Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Record Keeping

This is our latest cria, Lost River's Charger.  He was on his feet in about 15 minutes and jumping and running within the hour.  Charger was a wonderful surprise for us, since we'd had a stillbirth earlier in the day.  You can catch up on those details at my other blog.

Now on to record keeping.  I have a white board in the barn where we keep track of all of the breedings, due dates, births and weights of the crias.  I use red markers to indicate a breeding, and green to indicate a rejection.  Ha ha, green for spitting off.
WELL, I had apparently converted a few of the breeding dates to due dates on the board, and when I copied them down to enter into the computer records, I used that date as the breeding date instead of the due date.  I hope I only did this on the one girl.  We spent a month waiting for a cria, and were convinced the dam was well over a year of gestation.  When she went past 375 days, I realized my mistake.  Unfortunately, she is the one who had the stillborn, after all that time and waiting and watching.
Good record keeping is important in your herd management, but is also essential to your own sanity.  There was a time when we were starting out that I knew every little detail about each alpaca, their  genetics, their fiber statistics, their birthdate, due date, and service sire.  I guess some of that saved data needs to be purged so I can remember the more recent details.  You know our brain is like a large filing cabinet.  We just have to figure out where the details are filed.
So, I try to keep a paper file and a computer file on each of our alpacas.  We use a computer program called ALPACAEASE.  I've been very happy with this program.  Updates are available every year or so, but I've just used the basic program and found it meets our needs.
Now it is time for me to update the medical records on all the critters.  I've gotten really lax about that and need to be more vigilant.
According to my records, our next crias will not be born until August.  Unless I copied that info wrong.  In any case, they should not come any sooner.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Day 373 of pregnancy for Princess Buttercup.  Sigh.  Poor thing.  Yesterday I observed her lying on her side and pushing, three different occasions.  Why does she stop pushing?  So, I checked her and could tell she was not dialated, but what is going on?  This is not right.  Finally called the vet.  He did a thorough exam and said she was having "positional labor".  The baby is very big, and she's trying to get it into position to birth.  Usually, when you invade the alpaca this way, it stimulates the system and they have their cria within 24 hours.  Not our Princess.  She is so uncomfortable, and is humming to her baby already.  This is almost as bad as being pregnant myself!!!  I can't wait to get this cria on the ground.