Weaning the crias !
The winter months are often pretty quiet on the ranch, a good chance to try and get caught up on some paperwork and fibrework. However there are still somethings that are very necessary to do, the main one in February was weaning the crias from their moms.
Crias are usually weaned around the age of 6 – 7 months old. By this time many of the moms are already limiting the amount of nursing the cria can do, mom knows if the cria needs milk or if it is looking to nurse for comfort. As most of our crias are born within a one month time span we try to wean everyone at once. If a cria is very big, healthy, and causing mom to lose weight we will wean the cria earlier. We have one cria this year that is a bit smaller than she should be by now and lucky for her her mom is not pregnant so we are going to let her stay with her mom at least another month. As well as still nursing from mom she and one of the skinny adults get fed a special mash twice a day without any of the others around them. They are fed while we are doing the chores so we can monitor them and be sure they are both getting enough to eat and hopefully they will start putting weight on.
Weaning is usually more stressful for the crias than the moms. Most moms are more than half way through their pregnancy for this years birthing season, they know the cria is big enough now to do without milk and they are glad for a bit of a rest. The crias on the other hand aren't too happy about this new arrangement. They whine and cry off and on for the first couple days, some of them stand by the gate trying to see their mom in the other pen, but they adjust to their new pen mates and do fine. They will quickly find another adult to lay close to so they feel safe, usually a sister, aunt or grandma. Funny thing – the male crias usually take it harder than the female crias.
Two days after weaning I quietly walked into the barn so the alpacas didn't hear me, the crias were pretty quiet eating hay or resting, the minute I said “hello girls” the crias all started whining, many came over to the gate as if asking me to put them back in with mom. So they adjust better than we think they do, they are also smart enough to know “no point crying over no milk” if there isn't any human there to listen and soft sob too.
OTHER NEWS AND HAPPENINGS
Most of the Covid restrictions have now been lifted. We do still ask guests to please wear a mask if possible and to sanitize hands as you enter the gift shop. We also sanitize between each group of guests and all our staff are fully vaccinated.
Earlier this week we had our first VIP Tour. I introduced myself and welcomed them as our first VIP tour guests, it was a complete surprise for the lady she had no idea where she was going and when she got here still didn't know what she was going to see, but she was thrilled when she learned she was going to get to spend 90 minutes up close and personal with our alpacas. What a great way to spend the morning.
March Break is March 14th to 19th this year, if you are looking for something different, warm, soft and fun book a tour for the family to come visit our alpacas.
Book a Tour
Our big project next week is creating and filming a 30 minute presentation on how we produce our felted products for our Laslyn Alpaca brand. This video will be part of a presentation that Carolyn is doing for The Ontario Handweavers & Spinners 2022 Webinar series Amazing Alpaca Fibre. We are excited to be part of this webinar series. If you would like more information on this webinar series you can visit the OHS website.
We've resolved most of the tech issues that were holding up the launch of our Adopt an Alpaca program so watch for an email in the next couple of weeks announcing that.
Once we have the video wrapped up and the adoption program launched we'll get the contest going that was put on hold due to the last lockdown. So watch for an email from us for your chance to win a free Alpaca Lovers Tour.
For our GTA/ southern Ontario visitors please remember to dress warmly it is usually a bit colder and snowier up here than the GTA. The tour is in the barn so we are out of the wind, rain or snow but the barn is not heated and will be about the same as the temperature is outside.
Don't forget that all of our alpaca products in the gift shop are now available in our on-line shop Laslyn Alpaca
If you are not comfortable attending a tour at this time please consider buying a gift certificate for a tour to use at a later date. It would help us out during this difficult time. Please also consider supporting small local business's where you live.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Doug, Carolyn and all the alpacas at Kickin' Back Alpaca Ranch