Alpacas delivering cria

July 24, 2011

Other, Rare Cases

There is nothing better than going down memory lane. I was digging into pictures of my university days and I found that I was even more obsessed then in taking photographs. I guess back in those days, I had more time on my hands and was the enthusiastic observer and not the actual vet in action. This meant I got to enjoy every case, document it with snap shots and learn from it but was spared the emotional burden of being directly responsible for it.

During our veterinary studies, we had to complete several weeks of farm experiences that I absolutely enjoyed.

I decided to undertake one of my practical weeks at an alpaca stud and it was a very joyous experience.

The owner of the stud was very passionate about her work and so her enthusiasm was contagious. We got to be involved with all aspects of the stud, from observing & intervening ( if necessary) with breeding, feeding all the alpacas on the property, treating any alpacas requiring medication, watching cria (baby alpacas) births or even dystocias (birth difficulties) and so forth. We also got to harness train a weanling alpaca. Ironically while I was the shortest vet student there, I got partnered with the tallest alpaca. I still recall how cheeky my alpaca was to train. He was stubborn and a good kicker too if I might add. Below is the picture of each student posing with his/her alpaca pupil (I’m wearing the green hat just in case you did not recognize me).

Alpaca stud

The owner was obviously smitten with all kinds of animals and so we also mingled with her pet kangaroos, dogs and donkeys.

Kangaroo at alpaca stud

Irish miniature donkeys at alpaca stud

The highlight of our week was observing two alpaca births.

It was amazing to see how all the alpacas clustered around the alpaca that was giving birth and they all approached the newborn and sniffed it afterwards. The owner could tell there was an impending birth whenever she saw all the alpacas forming a family gathering.

The first one went on naturally and did not require any intervention. We closely observed the cria (newborn alpaca) and her mom. A healthy cria is meant to be active almost immediately, sit up in the kush position within 5-10 minutes, be attempting to stand within 30 minutes and standing within 2-3 hours.

So this alpaca was obviously straining and we could already see a cria engaged in the pelvic canal and ready to come out. The cria should be out within 30 minutes from this moment.

Alpaca in stage 2 labour

The cria is coming out nice and steadily.

Alpaca giving birth

Cria is safely on the ground..

Newborn cria

The rest of the herd approach & sniff the newborn cria.

Rest of the herd meeting the newborn cria

Mom bonds with her cria (this is crucial)!

Mom bonding with her cria

Even a young member of the herd approaches & sniffs the newborn cria.

Even young alpacas had to meet cria

Cria is enjoying tender motherly sniffs.

Mom and cria bonding so well

Cria is trying to take first steps.

Cria trying to take first steps

This is not a natural part of the whole birthing but I had to pose with the adorable newborn!

Ofcourse I had to pat the cria!

The second alpaca birthing was a dystocia (alpaca was having difficulty) and so the owner intervened.

The poor alpaca had been straining for some time and nothing was happening. We could see something was engaged in the pelvic canal but it did not progress.

Alpaca with dystocia is relieved that her owner has gotten involved and she is saying: ‘Please get it out of me!’

Gently trying to pull out cria

Positioning the cria correctly is crucial prior to pulling and that is what the owner is attempting to do here.

Alpaca with dystocia

Once the cria is positioned, the owner starts to gently pull and gets one of the vet students involved. I was busy taking pictures.

A vet student got to be involved & help

This cria is obviously starting to turn blue (poor oxygenation) because its airway is compromised.

This cria would have died if owner had not jumped in

They have to act quick but still be gentle when pulling the cria out to ensure it survives & to avoid injuring the mom.

Finally getting close to saving cria

Gently and firmly pulling on the cria.

Any minute now cria will be out safe & sound

Cria is safely pulled out & owner is holding it upside down to get rid of the fluid that has built up in its chest.

This is to aid in getting rid of all the fluid.

Mom bonding with her cria.

Mom is relieved cria is out and alive

The ritual: rest of the herd approaching to sniff & greet the new arrival.

Rest of herd approaching to meet newborn cria

Mom with her pride and joy enjoying the sun.

Cria in cush position

Cria contemplating about its future.

Cria contemplating about its future

Cria content with life inspite of its hard start!

Cria content with life...

Cria taking its first steps & making mom proud.

Cria finally up

I have really been fortunate to have witnessed the natural & challenging births of two alpacas. These alpacas were so well looked after and were fortunate to have very dedicated and loving owners. These are the standard of care I expect from most farmers.

If you intend to breed alpacas, you need to be well set up and prepared to do everything that is required!

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About Rayya

Hi I am Dr. Rayya. I created this site to take you on a journey of my life as a vet! I hope to inspire you, teach you, learn from you. Most importantly help pet owners and animals around the world by sharing pictures, videos and posts from my everyday experiences.

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9 Comments on “Alpacas delivering cria”

  1. Gretchen Del Rio Says:

    I’m going to learn a lot reading your blogs. Love it. Also think your decorated car is very cool.


  2. barb19 Says:

    I enjoyed you taking us through those two alpaca births, it was really interesting and the photos are great!
    btw – I love your brightly decorated car too!


  3. Sophie Jackson Says:

    Hi Rayya, its Sophie Jackson, not sure if you remember me but I remember you! I manage Banksia Park Alpaca Stud and have done so now for the last 7 years. I’ve recently started up my own business selling alpaca products and I’m trying to come up with a logo design so I googled “alpaca stud logos” and a picture of my donkeys came up which lead me to this page. Funny the things you find! Thank you for your lovely comments about our standard of care. Anyway your site looks great and your photos are very informative!


    • Rayya Says:

      Hello Sophie. Of course I remember you. So great to hear from you and I am glad you got to read my blog. Best of luck in your new alpaca business. Take care. Cheers, Rayya


    • Rayya Says:

      Hello Sophie. Of course I remember you. I obviously thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the alpaca stud you were managing. I’m glad you got to read and enjoy my blog. Good luck with your new business.



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