A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 23, 2008

Another Plate to Juggle

My poor blog has been neglected these last few days as my time has been needed elsewhere.  Shearing is still a priority and gradually we are getting there.  We still have 19 alpacas left to shear but some of those are girls who are due to have their crias at any time and who will probably not be shorn until after giving birth.


In addition to shearing we are still bottle feeding our little female cria who was born in the early hours of last Saturday morning.  She is up to 3 hours between bottles now and most likely will soon be able to go four hours between feedings.  She had a bit of a set back as she contracted an infection but thankfully has responded well to antibiotics and is now a lively little thing.  We have finally come up with names for her and Queen’s cria but I will disclose those in another entry. 


On Wednesday we were just about to start chores when we noticed that Bjorn was in labor.  Bjorn’s labor went well and within a short time she delivered a hefty 20.5 lb white male cria, followed shortly by a 9.2 lb. placenta.   That’s nearly 30 lbs that poor Bjorn was carrying around with her!  Bjorn was understandably tired after delivering such a large cria so we gave her some hay, some pellets and a 10cc dose of MSE probiotic enzymes.  We also started her on some arnica Montana to help reduce the bruising and swelling that can follow giving birth.


Bjorn’s cria is a beautiful boy with crimpy, shiny, dense fleece and a beautiful head style.  We are quite happy for the cria to be a male as he will not be related to most our herd.  But there is a problem with him, hopefully one that will rectify itself, for our new cria’s front legs bend backwards. 


We have had our vet examine our new boy and he explained he has seen this condition a lot in horses.  He does not believe the condition to caused by either nutrition or genetics and is optimistic that eventually the crias legs will be normal.  For now our vet has advised us to confine Bjorn and her cria to a small stall to reduce the area that the cria can walk in and also to protect the cria from our rambunctious weanlings.  Splinting the crias legs may be an option, but our vet tells us that in his experience the results of splinting are not much better and splinting brings with it other complications such as pressure sores.


So now when we go out to feed our little girl, we check on our big boy and his dam, making sure he is getting up to nurse, massaging and flexing his joints to the correct position and keeping the stall clean to prevent him from lying in the poop pile that Bjorn has established.  Poor Bjorn is anxious to be cooped up and I think that later today we will let her out for a little walk around the pasture, provided her cria does not get too upset at her being away from him for a short while.


It’s funny how things happen in batches, for years we have had few problems during birthing season and this year we seem to be making up for the years when we were problem free.  At the moment it feels as if we are juggling plates as we move between bottle feeding, giving medicines, working with Bjorn’s cria, watching for signs that another cria is about to be delivered, shearing and just keeping the business running in the meantime.  I have to say that if it were real plates we were juggling we would be in trouble as I have dreadful eye-hand co-ordination, so we will take the “plates” that life is throwing at us for now and hope we continue not to drop them!




  1. Rosemary,
    Last fall we had a cria born whose front legs bent backward. It kind of looked like they were hyperextended. After a few days, he was straightening up and now is in great shape! If the ‘bend’ is not too extreme, he should be ok.

    Comment by Leigh — May 23, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  2. Wow 20.5 lbs, we have not had one that big before. Congrats on all your babies so far. We just have one more due in a couple of weeks then we get a break till early Fall.

    Comment by Tami — May 23, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  3. Hi Tami,

    Thanks for your comment. Our girl Bjorn has always had large crias, and they are beautiful too. Bjorn is an excellent dam and her crias are always tightly bonded to her. Good luck with your last spring cria.


    Comment by alpacalady — May 26, 2008 @ 5:40 am

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