Petite Shenanigans - Super Mom
(Zorro PC G188 X Bandita PC G156)
There just are not many like our “Shanney”- 15 years old, proud mother of 12 and cria number 13 due in this spring. This little dynamo threatens to outlive us all and do so with gusto. And, it has been more than a numbers game with Shanney; whatever she does, she gives her utmost. All of her crias have been of top quality. Four of her five sons matured into handsome studs including our present senior sire and all time favorite fellow silver Fantasy’s Gremlin. Her daughters (her last five have all been girls), share her huge eyes and quality plus cute trademark and are now passing these on to their own crias.
We picked out Shanney when she was a petite woolly doll barely 4 months of age and brought her home after she was weaned. Her dam “Bandita” was an eye catching black with a mask, four white socks and lots of attitude. As was typical in the early days of alpacas, Shanney’s sire was unknown until blood typing became available 2 years later. We had a very sweet name picked out for our new little girl but it soon evolved into “Shanney,” short for “Shenanigans,” as we got to know her better and better. She would be looking up at you in the most appealing way with her huge dark eyes one minute, then seconds later be chasing the dog or terrorizing a cat. She has always liked attention but wanted to do things her own way. We halter broke her soon after she arrived, but to this day Shanney has refused to just walk at a person’s side. Instead, she prances lightly along when going out for a walk. When asked to stop, she will prance up and down in place until allowed to move on. When she was young and encountered something formidable out on a walk, she would stick her head between my arm and my side and continue that way until the danger had passed. She liked visiting neighbors as long as the human conversation was not too long and would look straight up into a person’s face from her belt buckle height position.
When Shanney was a year and a half old, we took her to be bred to a handsome black male, but she would have nothing to do with him.........or our second choice of males. Six months later, we were asked to come pick her up since she still was very anti- male. The last week before we picked her up, however, she was penned up with five older, barren females and three proven males as a last resort. When we arrived to get her, we found her lying in one of two feeders in the pen, nibbling on hay and daring any of her pen mates to approach. According to the management, no one had seen a male any where near her.
We brought Shanney home for the winter, planning to try her with some other male in the spring. Shanney seemed very happy to be home but was more uppity than ever. A couple of weeks later, we were taking blood for progesterone analyses from our other ladies and took a sample from her, too. Never one to be outdone, Shanney’s test results came back much, much higher than all of the others! We assumed the father was one of the three males with whom she had spent her last week away and were hopeful that the new blood typing tests would identify him from the other two.*
Ten months and one short contraction later, a surprised Shanney delivered a darling dark fawn son in the middle of the community pile. We quickly moved the little guy to clean, grassy area several feet away with Shanney following closely. Seconds later, Shanney assumed the role of super mom, defying any one to even approach young “Dickens.”
From the birth of “Dickens,” Shanney took motherhood seriously, protesting--sometimes violently-- human interference with her role. She definitely does not believe in the vaccinations of crias and can spot a syringe from quite a distance. A strict and demanding mom, she feels responsible for her own and any other cria in the vicinity. Her very favorite son was not allowed to leave her side and play with the other crias until he was almost four months old even though he was the oldest in the group. Another year she raised her own cria while providing gratis day care for another cria born on the same day. (Watching over the two of them kept her plenty busy and pretty much out of trouble for the duration.)
Since her first tryst, Shanney has had a thing or two to say about our choice of partners for her. She generally goes for older, dominant fellows. Twice we have had to literally talk her into the likes of a first time male; her attitude saying “you must be joking, can’t you find something better” until finally giving in to the young male with a ”let’s get it over with” sigh.
While being almost constantly pregnant and raising crias, Shanney has also managed to be first in line for food and self appointed leader of her pen group. She is almost always the alpaca that gives the alert call when a strange animal comes on the property and can sense ahead of the others when going out of the pen means something enjoyable like cleaning up spilled hay or visiting with friends down the aisle way and when it means trouble--vaccinations, nail trims, etc. And, when she senses the later, she does her best to gather the rest of her pen mates and run in the opposite direction.
Always an opinionated gal, at one time Shanney secretly authored “Please Pocita,” the advice column in the original ”Alpacas!” newsletter. Now fifteen years old, dam of our senior stud, as well as, dam, grandam and great grandam of many others, Shanney figures that she deserves the exalted title of “Super Mom” in the archives of Fantasy Farms Alpacas and intends to rein in that capacity for many more years. We think that she just might become a record setter one day since only her fiber seems to reflect her real age.
As a rule, Shanney has tried to instill her values on her daughters, sometimes even long after weaning, but with limited success. Though her daughters are maturing into top mothers themselves, they have tended to be less daring and all-knowing than she. For any one interested in adding this top producing female line to their herd, Shanney’s last two daughters, Fantasy’s Gaiety (pregnant to black Fantasy’s Anthony) and Fantasy’s Petite Patrice, would make very good selections.
No doubt, Shanney derives much of her hardiness and capacity for motherhood from her dam Bandita, one of the original 1984 Pet Center imports from Chile. Bandita is one of a very, very few alpacas still retained from that group by Bill Barnett and has produced a number of fine crias over her 18+ years. (Alpacas of America told us in December of 2000 that Bandita remained in good shape, but they were uncertain if she was still producing.)
If you have a female alpaca that has produced over a dozen crias, we would like to hear about her, as well as any of Shanney’s offspring, grand kids and great grand kids that we have lost track of over the years. Please send us a note by email.
*As it turned out, none of the three males in the “last chance” pen qualified as the sire of her cria. Neither did the male that we had sent her originally out to be bred to nor our second choice of males. Shanney had managed to come home pregnant but do it her way, as usual. How she managed to pick the sire without human knowledge of her encounter was never discovered. After blood typing the last 14 males at the stud farm, we finally found the sole qualifying sire, a large white male which supposedly was never near her but did, in deed, share some of Dicken’s characteristics.
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