Sunday, May 16, 2010

ASA Incan Alchemys Peruvian Panacea

Our first cria of the season was finally born. We were expecting Bellesa to have her cria before Lady because Bellesa traditionally has a shorter gestation and Lady has a longer gestation, but Lady surprised us by going into labor on Sunday afternoon before Bellesa (who ended up delivery on Monday...but that is another post).

Last week, Lady seemed like she was in labor one afternoon. She was pushing over the poo pile a lot and seemed restless, but she did not have the cria. The weather was cold and windy; I sometimes wonder if they can hold the baby in to wait for better weather. Then yesterday at shearing, Lady's back end definitely looked like a cria was ready to come out of it. It was bulging like there was a head sitting right there and her vaginal opening was swollen and open. When they are getting ready to go into labor, their ligaments in their back end get very stretchy and when she was tied down in the ropes, it was very apparent. The stress of shearing may have helped bring labor on as well. I happened to snap a picture at shearing.

We stayed out late Saturday night with friends so slept in very late on Sunday. We of course got up and checked on the girls a few times, but I didn't roll out of bed until noon (which I haven't done in a very long time....I think I was wiped out from shearing, going out and being pregnant). Anyway, I went into the kitchen as soon as I woke up to get something to eat and grabbed the binocular that Noah recently got me for my birthday to spy on the alpacas from the house. I peaked out in the pasture and instantly noticed Lady was in labor and pushing. Noah and I ran outside with our cameras. Here is what we witnessed when we got outside. Lady's tail was up and she was pushing.
It was only a minute and the nose emerged. I told Noah that it looked dark colored.

Then the head was out in no time and we could in fact see that the cria was a darker color.

Soon after the head came out, one leg popped out as well. The cria began moving and making noises at this point which is always exciting to see. Hopefully Bellesa was taking notes!

After the head and first leg came out, Lady seemed to take a break and munch on some grass. Noah and I got a little worried because the second leg hadn't emerged which meant it could he stuck and we would have to go in and retrieve it. While I prayed, Noah ran to grab our Dr. Evan's Field Manual and our neo-natal book. Shortly after he returned, the second leg popped out and we were relieved! The other girls were very interested in what was going on and wouldn't leave Lady alone. We tried to shoo them away, but they kept coming back. Lady was constantly spitting at them all, which I think helped the labor progress.

Now Lady worked on pushing the baby out all the way. Now that I am pregnant, I have a whole new respect for these animals who are essentially the same size and weight of a human and birth 15-20lb babies! It is such a miracle and it makes me a little nervous for when it is my turn.

At this point the cria seemed strong and was trying to sit up right away. Noah checked the sex and reported that it was a boy. We were hoping for a girl, but were both relieved that it at least was not another white boy like last year. It was a warm sunny day, so Noah dried the cria off with a towel and we left him to air dry.
He stood up for the first time about 25 minutes after he was born and was already looking for milk. Unfortunately, we have to bottle feed this guy because his dam has reoccurring mastitis and her teats are enlarged and inverted which we have to treat with antibiotics. I tried to get a picture of her teats. They are normally the size of a woman's pinkie can see how enlarged hers are. We were prepared though as we have had to do this twice in the past already and started him on frozen cows colostrum (and a little bit of colostrum that we were able to milk out of Lady) right away. I love watching them take those first steps!

About an hour after he was born the placenta was born. We checked it out to make sure it was whole. I thought it was neat that you could see where the umbilical cord attached. It is the largest alpaca placenta I have ever seen! The baby weighed 19.2lbs at birth and the placenta had to weigh several pounds, so I am thinking Lady must feel much lighter!

We decided to name him ASA Incan Alchemys Peruvian Panacea. We have traditionally done mountain themed names for Lady's cria (Smokey, Appalachia, Riphaeus), but decided to do something different this year. For the last 3 years, we have always put "Ashton Stones" in front of each cria's name to denote that they were born on our farm. This year we decided to shorten it to ASA (Ashton Stone Alpacas) so that I could make their actual names longer (you can only have 35 characters including spaces for their registered name). So, we named him "ASA" for our farm. "Incan Alchemys" after his sire, plus I really like the name. "Peruvian" because he is full Peruvian. And "Panacea" to go along with a theme of Alchemy. Alchemy is both a philosophy and an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold using a universal solvent, investigating the preparation of the "elixir of longevity", and achieving ultimate wisdom. The panacea (pronounced pan-ah-see-uh), named after the Greek goddess of healing, was supposed to be a remedy that would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely. It was sought by the alchemists as a connection to the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, a mythical substance which would enable the transmutation of common metals into gold. A panacea is also a literary term to represent any solution to solve all problems related to a particular issue. We are not sure yet what we will call the little boy for short...maybe Alchemy, Pan, or Panacea. So far, I have been calling him bottle boy and Noah has been calling him red (because he has been wearing a red coat). Here are some pictures of the little guy at 1 day old. He already gained a half a pound in his first day of life and he is very friendly and playful. He has caught onto the bottle very quickly and already knows to come to us when he is hungry. He even had his first visitors (my mom and Tom).


WonderWhyGal said...

Gorgeous birth photos. I have yet to see a live birth. Both of my girls tricked me last year.

Love the name you chose too.

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Thanks Andrea! We have been lucky to see almost all our alpacas' births over the last 4 years. The only one we missed was last year when our girl gave birth very early in the morning before we even woke up.