Saturday 11 July 2009

LMI puts us to work on the evening shift - Paul's blog

It seems that there is never a dull day at Barnacre Alpacas. Little Miss Irraquoy whom we purchased at the 2008 Alpaca Futurity Elite auction is pregnant to Cambridge Buckingham and was due to give birth any day soon (expected on Monday 13 July) so Debbie has been doing the 'usual' check every few minutes.

Friday night after a particulary hard day at work on my 'day job' and after we had the usual 'road kill' for tea (Debbie's home made pizza which is absolutely superb, but the first time she made it, it wasn't shaped so I cruely nicknamed it road kill which has stuck ever since) we set off to do the feed run and check that all is well.

Little Miss Irraquoy (LMI) was rolling around and looking quite uncomfortable at 7.30pm. Closer inspection revealed that contractions were occuring and so we hit the usual birthing action stations (didn't someone say that alpacas give birth early in the morning?). By 7.47pm we had a head and then shortly thereafter the front two legs appeared, the shoulders followed at 7.51pm and at 7.54pm out popped the lastest addition to our herd.

Fortunatley the weather forecast was not too bad but a birth at this time is not great and we were concerned as the cria wasn't showing much activity and wasn't attempting to get up. I phoned Alan (our friendly farmer) to borrow his heat lamp (note to self and fellow breeders - buy one) and dashed off to get it from his lambing stables.

Meanwhile Debbie looked after the little man and put him in the kush position but he kept falling over.

By about 10pm LMI's little man was standing but the temperature was falling and LMI didn't really seem interested in him and so we caught Chiquita to be stable company and took the cria into the field shelter pursued by LMI - at least she was showing some interest.

Things then started to deteriorate. Despite the company of Chiquita, LMI was clearly more interested in getting out to see the rest of the herd and refused to feed her little man. Every time he tried to feed she just sat down. He was so hungry he was sucking the wall of the field shelter. We really don't like intervening if we can help it but by 11pm something needed to be done and so Debbie went into the house and defrosted some alpaca colostrum that we have frozen. Little fawn man took this well from a bottle but LMI was still not interested. Given our knowledge of alpaca gut changes we knew that more colostrum was required quickly and so in an undignified act we were left with no alternative but to wrestle LMI to the ground and milk her, to be fair she put up little resistance - most unlike her!

More milk/colostrum was then bottle fed to the little fawn man and by 12.30am I decided to hit the sack and Debbie set up camp in the field shelter. The heat lamp was on and yet another night time vigil commenced.

All being well Debbie or I will update you tomorrow...



Patou Alpacas said...

Well done guys, sounds like you are on the case. We had a similar job when Poppy was born. Her mother, Bobby the spit fountain had to be milked, not fun for any of us!

Hopefully all will be well with the next instalment, good luck.

Lucy said...

Oh no! You are really having it tough this year. Well done for the vigil. I have head of "wall babies" where the cria tries to nurse from the wall as they go to the darkest area to seek milk. NOrmally that's under mum if they are outside but it is useful if it is daylight of course! These births are so unpredictable. We had one girl looking like she was going to drop a cria any second the other day - she is 10mos at the moment - so we stayed with her for a bit. She was clicking at me and not minding us going up (unusual). After a while nothing seemed to be happening and next day she was back to absolute normal. I ask you!!! Why do they do it to us?

Rob @ Wellground said...

Good luck Debbie and Paul. Thinking of you. That LMI is a little minx isn't she.

Rob and Les

Apple Vale Alpacas said...

Hope things are going well, Dave.