A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 23, 2007

Just Look At Those Curls

Zoies CriaWell I’m glad I stayed home after all, as yesterday morning Zoie had her cria.  I noticed Zoie looking a little uncomfortable when I went out to do my morning check at 7 a.m., her udder had been a little enlarged the night before so I suspected that her cria could be born soon.   Zoie was in the early stages of labor and fluctuated between having contractions and walking around as usual, while doing a little hay eating.

By 10 a.m. Zoie was in the final stages of labor and I could see one little white foot.  I got closer to her to check that the other foot was not far behind and thankfully it wasn’t.  The second foot had a little nose pressed up against it and I could tell that things were a little tight.  I jiggled the two feet a little to get them into a better position and with the next contraction some more of the crias nose was presented.  By this time I could see that the crias head was quite large, and I hoped that with Zoie being a maiden dam that she would be able to push the head out without a lot of problems.  Zoie was a trooper though and after a few more contractions the crias head popped out (while I winced in sympathetic pain for Zoie – getting that head out had to hurt!).

After birthing the head Zoie was tired and lay down for a short while.  The cria was gasping and flapping as crias being born do.  Quite often at this stage in labor the dam will walk around with the cria flapping and even wander over to eat a little hay.  This “hanging period” gives the cria a chance to drain the birthing fluids from it’s nose and mouth, while giving the dam a short break from the pain of labor.  Once Zoie had recovered she gave a couple more contractions and the cria was born – a beautiful white boy!

This was one vigorous cria too, he literally took one look around him and then immediately cushed.  He tried to stand minutes after that, but his legs were just not keeping up with him.  The usual crowd of herd aunties had gathered and so I put Zoie and her little boy in a pen for a while to allow them to bond.  I also gave Zoie a well-deserved bucket of feed and hay and a fresh bucket of water.

The cria has nice heavy bone, shiny bright fleece and curls all over including his top knot and the sides of his face.  He has a great head, broad and well shaped, not that Zoie thought it was that great as she tried to deliver him!  I suspect this will be one good-looking boy as he matures.

Zoie is being a great, attentive dam and frets if she cannot see her cria.  Her cria has found a spot behind the large shelter which is shady and where he likes to lie, which drives Zoie crazy, as she cannot see him.  I have been trying to encourage the cria to lie in other shady spots so that Zoie can at least see him from the various hay feeders but he really likes that hidden spot.

My one concern for the cria is that Zoie has enough milk for him.  Shortly after giving birth I checked Zoie’s udder and had a hard time trying to get milk out of it.  The cria fortunately was determined to get some milk from Mom and nudged and sucked on Zoies udder until the milk started to flow.  I don’t see a big milk moustache on the cria when he comes away from nursing so I hope he is getting enough, but his energy levels have been good so when I weigh him this morning I hope that he shows good weight gain.  If not I will be tempted to give him some goats milk as a supplementary feed at least for a couple of days.  It is always difficult to know with maiden dams how there milk production will be.  Zoie’s dam always produced good milk and so I was hoping Zoie would follow in her footsteps.

Meantime Ric was busy at the New Mexico State Fair, our lovely black female Shiimsa took second in her class and our boys behaved well during the herdsire parade.  This morning Echo and Rascal are in the first class of the day, followed by Rian and Treasure and then Ric will be done.  Fingers crossed our boys will get ribbons tomorrow too.

So once again it was definitely worth my staying home, you just can’t beat watching a new little life enter the world!

Rosemary

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