| This is our first time with crias and unfortunately we've had two premature crias born by two of our alpacas and as they were rejected by their moms and too weak to nurse on their own, they had to go to the local vet school for the first couple days of their lives for round-the-clock care and observation. I have two different situations now with them.
The first cria is now 10.5 weeks old and we started keeping her in the pasture with the other yearling and adult alpaca we have. We should have put her out there sooner, but were told by the vet that she needed to be kept away from other alpacas while her immune system built up since it wasn't a super awesome transfer of colostrum immediately after birth. She's now not interacting with the other alpacas and stays really close to the fence just waiting for people to come and give her a bottle. She doesn't go out and graze with all the other alpacas. I am afraid that between the different homes she stayed in for overnight feedings, she's started to think she's not an alpaca. Any recommendations for this or just leave her to eventually figure it out?
Our second premie cria is a male and currently 3 weeks old. We're also having to keep him away from other alpacas for the previous reasons. He seems a lot stronger, though, and I've been keeping him outside on my porch at night and go out to feed him and then leave him alone. During the day I take him to a farm, put him in a small pen when we have programming going on and take him on walks around the farm to stretch his legs and run. He comes most of the time when I call and doesn't seem too clingy so I'm hopeful that we're avoiding the overhanding that our first cria had which is potentially causing problems. He has started to make the warning screeching noises every once in a while which I've never heard any of our alpacas make before, but is that normal(ish)?
Since the male cria seems stronger and nibbles at grasses and has started to pick them up and eat them, I'm considering leaving him with the other alpacas during the day when he is 4 weeks old. I'm thinking this would give both crias a playmate, and hopefully curb the female's non-alpaca behavior. I'm worried that her behavior may rub off on him, though...
Any thoughts/advice on the situations would be welcome. I have no experience raising cria and now learning that the overhanding that is good for friendly goats is not what cria need, so I'm trying to figure out the best plans for action. Thank you!!!