On Wednesday morning, two cria were born within 45 minutes of each other. And neither delivery was by Flora, the dam I've been watching so intently. Flora is the first of four alpacas due within a three-week period, so I was surprised to glance out the window and see Sonnet (last due of the four) in the midst of birth, out in the pasture.
I ran to the barn to get my birthing kit, some towels and a bucket of water. As I approached, I noticed the other alpacas further down the field, gathered around another cria! Sonnet was obviously still in process, so I rushed over to see a still-wet cria just attempting to sit upright.
All the aunties were sniffing and greeting it while Summer was anxiously humming to the little white-faced creature. With a towel, I scooped up the baby, checked the gender -- it's a girl! -- and carried her to a pen, Summer trailing at my elbow. I wanted them in a safe place and undisturbed while I went to see how Sonnet was doing.
Labor appeared to be at the same stage as when I first noticed her: head and one leg out, partial second leg. By checking the flex of the joints, I was certain they were both front legs (proper for delivery), rather than a front and back leg, which would have to be manipulated for birthing. Thank goodness! But Sonnet was up and down, laying on one side or the other, and the cria was mouth-breathing continuously. I phoned another alpaca owner to ask some questions, and Heather volunteered to come right over. (I so appreciate this about alpaca people!)
Sonnet's due date was August 18th, so this baby was a bit early (known as 'dis-mature'), teeth not yet erupted, but quite healthy at 17.6#s. Birthing was a little bit long (one elbow was caught on pelvic ledge, otherwise quite normal), so both baby and mom were tired, and it took the cria some time to gain her strength. Giving the baby a dollop of Karo, getting her out of the sun, giving Sonnet a pain relief med, all worked together toward successful nursing. Her sire is RH Bentley (DB), and we've named her Bentley's Carrera. Her coloring is identical to her beautiful mom.
While attending Sonnet, I could see that Summer's cria was up and nursing quite well. She had delivered right on her due date. This little girl has a white/silver face and feet, yet her silky fleece is a taupey-brown color, probably dark rose gray. She was 15.5#s, and sired by Spirit Song's Vivaldi (MSG), owned by Silver Sun Alpacas in Santa Ynez, CA.
Her name still eludes us. Since Vivaldi composed The Four Seasons, and Summer is the dam, it seems there would be a natural tie-in. Summer and her lively little pixie hum and sing to each other a lot, so something musical is appropriate.
Both crias are nursing well (always a relief!) and have gotten steady on those long legs. The older three amigos (Ladyhawke, Jedlicka, and Gryffin) are inspired to romp past the new little ones, showing off their dancing feet.
Now it's Flora and Black Lace's turn. All week, I've been reminding them: "nose 'n toes!"