessly. She was just starting at 9:21 am and just 20 minutes later (by 9:40 am), she had delivered!
Born at a robust 15.8 pounds, baby was up and on her feet within 20 minutes and looking for milk soon after!
It's been a long day. More on baby 'Gracie' to come!
We are excited to announce the birth of the first cria of the 2020 season at Pronkin' Pastures! Meet Little Sandy Farris!
Besides being the first cria of the season here, Little Sandy is the first baby for his mom, Tiki, and the first offspring for his dad, Alladin! We are delighted and think this pairing was a real success!
Are you wondering about his name? He is named after our veterinarian! This was Tiki's very first delivery and she was having a bit of trouble, so we called Dr. Farris who came out right away and helped Tiki through the process. We are so thankful, and thus decided to name the little guy after her. Though Tiki and Little Sandy had a bit of a rough start, they are both doing quite well now!
Little Sandy is the only cria right now, but he won't be lonely for long! We are expecting 3 more babies before the end of August. Tune in again soon for details!
Earlier this month local radio feature reporter, Rachel Belle of Kiro Radio in Seattle, paid us a visit! She interviewed us for a local travel piece about Whidbey Island - and she wanted to include us! The story aired on KIRO Radio last week. We are flattered and delighted to share it!
Conducting visits on a regular basis, I talk about alpacas all the time, so this shouldn't have been any different, but I suddenly became nervous when the microphone came out. Rachel is a true pro and did a great job editing. :)
Hit the link below and then scroll down just a bit to hear the interview. Hope you enjoy it!
The last cria of the season has arrived! At 352 days gestation, Leilani delivered her cria today!
Leilani had a speedy and trouble-free delivery - 18 minutes start to finish! Baby is robust, seems healthy - and look how cute!!!
Leilani is a first time mom, but is already handling it like a pro! She is patient, gentle and very attentive to her baby.
I have to admit to being a bit surprised by this cria's very light color, though... Leilani is dark brown and Dad (Camilio's X-Man - aka Manny) was dark fawn with white markings on his face. This baby is lighter in color than both of it's parents.
Sadly, Manny passed away last month - just a day before his 17th birthday, so this cria is extra special... Scroll down a few blog posts to learn more about Manny. We are delighted to have one last cria to follow in Manny's footsteps. And as you may have guessed, it's a boy!
Though not what we expected, we love his pretty coloring. It's hard to tell in the photos, but he is a beautiful light golden color all along his top side, fading to white on his underside. We look forward to seeing how this little cutie matures!
We are excited to announce that at 344 days gestation, Damaris delivered her cria on Monday! A darling little male covered in curly white fiber!
Even though Damaris is brown, we were not surprised by the white baby. He takes after his Dad, Accoyo America Triumph, who is solid white.
Just 2 hours earlier, Damaris is resting (relatively) comfortably in the shade.
Though she was spotted resting comfortably just minutes before, delivery started a few minutes after noon. Damaris delivered quickly and seemingly effortlessly. Look at the time-stamps on the photos!
Be warned, the group of 5 photos below are of the actual delivery... Please scroll past if you wish.
After the 5 delivery photos, there are more photos of the baby.
Damaris delivery - start to finish was less than 20 minutes!
The entire female herd was on hand to greet the new arrival. They are curious and very gentle with the baby.
We are always delighted - and relieved - to see the cria up on its feet and nursing right away. Damaris is a particularly patient and nurturing mom, and this cria seems robust and healthy.
Young Ranger will be this little guy's companion growing up. It's nice to see them together from the start! It's a little too early for play, but we expect to see them running around the pasture soon!
Are you wondering why we haven't announced his name? That's because we won't be naming him. His new owners will give him a name! Both Ranger and his mom Little Lilli, and this little guy and Damaris, have been sold! They are staying here for just a few weeks until they move to their new home.
The next cria due (and the last of the season), is Leilani's. Leilani and Damaris were bred on the same day, so we expect her cria any time now. Our fingers are crossed - we're hoping for a girl. We want little Clarissa to have a pal, too!
