Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Naomi's Watched Pot: The Endless Cria Watch at Hum Sweet Hum

The gestation period of an alpaca is about 11 months and a week on avg.  However, depending on whether we are on one side of the summer solstice or the other, they have a tendency for going longer or shorter in the gestation.  The alpacas intuitively or physiologically "cook" their babies to have the most sunshine.  So before June 20th, they tend to go longer before giving birth and on the other side  as we approach fall and winter, they tend to go shorter.  Of course, Naomi forgot to read that memo!  Her 11 and 1 week due date came and went last week.  Her last baby was due in the spring and so I wasn't overly concerned that she went 2 weeks past her due date and I didn't do the breeding so I'm never 100% certain of the breeding date accuracies.  I was the one that arranged and got Naomi with her hot stud, Olivier so I know the actual conception date and have a more accurate due date.  I'm anxious to see this baby since it is Olivier's first baby which of course makes the clock tick slower.  I have often said the first 10 and a half months fly by and then time goes into a snails pace as I wait for the signs of labor. 

Naomi is a real beauty.  I was so lucky when I got her almost two years ago.  Her genetics are amazing and she is still so soft and lush even after a number of babies.  I just love this girl.  She is still one of my most shy alpacas on the farm.  This summer she became more friendly during full fruit season.  She was much less hesitant about coming and taking her fruit from me.  She so enjoyed the fresh pairs especially.  I was happy that she was being more social.  As her baby nears birth time, she is more reticent and aloof.  She keeps a wary, watchful eye on me even from the length of the pasture.  That is mostly instinct.  Their main priority is to keep that baby safe from predators so keeping her away from two-legger is quite understandable and I'm respectful of it.  I try and take a peek under her tummy to see her teats as I walk by at feeding time to see if they are filling up with milk or if she goes potty nearby.  I try and see if I can see any signs of a birthday soon.  Sometimes they hum a day or two before birth, but she has been quiet so far.  Milk seems like it is coming in but I saw that two weeks ago!  I have seen the baby moving and kicking so either she has a squirmy baby or an alien inside!

The last baby Naomi had she did not want two-leggers watching.  I had a number of visitors on the farm that day.  I could tell she was looking off and even got down on my hands and knees to see if I could see any dilation (she was lying down).  After all the visitors left, I went inside.  Once she saw it was quiet and no one was around, I watched her from my window and she started to push.  Within 10 minutes, she had her baby out on the ground.  She had stopped her labor until all was quiet and no humans were around.  I am mindful of that for this baby and try and watch from far away and this year, I'm not allowing guests to come for the birth.  I will only call on them if help is needed but knowing how protective and sensitive she is about having others around, I know to be more respectful of her this year.

So, I sit here writing about Naomi and watching for any signs of labor and seeing none.  I suppose that adage is correct; "the watched pot never boils."  Well, it boils.  It just seems to take forever!  In the mean time while I wait, I can start thinking up some potential names for this kid.  Suggestions anyone?

Waiting on Naomi: Baby Name Suggestions Anyone?

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