A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 6, 2009

It’s hard to have a cria when your back’s against the wall!

Bjorn's cria - glad to have found his way into the world!

Bjorn's cria - glad to have found his way into the world!

That’s what we had to tell Bjorn yesterday as she tried to deliver her cria.

Yesterday wasn’t particularly a hot day, but it was a humid day making it feel hotter than it actually was.  As we fed the girls in the morning I noticed Bjorn cushed shortly after eating which was unusual for her.  Sure enough she was in labor and once we let her out of the pen where she eats she made her way to the shade of the shelter.

As Bjorn’s labor progressed she wandered around the pasture.  I prepared a pen to put her in once her cria had been delivered.  Being on dry lot I prefer to have a pen with blankets or bedding to put new crias and their dams into so that they can bond after birthing.

Bjorn was definitely seeking out the cool breeze of the fan, but she had strong competition for the prime spot immediately in front of the fan.  Ivanna had already staked her claim to a spot in front of the fan and Black Prince and Buccaneer were cushed there also.

Before long I could see the nose of Bjorn’s cria emerge, but by now Bjorn had firmly wedged herself in front of the fan with her rear pressed up against the wall of the shelter blocking the cria from making any progress.  I tried to move Bjorn so that there was space behind her but as fast as I moved her she moved herself back.  The crias nose came out and went back in again at least twice, and once the cria’s head and feet had fully emerged Bjorn was pushing but there was nowhere for the  cria to go.

Eventually I manage to get Bjorn’s rear away from the shelter wall and with a few more pushes she delivered her cria a large white boy.

Bjorn usually has large crias and at 19.8 lbs this was one of her smallest cria.  You would have thought that Bjorn would be anxious to get her cria delivered quickly rather than position herself to where her cria could not come out.

Bjorn’s cria didn’t seem any worse for wear once he was fully delivered, and was cushed and then up on his feet in a short while.  Bjorn though looked tired after the birthing and took her time resting after the cria was born, but some MSE drench, a bowl of alfalfa and a nice cold bucket of water to drink soon had her up on her feet again.

So we have another white boy to add to our herd.  He’s a handsome looking cria with bright white silky fleece and the dense bone of his sire Zin.  I think he will be quite the good looking lad as he grows up and will be competitive enough to take part in the white classes at the alpaca shows once he is of age.   Now he’s finally out I suspect nothing will stop him!

Rosemary

September 29, 2008

When One Starts They All Start!

Keeva and her cria

Keeva and her cria

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon having her cria the day before National Alpaca Farm Days seemed to start the other pregnant dams thinking about birthing.

 

Saturday morning as I was telling Bethany, our teenage helper, our plans for the day, I looked across the pasture and could see something was different about Keeva.  Lying in the shade of our large blue shelter, with Carina (also due soon) next to her,  Keeva’s tail was making some funny movements – she was in labor.

 

Our cria kit was still in the front porch from Friday when Cinnamon delivered, so it was nice and handy, but my collection of towels and blankets that I use at alpaca births was still in the washing machine.  We made a quick raid on the towel cabinet before heading out to the pasture.  (Note – if you are planning on delivering crias at your alpaca farm a large collection of old blankets and towels is a good idea!)

 

By the time we got to Keeva she had the crias head presented, and shortly afterward two feet appeared.  The delivery went well and with a couple more contractions Keeva presented us with a beige, female cria.  This was such a difference from Keeva’s previous birthing when she had a terrible dystocia (badly presented cria) and had to have veterinary assistance, which ended up with us losing the cria.  This time all went smoothly for Keeva and Keeva was anxious to meet her new baby, sniffing and clucking at the birthing fluids on the ground before she fully delivered her cria.

 

Keeva’s little girl is about three weeks premature.  Keeva had been showing signs that she was not going to carry her cria to term (See blog entry Doing The Cria Dance, September 10, 2008) so we were not totally surprised at her early labor.  Fortunately the cria’s lungs are well developed and with the exception of her being quite sleepy and wobblier than a full term cria she is doing well.  Keeva’s cria is just a little thing weighing in at 13.3 lbs.  We did end up having to milk Keeva a couple of times and feeding the colostrum to her cria to get the cria started and give her a little strength, but by the early afternoon Keeva’s cria was able to get up on her own and nurse from Keeva without a problem.

