This one wasn't a surprise in so much as we knew the mom was pregnant, but we had no idea she was ready to give birth so soon - or so quickly. I was watering the girls (giving them showers, filling their pools and water buckets) when Dar came over and said simply, "Her water just broke. I'm going for the birthing kit." And there was Michaela on her side, legs stiffly out in front of her. In the 45 seconds that it took for me to turn off the hose, put it down, and walk over to her, the baby's foot was already out. Unfortunately you're supposed to see both feet and a nose, so Dar helped turn the baby, and he just slid out. He's a gorgeous boy (I know I keep saying that, but he really, really is), and he was up and walking in about 30 minutes. He could only manage to walk backwards for a while, so that was frustrating for him and adorable for us. He finally got that all straightened out, and by sunset he was sprinting around the paddock.

We've still got a slew more to go, and I'm here by myself at the moment, which makes me very nervous. Dar had to set up our product at St. Jacobs Market this afternoon, so that left me to keep an eye on things. I hate being the one in charge during birthing season. I've had two births happen on my watch, and both of them were tragic and horrible, and both crias died. I have good reason to be fearful. But it's late in the afternoon now, and no one was looking particularly ready to give birth, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everyone just chills until Dar is back in a few hours. But just to be on the safe side, I'm going out to check on them now.

I still need to load the camera software on the new laptop (the media drive was stuck until last night), but I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

Baby girl_0033, originally uploaded by maystone1.

The first baby born this season, and the first for us in this color. We're thinking of calling her Buffy.

Cria pic spam! )

She had a rough start. Dar found Satine trying to give birth, but all that was showing was one of the baby's legs. We don't know how long she was stuck like that, but Dar pushed her back in, and the birth continued as it should. The baby is low on stamina, though, and she hasn't figured out the nursing thing yet. She's close, she nibbles around the teats, but she hasn't latched on yet. Good thoughts, please, guys.

CG baby_0233, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Cinnamon Girl and her new baby boy. Isn't he gorgeous?

Our harlequin boys )

Suri baby_0659, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Conchita completely surprised us by quickly birthing a new boy when no one was looking. In very quick order she gave birth, delivered the placenta, got the baby up and nursing. Seriously, we figure at most 45 minutes went by before I looked out and saw a little dark cria nursing. He's two weeks early, and he's a bruiser weighing in at just under 25 lbs!

But wait! There's more . . . )
The kid across the street has been on his freakin' ATV for 3.5 hours now - back and forth and back and forth. The noise is deafening. His mom died a few months ago, and his brother killed himself last year, so that's why we're all supposed to put up with him. For my money, an asshole with dead family is still an asshole.


We had another surprise cria this morning. We figure he was no more than thirty minutes old before he was discovered. Since no one got to see the birth, we're just assuming that he had a rough time, because his gums, ears, and eyes were bright, bright pink. He was also about ten days early. He seemed to be OK at first, but then he started to go downhill. Dar has been working with him most of the day, and as of 7PM when I was out there to check on him, he bounced back. His coloring is better, he's nursing on his own, and he's giving his mom conniptions by running around exploring his new home.

New boy )

I was sitting on the short wall that runs along one side of the paddock, checking on the baby, when suddenly all of the alpacas exploded out of the barn and piled up against each other against the fence. I jumped up and saw a big dog just standing right at the gate into the barn! The neighbor kids were biking through our land and brought their farm dog with him. Scared the crap out of all the alpacas - and me. I kept yelling at the kids to get the dog out of there, but they couldn't control him. We all managed to get him away from the barn, but then he decided to run across the laneway to hassle the boys. They finally got him out of there, with me keeping up a steady stream of variations on the theme, "Never bring that dog on this property! Do not ever bring that dog onto this property! That dog stays off our property!" Two of the alpacas were so scared that they jumped the fence between the paddock and the pasture. Sounds funny except that one of them was Conchita, who is about six weeks away from giving birth. This could cause a premature delivery.

The biggest predator of alpacas in North America is the family dog. Not even a pack - there are many cases of someone's dog getting into a paddock with the alpacas and running them to death. Packs have been know to decimate a herd. It's not a joke when someone lets their unleashed dog around alpacas. The alpacas are terrified of them and rightly so.

And to cap it all off, Dar has another chemo session tomorrow. It's rougher on her this round than it was six months ago. BTW, just clear things up, she does not have cancer. She has a serious bleed in her stomach that is depleting her hemoglobin and ferritin; they're both dangerously low. The solution would be to get the bleeds fixed, and she's been trying for several years now. Years. It's been one screw up after another. Good thoughts that this gets resolved soon, please.
Another cria born this morning. Another rough birth. Dar noticed the nose and one leg protruding from the mom (two legs and a nose is normal.) The baby was trapped in the birth canal, and she'd stopped breathing. Dar reached in for the other leg, pulled the baby out, then she and Suelaine revived the cria by holding her upside down and vigorously stroking her from her chest downward. The baby had a rough first hour or so, but she's fine now. She also did her first escape out of the paddock, but fortunately she decided to take a nap on the grass in front of the gate instead of wandering away. I tried to cria-proof the gate tonight; let's hope it works.