With farming, and especially raising animals, we always know there will be ups and downs. We have been fortunate to have lots of 'ups', but last week we faced our share of downs...
We said good-bye to our eldest male, Camilio's X-Man - aka 'Manny'. He passed quietly on the day before his 17th birthday. He was a sweet and gentle male and will be missed here. Manny was our 'go-to' guy when weaning the young boys - always a gentleman leading by calm example. We felt comfortable putting the weanling boys in with Manny - where they would feel safe as they began the transition from the female herd in which they were born to the male herd where they would grow into adults. Manny has sired two of our favorite animals - Janey (turns 2 this summer) and Alonzo (who is now in our breeding program and is sire to Ranger). Manny has one last offspring due to be delivered by Leilani in August. It should be a stunning cria.
We also received bad news on another herdsire, Finnegan. At shearing time, a large lump was discovered on his right side. It was completely camouflaged by his fleece, so we were quite surprised to see it when he was shorn. Finnegan was behaving normally and the lump didn't seem to be bothering him at all, but of course, we did want the vet to take a look at it. Our vet did her best to remove as much of the lump as possible and sent a sample of it to a lab for testing. Sadly, test results revealed a very aggressive cancerous tumor. Poor Finnegan will not recover from this and will be euthanized in the near future. :(
While the vet was here to see Finnegan, we also had her take a look at little Clarissa. I had noticed the day before that she was not acting normally, but attributed her lethargy to the heat. But the next day she didn't seem better, so doc suggested taking a look at Clarissa, too. Thank goodness for that! Turns out, Clarissa was a bit dehydrated, but tests from the blood sample taken also indicated that many of her numbers were not what they should be. Clarissa was given IV fluids on Wednesday and again on Thursday to help with the dehydration. That helped a bit, but just not enough. So on Saturday she was given a plasma transfusion. We think that may have done the trick! Clarissa is back to nursing, and each day seems more like her old self. Keep your fingers crossed for her, but we are optimistic that she is on the road to recovery.
We hope this is it for the bad news... We have 2 more babies coming in August and are hoping for smooth deliveries and healthy babies. We'll keep you posted.
At long last, we had the vet come to the farm to do ultrasounds on several of the girls we bred last summer. With shearing coming up this weekend, we really needed to know which girls are pregnant and which are not. Unfortunately, the results are not what we had hoped for.
Destiny, it turns out, is not pregnant. Nor are LadyBug and Ava. And while we didn’t really think she was, we had Lotus tested as well, and confirmed that she is not pregnant either.
Mariska might be pregnant – we are watching her. Ultrasound testing at this late stage of pregnancy is difficult because the cria should be rather large, so the equipment only sees a small part of the cria at a time (making it difficult to tell if what is being seen is actually a part of a cria or something else). If Mariska is pregnant, she should deliver very soon, so we will just keep watching on this one.
But the most exciting news is that Leilani and Damaris are both confirmed pregnant and due to deliver mid-August! Leilani was bred to our boy, Manny; while Damaris was bred to Triumph. Both these boys are getting up in years so we are so thrilled to know that we are getting one more cria from each one of them. Both girls were bred on the same day, so should deliver around the same time in mid-August.
Damaris is 14 years old and this will likely be her last cria, but with the breeding to Triumph, we think this has the potential of being one of her best crias in terms of fiber quality!
Leilani is 5 years old this summer and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of this cria. Bred to Manny, we think this will be a great genetic combination. Manny has sired many lovely cria including our own Janey (daughter of Lilah) and Alonzo (son of Mariska), and we think this pairing with Leilani has the potential to produce another aweome cria! And if we are really, really lucky, there is even a slight chance the baby could be black! Regardless of color, we can't wait for this delivery!
Little Lilli delivered her cria yesterday! Big (20.4 pounds), healthy and active; we are delighted! Did I mention beautiful? This baby really is... Or maybe handsome is the better adjective as it is a boy! Meet Ranger!
