Monday, August 24, 2009

Ashton Stones Little Miss Rosco

I wasn't sure where to start blogging this week after our eventful weekend. I decided to start with our newest cria Ashton Stones Little Miss Rosco. If you read the previous blog, you know that our ferret Rosco had been ill for the last week before passing away early Saturday morning. I kept thinking all week that Cinderella was going to wait to have her cria until after Rosco passed away...or that Rosco was going to wait to pass away until Cinderella was ready to have her cria. Either way, I felt like they were somehow connected. After Rosco's little funeral on Saturday night, I asked Noah to charge the camera batteries because I felt like Cinderella was going to have her cria tomorrow. She seemed fine, I just had a feeling or intuition.

On Saturday morning after letting the puppies out, I went out to the barn to feed the alpacas at 7:30am. As I walked out to the barn, I noticed all the girls and cria laying in the barn and Cinderella kushed out in the field with Onyx standing over her. I noticed Cinderella had her legs kicked out to the side and thought....I bet she is in labor! As I was looking at them out in the field, I noticed a little dark head peeking out over Cinderella's back and I thought to myself, "now what cria is out there with her?" I did a quick scan of the other 3 cria in the barn and it dawned on me that the cria was much darker than the rest of our cria. It was so funny, like it was all working in slow motion and my brain was mush. I finally realized....Cinderella already had her cria this morning and it is already sitting up!!! I ran to the house as quickly as I could and yelled to Noah that Cinderella had her cria. Noah rushed out the door carrying our new dane puppy Lola and Noah, Lola, Rozalyn and I ran out to the barn in a whirlwind. We walked up to Cinderella and the cria who was still sitting up. Noah lifted her tail and saw that she was a little girl....we had huge grins on our faces and high-fived like a couple of farm nerds! Cinderella then got up and ran to the barn and the cria got up and followed at a shaky and awkward run. Our excitement quickly wore off as we realized that despite it being summer, it was only in the 50's outside and cloudy and windy. The cria was still very wet and shivering. We figured she was probably born within the last 30 minutes. I ran to the barn to get towels and as Noah dried her with the towel I ran to the house for my hair dryer. We brought her in the barn and began blow drying her. We took her temp and it was only 96 degrees. It should be at least 98 degrees and at the most 102 degrees. Crias are surprisingly difficult to dry. Normally, it takes them five or more hours to dry outside on a nice day. Their fiber is so thick, it takes a lot to dry it from skin to tips.

During this time, Cinderella seemed really confused. She didn't follow us into the barn when we took her baby. She stayed out with the rest of the alpacas. When we started drying the cria, she began expelling the placenta. Usually the placentas are born pretty quickly. The females just push them right out and they look like a purple jelly bean as they come out. Cinderella's hung for at least a half hour and just kind of oozed out, she didn't really seem to push it out. Although it looked a little strange dangling so long, it was normal once we inspected it on the ground though.

We put the cria on a heated blanket and continued to dry her in a stall. We also put Cinderella in the stall with us and gave her grain, hay and water which she really seemed to enjoy. I figured she must have been laboring in the wee hours of the morning and was probably famished. Once we got the cria pretty dry and got her temp up to 99 degrees, we let Cinderella and the cria bond in the stall. At first she was poking around in the dark corners of the stall (crias are attracted to dark spaces to nurse from) . Once we pointed her in the right directions and she found the nipples, she nursed vigorously, which I think helped to bring her body temp up too.

Once they bonded for awhile, we took the crias temp again and it was still normal. We weighed her; she weighed in at 15.8 lbs. We noticed her umbilicus was bleeding, so we tied it off with dental floss and dipped it in iodine. Then we put a coat on the little girl and sent her and Cinderella out with the rest of the herd. The cria seems strong and healthy. It is funny, she tends to follow Onxy around more than Cinderella. I am not sure if it was because Onxy was out there when she was born too, or if they are just programmed to follow animals that look more their color, or if Onxy is just a darker color like her mom while the rest of the females are lighter in color. Not sure what it is, but she tends to follow Onyx all over the place while Onyx tries to run from her because she is trying to nurse. Notice how sunk in Cinderella's sides are in the picture below now that she had the cria. I wish I had a pregnant belly picture to post too.

This is Cinderella's first cria and the birth apparently went well with no complications. She has a lot of milk and stands very still for the cria to nurse. When it comes to her mothering skills though, she still seems to be learning. I have seen her try to step over the little girl after she is done nursing and knock her down. She also tends to leave her sleeping out in the field while she goes and lays in the barn with the rest of the girls. I think she forgets she is a mommy. Unlike our other mothers, she is only mildly concerned when we touch the cria. I am sure her mothering skills will improve. We have always joked that she is the "ditsy blonde" in our herd.

It is strange for me to see such a dark black cria in our fields. We have always had lighter colored cria and my eyes are still adjusting. We did notice when we were tying off her umbilical that she has two tiny white dots on her belly near her back nipples and a small brown spot on the inside of her leg. We will see if she has any other colors hidden anywhere when we shear her in a few days.
We decided to name our new cria Little Miss Rosco. We named her Little Rosco after our ferret, Baby Rosco, that passed away the day before at the age of 5 1/2. She was our first pet together and we had had her since we were dating in college. She was very sweet and had a childlike playfulness and curiosity until the very end. We added the Miss in her name in honor of Noah's childhood dog Missy, a black furred mixed breed who passed away shortly before we got our first Rosco. Missy also had a innocent and pure childlike personality until the day she died too. We hope that our new Little Miss Rosco will have a beautiful personality like our cherished pets.

1 comment:

cara said...

I love the black! She doesn't even look lightened by the amniotic fluid. So many black ones look brown at birth.

Cinderella sounds like our Victoria. She forgets her baby all the time. But, the babies find a way to manage and go find mom to nurse.