Monday, September 22, 2008

Bred Females come in all shapes and sizes

You know how individual women carry their babies differently while pregnant? Some remain thin, and look like they merely tucked a basketball under their shirts. Others begin to develop third chins the minute the pregnancy test comes back positive. I will not comment here on which one I was (my reticence to share may provide a clue...hey, they were twins!)Well, Alpacas are the same way!

I have been totally fooled by a chunky alpaca who turned out NOT to even be pregnant, though I would have bet a week of barn chores that she WAS! That is heartbreaking. But what I find even more interesting are the girls who you would swear were NOT pregnant by looking at them. I had occasion to ponder that question today. One of our females who is due in early November looks downright svelte. I purchased this female after she gave birth last year. She came here and we bred her. There have been ultrasounds and spit tests, all indicating pregnancy. But she doesn't look it. So I called my friend and this alpaca's previous farm manager, Jamie at Windy Ridge Ranch. She tells me that Bella will carry low to the ground and not out to the side. It looks like her center of gravity may be getting lower, but nothing earth-shattering. I asked about Poquita as well, because she looks like she's carrying triplets and she's only about 90 days pregnant. (Alpacas gestate for 11-12 months so she has a ways to go.) Poquita, she says, will almost drag the ground with her belly once she's ready to deliver. Now this I gotta see! (and capture on film for you to see)

Last year, Delilah was shorn in the Fall so she was pretty much naked. She was due in November and her belly showed NO signs that she could be pregnant. I asked a long time alpaca breeder to look her over. "There's no way she could be pregnant", we agreed. But she kept spitting at the boys. Hmm. Had an ultrasound done. Um, baby. And when he was born he was a decent sized baby too! So some moms really pack them up tight, and others let it all hang out. An aside: The Australians call the process of the alpaca giving birth "unpacking". I love that!

I am sooo disappointed that I do not have photos for this post. I have to get some really pregnant alpaca pictures soon. Readers, if you have any pictures of really pregnant alpacas please send them to me, and I will post them. I remember Crimson used to get as wide as she was tall. Why didn't I photograph that? And if you have any funny alpaca pregnancy stories please share them with us in the comments section!

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