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Monday, June 01 2009

This is the next in a series of blog entries from Double 8 Alpaca Ranch.  Today's topic is Dystocia births. 

Double 8 Remembrance (Remy) hails from our Elvira line of females.  His mother is an Elvira daughter, Hearts on Fire.  You can read about Elvira ->> This was Heart's first cria.   Heart was running a bit late at 358 days gestation, but we were not really worried about that.  She was not in any distress and we saw plenty of movement.  For days, little Remy had been pushing on Heart's anus and had protruded quite a bit under her tail.  All normal things you may see prior to delivery.  On birthing day, Heart showed all the normal signs; a couple trips to the dung pile, rubbing her side on the fence (just as Elvira did),  some scratching at the ground (just like her mom, amazing how similar they are). 

The birth began with the normal nose and toes.  So far so good.  Then one leg came out followed by the head.  What was odd about the presentation was that one leg was much farther out than the other.  The other leg had only a foot, bent at the ankle out. The hardest thing about delivering crias is to just sit on your hands.  But we kept just sitting. Twenty minutes had gone by, no change. Thirty minutes, no change.  It was time to take a look at what was going on.  Bonnie first tried the "traction" method described in the previous blog entry.  This time that other leg did not budge. Maybe it was just stuck at the lip of Heart's vulva.  Some OB gloves and some lube should help.  Bonnie put two fingers in and tried to massage the leg out the opening.  Still no further movement.  Looks like we are going to have to go in and find out what is going on.  First a call to the vet.  Perfect, Dr. Nancy Lee is only ten minutes away (This stuff always happens on a holiday weekend).  Bonnie reaches further into the vulva opening and and tries to unstick Remy. He has one leg folded as if he were cushed and it is crossed under the leg that is sticking out of mom.  There isn't enough room for the leg to unfold and it can't come out unless it gets straightened.  Right on cue, Dr. Lee arrives.  The vet was able to push the other leg up to its shoulder back into the birth canal (where there is more room to manipulate the cria) and then, with both hands inside Heart up to her elbows, Dr. Lee was able to manipulate the leg so that it was parallel with the other leg.  Once both were pointing in the same direction, out came Remy.

This was a hard delivery for Heart.  She was in a lot of discomfort afterwards and stood for a good part of the day and evening.  We administered banamine for the pain and swelling, which helped her relax and cush for the night.  We also started her on antibiotics since both Bonnie and Dr. Lee had to go inside.

A quick word about the cria.  Our veterinarian came out the following day to do our normal dam/cria check, and she also examined the cria's legs.  His leg ligaments seemed to be a bit over stretched.  He must have been growing in the womb with his legs crossed.  When he stood, his legs would just fold inward like a gumby doll. The vet recommended to keep him quiet (leaving him and mom in the 12 X 20 pen for a few days to allow the ligaments to strengthen without doing any damage to the cartlidge) By day four, the legs had started to strengthen and straighten out, and as I look at him eight days after being born, he is a straight as he should be.  The crias tend to bounce back from these things pretty quickly.  Never underestimate their fortitude.

If you would like to talk more about this birth or have any comments please feel free to post a comment or call us at 609-758-7560

-Bonnie and Doug

Posted by: Doug Kittrell AT 06:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, June 01 2009

Double 8 Alpaca Ranch is going to be doing a new series of blog entries each week.  The blogs will have information about our alpaca farm pre and post birthing protocol for crias and their dams.  Today we start the first entry.

We've had a short break in between cria deliveries since Oreo gave birth to Double Stuff on Mother's day.  Since then we have had four more boys born on the farm.  And as usual with alpacas, each and every birth comes with its own set of challenges and joy.

First up was the aforementioned Double Stuff.  Stuff's dam, Oreo has always been a sneaky mom, delivering when no one is around or watching.  She normally waits until we go into the house and then runs out to the pasture, delivers the cria and has it up and nursing and walking back to the barn within an hour.  But for this Mother's day, she decided to have a cria in public view.  She started to show signs of labor at 9:30 AM (frequent visits to dung pile, sitting and rolling slightly onto her hip, looking back towards her backend and getting up & down frequently).  This went on for 2 hours.  I was a little worried, because Oreo has never been in labor this long.  I was starting to worry that it was a torsion, but she wasn't rolling violently, only sitting with a slight roll onto her hip...not a back and forth roll and not a laid-out roll on her entire side.  So, our vet asked us to watch her for one more hour and if nothing progresses, she would come out and palpate to investigat the cria position.  Sure enough just before the hour was up, we saw the ball....  It was a normal presentation of "nose and toes".  She started with just a nose and then two long legs popped out of the sac and out the back end.  But this time (Oreo's 5th cria) she had some difficulty clearing the shoulders. The cria hung and drained from mom's backend as is normal, but after a about a 30 minutes of hanging around, we couldn't sit on our hands any longer.  Bonnie applied an ever so slight amount of traction at the same time the dam had a contraction, holding the cria above the knee.  When we do this, Bonnie does NOT pull on the cria.  The object is to just give a little more weight to the cria, while the dam has a contraction so that gravity can do its job. That slight traction was enough for Double Stuff to come sliding out.  He was up and nursing within 20 minutes. Total Gestation - 355 days.  We believe this birth was different than Oreo's normal deliveries, because this cria was a good 5 lbs bigger than her previous average cria birth weights. 

Next up, or should I say out, was Black Jaucque (Jack) out of MKC Belverdere's French Kiss (Frenchy).  Jack's delivery was similar to Double Stuff's.  A normal delivery.  Total Gestation - 344 days.

Third was Double 8 Remembrance (Remy), born on Memorial day. This birth was a slight dystocia which you can read about in the next entry.  So far, all of the births this spring have started with the female showing signs of being in labor around 9:00 AM (one female cushed right next to the dung area, all of them were up & down, cushing and standing near the dung area) ....and most of the cria have been born between 11:30 AM - Noon.


Posted by: Doug Kittrell AT 05:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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    Double 8 Alpaca & Llama Ranch
    13374 SR 671

    Purcellville, Va 20132

    Phone: (571) 577-8579