No, I’m not breeding for blindness. lol. However, I have three wonderful alpacas with eye problems. Read My Home for the Blind - Part I (SiSi)
This story begins with a wonderful fawn herdsire named Tre. After we had been breeding alpacas for a few years, we realized that we needed to beef up the density of our herd. (this means we needed our alpacas to have more fiber) We searched for a male who could help us with this goal, and we found an incredible one named Tre.
Tre was gorgeous and very laid back. He went to lots of shows. He would lumber into the showring, half-asleep with an attitude reminiscent of Eeyore. “I’m here. Thanks for noticing.” Never the flashiest guy in his class, but judges usually remarked that Tre had the best fleece in the class. He was often the bridesmaid with a multitude of 2nd place ribbons.
On the farm, Tre quickly became our favorite alpaca. He was so handsome, and so easy-going that my young children could walk him around and enjoy him. With his great personality and textbook perfect fleece, we expected to have Tre for years and years to come.
Then he injured his leg…We imagine that he was playing with the other boys when he tore his ACL. The injury seemed to bother him while breeding so we opted to have it surgically repaired. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake. Tre’s laid back personality lacked the fighting spirit he needed to overcome the complications that followed his surgery. Tre never recovered from the surgery, dying a few weeks later back at the farm.
Losing Tre at age 4 was heartbreaking. It was truly tough on everyone at the farm. His funeral was attended by our family and farm manager, Jeremy. The children made a cross on his grave with the petals from a nearby gardenia bush. We had worked hard to save him. We had loved him so dearly. And we hadn’t bred him nearly enough.
When Tre died we had only 2 of his cria in utero. When the first one came due, we had a horrible situation where a veterinarian (not my usual one) and I disagreed on whether or not the female was in labor. In the end, it turned out the female had been in labor but she wasn’t progressing because the cria was breech. The cria died during the vet’s attempt to deliver the cria from a breech position a day later. (Note: Do not try to deliver an alpaca in the breech position. Experts recommend a c-section for a full breech.) The stillborn cria was a girl who looked just like Tre. The vet and Jeremy tried to revive her for 30 minutes. It felt like an episode of ER. Many tears were shed. The disappointment surrounded us and weighed us down. We cut a lock of her fleece, and buried her atop on her father’s grave.
When it came time for the last Tre cria to be born, I was more than excited and nervous. I dared to hope. My heart had been broken twice that year. I was ready for anything, but I was also hoping so hard for a beautiful fawn female who could carry on Tre’s bloodline. The dam carrying this last cria was Earth Angel, one of the best females we have ever had the pleasure of owning.