Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chronicles Of A Feb Cria

Or: Why you really don't want to have winter babies.

My son went out to do the feeding on the coldest morning of the season this morning at about 11:00am. He quickly came running back in the house telling me to "suit up and come outside!" He said that Georgie came up to him in the barn. That Georgie never does that. She looked at him square in the face with her ears straight up and her tail erect and gave a couple of small snorts. Then she took off out of the barn into the pasture so he followed her. There in the middle of the pasture was a cria! Canela was humming and clicking over him. (it did turn out to be a him) He said the baby's wool is frozen on his body. So, I suited up and ran out there and sure enough there was a cria! And next to the cria was the afterbirth, so I knew he had been out here for a while. We wrapped a towel around him and brought him in the house. My son is a little frantic now muttering "what do we do?"

If you raise animals this is a situation you must be ready for. Not exactly Canela's problems, but unexpected births. You see, Canela has a documented 9 1/2 month, full term cria. And her second was 10 1/2 months. When an alpaca's normal gestation is 11 1/2 months, that is quite a difference! I had a couple Houdini breakouts last April and dummy me didn't put it together that Canela would birth in Feb. Not when she was sitting at the fence for the boys in December. Not normal behavior but she has always been 'Abbynormal". Now, back to the story:

I have read everything I have ever been able to get my hands on about birthing animals. Mohair goats, sheep.
I knew this little guy was way past just bringing in the house and warming up. He was already laying in the 'death pose'. Laying on his side, his legs back  and his neck and head distorted back as far as it would bend. Not good. And his eyes were half way cloudy. You couldn't tell between the pupil and iris and they looked white. So, upstairs to the bathtub we went. I soaked him in a warm bath for about 20 minutes and then dried him off with a blow dryer and gave him 2 oz of milk replacer. I didn't take any photos before the bath because they would have been quite shocking. In the bathtub he started moving his legs around, which is a good sign. He swallowed the milk but no sucking reflex.

If you look at his right eye, you can see that it doesn't look 'right'. My biggest fear was that his organs had started to shut down. With all he had going against him, he had something going for him in a big, big way. He was a Canela baby. For all of her problems, ie. breech births, early births, she has the strongest babies that I have ever seen. And she milks like a heifer cow! She can put out some milk now. And this little guy does appear to be full term. No breathing problems. I am far from giving up on him.

And then I started blow drying him off. He was still shivering violently.

 I think I spent 30 minutes up there drying him. I started breathing a sigh of relief when he started responding but he was still a ways to go to get out of the woods.

Here he is starting to hold his own head up!

 And here he is about 10 minutes later sitting in a cushed position on the bathroom floor. With his head up although still a little wobbly. A cushed position is their natural position. That's great! I tried feeding him some more mild replacer and he sucked down another couple of ounces. This is good!

Here he is a couple of hours later in a downstairs extra bedroom. He isn't shivering anymore. He is sucking down milk. I think I'll put a cria coat on him and take him out to the barn for an hour or so before it gets dark. Its for his mom more than for him. She has been sitting in the pasture where she gave birth all day. Waiting. I know she will stress when I bring him back in but it is too cold out tonight here (13 degrees F) for him. He trying to stand but is still a bit wobbly.  I'll milk out Canela while I'm out there and feed it to him later. I'll be up a couple of times tonight to bottle feed him and hopefully tomorrow he goes out to stay with his mom. Keep your fingers crossed!

Any ideas for a name for him? I'm feeling good enough about him to name him now. 

The miracle milk replacer! The cats love it so you know it must taste alright! lol

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

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