|Acuaria the arrival of the 'herd guard's' cria.|
With a longer and wetter than usual winter, the grass was very high, then no rain for two weeks meant dead knee high grass. We had already had to kill another Tiger snake that refused to move from outside our front door, and we didn't want to risk the cria or Mum's in the paddock. The paddock was finally dry enough to put the tractor on, so Hubby started early. An hour later, Acua started separating herself from the others, so Daughter and I went to check. Yep, she was about to go and very extended out the back end, so we quickly got everything ready and waited for her. Hubby tried to slash as quickly as he could; Acua kept getting up and down, looking swollen then not, sitting and standing and throwing us filthy looks whenever we enquired how she was going ('well, how do YOU THINK?'). Hubby finally finished slashing, but no sign of Acua's baby.
Hours later, (and hourly checks), she still wasn't progressing, in fact she looked like she might hang on until the next day. With no visible signs of labour, so we left them for the night hoping that we might be greeted with a cria in the morning. Just as the light was going, the Alpacas suddenly all herded around in a tight circle. Acua was having her baby at 8pm! Not only was this unusal timing, but the weather had changed and a storm was on it's way in with high winds and rain ARGHHHHH! By the time we got out with torches, Acua's cria was on the ground and it was shivering with the cold as the winds had picked up. While Acua was passing the placenta, Hubby grabbed the cria for his usual check and tried to dry it off as much as possible. I had a huge job keeping Acua from biting Hubby, as we discovered she had had a little boy. Acua is the herd guard and has passing regard for hubby, usually listens to me and spits/clicks anyone else who enters the paddock...she was difficult to manage and extremely protective of her baby.
We decided to pen Acua and the cria in the stable, and block her in with the gate. Our alpacas have never liked going inside, and often choose to sit in the rain rather than shelter in the stable, so we knew Acua wouldn't be happy. It was a hard call between stressing her out, or possibly losing the cria to cold, windy and wet conditions. It took us ages to get Acua to the stable; Hubby had to pick up the cria, Acua would attack him, I would fend her off, then she would run off in a panic searching for the cria, so Hubby would have to put him down again so she would come back. This process was repeated six times across the paddock in huge winds. We finally got them both inside the stable, and then had the stress of the cria not feeding/knowing where Mum was and banging into the stable walls. Luckily we had a torch that hung as a dim light, and we were able to orientate cria to Mum and then left them to it.
The next morning Acua was pacing to get out, but the cria was feeding. We opened the gate and she immediatly went to the toilet, having refused to toilet inside the stable. She clicked and clucked to the baby, and they took off to meet the rest of the herd.
We decided to name the gorgeous boy Ceymour. That meant that our score so far was three boys and only one girl (with two more to go) :)