Tuesday 1 April 2008

A busy day on the farm

We were expecting visitors this morning at 10.30 a.m. and at 10.20 a.m.Sapphire our maiden brown female gave birth to a beautiful black female cria. It was a textbook birth and the cria was on her feet in half an hour.

Our visitors were enchanted and Mike watched the mother and cria whilst I showed them around. After they left at about 12.00 noon it was obvious that the cria was not having much success trying to feed so although it was a lovely day we moved mother and baby in to the barn and penned them close together. I checked Saph and found that her teats were blocked with the wax stoppers so I sponged them and got a little milk flowing. By 1.30 the cria had still not fed, so I tube fed her with colostrum and carried on trying to encourage milk from Saph. In the mean time Mike went to the vet to collect some Oxytocin which is a drug which helps to bring down the milk.

I managed to encourage a little milk and put the cria to the teat. She suckled for a short time, but as a precaution I gave her a second feed of colostrum. I asked the vet to come out to check the cria and he found her to be in good condition and we discussed the way forward. I explained that she only suckled if held her head under the udder and he felt that we should continue this every half an hour until she is self sufficient.

It is now 7 p.m. and she seems to be sucking stongly now, although still has to be put to the udder instead of finding it herself. We will keep going until about 10 p.m. and hope she can manage by herself after that, otherwise we will start again early in the morning.

The pictures today are of the new cria - will try and get a better one tomorrow - and the boys who have been moved into the garden for lawn mowing duties.

Find out more about alpacas on our website http://www.alpacas-for-sale.co.uk/about.html

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