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.

Delilah roll_0012, originally uploaded by maystone1.

That's 11-month pregnant Delilah rolling in the dust bowl, looking like the happiest alpaca in the world.

Cuz that's just how they roll )

The only thing alpacas like more than eating fresh pasture grass is rolling around
in the dirt. Deb's pastures have holes carved into the ground from all of the alpaca
butts and backs wearing the earth down with all that rollin' around.
No picture today. It's been almost non-stop for me since before dawn. It started off badly, but I'm hopeful that things are improving.

Gertie was not acting like Gertie at all this morning. She was lethargic, not eating all that much, and she was cushing with her back legs out to the side instead of underneath her. That's usually a sign that something is wrong. The lethargy and the lack of appetite I could assign to her grieving (alpacas do grieve for their young), but the legs-out cush was worrisome. Deb had Andrew the vet coming out in the afternoon anyway to do some blood work on four crias, so while he was here he had a look at Gertie.

He was concerned about her affect, too. She was very passive during his exam, which is not typical for an alpaca and certainly not typical for Gertie the Great. He suggested antibiotics if she didn't improve by evening. I talked to Dar at her dad's in Cape Breton and she was extremely concerned. She wanted Gertie to have the antibiotic and a pain killer/anti-inflammatory asap, so we got that done. I took her temp just a while ago, and she doesn't have a fever and she seemed more alert. I'm hoping that we caught whatever this is in time. Gertie is special to us all, but especially to Dar.

And speaking of Dar, her dad is much worse. I don't feel comfortable going into details, because that's Dar's to tell. Just know that she's distraught and preparing for the end.

The only light is that Satine and her baby, Willow, are back here with us. Deb and I brought them home this afternoon, and they've settled in very quickly. The baby got sniffed all over by everyone who could get close enough to sniff her. Satine was reunited with her sisters and former herd mates. Willow is enjoying having the run of the place - lots of happy cria prancing on her part, and the other crias took to her right away.

Please, please let this particular happy ending continue.

Baby A_0014, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Our friend greets Satine's new baby girl.

A few more baby pics )

The baby has very long legs, but because she' premature she's not really good at using them yet; they still need to firm up a little. Still, she does pretty well once you lift her up and leave her on her own.

I think she may be a Valentino baby rather than a Hannibal baby. She's a lot lighter than Hanni's other girls. We'll get her DNA tested for paternity (which you have to do to register them anyway.) She's not out of the woods yet, so think good healthy cria thoughts :)
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!
We had our shearing today. It rained all morning, and true to form the sun didn't come out until we were just about finished. It went well, all things considered. Some of the alpacas were extremely uncooperative about walking from the barn to the garage where we had set up shop. It's a distance of about 250 feet, and a couple of them took over 20 minutes to travel from A to B. But it's done. I didn't get a lot of pics, but I've got a few representative ones here, mostly of little Suki. Whose fleece is like silk! None of us could get over how extraordinary it is.

Anyway . . . )
Really, this is getting farcical, isn't it? Not for Satine, certainly, but for us. She has the unfortunate habit of not really getting revved up until mid afternoon, and then as the sun starts to descend along with the temperatures, she shuts down again. Plus she's very protective of the yet-to-be-born cria as she is with her two girls on the ground, Delilah and Cinnamon Girl. She tenses up when anything out of the ordinary appears, and today that included a couple visits from Jester (although she's getting a little better about that), a couple visits from the little girl next door and her friend, and the unexpected visit of Hannibal to the girls' paddock. (He snuck through the gate literally while Dar's back was turned.) It's days like this when I wish we lived on a place that had more space between us and our neighbors and more options for sorting out the herd members. We'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. Oh, and for those wondering, alpacas can safely go for a little over 400 days gestation. Satine is nowhere near that. Yet.

Dar worked her butt off all day out there rearranging the barn. It looks great. She made a little mini stall where (we hope) Satine and her cria can hunker down under the heat lamps and feel a little more closed in. That's the best case scenario. I imagine that the Brat Pack - Delilah, Adama, Valentino, and Spartacus - will actually claim it as their own. But even so, that clears up space on the other side of the divider for the adult females and Satine's little one.

There was a veritable hint of spring out there today. The sun was bright and warm enough to counter the still cold breeze, which thankfully stayed a breeze instead of churning up to a full-scale wind as usual. [ profile] sffan and I headed out to do grocery shopping this morning, then stopped briefly at the farmers' market in a vain search for Mennonite butter tarts for SF. I did score some loose leaf fruit teas, though, so I was pretty pleased by that. We ended up getting the tarts at the Mennonite general store, so SF came home happy, too.

I was out at the barn a couple times during the afternoon, mostly sitting and staring at Satine's butt, but occasionally puttering around trying to be helpful but I think mostly just getting in the way. It's killing me, you know? Anyway, I did manage to help tote a couple sleds full of detritus from the barn. And yes, we still have more than enough snow on the ground that using sleds is the easiest way to transport stuff to and fro.

We participated in Earth Hour, although it was actually Earth Fifty Minutes because there was yet more Cat Pee Drama to deal with. They're all going fucking insane with the free range pissing, and it's gotta stop. The simple fact is that there are too many cats living her. Period. Jane gets fixed on Monday; she's been in heat for seven days now. Not a happy kitty. Hopefully Chloe will be right behind her on the ol' surgical table. Did I mention that she's in heat, too? Then outside they go. God, I hope that works to settle everyone the hell down. I'd still rather see them adopted, but every time we try, we get shot down.

OK, enough of that. List of good things:

My horrible haircut is growing out, and it's starting to look less like it was attacked with a MixMaster.

I still have chocolate left over from Easter. Daaaaark chocolate, the very best kind.

I can still fit into my favorite old jeans. (I've been afraid for months to try them on because I've gained so much weight. But in the way of prednisone, the weight gain appears to be above the waist. Yay?)

Whichever cat is was that peed in my room bypassed both my shoes and my much-loved leather purse, opting instead for the mostly-waterproof messenger bag that had slipped off the chest and onto the floor.

The History Channel had a program about the legend of Robin Hood. If I had gone on for a Ph.D. in Medieval Lit, RH would have been my main object of study, so I enjoyed watching it. And they showed clips from the 1950s TV show The Legend of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. I was a huge fan when I was a kid, and I even remembered the lyrics to the theme song!

My headache has finally settled down enough for me to try to get to sleep. Happiness :)
Satine is in labor. Dar and [ profile] cajoje went out to check on everyone tonight after we got home from running errands, and they both say that it's definitely labor. Yikes!

We're hoping that this one is an easy birth for everyone involved. We're still shell shocked after what happened with Cinnamon Girl's cria, so we're not taking anything for granted. What's going in our (Satine's) favor is that this will be her third, with the first two being problem free. (Cinnamon Girl and Delilah are her daughters.) Satine has shown no signs of problems with this pregnancy at all; in fact up until a month ago we weren't even positive that she actually was pregnant. A common problem with alpacas, btw. Also in our favor is that we're in the middle of a January thaw and the temps are moderate. Unfortunately it's pouring rain out there, and I don't know if she's going to opt for the barn or the paddock when it comes time to deliver. I think we should hunt down some umbrellas just to be on the safe side.

Dar's gathering all of her medical supplies, and I know that she's planning on going out to check on Satine a couple times tonight. I told her to wake me and take me with her, but I'm not sure she'll do that. Fortunately I'm a light sleeper, and I'll be sleeping in my jeans and shirt just to be safe :)

Wish us all luck, please, and hopefully by this time tomorrow we'll be trying to come up with names for our new baby.

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