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Fall Transitions

Jen and I got to spend an amazing 5 days with Ole Erik and Laila Sjøli and their wonderful kids in Norway last week. Their farm, Alpacajoy of Norway, had purchased several animals from us over the past couple of years and this was a chance to both hang with our new friends as well as see the first generation of crias born since some of the animals have arrived in Viking country. Many, many thanks to Sjøli’s for taking us in and and giving us the royal treatment during their fall vacation week! In addition to putting our hands on lots of alpacas, they also took us moose hunting on the family’s ancestral land, to a hockey game in the city of Hamar, at the same facility that hosted the the hockey and figure skating events during the 1994 Lillehammer winter games, and not that I would ever forget, but also an afternoon was spent at one truly gnarly high-ropes obstacle course. I learned the hard way what those safety tethers are for! Very cool all around, even if there was a little swallowing of the pride involved. We’re already looking forward to heading back to Norway, this time with our kids in tow, hopefully during the summer of 2016!

Some of the 2015 birth class enjoying a sunny day outside the CCNF Arena this morning.

Some members of the 2015 birth class enjoying a sunny day outside the CCNF Arena this morning.

With the arrival of Vivianne’s beige Centurion boy Tuesday morning, there are now only 3 females left to birth out this year. The idea that we might be expectant-female free by the time November roles around feels rather odd, I must say. In years past we have had due girls still on cria watch well into November and even December, which though it is something we are equipped to handle by virtue of the Arena’s warm room, it is undeniably playing with fire.  While we have certainly enjoyed a beautiful fall thus far, northern New England has a habit of turning suddenly inhospitable this time of year (read: 30 degrees Fahrenheit with driving sleet), at least where newborn alpacas are concerned.

As to Vivianne’s little man: his only crime was that he arrived during the wee, wee hours of the morning and was found at 6 AM in the aforementioned warm room already standing, with the placenta long ago expelled and cold on the floor. None of which would normally be a problem of course — quite the opposite — if it weren’t for the fact that we have been dealing with an orphan cria situation for a few weeks now. Vivianne’s über-efficient birthing and mothering skills unfortunately denied us the opportunity to try grafting our orphan boy onto her, thus giving her pseudo twins. One pretty much needs to be in attendance at the delivery to pull that stunt off though (which involves soaking the would-be adoptee in placental fluid to make him or her smell right), so we’ll just have to see if any of our remaining threesome of Acomani, Victorian Majesty, or Moonlight feel like being a bit more cooperative. The poor little orphan boy has definitely been depressed at times and though he’s bonded somewhat with a mom/cria pair in his feed group, it’s a long way from providing the emotional, to say nothing of the nutritional, support of an adoptive dam. We’re not done fighting yet though!

All of the show animals headed to the joint Empire/NEAOBA show in Syracuse for the weekend of 10/26, are now clustered together in their own feed groups at the Main Barn, the same pens to which they will return for quarantine after the show. In fact all things being equal, by mid November when the show females finish their 21 day quarantine period and rejoin the rest of our female herd at the Arena, we may get the entire farm into its winter footing well before the first snow falls. Last winter, the Main Barn and the Stud Barn (which as one might guess, normally houses our mature Herdsires) temporarily switched roles, with all of the farm’s males going to live in the larger Main Barn above our house, and the Stud Barn starting to house our female weanlings come January. We shall see. Though it’s a bit of a balancing act around here once the last animals come off of the outer paddocks and into the barns, it does always seem to work itself out!

Follow me on Twitter @CCNFalpacas

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