We are almost always present for births on the farm, but this one we missed. Little Lilli was at 346 days gestation, so we knew we were taking a chance, but we had an appointment off island in the morning that we could not cancel. So we left her unattended for a few hours, and wouldn't you know it, that's when she delivered. We last checked on her at 8:00 am and all was quiet, but when we got home at 1:30 the new baby was there to greet us! Delivered, dry, on his feet and nursing! Great job, Little Lilli!
We are so happy with this little guy - and thrilled to see the very first offspring of Alonzo! Way to go Little Lilli and Alonzo!
We love Lily and her babies, but there is always a bit of stress the first week or so after she delivers her cria. Lily tends to be a bit lackadaisical in caring for her cria; and her cria tend to be independent and friendly followers of other alpacas in the herd. Turns out, baby Clarissa is no different from any of Lily's other crias in this regard!
So we are constantly checking... Are mom and baby together? is baby nursing? is baby too hot/too cold? and on and on it goes! So, we are happy to report that little Clarissa is doing well! She is gaining some weight, getting stronger, and behaving like a healthy cria! Look at her go!
The first cria of the season has arrived! Calla Lily delivered a beautiful little girl yesterday. We are delighted to introduce you to baby Clarissa!
Lily carried her cria for 339 days - which is a tiny bit early, but great for Lily as she has a history of delivering very early. The baby is showing some signs of being a bit premature, but she is big and active!
Born early in the day, it was still cool and damp out so I dried her with a towel and then warmed her with a hair dryer. I left her covered with a warm towel for just a moment while I checked on Lily as she delivered her placenta - and look what I found when I returned! Up on her feet, walking, and dragging that warming towel right along with her!
For the first part of the day, we left Lily and her baby in the upper paddock with just a few alpaca friends so that mom and baby could get acquainted and bond. Lily has been a good mom, but had some issues with bonding with her crias at first, so we want to make sure that there is not too much outside interference so they can get off to a good start.
Destiny (Lily's 5 year old daughter) and Lily are very bonded. I expect these (now 3) girls will stay a close little group.
We were able to let mom and baby into the larger grassy area a little later in the day.
Lily and Clarissa retire to the smaller upper paddock for the night - again with just a few friends as we don't want too much outside interference. It's been a long and stressful day, but we are hopeful that our girl is off to a good start! Tomorrow we will introduce her to the rest of the herd.
We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Lily's cria. First thing each morning I look out the window to the alpaca paddocks. After a moment of panic seeing Lily laying flat-out in the pasture (in what alpaca farmers sometimes call a death pose), I dashed out in my pj's to see Lily like this!
I encouraged her to get up so I could get a better look and she obliged, but didn't stay up for long. She laid back down with a groan. Lily has fooled me a couple of other times on this journey, but I think today might be the day!
We are officially on 'cria watch'! We have several girls pregnant and due to deliver this summer. The season starts with Calla Lily (aka Lily), Lillibet (aka Little Lilli), and Destiny.
All 3 of these girls were bred on June 24 last year, so they should all be due around the same time. Average gestation is about 345 days, but there can be significant variation. As of today, all 3 girls are at 338 days gestation. Births really could happen at any time now!
We are most concerned about Calla Lily. Lily has a history of delivering early - with past gestational lengths of 318, 320, 327, and 340 days. We are thrilled that Lily is having a longer gestational term with this cria.
Lillibet is also at 338 days gestation. She has had 2 crias in the past and both were trouble-free deliveries. We are excited about this cria because it will be the first offspring sired by our own Alonzo. We can't wait to see the outcome by pairing our beautiful Little Lilli with him.
Destiny is also due to deliver soon. Destiny is Lily's 5 year old daughter. This will be Destiny's very first cria! She was bred to Camilio's X-Man (we refer to him as Manny), and we think they will produce an awesome cria!
Feel free to post your questions or comments below!
We always look forward to our shearing days. It's hard physical work, but lighthearted and fun - with friends both new and old.
This year we have 43 alpacas to shear and find ourselves a little short-handed in the helper department! Would you be interested in lending a hand? It's a great opportunity to get hands-on with the alpacas and learn about them while taking part in this amazing process. We need some muscle getting alpacas on the shearing table as well as some helping hands at the fiber skirting station. No experience necessary - just a willingness to learn. In exchange for your help, we provide you with as much knowledge as possible, a hands on alpaca experience that you won't find elsewhere, and a hearty meal.