Dar has been sick with a cold for the past four days or so. She doesn't normally get colds, and with her Chiari, that's a very good thing. Coughing does bad things to her. I keep pressuring her to go to the doctor to get a kick-ass cough suppressant, but so far she's refusing. Good thoughts for her, OK, guys?

I had blood work done this morning - five vials drawn. The nurse is usually pretty good, but this morning she must have used a jackhammer instead of a needle, because as I was unlocking my car I thought that my shirt felt all wet. Yup, blood everywhere. Fortunately I have a roll of paper towels in my back seat, so I ripped off a couple sheets and finally stanched the flow. Good thing my shirt was a dark color, because I had to stop at the store on the way home. Wouldn't want to freak out the cashier :) And now I have a huuuuge but rather lovely bruise as a souvenir. On the plus side, I didn't have to do a urine sample along with the blood draw; all things considered, I think that's a win.

Baby Darlin Octavia_0253, originally uploaded by maystone1.

We had another cria born late this afternoon. It was a difficult delivery, and the vet had to be called in to turn the baby around and reposition his legs so the birth could proceed. The mom, Darlin', was outstanding through it all and afterward. Her baby boy is a little hellion already. It's going to be a fun few days keeping track of him. He already attempted to walk through the spaces in the gate - and he almost made it. Only the width of his little hips stopped him before we could get to him.

Looks like another birth will be happening early tomorrow, too.

Close up and far away )

Olympia Olivia_0118, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Olivia surprised everyone this afternoon by birthing a beautiful little girl now called Olympia. No one knew that Olivia was pregnant! Alpacas are very tricksy. The baby is fine but she's a bit dysmature - not everything cooked quite long enough.

Olympia! )
I slept for a good portion of the day. I expected it to happen after spending the past two days at shearings, and I wasn't disappointed. It was not a restful sleep, though, so that could have gone better. You know the type of sleep that usually happens either during the day or around the time you need to wake up? You're struggling to awaken and you can't, and the panic starts to set in. For me it's very similar to trying to come out of anesthesia, a feeling I particularly hate. At one point I was trying to call out for help, for Dar to come wake me. She said later that she did hear me saying something, but she thought I was talking to the cats. I'm obviously going to have to work on my summoning-aid-in-my-sleep calls :)

I slept through the birth of the latest cria on the farm. No name yet, but he's a big boy who weighed in at 23.5 pounds. Mom is an experienced birther, but even so Dar had to intervene and reach in to turn the baby around a bit so his shoulders could pass through. She said that mom would have pushed him out eventually, but I don't know - he's a pretty big boy. We have one more cria to go, probably next week. The barn is looking like a proper nursery, with five little alpacas bouncing off the walls and their moms trying to keep them in line.

They're in close quarters tonight, because we have a line of strong thunderstorms threatening our area. We had very high winds earlier, and thunder rumbling in the distance, so Dar and I went out and closed the alpacas in the barn for the night. The babies are prone to running out in the rain (because they're born with no sense of preservation at all, apparently), and we didn't want them to be injured by the strong winds or end up spending the whole night out in the storms. I'll take some pictures tomorrow.

I took some pictures yesterday, but not on my camera. Joellen, if you're reading this, could you email me copies of the pictures I took of Saffron? Thanks.

Pixel's having a nightmare, I think. She's sleeping next to me, and her paws are twitching, her mouth is moving, and her tail is swishing. I think I should wake her. Nope, she quieted down again.

I forgot that it's Memorial Day for you all in the States. I hope you're having a wonderful, summery day wherever you are.

Baby girl0562, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Stunnin' finally had her baby. The little girl had a bit of a rough birth and was oxygen deprived for just a short while. She's up and running around now and is just as cute as anything on four legs. No name for her yet.

Samson herd_0360, originally uploaded by maystone1.

This is Samson, born around 7:15AM. Dar and Deb found Delilah just starting to give birth - all that was showing was his nose and toes. Textbook birth, and he's strong, healthy, and huge. And black and white! He's just beautiful.

That's his mom to his right, and that's Willow cushed next to him. She's almost four months old, and he's only about three hours old; he's huge!

Samson Hailey_0362

He's got a coat on because it's freezing out there with very strong winds. That's Hailey next to him; she's three weeks old now, and he's the same size.

Cria_0101, originally uploaded by maystone1.

The newest cria, born around 3:15PM. Because no one looked to be in labor, we took of to run some errands around 1:30PM. Surprise! She was about 30 minutes old when we got home; fortunately Reuben and Suelaine were on the property and got things rolling in taking care of her.

