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John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Alpaca Birthing Sequence

Alpaca birthing is generally an uneventful process, yet it is one of the more stressful events for new owners. Problem births (dystocias) are unusual in sound breeding animals, but when they do occur it is important to intervene as quickly as possible for the health of both the dam and cria. This pictorial journey is meant to help those that are new to the process.

Stage One

Labor usually begins in the morning.  There is some evidence that the chance of serious dystocias increases with late afternoon, evening or night time births.

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Active Labor Begins

Labor progresses from the early signs of discomfort and straining over the dung pile to a visible dialation of the vulva. At this point close observers may actually see contractions signaling the beginning of active labor.

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The Cria Presents

The alpaca birth sequence usually moves quickly once active labor begins. We expect to see a cria on the ground within an hour of when we have confirmed active labor, and will be looking to see if there are any problems if there isn't

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Legs Emerge

The alpaca birthing process requires that the cria be properly aligned to make its exit. This means that it must present itself head first, belly down, and with its front legs extended over its head. This will be readily apparent.

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Passing the Shoulders

The birthing sequence may slow down as the cria's shoulders pass through the birth canal. The shoulders are the broadest part of the baby, and the mother will have to work a bit harder at this point.

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The Final Push

The alpaca birthing sequence reaches an important transition as the cria is fully expelled. This is the beginning of a new life!

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New Life

The birth sequence is over, and a new cria is on the ground. At this point we want to be sure that the membrane that surrounded the cria in the womb is clear of its mouth and nostrils so that it can breath freely.

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Cria Cushing

The new cria will, after a short rest, begin its first efforts to stand and nurse. But, it takes awhile to work up the strength and it will probably spend a fair amount of time in a cushed position.

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Crias and Kids

Baby alpacas and kids are a natural. Our daughter could not restrain herself from making a proper introduction.

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Attempting to Stand

The first attempts to stand are largely unsuccessful. But, the new cria knows that food is close by and it wants some.

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First Steps

The new cria takes its first steps. After several fruitless tries she is on her feet for the first time, and in this case never fell over again.

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First Meal

The new cria gets its first meal. It takes a bit for the new baby to find the dinner tray and latch on, but it is amazing to see how powerful instinct is in a new baby.

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Mom Rests

Mom rests after a long day at the job. All legs, the new cria has a full belly and is ready to explore.

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A Healthy Baby Alpaca

A healthy baby alpaca will be alert and show amazing energy. Only a couple of hours old, she is ready to explore her new world.

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New Cria Checkup

The new cria needs to be checked to make sure they are healthy. A simple checklist to follow will help you decide if you need to intervene or call your veterinarian for help. A premature cria will require attention from a veterinarian in order to survive. Make sure the cria is not premature before continuing.

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Premature Crias

Premature crias are at serious risk.  It is important to check new crias to make sure they are healthy and are not premature. A simple checklist to follow will help you decide if you need to intervene or call your veterinarian for help. A premature cria will require attention from a veterinarian in order to survive.

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"I feel that it is my duty to pull them tenderly but firmly back by the little alpaca coat-tails whenever they have made mistakes --to reprove them in all gentleness when I find them fanning..."

- William Brann
Brann the Iconoclast
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