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!
Rosemary

June 19, 2009

A Surprise in More Ways Than One!

Chai's Surprise Cria

Chai's Surprise Cria

Tuesday brought us a pleasant surprise.  Ric had an appointment in the morning and checked on the girls before he left.  I checked on the girls before I walked the dogs, checked on the girls again before I finished the chores in the boy’s pens and then went into the girl’s pens to turn on the fans before I let Blue out of the house for a potty break.  I was thinking that after I had seen to Blue I could return to feed the girls.

Instead a surprise awaited me as I walked around the corner of the shelter, for there on the floor was a black male cria, cushed and almost dry!  There were several girls in the shelter, but it only took a couple of seconds for me to see that Chai (her real name is AB IYIYI but we always call her Chai) was the mother of the cria.

Chai was just two days prior to her due date so for her to deliver a cria was not really a surprise.  What was surprising was that she had not shown us any signs of being in labor.  No sitting around, no frequent visits to the poop pile, no getting up and down to strain.  Chai had simply delivered her cria very quickly and apparently with minimal effort.  The cria look strong and healthy and Chai was looking surprising undisturbed by her recent delivery!

The other part of the surprise is that the cria is black, as the cria’s sire is our Enchantment’s Prince Regent who is white.  While Regent has thrown a black cria out of a black dam in the past, we had thought that we would get a cria who was fawn or lighter from his pairing with Chai. That’s the fun of alpaca color genetics, you never really know what you are going to get!

Chai’s cria is a handsome boy, tall like his dam with tightly curled shiny fleece.  At the moment he looks to be more of a bay black than a true black, but Chai’s previous cria Kaneka started off being a bay black and was true black by the time she was six months old.  This little boy is darker than Kaneka was so I feel he too may well be more true black as he matures.

It’s always nice to have pleasant surprises and when you find a healthy, good looking cria waiting for you along with a dam who has had an easy delivery it makes for a really good start to the day.  Within a short while Chai’s cria was up and about checking out his legs and then nursing from his dam  – while Queen’s cria sat outside the pen where we had put Chai and her cria anxiously awaiting the time when he could play with the new arrival!

Rosemary

May 18, 2009

Will She or Wont She?

That is the game we will be playing at the farm as spring cria season comes upon us.  With several girls due to have their crias over the next six weeks we will be watching for signs of impending labor.

The first girl to set us on our toes in anticipation is Rose Marie.  Rose Marie is due on May 30, but as I write this blog entry I am getting the feeling that we may well be seeing her cria before then.

Rose Marie was shorn this Saturday (May 16).  As she was so close to her due date we gave her some banamine to help prevent or stop any contractions and some Acepromazine to sedate her a little.  By the time we sheared Rose Marie she was definitely under the influence of the Acepromazine.   

With all of the pregnant girls we take extra steps to be careful when shearing them.  We lower them onto the mat as gently as possible and try and get them shorn as quickly as possible.  The pregnant girls may look a little less “polished” in appearance once they are shorn, but safety of the pregnancy is much more important than appearances.

Sunday turned into a great day for cria delivery, sunny with temperatures into the 70’s it was a beautiful day.

Shortly after feeding I noticed Rosie cush in front of one of the hay feeders, taking her time to lower herself to the ground.  Her actions were different from usual and enough to catch my attention.  I know from experience that with alpacas it is the subtle signs that give you a clue something may be happening.

Rosie didn’t get up to join the herd when we put out beet pulp shreds, which is not like her at all.  I kept a spoonful of the shreds for her and took them over to her once the other alpacas were all busy eating.  Rosie nibbled at them but not as heartily as she normally does.

The next odd sign with Rosie was her straining over the poop pile.  She did pass some poop but stayed at the poop pile a long time, even chewing her cud as she stood there.   Finally she took a couple of steps and then cushed close to the poop pile – hmm something was definitely going on.

Rosie stayed cushed for a while but then kicked her legs out to the side a little.  After a while she laid on her side, still chewing her cud, again an unusual behavior.  I stood close to Rosie and watched her for a while.  She was not groaning and did not seem to be distressed.  There was a little movement of the cria towards Rosie’s rear but no contractions that I could see.  Rosie didn’t look puffy in the rear end and so I started to wonder if she was just in the process of rearranging the cria.  I decided to give her a little longer to see how things progressed.

About 30 minutes later Rosie was happily eating at the hay rack and I was starting to think that perhaps she was not in labor at all, but at the next check (about another 30 minutes) while Rosie was still heartily eating there was another change.  Now Rosie was puffy under the tail and the other girls were occasionally sniffing her.

So who knows or as the title of this entry says “Will she or wont she?”  It is difficult to say, this is only Rosie’s second cria and with her first cria she showed no signs of impending labor and then delivered her cria at night.  Fortunately I do nightly checks on the pregnant girls and discovered Rosie in labor that time.

My suspicion as I write this blog entry (it is now just past noon on Sunday) is that Rosie may be in the early stages of labor and that we may have a cria this afternoon or tonight.  Then again perhaps what I witnessed was just a change that indicates the advancement of Rosie’s pregnancy.  Time will tell, and until the time the cria is born we will be playing the will she or won’t she game.

Rosemary

October 8, 2007

Pregnant and Uncomfortable

Our alpaca Chai is showing signs that her pregnancy is taking its toll on her.  Throughout the day she cushes a lot and she is delighted that the fall out from the big bale in the large shelter provides her with a cushioned area where she can cush and eat at the same time.

It’s not unusual for the alpaca girls to slow down and take things a little easier in the final stages of pregnancy.  I must admit though that I am a little surprise that Chai is sitting around as much as she is as she is not as big as she usually is by this stage of pregnancy.  It has been warmer than usual the past couple of days and that may be taking it’s toll on Chai, the next couple of days though are supposed to be cooler so we will get an opportunity to watch Chai in cooler conditions and better gauge her behavior.

Chai does usually act a little differently toward the end of her pregnancy, whereas she is usually one of the first to get into the pens to eat when she is heavily pregnant Chai seems to think that going into a pen is not a wise idea.  The past two days Chai has refused to go into her normal pen for morning and evening feed, it’s not that she doesn’t want to eat, once we catch her she eats her food with gusto, but she definitely gets wary of the pens.  Perhaps she feels that if she is in a pen and goes into labor she will not be able to move about as she would like to, or that us two-leggeds (humans) will bother her too much while she is giving birth.

Chai is only 14 days away from her due date if we base that date on 345 days post breeding, and as Chai usually has her crias around the 345th day of pregnancy she will probably go a little longer before having her cria.

The other night when I checked on the girls Chai’s cria was being very lively, kicking poor Chai hard – no wonder she is feeling a little sore.

We will be keeping a really close eye on Chai until she has her cria, checking her udder daily to see if it is getting enlarged, checking under her tail to see if she has any puffiness in that area and watching for signs that she is in labor (sitting on one hip, frequent unproductive trips to the poop pile, rolling on each side).   When the time comes for Chai to have her cria I know that she is a girl who prefers me to keep a little distance, so I will respect that fact and watch her from a distance that is far enough away for her to feel relaxed yet close enough to step in if she should need assistance.  In the meantime though I will watch and wait and look forward to the day when Chai’s cria makes its entry into the world.

Rosemary

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