We had our first 2019 cria (baby alpaca) born a Saturday or so ago. We haven’t done much breeding the last couple of years, so it seems even more special to now have a cria on the farm. Although we brought all our alpacas to our farm in 2011, and we have had plenty of cria since then, this is the first time I have ever actually seen a birth! Typically when we have a cria due, either Jeff or I will pull down the driveway from work at the end of the day and there a new cria will be…..delivered, cleaned up, dry and often times already on its feet and nursing.
As with any time we have moms with a due date approaching, we had moved 3 of our (hopefully) pregnant girls into the “maternity pasture”. This is the run that is closest to the house and driveway. It is easy for us to watch them there and easier to feed them a little richer diet while they are further along in their pregnancies and preparing to nurse. The run is also safer from predators and easier for Bella, our livestock guardian dog, to watch over new cria. Keeping pregnant moms in this pasture is even more important since Jeff and I typically aren’t there for the birth.
But this birth was different. Jeff and I had gone out to the maternity run around 8:00 am on Saturday morning to discuss some changes we might make in the layout of the barn. We noticed that one of the pregnant girls, Abby, was very nervous…….pacing along the fence line and humming. The only thing we thought that would have caused her that much distress was that she was in labor. We watched her very closely that morning and around 10:30, we noticed that she had begun to deliver. Abby, who is a first time mom did amazing! She made progress all along and at 11:30 delivered a very tall, long legged, healthy, white female that we named Layla.
All the Alpaca Aunties stood by and watched as Layla was being delivered.
I don’t know if it was because I got to see the birth from start to finish or what, but I am absolutely in love with Layla. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to not only see the birth from start to finish, but the reaction of Abby, all the other alpacas and Bella during and after the birth. It was wonderful to see the other alpacas clean off Layla and to see how Bella did her job.
Bella showed up even before Layla was born and started watching and waiting. Once Layla was born, Bella and Abby seemed to communicate and work together to decide how close Bella could get to watch over the cria. Bella stayed in the maternity pasture most of the weekend watching over Abby and Layla.
It was also incredible to watch Abby coach Layla to nurse and scold her when she wandered away too far. Abby is very attentive but still lets Layla leave her side to explore a little.
We have two more mom’s that should deliver any day, if in fact, they are pregnant. We also have another 3 moms with a 10/1 due date. The naming theme for the year is “Classic Rock and Roll from the 70s”, thus the name “Layla” by Eric Clapton.
Hopefully I will have another post (or more) with more new cria news. But until then, I’m guessing you are going to have a very difficult time getting the song “Layla” out of your head! You can thank me for that one next time you see me.
Got me on my knees
Begging Darling please
Darling won’t you ease my worried mind?
At least I won’t be the only one with this song stuck in my head😊
Welcome to the farm, Layla!
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