A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 4, 2007

She’s Here! – A Right Decision, A Beautiful Reward

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Reproduction, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — alpacalady @ 7:01 am

Queen’s New CriaWhat a day it was yesterday.  Ric set off for Denver in the early hours of the morning.  I decided that as I was up I could get an early start on chores.  Of course one of the first things I did was to check on Queen and I noticed that she was keeping herself away from the herd.  I kept an eye on her for a little bit but she seemed otherwise okay and so I pressed on with feeding the boys.

When I fed Queen she seemed even hungrier than normal (if that can be possible, it seems as if her appetite has been huge the last few days).  I noticed prior to feeding her that she seemed to be cushing more often than usual so I checked her udder and the area under her tail for signs that she might be ready to give birth.  Queens udder was slightly enlarged but the area under her tail was looking quite normal.  Often in female alpacas that are about to give birth the vaginal area becomes swollen and puffy looking, in some alpacas this happens just a day or so before birth in others it can be a couple of weeks before birth. 

Once Queen had finished eating I again notice that she was cushing and seemed a little uncomfortable.  Usually I leave her locked in her pen with her feeding mates until after I have scooped up the poop, but something told me that I needed to let Queen out to walk around.  Sure enough a couple of minutes after I had opened her pen gate she came out, took herself away from the herd and cushed again, only this time she rolled a little onto one hip.  This position of cushing often indicates that labor had started and this was the case with Queen.  Queen’s labor was pretty quick and by the time I had walked up to the house and back to get my birthing kit and towels the crias two front feet and head were already presented.  I let Queen go through a couple more contractions on her own, but she did not seem to be making much progress with the shoulders of the cria.  On the next contraction I gently pulled out and down as she contracted and the cria started to come.  One more contraction and the cria was born.

I made sure I got the cria onto a towel to try and keep it out of the dirt, and started drying the cria off.  As soon as Queen had a chance to sniff the cria and recognize it as hers I carried the cria into a small pen and laid the cria on a nice soft blanket that I had spread out on the floor of the pen.  I then continued to dry the cria off while Queen sniffed the cria.

The reason for putting Queen and her cria into a pen by themselves is that the other alpacas are very curious about new born crias and sometimes it becomes a bit overwhelming to have the whole herd sniffing their new baby.  By being in a pen with just the cria the dam and cria have a chance to properly bond.

Having dried off the cria a little I then dipped the cria’s navel in a 7% iodine solution to prevent bacteria entering the crias system via the umbilical stump.

While I was doing this Queen was already passing her afterbirth.  Once the afterbirth was passed I removed the wax caps from Queen’s teats and checked to make sure Queen had milk – and she had plenty.  By this time the cria was warmed up and dry and starting to stand up, so I helped the cria over to Queen and within a short time the cria was successfully nursing.

So my decision to stay home was the right one.  While Queen had a routine delivery it would not have been fair on our ranch sitter to have left her to handle it.  And what was my reward, the most beautiful bronze colored female cria!  Our new girl really is a beauty and has a soft shiny fleece that almost looks like velvet.  Already I see some characteristics of her sire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel and I am very pleased about the result of breeding Queen and Zin.

I have had a lovely day watching and caring for our new cria, she seems to have a sweet personality and I see great things in her future.  Now all I have to do is decide on a name for her, but that’s another story!

Rosemary

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