More cria pics )

She's very wee - only 13 pounds. She hasn't nursed yet, but she's getting closer. It's usually a problem when an alpaca delivers later in the day, and it took her mom (Halo) almost three hours to deliver the placenta. The norm is one hour. Dar had to give her three shots of a drug that induces contractions in order to move things along. Halo is a first-time mom, and she's a bit freaked out by all of this. The baby, happily, is very feisty and strong. She has two cria coats on to help her make it through the cold temps tonight, and Dar will be checking on her to make sure that she gets some milk into her.
Satine just had her cria! It's a girl - and a Hannibal baby for sure - and she's a month early, easily. Our friend's son, Reuben, who's hired to do afternoon chores found them in the barn. We figure she was born about 60-90 minutes before she was found. Both mom and baby seem to be OK - cold, of course - but the baby seems strong. Our friend Suelaine (Reuben's mom) was working in the mill when R. rushed in with the news, so she ran out to the barn and started warming the cria while one of the other mill workers came to tell us. We rushed out with a heating blanket and towels and hot water and the hair dryer and JumpStart and all of the other stuff you need for a cold-weather birth.

Suelaine's farm is right around the corner, and they have a special warm room where they keep sick alpacas. They moved Satine and the baby there to help with the warm-up. The biggest danger to the cria and the mom is hypothermia right now. It's about 65 degrees in that room, so that will be a big help. Dar went with them. We think that they should be able to come back tomorrow at some point. (The alpacas, that is. I expect Dar to be back in a while *g*) It takes 24 hours for a cria to be able to adjust their body temperature; I'm so grateful that they can stay in that warm room for a while.

More news when I get it!
I hope you've had your insulin shots, because he's very, very sweet )

No name yet, of course. I'm thinking Tango, because T is for tall. So far I'm the only one who likes it :) He's not nursing, which is a problem. I've spied on them from the house and seen him try, but I couldn't see if he was successful. CG is the psycho mom, so it could just be that she won't nurse when us Two Legs are around. Conchita was like that with Echo. What it really means is that Dar is going to be going out there every few hours to give him milk and cow colostrum to be sure that he thrives until they get the nursing down. (I can do daylight shifts, but I tend to fall over in the dark thanks to the problems with my peripheral nervous system.) He was very strong right from birth, and he's been trotting around the paddock, so again I'm cautiously optimistic.

And as I was typing that last sentence a bout of screeching could be heard from the paddocks. Hannibal had managed to worm his way out of his paddock and in with the other boys. Dar and I just got back from sorting everyone out. So . . . anyone wanna buy some alpacas? Anyone?

It's going down to 4C/37F tonight. Crias can't regulate their body temps for the first 24 hours. When Dar goes out there next, she's going to put CG and the baby in the warm side of the barn and keep them there overnight. He's wearing a cria coat (dashingly, I might add), but that won't be enough protection. Poor little guy.

Seriously, guys, send some good thoughts for the new little boy on his first very cold night.
Sorry for the delay. Busy day. )

She seems to be doing well. I was out there an hour ago to check on her, and Dar just left a minute ago to check on her again. We're cautiously optimistic. Isn't she adorable?
Conchita gave birth to her latest cria at 1:05PM. She's a beautiful, tall, all-black girl. We were a little worried at one point during her labor (on Labor Day!), but Conchita came through all on her own. The little girl is all legs, but she's figured out how to use them and is up and around and trying to nurse. Pictures to come later.

Meanwhile, Cinnamon Girl is also showing signs of early labor. We think she might deliver tomorrow. Poor Dar is exhausted from all of the melodrama yesterday. I had to give up and come back in around 2 because of fatigue and too much sun. [ profile] sffan and [ profile] sparky77 were both a great help, though, and I think that [ profile] sffan should just call and tell her employer that she won't be in tomorrow because she has to stay and help birth another alpaca baby.
Very tough birth. If the vet weren't here, the cria would have died. Delilah is in a lot of pain, but OK physically. More later.
He's doing OK, but not great. His temperature is normal, which is a minor miracle since it's cold and damp (we just had a rain of ice pellets), but he's not nursing, and when he tries, Gertie moves away. Dar is feeding him goat colostrum to supplement; he takes that well, so that's good. Poor Dar is so tired, and I'm only good for short bursts of activity these days.

Anyway, behind the cut are two pictures of the new boy.
Baby cria )
Gertie had her cria today at around 4PM while no one was looking. Mark was here alone, and fortunately he went out to check on her pretty soon after her cria was born, so he started warming the little guy up while waiting for the rest of us to get back from shopping. We figure it was about 30 minutes later that we showed up and Dar took over. He had a low body temp of 95 (normal is 101), but about two hours later he's up to 99. Dar is still out there with him, and she'll probably be out there for several more hours. Gertie is fine, although anxious like all new alpaca moms. He's a lovely mixture of white and champagne color, and he's pretty feisty.

Back later with updates.

Brown girl & CG_0733, originally uploaded by maystone1.

The newest baby. Isn't she sweet?

Plus another brown and a gray )

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