Friday, October 30, 2009

A Couple of New Pictures

Just a couple of quick pics of the crias of HHF. Hasn't Tip grown? I think he is going to be a beast like his daddy Impact. Mama Caitlin is no small gal herself. The fawn girl in these pics is Currency, she is a 200 pounder so that kinds shows how big he has gotten.
The one pic of out newest, HHF Clare, is the best I could do at the time. I took bunches, but they were all a blur as she is just pronking around their pen like a silly little cria. I will work on more pics this weekend.
I was wondering about how she came up with her coloring. Her Mama is a black and daddy is a multi-color brown. She is definitely a fawn color. Well I looked into her daddy Artemus' background, she takes after her paternal GF, he is a medium Fawn, and he is spectacular.
She is a keeper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Well, it happened again. I got home from work on a cloudy drizzly day, went out to feed and clean up after pacas since Kevin was down in VA Beach on political business. I am carrying seven feed tubs full of paca chow, and what do I see but another bitty baby cria. This one is really early, Annie was not due until 11/17. The cria was so new that she still had afterbirth on her.
Well, as I said, Kevin was almost two hours away and it was drizzly weather. We did have a pen all set up for birthing at least and I did have supplies. I just picked her up and carried her out, Mama Annie followed me quite closely. I put them in their pen, pulled off the afterbirth and dried her up a bit. Finished cutting off the rest of the umbilical cord and put iodine on the stump. Annie is a bit more of a friendly paca than Caitlin was.

She started trying to nurse right away after I put them in the pen. Of course her first attempts were between Annie's front legs, but she did get it right shortly with a bit of a nudge from Mama. We tried to weigh her, but the damn battery in the scale is dead. I will pick one up tomorrow. She is a tiny thing. I will get our vet out ASAP.
Sheesh, my girls are trying to make my "naturally" blond hair turn grey.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Since Little Tip is now about 5 weeks old it was time to breed Mama Caitlin again. We decided to breed her to Artemus. Keep in mind that this is the first time we have done this.
Kevin leads Artemus over, luckily, I had the brilliant idea to leave his halter on. Kevin let him loose in the pasture and Artie turned into a Wild Man. He went after everyone but was completely ignoring the only one who wasn't preggers. Of course, Chloe and Drizella, who are pregnant were majorly pissed off. Spit was flying everywhere. Artie was only thinking with his little head so he wasn't the slightest bit effected by the spitting. It was amazing that he could be mounted on the back of a running female and still keep up with his hind legs only. Kevin finally caught him by the halter and led him over to Caitlin. She being the Superstar that she is, did exactly what she needed to do.
It is certainly interesting to watch. She just kushes and he does all of the work and makes some really funny noises the whole time. Apparently, the noises a male makes causes the female to ovulate. He went to town for a good 30 minutes, he rolled off one time and got right back on. He was finally done and Kevin led him back over. Boy was he panting, he promptly put both of this front feet in his water bucket to cool off.
I think these pics are funny, nothing like having an audience when being all romantical. Notice little Tip was all over the place. He was sticking his nose in all kinds of places wondering what the big guy was doing to Mom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alpaca Showing Basics

I was asked to talk about what showing alpacas entails. Until last weekend, I had no clue at all. I learned so much and really enjoyed myself.

The first thing I will say is that it is so much easier than showing horses. Here is why:

1) Bathing them is frowned on, it is bad for the fiber.
2) Grooming them is frowned on, it is bad for the fiber.
3) You don't get marked down for an unruly paca.
4) Transporting them is really easy, you don't have to wrap their legs since they lay down the entire time and they rarely crap/pee in the trailer.
5) The only tack you need is a black paca halter and lead.
6) The handler is supposed to wear a white shirt and black pants with black shoes, although, from what I saw, this isn't exactly enforced.

We did halter classes with Baby Annie and Portfolio. This entails leading them in at a certain angle and walking them down the long line of the ring. The judge guides you to either stand in profile or walk directly forward. The judge will then inspect each paca. First they want to look at teeth, then they feel all over them for their fiber, then they lift the tail and check out their "parts." For NCC, I did not see one paca spit on anyone.

Baby Annie was quite good for the inspection. I wish we would have been able to get a critique of her but the judge only does that for the animals who are in the ribbons. She was in a large class and showing in a color class that really wasn't where she should have been. I really think there should be a way to get a critique of each paca even if they don't pin. There is a rule that a class can't have anymore than 14 entries. Geez, in the hunter world where I have shown, 14 is just a regular sized class. The thing about it is, these animals are pretty much very young, a critique from a judge would be very helpful in knowing how to breed the animal to improve it's young. Oh well, what the hell do I know!

As far as Portfolio, he was showing in the mature beige class. He was quite the Gentleman and was very impressive. He is just so very big and solid. We never did see any paca his size or bigger. Like I said, he caused quite a stir. The judge had issues with his teeth. She said they were quite long. I told her that we had them done recently, she was surprised. I did explain that the poor guy had been somewhat neglected, when we had them done, our vet had to take care of long teeth as well as 3 fighting teeth. He didn't want to do too much at one time. Oh well, I was really proud of him and several people thought he really was the best one out there. She was really lucky he didn't kick the shit out of her when she raised his tail and checked out his package!

There are other types of classes at paca shows:

They judge just fleece that is sent in, as a matter of fact, our guy Artemus' father won a fleece class at the age of 5 over all other age groups at the National show.

They do some performance and showmanship classes that I think are mainly for kids.

Then they do have some production/farm classes which judge the breeding programs of the bigger farms.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Virginia Alpaca Expo

Kevin and I just got back from the Virginia Alpaca Expo on Sunday. We took Annie's Choice and Mr. Portfolio. Lots of planning went into this because Portfolio is a stud and she is a sweet young thing. Kevin, as usual, worked things out beautifully with various gates and bungy cords.

The weather was pretty crummy, cold, cloudy and damp but the rain mostly held off.

I learned alot and talked with lots of people who know alot about alpacas. I discovered that alpaca show classes are based on sex, age and color. Baby Annie was considered a juvenile because she isn't a year old yet. She had to show in the true black color class because there were no other juvenile bay blacks in her sex. It was a large class and she didn't pin. I was very proud of her, she acted very well. Portfolio is a beige and showed in the mature class because he is five. He did get a third. We also realized that he was pretty much the biggest paca at the show and there were 450 entries. He caused quite the stir.

I wish I could post pictures but that is the one thing that Kevin didn't do well, however, I won't go there.

I did discover that several of our pacas really came from some top quality bloodlines, so the future for Hummingbird Hill Alpacas is very bright!!