Last week Hannah came to stay for a few days to gain some experience as she wants to be a vet. Hannah is the 17 year old daughter of a family friend who i have known nearly all my life. Hannah was very excited about the possibility of witnessing a birth but I did explain to Hannah that although cria were due, in the alpaca world births dont always happen on certain dates! We had already had two cria prior to Hannahs arrival and were eagerly awaiting the next so everything was crossed.
Hannah arrived on the the Wednesday evening. On the Thursday morning we set about doing general chores (all the time watching the paca’s for any signs of a female going into labour.
We were due to remate the dam of our first born cria so after running through what happens with Hannah we set about getting Harefield Dream Maker into the catch pen next to Wellground Dimitri (our no. one stud). Dimitri knows the ropes and new exactly what to do, as did Dream who has given us 3 beautiful cria already.
Half way through (they so like to take their time!) we noticed that Sebastian (Dreams cria) had somehow pushed the gate open and had entered the paddock next to the mating pen ( its one of those gates with a difficult catch, you know the ones – needs an extra push to close securely) So what was a text book mating turned onto a bit of a exciting few minutes as we had to get all the girls from both paddocks in and separate them into their respective groups again. It was all good hands on experience for Hannah of course. Dimitri and Dream carried on obliviously!
So after all the excitement we had a well needed coffee and it was while we were sat on the deck over looking the birthing paddock that Hannah noticed our maiden Little Park Buttercup spinning frantically in the field shelter. Poor girl had gone into labour and didnt know what on earth this ‘thing’ was hanging out of her rear end! She did calm down and labour continued without any hiccups. Buttercup did begin to struggle a little more than i would’ve liked and i felt she needed a little help. Between us we eased out her beautiful little cria, a female we named Hannah – of course!
As Little Hannah was born just outside the shelter and the flies were bothering them both i carried her into the shelter where they had some peace and quiet to bond. Buttercup who is usually not keen on being touched was so good, she let us wash her back legs to keep the flies off. So, started the watching and waiting for Little Hannah (as she has affectionately become known) to feed. ‘Big’ Hannah was amazed at how quickly she got to her feet and started to search to the milk bar and watching the fleece begin to dry and show the beautiful curly fleece appear.
The next day i had planned to do some vaccinations with Hannah and it was whilst we were bringing them into the catch pen we noticed that Wellground Shuna had given birth! Shuna hadnt scanned pregnant and was in the paddock with other ‘non pregnant’ females and last years cria. Fortunately the cria had just been born and seemed fine. We carried her (Shuna close at our heels) into the birthing paddock where they could bond away from the over interested yearlings! We named her Eva ( we are using animation as our theme this year as my daughter Mary is at Plymouth College of Art doing a degree in Animation) Eva is from the film Wall-E.
So after another tiring day we were thrilled that Hannah had been here to witness so much ‘action’
On Hannahs third and final day, we were watching the new arrivals getting used the world, checking that they were all weeing and pooing etc. They had all been weighed shortly after they were born so we made notes of everything.
Then Wellground Tiffany went in to labour! Tiffany was expecting her 2nd cria. She also needed a little help and she had a large boy (almost 11 kg) which we were pleased about as it gives Sebastian a male friend to play with.
Hannahs grandmother arrived to collect her whilst we were still busy with Tiffany and little Wally (couldnt call him Wall-E could I!) was able to bond with mum while we showed off the other new cria.
When Hannah left on Saturday the birthings have come to a halt! We have two over-due and some due later. I told Hannah to come back as she was my lucky charm but apparently a planned holiday took presidence. cant understand why!!
It was lovely to have Hannah here and her help was invaluable. Three cria in three days! phew! I just hope she wasnt put off being a vet!