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 Curled Cria Ears
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2 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2005 :  9:41:43 PM  Show Profile
A cria was born a few days ago with ears curled over his head. We have been massaging them into position two to three times a day. One ear is almost straight, while the other curls back after a few hours. We have received advice recommending massage as mentioned. We have also received advice recommending wrapping the ears around a woman's tampon for a few days.

We welcome your opinion/advice.

Thank you all for your input.


1844 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2005 :  10:20:01 PM  Show Profile
We had a cria born with her ears turned inside out. It took about a week for them to straighten out, but they did. It must have been her positioning before she was born.
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Heidi Christensen

4211 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2005 :  10:39:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Heidi Christensen's Homepage
Both of mine have had curly ears - one tipped out, one tipped in. The first, who is 5 weeks now, has straightened. My little 3 day old is still curled a bit. I have read it can mean pre-maturity, but both were 2 weeks late according to the 340 day rule.

Heidi Christensen
Graham WA
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Hagen Heights Alpacas

995 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  12:23:04 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hagen Heights Alpacas's Homepage
The wrapping ears around a tampon is a trick we used with our show dobermans after their ears were clipped ( YUK!!,), with varying degrees of success. The trick is to keep them rigid without restricting blood flow, and to check them daily for a few hours to let the area "breath".
I never thought it would apply to alpacas and I am not sure if the tendancy for floppy ears at birth is a genetic trait or nutritionally derived in-vitro as all of our cria thus far had erect ears at birth. I sure am curious for answers on this one.

Theresa Gruenhagen
Hagen Heights Alpaca Farm
Pine Bush, NY 12566
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670 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  04:34:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit vlyons's Homepage
Your cria/s ears are going to naturally come into the proper shape in time. You just have to be patient. The ears are folded because they were folded in the womb. The blood vessels and nerves in the ear are small. It takes time for these ears to take shape.

6 weeks ago, I had the most darling little cria llama born with ears bent over his skull. Now 6 weeks later, the ears are almost completely unto their proper shape. I too thought of having the vet tape up his ears. But I decided to practice patience. As each week passed, his ears came up a little bit more. And with a little bit more patience on my part, his right ear will go from 98% to 100%.

Now llama ears are longer and more curved inward than paca ears. So I doubt that it will take 6 weeks for your cria to get its ears up. But please be patient and let her do it herself.

Best Regards

Virginia Lyons
Able Oaks Ranch
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Silver Thunder

126 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  08:29:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit Silver Thunder's Homepage
I have seen the tampon method used on a little boy that was slightly premature. It worked great and in about a week his ears were up and erect. I don't know if they would have come up naturaly or not.


Chuck and Nancy LaBresh
Silver Thunder Alpacas
Greeneville, Tennessee
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4245 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  08:54:57 AM  Show Profile
We've seen it a few times, one of which was bad enough that we named her Lady Spock.
We've never done anything, and it's always solved itself.
If you wrap them too tight, it could restrick blood flow, and if the wrap gets caught on something, damage could be done.
Off to the Denver show, hope to see some of you there.

Rick & Pati Horn
All American Alpacas
35215 Avenida Maņana
Murrieta, Ca. 92563
(951) 679-7795
Life is good!
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179 Posts

Posted - 05/04/2005 :  12:07:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit andesdandies's Homepage
Please distinguish between 'curled' and 'folded' ears on the newborn. Curled ears are a sign of prematurity and will stand up on their own over time. Folded ears that are flipped backwards or creased in the wrong direction have been seen on the crias born of the male who passes on the genetic defect of the collagen in the ears. These cria must be watched for development of the seromas which can and do lead to scarring and deformity. Sorry to be such a downer, but there is an important difference. See collagen defect posts on this site from a little while ago for more info as well.

We had good success by just using cloth medical tape, gently folding the ear forward to remove the crease which made it flip in the wrong direction, and run tape around the ear in that position for a day or two. It does not need to be and should not be tight to protect the circulation. The cloth tape will not pull off hair when you remove it, which you should do daily to make sure things are ok.

You may email me privately if you'd like.


Sue Zelazny,
Andes Dandies, LLC
Middleport, NY
Where the best way to predict the future is to 'criate' it.
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258 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2005 :  4:11:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit LostValleyAlpacas's Homepage
I've had this happen once and I was told to use a large foam curler and then wrap using vet wrap. I wrapped it pretty losely and I'd find both the curler and the wrap in the field after 24 hrs. I only had to put it on twice and after two days the ear was normal.

Sharon Weber
Lost Valley Alpaca Ranch
Dexter, OR
(541) 937-1343
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95 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2005 :  11:02:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit lberry's Homepage
We had a cria born 2 months ago with ears flipped inside out -- they actually curved over her head and met in the middle. We joked about naming her Beelzebub because of the "horns."

After my initial panic I read through this discussion on the Forum and decided to wait it out. I'm happy to report that two months later her ears look just about normal. It's been gradual. The change started at the base and working upward to the tips.

She definitely had some preemie traits, although she wasn't particularly early. I just wanted to give some hope to anyone else who is tempted to name their newborn Beelzebub or Spock!

