Sunday, August 22, 2010

Capitola's Montpelier Noir

Cinderella is a beautiful grey female that we sold to a farm in Florida last year. She is boarding at our farm though and we have anxiously been waiting for her cria. Last year, she had a beautiful true black little girl named Ashton Stones Little Miss Rosco who now lives at Oak Haven Alpacas. Rosco was the first cria we had missed being born on our farm as of last year. Cinderella decided to have her very early in the morning, probably around 4am or 5am on a dreary morning after a rainstorm. Rosco was wet and cold when we found her at 7:30am and we had to blow dry her to warm her up. Needless to say, I was determined to see Cinderella give birth this year.

Yesterday morning, Noah and I were rushing around packing our car up because we had planned to spend the whole day with family out of town. My brother and sister-in-law were in town for 2 days from North Carolina for my baby shower and Noah's brother and sister-in-law were in town from Indiana for my baby shower and our nieces second birthday. Anyway, we had a full day planned. I went out to check on the alpacas and Cinderella at 9:30am before leaving and thought she looked just like Silver Sox had a few days earlier when she was in early labor. Also, there was a thunderstorm the night before, just like last year. Cinderella was laying with her legs to the side, breathing heavily, nostrils flaring, not chewing cud, and her belly seemed to tighten every so often and her tail/back end was pulsating. I told Noah that I was positive she was in labor. Noah came out to the barn to see for himself and Cinderella instantly tensed up and sat up straight, not showing any signs. I sent Noah out of the barn and stood on a bucket peeking over the stall so Cinderella could not see me. She relaxed again and showed more labor signs. I could even see that her back end was open. I told Noah again that I was positive that she was in labor, so we decided to stick around to see what happened instead of going to visit family. I checked on her every hour by standing on the bucket and by 3 o'clock, Cinderella seemed the same. Her labor had not progressed and every time we were out in the barn, she would sit back up like nothing was going on. We went in and lifted her tail and she clenched up her back end. I was so sure she was in labor earlier, but now we saw nothing. Since 99% of alpacas will have their cria between 6am and 4pm (for reasons based on their daily movement in the Andes Mountains in South America), we decided to give up and go visit family. We were still playing cards at my mom's house (40 mins from our house) at 12am when I decided it was time to go home and check on Cinderella. Noah and I were both very tired, and Noah wanted to spend the night at my mom's and go back and check on her early the next morning, but I insisted we go home. I know I would be up all night worrying about Cinderella if we didn't go home.

I drove us home and at 1am, pulled the truck right up to the barn so I could flash the headlights into our catch pen to see the pacas. As I did this, Noah and I immediately saw Cinderella standing next to a newborn cria. We jumped out of the truck to go check on the little thing. It was a true black female. She was standing up, but still wet and felt cold (it got pretty cold that night so I am so happy we went home....the cria may have not survived the night being wet when it was cold and windy out). We took her temp and it was 96 degrees, so we blow dried her until her temp came back up to 100. We also put a cria coat on her and put our foam pads down for her to lay on in the barn. We locked her and Cinderella in the barn and left some lights on so the cria could see to nurse. Normally, they have all day to work on nursing in the daylight, so I wasn't sure how this little one was going to do in the dark. We milked Cinderella out and gave the cria a few oz of colostrum to give her a headstart. Then we made sure she could latch on before leaving them alone. I left a bunch of food and water for Cinderella, which was gone by the next morning....she must have been famished. After taking care of the cria, we got the tractor out and turned the headlights on and went looking for the placenta out in the field. Luckily we found it whole, so I didn't need to worry. We finally got into the house at close to 3:00am. We figure the cria was born sometime between 9-11pm because she was still pretty wet, yet was able to stand up and walk to the barn from the field. Also, Cinderella had already passed the placenta which was cold to the touch. It was a very crazy night. I wish I would have gotten to see the birth, but I know that if I were home, I probably would have been extremely nervous because when an alpaca has a cria outside of the hours 6am to 4pm, there is usually something wrong with the labor and delivery. I should have just known that Cinderella is an odd duck who has her cria at night. I think she really likes her privacy when giving birth...like I said, she would visibly tense up and her labor would stall when she knew we were watching. This is something interesting for me to think about since I will giving birth myself in a few weeks. It makes sense that if an animal thinks a predator or threat is watching, it will not give birth to a vulnerable baby. Anyway, it was a very long night to say the least and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I was right after all.....Cinderella was in labor. Not sure if it is my mothering instincts kicking in or if I am just really observant, but I am getting good at knowing when the alpacas are in labor.

This morning the new cria and Cinderella are doing very well. The cria looks like a carbon copy of her full sister Rosco. We called Cinderella's owner and let her know the good news. She decided to name the new little girl Capitola's Montpelier Noir. Here are a few pictures of little Noir.

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