Friday, April 21, 2017

Getting Ready for Cria Alpaca Babies


Cria Preparation

As I was flipping through our calendar of the upcoming weeks and months, I realized that we suddenly have babies scheduled to arrive in the next 3 weeks.  With an expected total of half a dozen cria this year, several of them are coming in late May.  I prefer that most of our babies be born during June through August.  In Montana's small Summer window, we try to breed our girls a little earlier in case the pregnancy doesn’t take.  However, it seems that almost everyone took on the first go. So while we do have some that are due in later Summer, there are quite a few coming right around the corner.  

Preparation

Most of our girls will carry about 11 ½ months (341 days), give or take a week.  Usually they are quite consistent. If they delivered 3 weeks early last year, they will likely keep the same schedule.    

We have a cria kit that is always ready to go.  We put our supplies in a portable file folder so it is water tight, dust free and easy to carry.

One of the most important items we have are towels to dry the baby.  Hopefully, this will be the only item you use during the birth.  However, its good to have other items packed.

Birthing/ Cria Kit  
  • Bottle of water-based, sterile lubrication
  • Plastic Gloves, both short and full arm length
  • Iodine – preferably at least 2.5% solution, liquid, or a spray bottle
  • Headlamp
  • Thermometer
  • Vet wrap to wrap the dam's tail out of the way
  • Umbilical cord clamp - or clothesline clip
  • Pocket knife
  • Stethoscope
  • Old towels if the cria needs to be rubbed dry and warm
  • Scales – bathroom ones, or hanging cria scales
  • Portable phone and vet's phone number
  • Bucket and plastic garbage bag for placenta collection
  • Cria coat – put on if there is any cool weather or breezy 

Because of the coolness of the Spring nights – and occasionally snow days in April and March, we also have an 8’ x 8’ pen set up in our garage just in case.  Many times if the weather is not cooperative, we have the mom and baby spend the night in the garage just to keep the baby as comfortable as possible. This is crucial for premature babies who have a hard time regulating their body temperature.  

The best way to become prepared is try to make it to a birth off of the farm with an experienced breeder (duh-of course, but this usually isn’t an option).  A great book I would highly recommend to just about everyone is Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care by Bradford Smith, Karen Timm and Patrick Long.  It is informative, step-by-step in layman’s terms that everyone can comprehend.  Get it!

Watch for signs of the baby.  Most of the time, you will not need to do anything, but it is helpful to be nearby just in case.