An unusual New Year’s first baby

Staff writer

He was a big baby, weighing around 14 to 16 pounds and standing around 3 feet tall, and not your usual New Year’s first baby.

Owner Cristi Soyez said it is usual for alpacas to give birth early in the morning, so she estimates the time of delivery at sometime just after midnight Jan. 1. Her daughter found him and his mother out in a snowy pasture and put the pair in the family’s barn, where Soyez and her husband, Frank, found them a short time later.

“It was quite a shock,” Soyez said. “We didn’t know the mother was pregnant. We have four males so somewhere along the line there was an oops. Most celebrate a two-legged baby on New Year’s. We celebrated a four-legged one.”

Soyez said her 9-year-old granddaughter, Shannon, of Marion named him Snowflake because of his snowy white coloring.

“I thought he might be an albino because he is so white,” Soyez said. “He has big pink lips. Snowflake is kind of appropriate because he was born on a snowy day.”

They have narrowed his father down to two of their males, who also share Snowflake’s pearly white complexion.

“When you register an alpaca you have to do DNA testing to show that the mother and father are both purebred and registered,” Soyez said. “Samples are usually taken before birth and sent in.”

She said since all their animals are registered they won’t have a problem with registration, and by sending in Snowflake’s DNA, they will be able to answer the paternity mystery.

Snowflake has been welcomed by the Soyez’s herd of 22 alpacas, goats, and a donkey at their farm in Cedar Point. He is the first baby born on the farm in several years, Soyez said.

“We’re waiting until it gets a little warmer before letting him out,” Soyez said. “He needs to stretch his legs. While the others love this cold weather, it might be too cold for him.”

Soyez said both mother and baby are thriving.

“He’s a funny little thing,” she said. “He’s so cute, and you can do so much with the white fibers that I think we’ll keep him. My granddaughter would never forgive me if I didn’t.”

 

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