Love is in the air at Windy Hill. Everything is green, the weather is warm (but not too warm), and the almost-2 year old girls cush at the slightest provocation. Walking any alpaca down the center pathway past the adult males is accompanied by wolf whistles and standing up on the fence. Anticipation is high!
But let me pause for a moment and show you that our safety protocol is in order. The twins who come to volunteer frequently had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. Of course, they couldn't come out to the ranch for us to sing Happy Birthday, so instead we sent them a video of their alpaca. [All safety standards were carefully adhered to] A good time was had by all!
We decided to start breeding season a little early this year with some pasture breeding because the weather is so nice. Yesterday I put 7 girls (4 of them maidens) out in a pasture together, and then last night as it cooled off I introduced Admiral to them. It was hysterical to see all the girls gather round him saying "Pick me! Pick me!" After some deliberation, he chose silver gray Victoria. She plunked herself down, he climbed on and began to sing.
The happy couple was blissfully unaware at first of the stir they caused (you can only see a small outline of Admiral behind Honeysuckle Rose).
The maidens began to circle, sniffing and asking questions:
"What are you doing?"
"What is that song he's singing?"
"Who is he, anyway?"
"Can I play too?"
Some of the experienced girls watched silently out of the corner of their eye. They knew. They were just waiting. One of them left and started eating at the other end of the pasture. She wasn't interested at all. It will take her a couple of days to get with the program--her hormones and the stars all have to align.
After I came home, Tracy texted me to say that he had also bred Pepita. A maiden. Such good news! This morning they were all happily grazing together. One big happy family. I find that when I put a group together to pasture breed they naturally fall into a pattern of breeding at night when it's cooler. I guess that's true Alpaca Romance.
I'm not sure how many pasture breedings we will do this year. Below is a picture of how we usually set things up. We breed by appointment. Because our alpacas are registered, we need to know who Daddy is, so we bring the male of the day to a breeding pen, and put the chosen female in with him. Sometimes he will breed a couple of girls in a day. This way with a young male who needs a little coaching (like the alpacas in the next pen) or an older male who has a little arthritis in his hindquarters we can monitor and assist more easily. We also can be sure that they only do one or two breedings in a day. Our breeding pens have a carpet of green grass, all the better to stay clean.
With any luck, 11.5 months later, you get a beautiful little cria like this guy from last year. 😀
Here is one of those great success stories that we like to celebrate with our alpacas. Seminole Wind had a big ugly bump growing on her muzzle. Sometimes these skin issues come up and we never know from where. It appeared, based on past experience, to be fungal. In the past, the vet has come out, giving it a name in Latin that means something akin to "cruddy skin", and suggested we apply any number of remedies to resolve it. Then we spend weeks putting product after product on the spot until it goes away. It's rarely clear what caused it, or even what solved it.
This time I decided to use a zinc based moisturizer on it and add a couple of drops to pure, water-based CBD to it. The lesion was twice as big as the one in the first picture (I wish I had taken a picture that day, but didn't anticipate such a dramatic change so quickly!). I applied it heavily. The next day it looked like the first picture! I was shocked! I even have witnesses. I reapplied the cream and waited for the next morning.
Nothing prepared me for what I found. The lesion was completely gone! The skin was smooth, and it was hairless like the day before. Amazing! I washed it and reapplied the cream. By Day 4 I could see no reason to keep her at the barn any longer and turned her out.
The third pictures shows Semi 1 month later--all her hair completely grown back!
I had thought of using the CBD product on Semi because I have used it for skin issues that I have had-- a skinned elbow, a rough patch, and a suspicious looking bump on my arm. In all cases the problems resolved very quickly and thoroughly-- much faster than I would have imagined. I also take this product for arthritis and have almost no pain anymore. Headaches gone. Amazing stuff!
If you are interested in finding out more, I sell it and can help you get some. Just give me a shout!
805-907-5162 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I plan to try it with any other skin issue that an alpaca has, and might even put a smidge in an eye that has irritation or infection. I'll let you know how it works. 😎
I understand California is moving into STAGE 2 as of Friday this week. Good news! If you are thinking about raising alpacas, this is a great time to get started. Give us a call and before long we can invite you out to talk business!
Being at the ranch might also lower your blood pressure.
Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ Somis, CA ~