If you have any interest in participating, please contact us. We have 2 shearing days scheduled - one in late May and another in early June that could benefit from a helping hand!
firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-879-1164
It's been years since posting to the blog! I enjoyed doing it, but found it very difficult to find the time... With so many folks on Facebook, I started posting there occasionally - just to keep those interested in the loop. But I'm told that not everyone looks at Facebook! There is a lot going on at Pronkin' Pastures lately, so I'm going to give it another go here. It will likely still be infrequent, but you'll get the important updates.
So the news for now is that our first cria of the season has arrived! On May 11, we were delighted with the delivery of Rocky of Pronkin' Pastures !
Born at 357 days gestation, Lillibet - aka Little Lilli - is the proud mama of this adorable little guy!
Rocky is sired by our Black Ryder and has inherited his dad's intense gaze!
Little Lilli and Rocky stayed dry and undercover the first day as it was raining and wet, but Lilli was happy to take her new baby out to the pasture on Day 2! She enjoyed the sunshine and green grass as Rocky met his new herd and explored!
Next to deliver is Sweet Mariska - due late May / early June. We'll post here, but if you are looking for updates before then, be sure to visit Pronkin' Pastures on Facebook!
Sunday marked the end of our 2014 birthing season with the delivery Lily's cria. This delivery was wrought with anticipation, so the successful delivery is a relief - and the fact that it's a lovely little girl is cause for celebration!
We had not intended to breed Lily as she has proven to be a difficult mother. Lily has consistently delivered her crias prematurely. They have all survived, but it has always been a lot of hard work and aggravation for the first few days getting the baby strong and getting Lily to allow it to nurse. After the first couple of days all is well and Lily ends up bonding with her baby and being a good mom, but those first few days have been a real challenge.
The first time she delivered early, we attributed it to being a first time mom. The second time it happened, we attributed it to shearing day stress (both of her first two deliveries occurred just 3 days after shearing each year). So on the 3rd breeding, we left Lily out of the shearing day line-up so as not to stress her into early delivery. That helped - and she carried the baby about 10 days longer than she had the first 2 years - but she still delivered early. We could no longer accept excuses. Lily was to be out of the breeding program.
So... how did she end up pregnant? Good question!
Last year, we had a very nice herdsire named Triumph here to breed to our Caelia (Lily's mom). We bred Triumph to Caelia several times, but for some reason Caelia never got pregnant. However, during the time that Triumph was here, we had a 'gate incident'. One of our gates was not latched properly and 3 girls got into the paddock with Triumph. Ughhhhh.... Of course Lily (the only girl we didn't want to get pregnant) was one of the 3 girls that got in, and the only one of the 3 to get pregnant!
Triumph went home and Caelia never did get pregnant. And then this spring, we had to make the very difficult decision to have Caelia put down. Caelia had developed an abnormal growth that was affecting her ability to urinate (any possibly her ability to concieve?). It had probably been there for some time, but we never saw symptoms until it had grown large enough to affect her in a very serious way.
So the breeding we wanted for Caelia never came to fruition but was 'received' by her daughter, Lily. In all these years, this is the only unplanned pregnancy we have ever had. Maybe things happen for a reason? Call it destiny?
We think so! With thoughts of Caelia and remembering that this breeding was intended for her, we are proud to present Destiny of Pronkin' Pastures!
We are thrilled to report that Lily carried this baby full-term, and delivered a very robust 21.4 pound girl!
And unlike what has happened with the premature deliveries, Lily is proving herself to he a nurturing and attentive mom right away!
With the successful delivery of Destiny, Lily has earned her spot back in our breeding program. We are thrilled to have her 'back'!
About the author:
Always an animal lover, alpacas entered my life in 2005.
I enjoy all aspects of life with alpacas - from caring for them, to training them, spinning and knitting their wonderful fiber, photographing them, and even writing about them!