The humorous part in all this is the human element. I mean, we take the girls to the boys or however we are doing it this time, and then we monitor the ritual closely.
Well, some of my girls take it closer than I would like. They know me, and trust me, therefore when they are pregnant, they run to me to save them from the big scary Macho chasing them. I am sure you can see where I am going with this... I usually get green myself. It is quite comical, I'm told, to see me ducking and running from said harassed female who in her great desire to flee the pen forgets to turn her head to aim the spit his way, causing me to dodge the great flying green as I go. For the record, while it is only green food that is partially digested, it stinks, stains, and causes me to run around with my mouth open drooling, trying not to breath in the fumes too.
To let you know, my alpacas do not spit on me intentionally for no reason. Occasionally I am involved in a food fight, or domestic dispute through merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the only time I have ever been spit on intentionally was while weighing a female's brand new cria (What are you doing with my baby???!!!) or giving a shot in the butt, and let's be honest, wouldn't we all like to spit at our doctor when that happens to us??
On to my Arwen Undomiel. It is fall 2006, and she is spitting, and spitting... and isn't pregnant. Last real breeding was 9 months ago, and we thought she was pregnant, but no, the ultrasound in August says, not so much.
Now Arwen needs a guy who doesn't get discouraged easily. She doesn't like breeding, and will sometimes spit even as she is dropping for breeding. Enter Luxor- he is a "yes means no" kind of Macho.
In very early August (4 days before the ultrasound to be exact) during a cool spell we had tried her again. She dropped for a breeding! Trouble is, it only lasted 5 minutes... tops. Then she popped up like a Jack in the Box and was done.
Now Luxor is potent, and he has a nice, er, um, "set" but 5 minutes is really not going to cut it. The actual time it takes the male to reach the right spot is pretty long, both in distance and in actual time, not to mention the rest of the act required for pregnancy to result.
So, come October we are thinking, she has got to be open still, and we start trying again in the cooler weather. She is acting so pregnant, and we are unable to convince her she couldn't possibly get pregnant from a >5 minute breeding. So we look over her behavior all year long, and consider she might have a retained CL making her think she is pregnant when she's not, and talk to the vet about using a hormone to dislodge it, but we would never do this without another ultrasound to make sure there isn't really a cria in there. The most common reason for being unreceptive, is pregnancy! Hearing horror stories about breeders who use Estrumate, thinking their female is not really pregnant, and then the next day finding a dead cria in the pasture were not needed for us, we know better.
So here we go for yet another ultrasound.... and lo an behold, she is pregnant!
Ah, the joys of being a breeder. The ups, the downs, the spits and misses. The sting of being wrong....... who knew what we were really in for 10 years ago? Not I.
The moral of the story? When you breed alpacas, wear rain gear and protective face covering, or risk getting covered in green slime..... um, nope, that's not it.......
When in doubt, trust your female and get an ultrasound, or, two or three. LOL, and yes, nearly immaculate conception is entirely possible.
Oh, and Go Luxor!!
Tune in next week for the "How to Drive Your 2-legger Crazy with False Labor" chapter. I laughed, I cried.... it moved me, and it will you too!