Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sheba Yaks

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been putting in a few rather late night (or early mornings, depending on how you look at it), changing this blog around a bit! I've added some new tabs up above to give you a look at how we're set up, and a bit about my history with breeding guinea pigs. While looking through old photo albums to find some 'historical' photos to add, I fell in love with the 'Sheba Mini Yak' breed again. We were unknowingly breeding these guinea pigs, just thinking they were awesome little fluff balls!

So I've been searching my networks trying to track some down, specifically a male to be another stud and add some genetic variance to the bubs. Look what I managed to find! This little guy is a lilac, white and ginger Sheba Mini Yak, and he's 5 weeks old. One of the things I love about this breed is that you never know how the hair is going to grow as they get older. It might get to mid-length and stop. Or it might get to ground length! I'll be sure to post progress pics of this little man. I've called him Malakai. I heard the name somewhere over the last few days and knew that I would use it when I found my next boy.

This is his sister. She's jett black with alternating white feet, a dash of white on her nose (almost exactly the same as Yeti!) and a splash of ginger on her back.

I still haven't thought of a name for her. Any suggestions!?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yeti the alpaca

Yeti's original owner and I weren't really sure what to expect from her fur (mum is a jett-black texel called Whoppie, and Dad is a gorgeous big Peruvian). She definitely started out curly, but the extent of her crazy hair has really surprised me. This little lady would give some pedigree's a run for their money!

I know that genetically 'alpaca' guinea pigs are the result of crossing the curl from a texel with the rosettes of a Peruvian, so it really makes sense that she would physically look like the alpaca breed.

It seems really strange to me that Yeti is tecnically the same genetic cross breed as Sheba and Liam's last litter - yet the two pairings produced such different looking animals! I think that's what I love about working with mixing and matching pigs - you never really do know what you're going to get!

Yeti is just over 3 months old now, and considering her tender age - has grown some amazing hair. It is unbelievably thick too. Great for winter - not so good for a Brisbane Summer though... she may have to come and live inside in the aircon in a few months time!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weighing in 22 guinea pigs!

(2 week old Mika posed next to brand-new little Bodie, only hours old)

Here's this weeks weigh in, for Sunday the 28th August 2011:
(I've just popped on the age of the pigs in months (in brackets) for my own ease of keeping track of the as yet un-mated females)

*** Liam's Love Shack ***
Liam is 885g (gained 20g) - 21wks (5m)
Ruby is 985g (gained 85g) - 23wks (6m)

*** Sprout's Pad ***
Sprout is 740g (gained 35g) - 20wks (5m)
Kobe is 800g (gained 15g) - 26wks (6m)

*** Girl's Mansion ***
Alba is 805g (gained 65g) - 26wks (6m)
Alice is 865g (gained 40g) - 28wks (7m)
Beeno is 820g (same) - 26wks (6m)
Bonnie is 790g (gained 50g) - 13wks (3m)
Custard is 950g (gained 5g) - 4.5yrs
Galaxy is 1030g (gained 105g) - 34wks (8m) (pregnant, due approx 23/9/11)
Ginger is 925g (gained 75g) - 23wks (6m)
Sparrow is 860g (gained 40g) - 20wks (5m)
Subi is 1115g (gained 45g) - 2.5yrs
Yeti is 520g (gained 35g) - 13wks (3m)

Crumble is 850g (same) - 39wks (10m)(nursing)
Molly is 195g (gained 60g) - 2 weeks
Mason is 210g (gained 65g) - 2 weeks
Mika is 200g (gained 65g) - 2 weeks

Sheba was 1200g (gained 100g) - gave birth, now 820g (loss of 380g - of which 335g was baby) 31wks (8m)(nursing)
Bear is 125g (newborn)
Bodie is 100g (newborn)
Ben is 110g (newborn)

A pretty good effort by everyone this week with a total piggy weight of 14.7kg! No wonder we go through SO much food!!!

We also have a confirmed pregnancy for Galaxy, and possible pregnancies for Alice and Ginger, but's its a bit too early to say for sure yet. The girls are big and chunky and healthy anyway, so I won't class it as confirmed until I feel actual movement.

Crumble's babies are doing SO well! I am loving watching them get braver and faster and more cheeky each day. Their hair is really starting the lengthen now too. It's a bit tricky to see on the boys because they have smooth coats, but you can see it on Molly due to the rosettes that make her hair stick up. The boy's have hair this length too. Considering they're only 2 weeks old, this is a pretty good sign of some beautiful coats to come!

