Rick and Terry Simpson
HC 79 Box 52-E
Romney, WV 26757
(304) 822-3494

It's normal to be nervous when your first cria is about to be born. The birthing procedures outlined below will help you understand more about what you can do to help the process along without interfering with it. This information was given to me by Lee Ciszewski, of Almost Heaven Guesthouse and Alpacas .

First of all, leave mom alone as much as you can so she can do her job. Intervene only when it looks like she is having problems or needs assistance. There is a neonatal care book available from Useful Lama Items and Stevens Lama Tique that will help you determine when mom needs help.

When the cria is emerging, you may need to step in and remove the sac from around its mouth and nose so it can breathe. When the cria is on the ground and breathing normally and everything looks okay at this point, it's time for you to step in.

  1. Move mom and cria to a separate, clean pen of their own. Be sure it is near her friends so she can see them and they can see her. They're excited, too, about this new arrival!

  2. Towel dry the cria, rubbing it all over to stimulate it. Towel AND blow dry it in the winter, but be sure to rub it all over to stimulate it. Be sure the membrane is removed from the cria's mouth, nose, and toes.

  3. Dip the cord as soon as convenient in a solution of 1 part Nolvasan mixed with 3 parts water (2 tbsp Nolvana to 6 tbsp water). You can use an empty film cannister or a small prescription pill bottle. Dip the cord 3 or 4 times in the next few hours, and after that, discard the Nolvasan.

  4. Give the cria 2 ccs of Bovine e-coli liquid orally (get it from your vet). It is to coat the stomach and prevent e-coli infections in the cria. Squirt it slowly into the back of the cria's mouth, being careful not to drown it.

  5. Begin keeping a record of the cria's vital statistics: weight, gender, time and date of birth, cord dipping, e-coli meds, etc. Record EVERYTHING that happens.

  6. Leave mom and cria alone for awhile to bond. Check back in about 45 minutes to an hour to see whether mom has passed the placenta.

  7. Using rubber gloves, collect the placenta in a bucket to examine later, or examine it now to be sure she has passed the whole thing. It will look rather like a big blue and purple bag.

  8. When cria finally stands (1 - 2 hours, after many tries) strip mom's four teats. There is something like a small bit of a plastic plug in each teat, and this has to be removed before the cria can nurse. Milk a few drops from mom and rub the milk on the cria's mouth and tongue to get it going and interested in nursing.

  9. You may have to put the cria up under mom. It is best if the area where mom and cria are bonding is bright and well lighted, because the cria will look for a dark place (under mom) in which to nurse.

  10. If the cria hasn't nursed after 4 hours, you may need to mix up the powdered colostrum that comes in the Cria Care Kit, or thaw the frozen colostrum you can get from Useful Lama Items. Heat it until it is quite warm on your skin - about 102 degrees (test it with your thermometer). Try to feed the cria. If it will not eat, try again in another hour. If it still will not eat, call your vet and ask him to tube feed the cria for you. When you take the cria to his office, be sure to take along at least 8 ounces of warmed colostrum. The cria may take only 4 or 6 ounces, but take along the extra just in case it needs more.

  11. Some breeders like to give the cria a plasma transfusion as a matter of course. Others don't give the transfusion unless the cria seems to be in dire straits. Still others give the plasma orally. Follow your vet's advice.

  12. Give mom some extra grain, hay, and water, and again leave them alone as much as possible. Continue to observe them at intervals to be sure all continues to be okay.

  13. After the first 24 hours, have the vet check the cria and administer 1cc of BoSe injectible (NOT MuSe). He can also check the placenta and do an IgG test.

  14. After the first 24 hours, if you have not seen the cria poop (or seen evidence that it has done so), give the cria a small amount of warm water in the Fleet bottle or bulb syringe as an enema. You may want to have your vet do this when he's checking the cria and doing the IgG test.

  15. Keep the mom and cria separated from the rest of the herd for about 48 hours - until the cria is steady on its feet - then introduce them back into the main pen. The others will overwhelm the cria with curiosity!

  16. Weigh the cria every day at about the same time of day. For the first week of its life, the cria should gain about a pound a day. After that, weigh it once a week - it should gain 3-4 pounds a week.

  17. Call ARI and request a registration form, if you don't already have one at hand. (It is less expensive and less likely to be overlooked if you do it immediately.) Fill it out with all the information you have, then send it to the owner of the cria's sire for him to complete the sire owner's section of the form.

  18. When the sire's owner returns the form to you, send it with $54.00 to ARI (the address is on the form) and wait for the return of the bar code labels.

  19. While you're waiting for the bar codes to return, find a small styrofoam box (your vet may have one) and a couple of ice packs (again, your vet may have them).

  20. When the bar code labels come back, have the vet come out to draw blood (into a tube with a purple top) from the cria for its DNA test and to give mom her annual rabies shot. Be sure to invert the test-tube several times to mix the blood with the reacting agent in the tube.

  21. Using a small styrofoam box, pack the test tube of blood with ice packs to keep it cold. If you cannot send it immediately, refrigerate it until you can. If your vet is going to mail the DNA to UC Davis, be sure to give him the address and offer to pay for postage.

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