of us ever want to think about losing a cria. It’s a
heartbreaking event for us as breeders and for the dam.
Occasionally, despite our best efforts, a cria loss does occur.
Sometimes we know the reason but more often, it remains an
as breeders can do something positive during this sad time.
Perhaps your farm can be blessed with a miracle as mine was.
was a warm sunny June morning when I noticed Savanah acting like
she was in labor. (Savanah
This was her first pregnancy and she had just passed her due date.
How exciting! My first cria of the year! My daughter, Becky, and I
kept a casual but close eye on her all morning. As morning turned
to early afternoon with no real progression we started to get
concerned. When early afternoon became late afternoon and still no
cria, we knew it was time to call the vet.
vet arrived within 45 minutes of my call and set to work examining
Savanah. She quickly discovered the cria was in a full breech
position and undeliverable on it’s own. She gently pointed out
that very few cria in this position are born alive.
The vet delivered the cria within a ½ hour but it was too
late to save the beautiful little male.
a terrible loss. Savanah had fostered an orphan cria as a maiden.
I knew she would make a wonderful attentive mother and her udder
was full of life giving colostrum.
I began to wonder, we save frozen goat and cow colostrum, why
couldn’t I harvest and freeze Savanah’s precious colostrum in
case another cria needed it? The vet confirmed that this was a
great idea. Savanah could be milked a few times that day and the
next to harvest the colostrum before letting her dry up. This is
not an easy thing to do and we only ended up with about a ½ cup
of the “liquid gold” but some was better than none. I thought
that was the end of the story but fate has way of spicing things
February 2nd I find myself driving my friend and her
very ill pregnant female to Ohio State University. We arrived
there about 1:00 am Sunday. The staff did a thorough exam and
found the cria to be safe and strong inside it’s mom. “Mom”
was not doing well so they admitted her. We were to check back
Monday and see how she and her unborn cria were doing. As Monday
wore on it became clear to the staff at OSU that the dam would not
survive and the cria had to be delivered by caesarian section.
my friend told me of the impending birth, I thought of the
“liquid gold” I’d saved from Savanah’s loss the previous
June. The cria could use this! I could help! I immediately called
OSU and told them of my treasure. They were happy to accept it. I
overnighted it so the cria would have pure alpaca colostrum when
it was born.
vets at OSU induced labor Monday afternoon to prepare the cria for
birth and delivered him at 11:00am Tuesday. He was healthy, strong
and weighed 14.5 lbs. He was a fighter. Savanah’s colostrum
arrived within a few hours and he hungrily ate it. His IgG score
was a successful 1800. No failure of passive transfer. Savanah had
saved his life through her loss. Due to her circumstances, my
friend was unable to take on the immense task of bottle raising
the cria so she gave him to my daughter. We had already raised a
bottle baby and were prepared for what was to come but that is a
whole other story. So, Wednesday evening after work I was on my
way back to OSU to pick up our new addition.
of two tragedies came one miracle that had come full circle to end
up back with us at our farm. Yes, losing a cria is heartbreaking
but the potential for miracles is limitless if you can just
remember to save that precious “liquid gold”!
About the Author:
Serenity Ridge Farm has been breeding and raising alpacas since 1995. We offer diverse genetics and award winning animals. Our post sale service is
phenomenal. We've helped our clients birth their first cria (once even over the phone!!), design pastures & shelters and choose the right male for their breeding needs.
We believe our greatest success happens by working with others. Through this networking we're able to provide a wide variety of high quality alpacas for sale or breeding services.
Visit our homepage on www.alpacanation.com/serenityridge.asp