Laura Berry
Buffalo River Alpacas
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12 Posts

Posted - 12/25/2005 :  8:02:15 PM  Show Profile
From experience and also talking to other breeders ears curled outwards is due to premature births and ears going inwards is due to cria being overcooked (overdue birth).Most problems will correct themselves but to be sure you can tape them up with electrical tape,hard to explain but you fold ear lengthways(like a tube) and go around with tape and leave on for about a week.

Adrian Jarvis
Blackwood Alpacas
Victoria Australia

Edited by - Adrian on 01/09/2006 06:39:08 AM
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294 Posts

Posted - 12/28/2005 :  10:25:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit AbenakiAcres's Homepage
Only had one cria this past year that had a problem with the ears - our mentor farm suggested taping them up and leavingit on a for alittle while - the cria is fine - don't know if the tape did it or time......

Bill Johnson
Abenaki Acres Farm
Sergeantsville, NJ
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4 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  8:50:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit busycs4's Homepage
We found this not to be a big problem. We wrapped the ear for a week around a roll of gauze and now all is normal.
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Mystic Meadow Alpacas

43 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2006 :  8:46:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mystic Meadow Alpacas's Homepage
We just had a very tiny cria, weighing in at only 8 lbs. After 355 days of waiting, I don't think she could be considered a preemie. She's fully developed and already chasing the other crias, much larger than herself. Her ears are a bit turned in, like little horns, but after reading all of your postings, I'm confident they should straighten out on their own. Thanks for sharing your stories. We think she's the cutest little thing we've ever seen! (You probably can't tell we're proud or anything.)

Marlene Souligny & Michael Olson
Mystic Meadow Alpacas
210 Olson Drive
Brattleboro, VT 05301
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47 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2006 :  4:17:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bethany's Homepage
We've had two crias born with one curled ear a piece. Both times from the same Mom though?!! Tampon trick worked like a charm - but the name "Van Gogh" stuck nonetheless.

Bethany Roy
Vermont Alpaca Company
South Strafford, Vermont
(802) 765-9639
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592 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2006 :  7:21:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit WillowTan's Homepage
Just curious if the ears correct themselves as the cria matures?
Gorgeous little female was born at normal gestation. Weighed 16 pounds and was up and nursing in 1/2 hour...has steadly gained a minimum of 1/2 pound a day...but, her ears were curled at birth...when she is curious, they look pretty normal, but when she is relaxed, they curl. The vet called her "Dismature"..and said her forhead was also a bit domed?...will she outgrow this???
She is almost 4 weeks old...

Tana L. Brandt
WillowTan Alpacas
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109 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2006 :  8:49:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit PedrosPrideRanch's Homepage
We had a male born with ear that curved over his head and touched in the middle. Looked just like the rear spoiler on an Eclipse car. We named him Spoiler. We used the plastic tube from syringes and vet wrap to hold his ears straight. They are now perfect and it took about two weeks in the wraps.

Ken & Lisa Larson
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230 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2006 :  3:19:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit alpacatreasures's Homepage
Yes, Tana-

We just had a boy (Chocolate Porter) born with the ears completely flipped back across the head like Ken and Lisa. We called him "Spock" for a few days.

We had better luck with the self-stick wrapping gauge tape than electrical tape (which ripped much of the fibers off his ears), and it worked better wrapping the ears forward into a cone shape than using the tampons.

Even though they may have eventually straightened out on their own, I went ahead and taped them up anyway (also suggested by the vet). They were perfectly straight within 3 days....where they may have taken many, many weeks to straighten on their own. Now, he's quite the handsome little devil....and we're no longer making fun of him.

Sara McElroy
Alpaca Treasures
Maple Valley, WA
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592 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2006 :  5:06:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit WillowTan's Homepage
The cria that was born in September with curled ears just came back home with Mom from the Breeders. Her ears are straight now, but they seem shorter and feel a little thicker at the base than the other cria's her same age. Will this be a fault if I decide to show her?...or...will it be something that could be hereditary? Hoe concerned should I be...she can move them just fine, and her hearing is fine. They just seem short and rather thick.
The vet said she was born "dismature".
I think she was too long to fit into Mom without extra folding. She is a long, tall girl anf Mom is not that big.

Tana L. Brandt
WillowTan Alpacas
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685 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2006 :  8:54:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Alpacalady's Homepage

Well, Tana...this is easy to fix....just breed her to a male with long, thin ears....

Seriously though, if she was dysmature, the condition of her ears may be just particular to her and in no way hereditary, but it may be looked on as a fault in the show-ring especially if it is really obvious. On the other hand I have seen an alpaca with 'Llama-ears' win a blue ribbon before a very prominent judge and his only comment was that the ears were a little too 'bunny-like', but otherwise the fleece and the conformation were top-notch!!

So, as always....different judge, different day, makes all the difference between 1st place and not placing.


Graceland Alpaca Farm
Lisbon Falls, Maine
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592 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2006 :  9:06:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit WillowTan's Homepage
Thats cute..I like that answer

Tana L. Brandt
WillowTan Alpacas
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