A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 11, 2008

What A Week That Was

Carina's Cria

Carina's Cria

 

First I would like to say a big thank you to all who emailed kind words or posted them to the blog following Beeper’s passing.  It means a lot to us to know there are so many caring people in the world.  Cinnamon has settled down, but still looks for her cria every now and then; only time can help her now.

 

I usually take a break from writing the blog a couple of times a week, but when you see a break for several days it’s a sign that something else is demanding my attention and that was the case this week.

 

Following Beepers death on Monday, we had happier news on Tuesday when Carina went into labor – a cria was about to make its entrance into the world, and what an entrance she made.

 

As we watched Carina in labor we started to get the feeling that all was not right with the delivery.  Carina had managed to deliver the crias head but after waiting a short while there was no sign of the crias feet.  I examined Carina and discovered that the cria had its front legs folded as if it was cushed.  There was no way that cria was coming out without some help.  I tried to get one leg free but could not get the cria back far enough to give me room to maneuver the leg, so we decided that it was time to call the vet.

 

Fortunately our vet was out headed to an appointment in Portales, which is South of us.  While he was able to get to us quickly it seemed like an eternity, during which time we tried to distract Carina to stop her from continuing to push.  Alpaca pellets, hay and soaked beet shreds were all employed but each would only distract her for a few seconds.  Carina’s body was telling her to push.

 

When our vet arrived he immediately went to work and was able to free the crias leg and deliver the cria.  By this time Ric was completely convinced that the cria was a boy, as the cria was large, but when we took a closer look we discovered that the cria was a girl.

 

When we had been deciding who to breed Carina to last year, Ric had pointed out that we didn’t own any daughters from our herdsire Enchantment’s Prince Regent.  Regent’s daughters have all been sold or born to other alpaca owners.  Ric said he thought we should have at least one Regent daughter in our herd and so Carina was bred to Regent in the hopes that their breeding would result in a girl.  I don’t know what Ric said to Regent to make that happen but it worked for we did get a girl.

 

Following the birthing Carina was obviously sore and tired and initially the cria seemed vigorous, but as the day went on we realized that she too had soreness.  The crias neck was bent and we could feel a couple of the neck bones protruding – she needed a chiropractor!  When the cria tried to stand on her legs she was uncomfortable and her right shoulder turned in at an odd angle.  Poor thing must have been really squashed on her journey into the world.  The cria was also two weeks early, but was a healthy 17 lbs. and apart from her joint discomfort she seemed fully developed.

 

With such a sore dam and a sore cria we knew we would need to work to keep them both comfortable and to help the cria nurse.  Carina was put on arnica to help with the bruising and was also given some banamine to ease her pain.  We were reluctant to give the cria banamine until she at least had nursed some colostrum.  As long as the cria was cushed she seemed comfortable and so we put her on blanket to cushion her from the ground.

 

To get the cria to nurse we were able to put her in a cushed position on my knees and then raise her up until she could reach Carina’s udder.  The cria nursed heartily and so began a regimen of helping the cria nurse every hour by putting her on my knees and supporting her.  We also massaged the crias neck and shoulders, which she really enjoyed, particularly between her shoulder blades.  It was good to feel her muscles start to relax as we worked them and to see her doze off while being massaged.

 

Unfortunately Ric had to leave town the day after the cria was born and so my days and nights have been spent working to help the cria nurse and of course doing the routine chores.  It’s not the first time I have had to work such long days and nights and probably won’t be the last, but the reward for all of those hours of work is looking out in the pasture early Wednesday morning and seeing our new little girl taking some shaky steps followed by a little buck and a kick – progress!

 

I am happy to report that as of Friday the cria is now able to stand on her own to nurse, trots along beside Carina and still enjoys her massages.  The cria is still not quite up to joining Sleeper and Dutchesses cria in cria races, but she gets more active every day and will no doubt soon be joining in the fun.  Her neck is straightening out and her shoulder joint has returned to a normal position.  Carina too is a lot more comfortable now and has been able to come off the banamine and arnica, but we will be waiting until the spring to breed her back.  After such a traumatic birth some extra recuperation time will not do her any harm.

 

And as for me, on Friday night I was able to have my first full night of sleep since Beeper was taken ill, and I can assure you I had no trouble sleeping!

 

Rosemary

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