(trying to show the length of Mason's fur... he didn't want to play the taking-photo-game. He wanted to nibble my finger!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sheba finally delivered!

My 6month old woke me for a feed at about 5am this morning. I sat there half asleep while he fed just wanting to crawl back under the warm blankets, when I remembered about Sheba. The last time I'd checked her was 11:30pm. No babies then - but she was looking a little restless.

So once my little man was safely tucked back into his cot, I snuck in to check on Miss Sheba. And sure enough there was a cute little face snuggled in next to her.

I didn't want to wake the kids, so I tried to stifle my excitement while I checked Sheba was ok and lifted out the babies. Three BIG boys! My hubby came in while I was checking them over (he knew they must have been born when I hadn't come back to bed!). They were dry and so so clean, so must have been born in the early hours of this morning, Sunday the 28th August 2011. (It always astounds me how clean the mumma guinea pigs keep themselves and the bubs during birth.)

I tried to go back to sleep, but just lay awake thinking of names for them. When it got light enough I got a better chance to check them over and get some photos (see posts below). We've called them 'Bear', 'Ben' and 'Bodie'. These are just their name's while they stay here with us though, and their new families are totally welcome to change them!

First impressions suggest that these guys will be more Sheltie-like than anything, no curls unfortunately. I shouldn't really be surprised though as the curly gene in guinea pigs is recessive, so unless Sheba had texel/alpaca in her genetic history the bubs were never going to have curls. They will carry the curly gene though, which means that if they were mated to another curly carrier, or a curly pig, the resulting babies would be a mix of smooth and curly (and/or maybe even tufted like the peruvian!).

(The happy parents are shown below, Sheba is the peruvian and Liam the texel.)

Sheba's Baby Boy - Bodie

This little bundle of gorgeousness is Bodie, the runt of Sheba and Liam's three new baby boys. Bodie weighed in at a very healthy 100g though, so when you consider that that an average newborn guinea pig weight is about 85g, we probably can't really call him a runt!

Bodie is predominantly white, with cream and cream agouti eye patches, then cream and cream agouti rump patches as well. Really pretty colour combination.

He will most likely end up looking like a Sheltie when he's older (long straight hair that grows to the ground (very much like Crumble), but genetically he has the peruvian and the texel background. Makes for an interesting mix!

Sheba's Baby Boy - Bear

This is Bear, he's the biggest of the three babies weighing in at 125g. He has a big cream face like his daddy, white and cream patches down one side and cream agouti patches down the other side.

Bear's fur is extra thick. And just that little bit longer than you'd expect on a newborn. I don't know if this is because he's bigger/fatter than his brothers, or if he'll end up with a thicker coat as an adult.

Bear will most likely end up looking a lot like a Sheltie, but is genetically a cross between a Peruvian and a Texel. (genetics are weird!). With his slightly longer/thicker/fluffier fur though, he may end up with a little more unusual coat than a regular Sheltie would have.

If I'm allowed to choose a favourite baby it would be Bear. He's so quiet, calm and chunky. Just my kind of pig. That could all change in a few weeks though as the babies come out of their shell a bit more!

Sheba's Baby Boy - Ben

This is Sheba and Liam's third little man - Ben. He weighed in at a very healthy 110g and is the wriggler of the three!

He is predominantly cream agouti with his big white nose stripe and a patch of white and cream on his side/rump. He too will most likely end up looking like a Sheltie, but will have the genetic background of the Peruvian and the Texel.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Home grown parsley

Almost exactly a year ago we moved into our current house, and I decided I wanted a vegetable patch! We knew we had to fence it off from the toddler, and the puppy - which we did. But it kind of meant that the garden got left to it's own devices a bit. One of the few plants that is still growing really well is the parsley. Which is so handy because the guinea pigs LOVE it. And it has heaps of vitamin C, which they need every day. (and it doesn't get cheaper or easier than picking your own home-grown 'organic' parsley!).

Liam was quite partial to it this afternoon. He gobbled down his piece in about 20sec!

Alice is a little more cautious. She still ate it. But wanted to keep an eye on me and that strange black contraption in my hands.

I thought I'd show off her crazy backside hair-do too. It's like a guinea pig mullet - business at the front, party at the back!