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 Stress during Pregnancy
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52 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2007 :  2:46:22 PM  Show Profile
I have two females having their first pregnancy appox. the same age and their cria are due in May only five days apart. There has been constant harassment (spitting, neck wrestling) often started by the same alpaca. She is the dominate alpaca and the other girl does defer sometimes to the dominate alpaca. We have one other female that is younger than the other two and basically minds her own business and the other two leave her alone. Can a pregnant alpaca that is due in about 4 months abort her fetus and/or have a stillbirth due to stress from fighting? Perhaps I'm just being an overprotective "newbie" and anxious about our first births. Thanks in advance for your assurances....Marti


777 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2007 :  3:36:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit Pepperina's Homepage
I do suspect that one of our females who was penned on shearing day awaiting her turn - delivered prematurely due to the stress of the impending shearing. The cria was about 3-4 weeks premature (it survived). She dropped her cria in the pen the pregnancy before when penned for vaccinations to it seems to be a trend.

Needless to say, if this alpaca is pregnant around shearing time we will be removing her from sight/sounds of shearing and will arrange to do her after the birth. Premmies are too much like hard work to risk it again.The vet said in our case that the rising cortisol levels due to stress may have triggered the birth and that the female must have been particularly sensitive.

In your case, although they do display that they are 'not happy' (by lip dropping etc) after fights and disagreements, I am not sure this would be enough to affect them in this way as it is part of normal heirachy behaviour.

Pepperina Alpacas - Forest Hill QLD

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512 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2007 :  6:29:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit stardustalpacas's Homepage
Do you have another pasture and another companion? We separate our cranky females in one pasture and the nicer ones in another. If you only have 2, then of course that will not work. I would not hestitate to look into mood enhancers for the one cranky girl. Since she is pregnant, she could be in pain or have hormones out of control. You can try something herbal to calm her down.

Stephanie Zeleny
Stardust Alpacas
Creswell, OR
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4245 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2007 :  11:28:20 PM  Show Profile
Hi Marti,
My opinion is going to differ.
We have the best of friends/worst of enemies here, Aria and Manda. They're always together, 12 and 14 years old, always due at the same approximate time, and tons of spit wars, neck wrestling and chest butting.
My personal opinion most of the time in situations like you describe is to let them be normal alpacas, they've benn doing this stuff for thousands of years, we're all newbies.

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

Posted - 01/25/2007 :  07:44:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit vlyons's Homepage
I agree with Rick, let the girls do their own thing and manage their own relationship. Other than that, you can assist by placing the separate feed bowls at least 10 feet apart, and placing hay in separate mangers, or a hay manger large enough to accommodate several feeders at once. You might even put out 1 or 2 extra feed bowls, so that if one girl gets intimidated off her bowl, another is available. Most of the girl fighting occurs over food. Ditto put out several water buckets.

Finally, do your girls have enough room? Is the paddock large enough for them to walk away from the cranky domineering one?

There is some anti-stress stuff that you can put in the water, but frankly, I would not give late pregnant girls any extra chemicals. just make sure that there is fresh water and plenty of good quality hay. Eating hay and chewing cud is the natural way for them to relieve stress.

Virginia Lyons
Able Oaks Ranch Alpacas
Rusk, Texas
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