The other night witnessed a major event in our alpaca herd: the birth of our first-ever appaloosa cria!
This awesome event was made even sweeter by the fact that it very nearly turned out a lot less rosy. I found the dam, Honor, lying on her side looking very uncomfortable at about 4:30 PM (a time that's just late enough that, if you see a female alpaca going into labor then, there's a good chance that something is wrong). She got up after a little while, and made some pacing motions like she was looking for a good place to have a baby, and then proceeded to strain and make effort for a little while before lying down again and looking uncomfortable. This went on a few more times -- get up, pace, strain, lie down -- and then, at about 5 PM, we decided it was best to "go in" and make sure there was nothing obviously amiss.
It took a lot of feeling around to even find the cria -- in itself a bad sign -- but once I did, the problem was extremely obvious: the cria's head was upside-down, and was wedged behind the brim of the dam's pelvis. Fun! ... It seemed like something that might require a C-section, but with a lot of (very, very careful) manipulation, I was able to get the head over the brim of the pelvis. After a few minutes of trying, the dam still wasn't making progress on her own, so I went back in and pulled the cria's head out into the birth canal. When I saw that the little nose was spotted, I knew this kid had to come out in one piece!
Thank goodness, with a bit more help, she did. Miraculously, despite the difficult birth, she was up and into a cushed position (sitting up) within seconds of being born. We moved mom and baby into the warm garage (it was a cold, crappy day out) and baby eventually stood, with a little bit of assistance, and nursed, with even less assistance. Her mom is amazing, and not only because she answered my wish for an appaloosa female cria!
So here, without further ado, is our very first appaloosa, sired by Mr. Butterscotch.
K writes this stuff, for some reason that has yet to become apparent.