Monday, October 15, 2007

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match

Time for breeding to begin. We've actually been breeding alpacas for several weeks, but some of them are just now starting to show signs of being interested. With alpacas, it's fairly easy to tell if a female is in cycle because she'll lay down (cush) for the male if she is. If she's not in cycle, she'll spit him off and if she's pregnant, she'll really spit at him. The signs of a successful breeding is that a female will flirt, breed and then turn into a witch, when she's around a male, that is. Not really that different from humans, I think. As with most breeding males, they're not at all conscious of what the female wants or doesn't want. They're completely, 100%, absolutely single minded! Did I mention that it's not all that different from humans?

We have several young females that have never been bred before and it's taking them a little time to understand what exactly is going on. We also have two young males that have never bred before and they're so clueless, it's absurd. I'm just not the kind of breeder who will actually
physically involve myself with the details of male and female contact. (Did I say that delicately enough?) I figure that if they don't know how, they're not ready yet.

These are some of our pairings for this year. Both of these pairs have produced beautiful gray offspring and we hope to repeat that. Rose is shown with Roxy, her baby from last year out of Black Knight. We liked the results so much we're repeating that breeding. Solace is our leading black female and we're breeding her again this year to our light rose gray male, Gandalf. They produced a lovely silver gray female born this past spring. Of all my males, Gandalf is the sweetest gentleman. He's kinder and gentler with my females than most of the others. I like him for that. And for the fact that he's just plain handsome.

Rose is a "special" animal. I purchased her from a farm in Spokane, WA and found out after the fact that she suffers with seizures--petit mal and an occasional grand mal. She had never been handled when I got her; born, raised and bred in a large pasture. We've worked with her until she's pretty tolerant of us and actually fairly friendly as long as our interactions are on her terms. We're careful with her feed and her stress levels. We give a year off from breeding about every two or three years and use rescue remedy when we have to shear her or do any shots or foot care. I'll never be able to sell her. Like the lovely grandma goat, Pansy, whose face graces my front page, she'll live out her life here until she dies. Not a bad life for her all in all. She serves her purpose and gives me a pretty baby every year or so and provides the most beautiful rose gray fleece to work with and in return, she lives a stress free life. Sweaters and shawls made from her wool sell for our highest prices. Even if they didn't, I'd keep making them, if only for myself. It's a strange relationship we have, Rose and I, but it works for us. I'm so glad I have her.

As far as goats go, it's Mr. Hermes all the way. He holds the honor of being the one and only proven buck on the farm and has a great track record. He'll only get three of the six females, though. I'm giving one of my older females the year off and sending two out to be bred elsewhere. I'm not telling Hermes anything about that yet. I'm hoping to be able to use his son, Sawyer, in a couple of years with some of the upcoming kids from the outside buck. Don't they just look like "Me and Mini Me"?

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