Saturday, November 28, 2015

2016 Outlook

Every year when things start to come to a close, all I can think about is starting everything up again the next year!  That's pretty much the place I'm in right now...planning mode!  Or should I say dreaming mode!

I have a lot of big plans for 2016.  Sure, not all of them will come true, but I can hope!

First and foremost, getting Lily some real exposure in the show ring!  She has huge footsteps to follow in (her full brother was Grand Champion Medium Wool Male at the ILR Gathering and her half sister has won numerous Grand Champions and Best of Shows in 2015), and I know she will succeed.  I'm really hoping to make it to a few of the big out of state shows (March Llama Madness, the Virginia Classic, the ILR Gathering/LFA), as well as some of the closer ones (the NY State Fair, the Big E, etc.).  Our main focus will be halter, but I may show her fleece as well.  We'll do performance at some of them, and I might even make her wear a costume!

Lily at the 2015 NY State Fair.

Second, starting plans for building a new barn!  This is the one that will probably not amount to much, other than the planning, but oh well.  In order for me to become a full-time llama farmer I need to build up my herd, and in order to do that I need a new barn!  We have a nice barn now, but there is very little pasture attached to it (less than an acre), so it is pretty useless.  I hope to build a new barn next to a 6-8 acre field on the other side of the property.

My dream barn!

Last but not least, I think I'm going to get a breeding male next year!  I'm going to need one by spring 2017 if I want to breed Kara and May again (I could even breed Lily at that point, but I will probably wait); outside breedings are just too expensive!  Going along with my overall vision for my ideal llama, I'm going to be looking for a male with awesome conformation, thick bone structure, dense fine fleece, and a nice personality.  It's going to be hard to find though...the thick bone and dense fiber and harder to come by than you might think.  I'm going to try to find a part Argentine, as it will help with those traits.  I'm pretty sure I've narrowed down a few farms to look at when the time comes...  If I can make it to the ILR Gathering/LFA Sale this summer, I would like to bring home a male from the show.  That way I can save a bit on transport and be able to show him at the local shows in the late summer/fall.  I've even figured out where to build a new pen!

I'd love to have a male that looked like this guy!  (Argentine Poltergeist)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Llama Biography #22: Autumn Hill's Khatadyn

The last of our fall 2005 crias was Autumn Hill's Khatadyn.  He's also one of my biggest success stories!

Autumn Hill's Khatadyn.

In 2003 we tried breeding April to the very famous Tuna Catcher at Mark Smith Farms, but for some reason she didn't take.  So the next year we decided to use the breeding with one of our maiden females, Autumn Hill's Catanna.

Autumn Hill's Catanna, June 2005.

Tuna Catcher.

In late October 2005 I came home early from school one day (gotta love fall break!) to find Catanna out in the field with a new baby.  He was doing great, already up and nursing.  However as the day went on, Catanna still hadn't passed the placenta.  It appeared that she or another llama had stepped on it and drained it, so it wasn't heavy enough to pass on its own.  We called the vet, who said to gently pull on it until it came out.  **BIG MISTAKE!  NEVER PULL ON THE PLACENTA!**  My sister and I loaded Catanna in the chute, and my sister started gently pulling.  The placenta seemed to be coming out...and then Catanna's uterus came out with it.  She had prolapsed her uterus.  We made another frantic call to the vet, who said to wrap the uterus in a plastic bag to keep it clean.  We sat like that for a couple hours waiting for the vet to get there.  Eventually he showed up and stuffed Catanna's uterus back inside.  Luckily she recovered nicely, but she did prolapse again with her next cria, so she was retired from breeding.

Khatadyn at a few weeks of age.

Back to Khatadyn...  It was evident early on that he was something special.  I advertised him and our other male cria at our stalls at the North American show a few weeks later, and a man from Tennessee  took interest.  He decided that Khatadyn was the one for him, and we delivered him shortly after he was weaned.  I never even got to show him!

Khatadyn at 3 months.

Khatadyn at 6 months.

But his new owner showed him, and Khatadyn did amazing!  He earned several Champions in the few years he was shown, and got his ALSA ROM and Halter Champion awards.

Khatadyn is one of the  many llamas I'd like to get back, but I've lost touch with his owner.  Hopefully he is still loved!