A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 13, 2009

Talk About Picking The Moment

TeQueely's Cria - new born, wet and wobbly

TeQueely's Cria - new born, wet and wobbly

When we first started raising alpacas another more experienced alpaca breeder told us when it comes to the delivery date of crias the dam chooses the week and the unborn cria picks the day.  If that’s the case our latest cria must like his mother to work hard for he (yes another boy!) decided to be born at 2:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon when the temperature was 104.

We had noticed that TeQueely had seemed a little uncomfortable during the day and was visiting the poop piles frequently.  Seeing that activity we expected a cria shortly after the end of morning chores, but by then TeQueely had settled down, eating hay and chewing her cud in the shade of the shelter while sitting in front of the fan.  This was not the first time TeQueely had behaved like this during the late stage of her pregnancy and on previous occasions TeQueely had settled down and the cria had not been born.  During the course of the day TeQueely went through having moments of discomfort and then settling down again.  TeQueely never seemed to be in distress but I was starting to get a little concerned that perhaps something was not right.

Fortunately my fears were unfounded.  I had a vet appointment for Blue the puppy to receive her second shots at 2:45 p.m. but when I went out to check on TeQueely one last time before I left for the vets I found her actively pushing.  She was definitely in labor this time.

A quick call to the vets rescheduled Blues appointment, and by now I could see a little nose starting to emerge.  I decided that the sundress I was wearing was probably not the most appropriate attire and so made a quick dash to the house to get changed, grab my cria kit and some blankets and towels.   I am so glad we chose to have our female pasture right in front of our house so that I can get to my supplies while still keeping an eye on what is going on in the pasture.

By the time I got back to TeQueely the cria’s head, neck and front legs were delivered and I could see he was a big cria.  TeQueely was holding up remarkably well considering how hot it was but I knew she must be tired and she still had to deliver the crias shoulders, which were not exactly small.  So as TeQueely had the next contraction I assisted her in getting the crias shoulders out.  Those shoulders took a little manipulating but with another good contraction out they came followed a short while later by the crias body and hind legs (by now I was covered in birthing fluids and was really glad I wasn’t still wearing a dress!).

TeQueely is a great mother and was soon sniffing and clucking at her cria, while her cria, who by rights should have been tired, after such a delivery was full of life kicking and rolling around on the blanket I had placed him on.  I wonder how many human mother and babies would have been that lively after a delivery in 104 degree heat?

Just looking at TeQueely’s cria you can tell he is no lightweight.  His sire is Snowmass Andean Night owned by our friends Bob and Regina Dart, I have seen several Night crias and they were nowhere near as big as TeQueely’s cria, I guess TeQueely must have been feeding her cria well during pregnancy.    Later when we weighed TeQueely’s cria he was 20.6 lbs, that combined with the 9 lb placenta TeQueely delivered a few hours later meant TeQueely had lost close to 30 lbs in an afternoon!

TeQueely's cria, dried off and taking a well deserved rest

TeQueely's cria, dried off and taking a well deserved rest

I still cannot believe that TeQueely’s cria would decide to be born on such a hot day, but thankfully all went well and I accredit that partly to TeQueely’s general good health that gave her the stamina to go through the birthing process.  Usually we plan for our crias not to be born during such extreme temperatures, but some early very hot weather thwarted our plans this year.  TeQueely is the last of the spring pregnancies though so now we can take a break from cria watch until the early fall.

TeQueely’s boy is a beautiful cria; he has a shiny, soft bright fleece that has beautiful crimp when parted.  At the moment his tendons are a little lax, a side effect of being such a large cria cramped up in a small space, but with some exercise, sunshine and supplemental vitamins A, D and E those tendons will soon adjust and I think we will have a handsome future herdsire on our hands.

Well done TeQueely!


February 7, 2009

Delivering Crias Long Distance

Here I Come - A New Cria Enters the World

Here I Come - A New Cria Enters the World


Thursday afternoon brought us a telephone call from Dale Amer a retired Air Force friend of Ric’s.    Dale and Ric worked together in the Air Force for several years, when Dale retired from the Air Force he went into a construction related business in Louisiana.  Last year Dale had contacted us about alpacas and the alpaca business.  After visiting with us Dale purchased some alpacas from a farm in Louisiana, the owner of the alpacas was looking to retire and as the alpacas were already acclimatized to the heat and humidity of that area they were a good purchase for Dale as a new breeder.


With all of the storms that have taken place in Louisiana and the surrounding states Dale has been extremely busy with his construction business and has not had much time to update us on his alpaca business.


Thursday afternoon though, Dale arrived home to discover that one of his maiden female alpacas was having a cria.  Dale has delivered calves before, and has also owned horses that foaled, but the horses foaled at night so Dale never saw them being born.  To be on the safe side Dale gave us a call to ask us if what he was seeing was normal.


Apart from the delivery being a little later in the day than is usual for alpacas, what Dale described to us over the phone sounded to be a textbook delivery. Head, neck and legs were presented, the cria was breathing and Dale was seeing regular progress.  We stayed on the phone with Dale until the cria was on the ground and then let him go to take care of the alpaca and her new cria.  A follow up call a short while later let us know that both dam and cria were doing well and that the cria was a girl!


We answered a few questions Dale had, mentioned a few tips and aspects of care that might be helpful to him and then let him get on his way to enjoying the first cria born at his farm.  What a great moment to share with a friend over the phone.  Congratulations Dale, we hope your new cria continues to follow the path of the easy delivery that brought her into this world and that she goes on to bring you much success.






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