Elaine Clarke – 10th may 2021

10 May 2021     British Alpaca Society     BAS Board

At this time of year, our focus is usually centred around the seasonal triad of shearing, births and matings. With our shearing all complete, we have now been fortunate enough to welcome the first of our cria into the world.

To date, three of our females have unpacked but to say the weather has been less than favourable is quite the understatement. With Roger away at the BAS Judges’ Calibration and despite usually preferring to work behind the scenes, you may have spotted me on BBC’s Countryfile a couple of weeks ago.

As part of the feature, the programme showed the first of our cria, a little premature and dysmature female who was quite wobbly on her feet.

This little female was born three weeks early and arrived out in the pasture, in the midst of a snow flurry.  As a consequence, the little one was quite hypothermic and needed both veterinary intervention and a lot of tender loving care to get her on her feet and feeding.

It took 48 hours of round the clock care, before the little one was able to stand and feed independently. Despite her shaky start, I could tell she was a fighter and with lots of intervention, including a plasma transfusion under her belt, I could see her growing stronger by the day.

I’m delighted to report that little Subzero as we decided she should be called, is now not so little and is thriving well, in fact, she has never looked back. All signs of dysmaturity have gone and she has blossomed into an elegant, upstanding young cria, full of both fun and mischief alike.

Having not had to intervene so greatly in years, this experience really brought home; the importance of being ‘birthing ready’. By this, I don’t just mean having the birthing kit stocked up, but also being prepared for the unforeseen and the unexpected by having all of your interventions in place. I’m incredibly thankful that we were able to act without delay and had everything ready and at hand.

As we move into the summer season, we look forward to the arrival of better weather and of course, more precious cria. I absolutely love seeing everyone’s posts on social media and sharing in people’s excitement as the new batch ‘hit the deck’. Keep sharing!

No sooner have the cria arrived, than planning begins for the next stage; the matings! I don’t know about you but this usually causes a lot of ‘spirited debate’ in our house and regardless of who’s choice comes out on top, we immediately begin to look forward in expectation of the outcome. Please tell me that I’m not the only one to wish their life away like this!?!

In the meantime, I hope you all have a safe and prosperous birthing season and I look forward to seeing all of your new arrivals as you post online.

(birthing  webinar is available here   https://youtu.be/WcTeACCBsZI )