OUR EXPERIENCE WITH A DIFFICULT ALPACA BIRTH
You've waited between 335 and 365 days for an alpaca birth. Will the baby alpaca be male or female? What gorgeous color will the alpaca cria be wearing when it arrives? You wait with much anticipation until the day is finally here. Your Dam is in labor.
First things first. Once you find out your alpaca is pregnant, you'll want to figure out when the cria is due.
Get your free alpaca gestation schedule here.
The first baby alpaca born on our farm presented with a nose and two front feet. Perfect!
Second cria came the same way. "Hey, this is easy! We just stand back and watch the process," we thought.
Third alpaca birth presented with a nose...a foot...uh oh...where's the other leg?
"Ok. Take a deep breath." we told ourselves. We had read all about dystocias (difficult births) and this did not seem too bad.
We got out our birthing kit and lubricated our arms. First try...can't find the other leg. Second try...still can't find the other leg.
After several attempts by both of us and 10 minutes later, we decided we didn't know what we were doing. We ran to the house and called the closest vet and asked if they could deliver the cria if we brought the Dam into the clinic. They said they'd try.
To the Vets
A fifteen minute drive took us seven minutes. All the while one of us was in the back of the truck with our Dam and cria trying to keep the baby safe and alive until we got there. The cria seemed to be struggling and gasping.
When we arrived, the Vet stated she had never delivered an alpaca before. She lubricated up to her armpits, reached in, quickly found the other leg, and delivered the cria.
A Lesson Learned
We looked at each other sheepishly. "Oh, you have to go
THAT far in," we said to each other. We had only tried to go in about halfway up our forearms.
The Vet thanked us for the experience. We took our beautiful fawn colored male cria home, glad that it was a good outcome and a new alpaca lesson learned.
At least we knew we were in DEEPER trouble than we could handle
and sought help. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.)
We got our information about birthing alpacas from a book. We really like this book and recommend it to every new owner who plans on breeding. It's called, Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care by Smith, Timm, and Long. It helped us recognize we had a problem and how soon to decide to call the vet. It is written in a very plain easy to understand format with just the right amount of information.
An alpaca birth is an incredible experience to witness. But be prepared to assist if needed or at least know when you need to call the vet.
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