A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 11, 2009

A Long Awaited Cria Arrives


Theresa Checks Out Her New Female Cria

Finally its a girl for Theresa!

Finally it happened, at 11:10 on November 10th (now how’s that for coincidence being born at 11:10 on 11/10) Theresa’s cria was born – and after five boys in a row Theresa had a girl!

Theresa was bred on November 15, 2008 so by my calculation she had a gestation of 360 days – phew!

We suspected that Theresa was finally thinking of having her cria when she started acting differently late in the day on Monday.  We noticed Theresa was standing a lot, not eating as much as usual and when she did cush it was very slowly.  By 8 p.m. Theresa had started to hum which was a bit concerning as it was an indication that labor was getting closer and we didn’t want a cria born during the night.  Apart from the humming though Theresa seemed otherwise comfortable.  I monitored her until 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday and as she still seemed comfortable at that time I made tracks for bed.

Of course you never really sleep that well when you are wondering if one of your alpaca girls is outside in the throes of labor, by 5:15 a.m. I was up to check on Theresa and could see that she was still cushed comfortably.  Theresa ate well at feeding time, although the humming was still continuing, but after feeding she isolated herself from the herd and then I was certain her cria was on its way.

By 8:50 a.m. Theresa was starting to push.  I have known Theresa for many years and have seen her give birth several times.  I know that with Theresa labor does not progress quickly and just when you start to think you should call the vet she gives a huge push and out pops her cria.   Theresa’s labor progressed as I expected and by 11:05 a.m. I could just see the tip of the crias nose.  Next came Theresa’s usual huge contraction and at 11:10 a.m. her cria was born.

By the time the cria arrived the other alpaca girls had gathered round to check out the new arrival, much to Theresa’s annoyance, so as soon as Theresa was rested and up I took her and her cria and put them in a catch pen to bond.


Theresa's Cria Standing Strong

Theresa's cria tries out her long legs



For Theresa there had been a long gap between crias, following the birth of her last cria she had developed a uterine infection which took a long while to clear up.  Once the uterine infection was gone Theresa was bred again but sadly lost her cria at 90 days gestation when the crias umbilical cord became wrapped around the crias neck.  We have not had that happen before, it was an unfortunate accident but there was nothing we could have done to prevent it and nothing we could do about it.  Theresa was bred again (after we had allowed her body to recover from the loss of her cria) and this time all went well.   Theresa had a good pregnancy, even though it was another long one.

So now Theresa finally has a daughter and what a good looking girl she is.  Her fleece is very curly and soft and like her mother she loves to eat (or in her case nurse).  Theresa’s cria wasted no time in getting to her feet and having a nurse as soon as she was able and Theresa was more than happy for her to do so.

Our congratulations go to Theresa’s owners Troy and Mary Ogilvie of Timber Lodge Alpacas.  Troy and Mary were very patient during the process of getting Theresa bred again, through all that happened their only concern was that Theresa be healthy and given all that was needed to help her have a good pregnancy.  Troy and Mary’s patience paid off and now they have been rewarded with a beautiful female cria.  I am sure Troy and Mary will love her when they get to see her, and knowing them I am betting that will be soon!

September 1, 2009

Beautiful Day, Beautiful Cria

Willow's New Cria

Willow's New Cria

Monday was a beautiful day, temperatures were in the 80’s, a light breeze was drifting across the pasture and everywhere was damp from rain we had received the night before.  It was New Mexico at its best with bright blue skies, brilliant sunshine and some fluffy white clouds in the sky.

Willow must have thought it a beautiful day too for that morning she went into labor.  I first noticed her looking restless at 9:40 a.m., she was sitting on one hip her legs kicked out to one side.  After a while she would get up and walk around then cush again rolling onto one hip or the other.  From there she started pushing a little harder and making those frequent visits to the poop pile that are often a sign of labor in alpacas.  Then her contractions became very strong and she cushed again, rolling onto one hip and pushing hard.

I could see progress was being made and so left Willow alone (that’s the hardest part of watching an alpaca in labor sometimes!).  Soon I could see a little white foot and nose emerging from Willow, followed shortly by another little white foot.  When I saw Willow was between contractions I moved her to a pen so that she could finish labor in peace without being bothered by the rest of the herd.

At 10:40 the cria was born, a shiny bright, snowy white female cria – beautiful!  The cria looked quite small, but when I picked her up she felt heavier than she looked, perhaps an indication of some good heavy bone.  Willow is not a large alpaca and Treasure the cria’s sire is an average sized alpaca and so I expected that the offspring from that pairing would not be huge.  Later when I weighed Willow’s cria she was 14.7 lbs. a nice weight for a smaller dam to deliver.

A Close Up of Willow's Cria's Fleece - if only you could feel it!

A Close Up of Willow's Cria's Fleece - if only you could feel it!

There is no doubting that Treasure is the sire of this little girl for she has his outstanding brightness to her fleece and that silky, slightly waxy handle.  The pairing of Willow and Treasure was a good one and I think this little girl will be one to watch out for.

The usual routine of the day went out of the window as I spent time watching Willow and her cria, making sure Willow passed her afterbirth without problem and that the cria found Willow’s udder and had a good nurse.   Later I let the pair out in a pen so that the cria could stretch her legs and have a trot around, and as she discovered that her legs would carry her well and fast, so Willow ran beside her not wanting to let her new baby out of her sight.

Days like those are just one of the advantages of being an alpaca rancher.  For those first precious hours of that cria’s life you can put the routine to one side and just enjoy the miracle of a new life.  I think you have to agree it’s not a bad way to earn a living is it!


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!



Blog at WordPress.com.