Saturday, September 10, 2005

Our new baby boy!

See him at

Dawn had her cria on September 9, but not without difficulty. When we found her in the barn, her baby’s head was out and breathing, but there were no little feet. Typical alpaca births are toes first, then nose. Charles ran to call the vet and Polly, our alpaca friend, and I lubed up and reached in to see what was going on (I’m surprised I did it, too!). I felt a pair of knees pushing up against Dawn’s hips, which meant that Dawn was not going to deliver the baby by herself.

By the time Polly arrived, I had fished out one leg, but the other was now back deep inside. Neither Polly nor I could maneuver it out, so we could only wait for the vet. By this time, Dawn was lying on her side moaning, and the baby was making “Ow! Ow! Ow!” sounds. It was weird to see a two-headed animal making noises like that.

The vet finally came flying up our driveway at unsafe speeds with his gallon jug of lubricant. He reached in and in about two minutes produced another leg and then a whole baby alpaca! He made it look easy, but that is what we pay him for. It was such a relief to see the little cria out because Polly and I were very worried that even the vet wouldn’t be able to get that last leg out. I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if he couldn’t.

The vet was concerned enough about the difficult birth that he asked us to call the Vet School at OSU if the little cria wasn’t up and nursing by noon (he was born around 9 AM). The vet also gave us penicillin to give Dawn, since no fewer than three people had been working inside her. I have to administer this via syringe, so I gave my first shot yesterday! I am such a farmer’s wife.

I am glad to say that the little nameless boy was nursing by 11 AM, and was out of the barn exploring the nursery pasture by that afternoon. Today he was doing what we call “Speed Racer,” where he runs in ever-larger circles, all ending up back at his mom. Dawn is a fierce mother, and boy, does she have milk! The swelling around her vulva has gone down significantly today, too.

The picture at the website includes Milhouse, who is now 6 months old. His mother is off being bred at another farm, so he has attached himself to Dawn, who only barely puts up with him. Now, his place as the baby has been usurped by a much smaller baby, and he is sulking a bit. The next time I see him kick at the cria, though, he is going to find himself in the pasture with the bigger boys, who will put him in his place. I’m reluctant to do so because this has been such a bad couple weeks for him, but the baby must be safe.

Dawn and baby will be on our farm for the next three weeks or so, at which time we will load them up so Dawn can be bred at NWA. Come and see them while you can! They will be gone until Thanksgiving, which is hard for us. We will miss our little whatever-his-name-will-be.

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