... This one took some effort -- my effort and his mom's. Mom (Glacier Rock's Allison) is a seven year-old first-timer. Because of this, her lady-bits* were not particularly stretchy, and she needed a little bit of assistance to bring the baby into the world. (*This is the technical term for "vulva.") I found her at 3:30 PM with a nose and two silver grey legs sticking out of her nether regions (also a technical term). I was thrilled at the coloring, but a little bit nervous, because 1. It was late in the day, and late afternoon births are often a bad sign in alpacas, and 2. I had just checked on said vulva in the morning, and it didn't look nearly big enough to pass a baby alpaca through.
But, out he came, with a little bit of help. He then needed time to stand ... A lot of time. Most cria should stand within 45 minutes. This one took about three hours, and a lot of human help. During this time, a thunderstorm erupted, so he was whisked away to a barn along with mom, where we sat, waiting for him to figure out the standing thing. Once he did stand, he needed another hour, plus a lot more human help, to figure out what nursing was all about. Luckily, by then the rain had stopped, so I was able to escort mom and baby outside. Alpaca cria instinctively seek dark corners (that's where the milk is!), so in a dark barn, a baby like this one, who isn't quite all there, is going to try to nurse on the wall. That wall looks really appealing to a slightly out-of-it newborn cria.
Oh, also, mom's placenta broke open while she was trying to pass it about 20 minutes after birth -- the usual time for alpacas, in my experience thus far -- so I was really afraid we were going to have a retained placenta on our hands. She tried to pass it at 7:30, after an oxytocin shot, and failed. I went out to check on them at around 8:30 PM, and I have never been so happy to see a placenta as I was at that moment.
I won't say we are entirely out of the woods yet -- cria from births such as this should always be considered high-risk. However, I'm a lot more optimistic now -- enough so to post pictures of the little dude. Yes, he is a dude, but I am not sad about this. Did I mention that he's grey? I think I did, but I don't think I mentioned that I believe he shall grow up to be freaking awesome. Yeah. Glad he's a dude.
Here he is with Summer. Summer was born about three weeks ago. They grow fast! The other cria aren't sure what to think of him. They seem to know he's a cria, but they can't seem to figure out why he doesn't want to play yet.
Last but not least, of course, with his mom. Even though it is her first time, Allison has been the most fantastic, patient, caring mother. Also, although she is one of my least people-centric alpacas, she instinctively knew that I was there to help, and tolerated all of my ministrations, including milking her out to get things started for baby. It's amazing how they know!
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.