Monday, June 4, 2012

Who's Yer Daddy? Observations During First Day of Cria's Life

Kaleidoscope Greeting His Daughter Jujube

The birth of cria is such an exciting time.  I never get bored with the experience.  It is always thrilling, anxiety provoking and miraculous.  Mother Nature is an amazing engineer.  I have had 4 cria in two weeks.  This year was especially exciting because I had used two males that were just starting their careers.  Baloo is my first male born to me that I have used as a stud.  The other male is one I purchased and co-own with Wings and A Prayer that has a quite successful show career behind him.  Would I get an appy like him?  Would I get a gray pulled from his background and mom's?  Waiting for the baby is like waiting to open your presents on Christmas morning.  All that research and decision making process to choose a male and then you have to wait over 11 months to see that prize inside.

After the births, I move my dams and babies to my barn area to bond and recuperate.  I give lots of goodies to mom and there is less space for her to have to chase after a baby just learning to use its legs.  I don't necessarily have the optimum set-up where I can move my males far away from my females.  I don't have much space for them either so I work hard to keep only the males I really need on my farm.  The three males that I used for breeding my first three cria just happen to live in the pasture adjacent to my barn area.  There is just the fence separating them and yes once in awhile there is some flirting going on but fortunately and with a conscious choice, I have males that are pretty easy going guys.  They do their job and boy do they love it but they get along pretty well and the girls nearby don't amp them up too badly.  This year was the first time where the fathers were nearby to see their babies.  It never even occurred to me until mom and baby were standing by the boys that the papas were there to see their babies and I was thrilled to get a family picture.  That is such a rare thing to get.  When Baloo, the low guy in the pecking order in his pasture of three males, chased the other two males away from the fence when he met his baby girl, I wondered if he knew that was his baby.  He stayed near the fence where she was and was very gentle sniffing her through the fence and if the other two came near her, he backed them off.  I even saw saw them all napping together.  There was no flirting with mom.  It was just an attentive presence of mom and dad watching over their baby girl.  I wondered if that was a fluke or did Baloo know that was his baby.

Baloo and his Daughter Miss Marple
 The second baby born was with Windsong and Makeanu.  When I brought them in to the barn area, Makeanu came to the fence and he sniffed the baby while the other two boys stayed back.  Mak wasn't quite as interested in the baby as Baloo but he did seem to watch over things.  The third baby that arrived was Kaleidoscope's baby.  Klyde came to the fence and sniffed at his baby and was so sweet with her.  He watched attentively while the other two males stayed at the far end of the pasture.  Sweet Bell and Klyde's baby took a bad turn a few hours after birth (I wrote about it in my last blog) and out of the corner of my eye, while I was working feverishly and frantically to take care of the baby, I noticed Klyde racing the fencing.  He was so upset.  As soon as the baby was out of the woods, he stopped pacing.  Was he picking up my high anxiety?  If so, why weren't the others pacing and upset too?  Or, did he know that his baby was in trouble?

It is only a statistic of three so not a lot of data to be sure that fathers seem to know their babies.  But, it sure was interesting to observe and notice and track in the future.   My next cria's sires are at other farms so I won't get to observe this behavior again until next year.  Has anyone else seen this behavior with their males and cria?

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