 

Keeva's Cria Soaks Up Some Sun

Keeva's Cria Soaks Up Some Sun

 

Interestingly Keeva’s cria and Cinnamon’s cria are almost identical in looks.  If you part their fleece you can see that they have different fleece styles, but just looking at them in the pasture it is hard to tell them apart.  They do both have the same sire, Tobiano.  We were very careful to make sure that Cinnamon and Keeva recognized which cria was which once we put Keeva and her cria into the pasture for the rest of the day.

 

So our National Alpaca Farm Day visitors got to see a brand new cria and of course Cinnamons cria who had been born the day before.  They also got to see me looking a filthy mess from taking care of Keeva and her cria but they all understood. 

 

During the course of the day Carina also started to look uncomfortable, but she did not go into labor.  Probably just that uncomfortable day that alpaca dams have about two weeks before giving birth, which will put Carina close to her due date.  Dutchess is the next girl due to give birth, only time will tell if Cinnamon and Keeva have made her thoughts turn to delivering soon.

 

Rosemary

October 23, 2007

Back Home and Look Whose Here!

Chai’s New Cria     Chai’s New Cria Face On 

I made it back safely from Louisiana, my flights were good and I had no trouble making it to the airport on time.  On the drive back to the airport I was again amazed by the Causeway that runs 26 miles or so over water, it was interesting to see the skyline of New Orleans emerge as I drew closer and I couldn’t help but think what it must have been like on the Causeway during Hurricane Katrina. 

I arrived home at 1 a.m. on Monday morning, Ric picked me up at the airport and was ready to tell me how awful the weather had been (high winds, dust and cold) and that Chai still had not had her cria.  Later that morning though it was a different story as we realized during morning chores that Chai was in labor and a cria was on its way.

Chai had a very typical alpaca labor, the first sign I noticed that she was sitting in a different place than she usually sits first thing in the morning and that she had her weight on one hip.  A little later Chai took herself away from the herd and lay down for a while with her neck stretched out and then rolled.  Shortly after that she started visiting the poop piles and straining but no poop was forthcoming.  When Chai moved away from the poop piles and lay down again I approached her gently and lifted her tail.  I could see that her vulva was puffy and that her udder was full.

By the time we fed the girls the cria’s head had not yet presented, but again Chai’s behavior was unusual as she lay down immediately after she ate.  Usually Chai mooches about the pen once she has eaten and waits for her bucket of hay to be delivered, but today instead she lay down and the next thing we knew there were two feet and a head.

The delivery continued on and within a few short minutes we had a cria on the ground, a gorgeous chocolate brown girl.

It was not exactly the best weather for a cria to be born into.  The morning was cool (about 40 degrees) and the winds were blowing at 20-25 mph with 30 mph gusts – brrr!  I had gone into the house to get towels and my cria kit once the cria’s feet and head had presented, while Ric stayed with Chai.  I grabbed more towels than usual and the hair dryer as I knew with the cold wind blowing we were going to need to work fast to prevent the cria from getting chilled.

While I worked on drying the cria, Ric moved some of our portable pens into the small shelter and set up an area that would be more sheltered and warm for Chai and her cria.  He also set up a heat lamp and an extension cord for my hair dryer. 

It took a little while to get the cria dry and warmed up but with some vigorous towel drying and then the use of the hair dryer we were able to get there.  Once the cria was warm she started trying to stand and within a short while was nursing from Chai.

As the day was so cold once we had the cria completely dry we put a cria coat on her.  It’s important to make sure a cria is completely dry before putting on the cria coat or else you stand the risk of trapping in moisture that can make the cria colder rather than warmer.

We were able to let Chai and her cria out for the afternoon to allow the cria to run around and stretch her legs.  We feel it’s important for crias to be out running around as it helps keep their body temperature up and stimulates their newly born bodies to function properly.

So our last cria of the fall is born and Chai did a great job giving birth and producing yet another pretty daughter, that’s three for Chai so far.  Later today our vet will be out to draw blood from the cria for her IgG test and BVD PCR test, we have also asked him to run some routine bloodwork on Chai who had shown some joint soreness in the latter part of her pregnancy.  Chai has seemed quite a lot better since delivering her cria, but we don’t want to make any assumptions about her health and want to make sure everything is working as it should be. We’ve had a great start to the week, now if we can just get the temperature to go back up and a soft rain to fall we will be really happy.  We can’t be too greedy though as life has just presented us with a beautiful chocolate brown cria, so for now we will take that little gift and enjoy her as she develops and grows.

Rosemary

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