Yea or nay? The mysteries of breeding

Well I wrote last about attempting to get our 3 girl alpacas bred to our herdsire Hershey.  We have a system in place now, along with the addition of catch pens, that have aided tremendously in having success this year I hope. 

No matter how you look at it, or how you try to deny it, you have to have the right tools to achieve success.  Sometimes you try to do without to save money, but evaluate how well that is working for you.   We did not have catchpens last year and since we acquired one for the girls and one for the boys this year it has improved our processes tremendously.  You have to “catch” them up in the pen to halter them, or groom them, or whatever.    It was just an accidental/unintentional purchase when a nearby farm was retiring and selling everything and when we visited them they had catch pens for sale.  We bought two. 


So with spring breeding we have hopefully been successful.  I have my notebook with the girls names on each page and recording the dates they rendezvous with Hershey.  It would appear at this point in time that he was successful in each first time breeding with each girl.  We have done followup rebreeds at one week intervals spaced a couple days apart for each girl  and so far they all are spitting him off (and I mean plastering him with the green stuff, and us as well if we are in spitting distance).  So I will move our “spit tests” now to monthly and see if pregnancies are holding, then have the vet do progesterone tests later on.  I record everything we do for each girl.  We record everything we do for all the animals healthwise, but the breeding requires more detailed notes.  We have been doing breedings in the evenings as it fits better with our schedules.  There have been many conversations about how farms “create” the female cria/baby, and several said time of day made a difference, with evening being high on the list.  We shall see.

After much frustration last year, without catchpens, and trying to get Hershey and a girl together in his fenced in barn space, it just didn’t work well.  There was too much room where she would run away and he would stand in the corner timidly.  We learned the trick is to get them close together (i.e., catch pen) .  The female needs to kush; our guy just will not be aggressive enough to chase.  Some farms I have heard “help” the girl kush to get things going.   We halter both animals and can hook up a lead if needed.  Getting in and holding the girls tail out of the way helped a lot.  We didn’t try wrapping the tail as some recommend.   Hershey also learned what the catch pens were for if there was a girl in there; and was much quicker in getting down to business each time he was taken to the pen. 

I really, really hope we have three successful pregnancies.  I bought all my animals focusing on grey and rose grey and they all have grey, silver or rose grey in their lineage.  The gestation is 11 months to 12 months and I will be very anxious for  successful  deliveries.  I am keeping my fingers crossed we are on the right path this year.


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