A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 20, 2008

Well Look Who’s Here!


Clarissa's Cria

Clarissa's Cria




Saturday morning as we were doing chores we noticed Clarissa walking a little stiffly.  Waddling around with her tail in the air it was apparent that she was in labor.


According to our records Clarissa wasn’t supposed to be having her cria until mid November so for her labor was about a month early.  All progressed well though with her labor and she delivered a little white male cria.


Clarissa’s cria was indeed little weighing in at only 11.9 lbs, the smallest we have had born on the farm to date, but apart from his small size he was healthy and strong.  He was soon sitting in a cushed position and then was trying to stand looking for Clarissa and wanting to nurse.


Once we had dried off the cria and made sure he was nursing well, we put him and Clarissa in a catch pen to give them time alone to bond.  With Clarissa and her cria settled we went back to our breeding records to check when Clarissa was bred.


Clarissa actually bred four times, once on October 27, once on November 10, once on November 20 and then again on December 2.  The first three breedings had been to our junior herdsire Travesura’s Altiplano Treasure and at that time Treasure did not have any confirmed pregnancies.  Having tried Clarissa and Treasure three times, apparently without success we then bred Clarissa to our herdsire Windrush Moonlight Surprise who is a proven herdsire.  Following Clarissa’s breeding to Moonie she had three behavior tests where she rejected the male and then was confirmed pregnant, so we were thinking that the breeding to Moonie was the successful one.


But now we have a cria, who really doesn’t look like Moonie, and apart from being small looks to be full term.  So the question is for this cria “Whose your Daddy”!  Is he a premature Moonie cria, or is he a small full term Treasure cria?  Well once we send in his blood card to the Alpaca Registry the DNA testing will reveal all, until then all we can do is guess.


At this point I am suspecting that our latest little boy is a Treasure cria; both Treasure and Clarissa are small which might explain the cria’s small size.  Moonie is a larger male and I feel that if the cria was over a month premature we would have some other indications that he was premature such as floppy ears, teeth not being emerged or being down in the pasterns.


Until we get the DNA results all we can do is speculate and be happy that we have a healthy but tiny cria (and he’s quite adorable too!).



September 29, 2008

When One Starts They All Start!

Keeva and her cria

Keeva and her cria





Cinnamon having her cria the day before National Alpaca Farm Days seemed to start the other pregnant dams thinking about birthing.


Saturday morning as I was telling Bethany, our teenage helper, our plans for the day, I looked across the pasture and could see something was different about Keeva.  Lying in the shade of our large blue shelter, with Carina (also due soon) next to her,  Keeva’s tail was making some funny movements – she was in labor.


Our cria kit was still in the front porch from Friday when Cinnamon delivered, so it was nice and handy, but my collection of towels and blankets that I use at alpaca births was still in the washing machine.  We made a quick raid on the towel cabinet before heading out to the pasture.  (Note – if you are planning on delivering crias at your alpaca farm a large collection of old blankets and towels is a good idea!)


By the time we got to Keeva she had the crias head presented, and shortly afterward two feet appeared.  The delivery went well and with a couple more contractions Keeva presented us with a beige, female cria.  This was such a difference from Keeva’s previous birthing when she had a terrible dystocia (badly presented cria) and had to have veterinary assistance, which ended up with us losing the cria.  This time all went smoothly for Keeva and Keeva was anxious to meet her new baby, sniffing and clucking at the birthing fluids on the ground before she fully delivered her cria.


Keeva’s little girl is about three weeks premature.  Keeva had been showing signs that she was not going to carry her cria to term (See blog entry Doing The Cria Dance, September 10, 2008) so we were not totally surprised at her early labor.  Fortunately the cria’s lungs are well developed and with the exception of her being quite sleepy and wobblier than a full term cria she is doing well.  Keeva’s cria is just a little thing weighing in at 13.3 lbs.  We did end up having to milk Keeva a couple of times and feeding the colostrum to her cria to get the cria started and give her a little strength, but by the early afternoon Keeva’s cria was able to get up on her own and nurse from Keeva without a problem.


Keeva's Cria Soaks Up Some Sun

Keeva's Cria Soaks Up Some Sun


Interestingly Keeva’s cria and Cinnamon’s cria are almost identical in looks.  If you part their fleece you can see that they have different fleece styles, but just looking at them in the pasture it is hard to tell them apart.  They do both have the same sire, Tobiano.  We were very careful to make sure that Cinnamon and Keeva recognized which cria was which once we put Keeva and her cria into the pasture for the rest of the day.


So our National Alpaca Farm Day visitors got to see a brand new cria and of course Cinnamons cria who had been born the day before.  They also got to see me looking a filthy mess from taking care of Keeva and her cria but they all understood. 


During the course of the day Carina also started to look uncomfortable, but she did not go into labor.  Probably just that uncomfortable day that alpaca dams have about two weeks before giving birth, which will put Carina close to her due date.  Dutchess is the next girl due to give birth, only time will tell if Cinnamon and Keeva have made her thoughts turn to delivering soon.



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