A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 26, 2008

Another New Arrival With An Interesting Quirk


Yesterday was a beautiful warm sunny day, too nice for one of the three remaining pregnant girls not to give birth.  This time it was Melody’s turn.


Melody is a maiden alpaca, so this was her first time birthing.  She went into labor shortly after she had been fed, taking herself away from the herd, sitting rolled on one hip and flaring at the nostrils.   Melody made several visits to the poop pile, initially passing poop and then not passing anything.  Textbook signs of labor in an alpaca.


Melody’s labor progressed well and I could start to see a nose arriving.  It looked dark and I called Melody’s owners (Bob and Regina Dart) to give them an update.  I went into the house to get my usual collection of supplies and towels and when I came out I could see more of the crias nose was presented but the amniotic sac was still in tact.  As I looked at the cria I could see that it was actually had a light nose but it looked dark because the amniotic fluid was a deep yellow color.


Usually the amniotic fluid on an alpaca cria is a clear color, I had not seen this yellow color before.  I burst the sac to release some pressure, which would help Melody make some progress.


The delivery went well, and Melody delivered a beautiful white male cria, except he wasn’t quite white, he was bright yellow toward the rear!  Bright yellow is certainly not on the color chart of the Alpaca Registry, so what was the deal with this bright yellow coloring?


In addition to the bright yellow we could see the cria had what appeared to be poop on his hind legs.  By this time Bob Dart had arrived along with Mitch Murry from Sandy Acres Alpaca Farm, who was visiting Bob and Regina.


We decided a call to the vet was in order, our concern being that maybe Melody had torn some of her bowel during birth.  Being a Saturday the vet’s phone went to his voicemail so we waited for him to call back.


In the meantime Bob called Regina to tell her the latest news on the cria and Regina got on her computer and did some research to see if she could find any reference to bright yellow amniotic fluid and feces in the amniotic fluid.  Regina quickly found a reference to just what we were seeing, except it was in goats.


Apparently sometimes prior to or during labor and delivery goat kids can pass their Meconium while still in the amniotic sac.  This causes the yellow coloring and poop on the cria’s hind legs that we were seeing.  This does not usually cause any problems with the cria unless the birth is difficult and the cria aspirates the fluid into the lungs.  Melody’s cria had a good birth, certainly not traumatic so it seemed as if everything would be okay.


I later went online and found a reference to this situation in goats at http://goat-link.com If you scroll down to the heading “Meconium” you will be able to read a little about this condition and if you scroll a little further you will see a picture of a goat kid whose fleece looks like Melody’s cria’s fleece did due to meconium staining.

Feeling a little more reassured that all would be okay with Melody and her cria we went about the usual routine of drying of the cria, dipping his naval and ensuring he was able to get up and nurse from his dam.


Melody seemed fine for the rest of the day, eating hay and keeping an anxious “new mother” eye on her cria.   Her cria nursed and slept as newborn crias do.


Today is supposed to be another nice day and so it would not surprise me if we have another cria born, only this time it will most likely not be yellow!



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