Saturday, July 27, 2013

First Cria of 2013: Witnessing Alpaca Protective Instinct During Labor

Alpacas at Hum Sweet Hum's First Cria of 2013 with Watchful Jamilah
I had a break from writing blogs to deliver the first cria of 2013.  A cute baby boy was born on the farm last Tuesday.  During her labor, I observed alpaca instinct in protecting the expectant mom.  I had noticed Shadow Mist in labor and was watching from her progress from a distance so not to disturb or upset her.  Suddenly, several alpacas looked alert at something they spied across the road from my farm.  I didn't see anything but they did.  One of the girls alarmed making their trumpeting sound.  Several in the group where Shadow Mist is a member ran away from her and stood near the girls in the other fenced off area.  Two females ran to Shadow Mist and stood next to her under my huge maple tree.  Shadow Mist started to have a contraction and Misty turned to Shadow Mist and spat at her several times.  Shadow Mist stopped contracting and Misty and Dove stood on each side of Shadow Mist.  The other girls alarmed again.  I ran to get my livestock guardian dogs who I had just moved out of that pasture because I didn't want them upsetting Shadow Mist.  They bolted to the fence to check out what was alarming their alpacas.  I headed out too still watching the interaction of the alpacas and trying to see what was alarming the alpacas.  Jamilah, my wisest alpaca on the farm, slowly moved out of the group that had been alarming.  She rarely alarms yet the herd sees her as the  head of the herd.  Because she doesn't alarm much, if she is upset by something, the other alpacas know they should be concerned and if she looks at the scary thing and goes back to grazing knowing it is nothing to worry about, the others tend to go back to what they were doing too.  I have a few that alarm over any little thing so they tend to get ignored after awhile.  All stopped alarming and watched Jamilah who went out towards the road all by herself.  This too was not normal behavior for Jamilah.  She tends to stay closer to barn area and not go out as far in the field.  She is getting older and achier so she prefers not to walk out as far but this time, she alone walked towards the road with all eyes on her.  Jamilah's ears were up and pointed towards where they had seen whatever it was.  She stood there for a few moments very alert and watchful.  A few moments passed and she lowered her head and began grazing.  The others took her cue and went back to their grazing or meandering.  Misty and Dove separated from Shadow Mist to continue on with her labor.

Getting the opportunity to see a cria being born is such a wonderful gift.  I got a bonus on this day of getting to observe the alpacas working together to protect one of their herd in her vulnerable state. 

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