A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 29, 2007

Surprise – it’s your birthday!

Rebecca and her criaWell finally the day arrived – yesterday (Wednesday) at 2:20 pm Rebecca delivered her cria.

Rebecca did not show too many signs first thing in the morning that she might be about to have her cria.  We did notice that right after feeding she took herself over to the other side of the pasture and sat away from the other girls.  We had checked her udder during feeding and it was not really enlarged, but Rebecca’s behaviour made us keep a close watch on her during the morning.

By 1 p.m. we were pretty certain that Rebecca was in the early stages of labor.   With some of my girls I can stay close to them throughout the birthing process but Rebecca is a little more wary of people and so we watched her from the living room window using a pair of binoculars.  Unfortunately it turned really windy this afternoon, but Rebecca is a smart girl and headed off into one of the shelters to deliver her cria.

The birthing presentation of the cria was normal and by 2:20 pm the cria was fully delivered – a beautiful 16.1 lb. chocolate brown female cria.  We dried her off using a towel, which also helped stimulate her too.  Rebecca’s cria is strong and appears healthy, within 30 minutes of being born she was standing and looking to find the milk bar (Rebecca’s udder).   Once everything calmed down we called Rebecca’s owners and gave them the good news.  They were thrilled that everything went well with the birthing and that they are now the proud owners of another female alpaca.  I am sure they will be paying us a visit soon to see thier new girl.

Rebecca has handled the birthing process really well and is proving to be an excellent mother.  She has great milk and stands still to allow her cria to nurse.  She also gets concerned if her cria gets too far away from her.

We always leave new dams and their cria in a small pen for the first 3 – 4 hours following birth to allow them time to bond.  It also gives us a good opportunity to make sure that the cria is nursing well and that there are no problems with the cria.   After the bonding period we let the dam and her new cria out into the herd and the other alpacas in the pasture will all crowd around taking it in turns to check out the new arrival.  The llamas too will come over and see what all the fuss is about.

By last night Rebecca’s cria seemed to be doing well, we put a cria coat on her as it was a little chilly outside and we didn’t want her to spend valuable energy on keeping warm.   

We will now start the routine of weighing Rebecca’s cria every morning to ensure she is getting adequate milk.  Later today our vet will be out to draw blood from the cria for an IgG test, BVD test and for her registration DNA card.

So it was an exciting day today, you really can’t beat being present at the delivery of a new life and watching a cria draw it’s first breath and take it’s first steps.

All crias are special, but this little girl and I share a common bond for today was my birthday too!  While I don’t own this cria being present at her birth was a pretty neat birthday present – Happy Birthday little girl, may your life be as full and happy as mine is!

Rosemary

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