We’ve had alpaca for two years now. They are the craziest looking creatures (especially when they are running!) Abbye, Andi, and Ayla were the first ones that came to our farm, followed by Aiden, Alaska, Allister, Atticus, Asher, Adrian, Annie, Granny, and Alkesi (are you sensing a theme here?) Poor Granny is old, gray, and slightly arthritic and I just couldn’t find an “A” name that suited her….
We bought the alpacas mostly to help eat down pasture. Their fiber is AMAZING and incredibly soft and dense, but I’m not talented in the knitting department, so we’ve not done much with it after their yearly shearing. I adore looking at them in my backyard, though!
Asher is our only unaltered boy, and I knew as soon as I met him he’d make awesome babies. He’s got quite the personality, and is friendlier than any other alpaca I’ve ever seen. In his former life, he was a therapy alpaca, and went around to local nursing homes. He comes in our house every once in awhile, and Ellasyn thinks it’s hysterical. He seems QUITE at home! We bred Annie to him in Septmeber of 2015 for an early August 2016 baby (yep, they have a super long gestation period!) Alpacas are very difficult to see pregnancy in, and have little to no changes in their body shape when pregnant. She made it to her due date, and then almost a month past. I figured at that point she just hadn’t taken, and we would just try to rebreed her.
Then came August 28th. I went out to feed that morning, and noticed all the alpacas were hanging around Annie. She was in the process of delivering a tiny baby. So tiny in fact, that she walked off grazing after having him and didn’t look back (or maybe that should’ve been a warning to me.) Archer “Archie” weighed in at about 5lbs at birth…less than half of the 12-20lb normal birth weight for a cria. He had funny, folded back ears, soft feet, and many other signs of being premature, even though I knew by the dates he was almost overdue.
He was barely breathing when I got to him, so we rushed him and his very reluctant mama to the barn. We got him under a heat lamp, and got an oxygen tank hooked up (courtesy of my father-in-law.) He wasn’t able to stand to eat, so we gave him milk replacer and hubby tracked down some calf colostrum. Mama was completely uninterested in him, and passed a placenta that was about 20% of the size it should’ve been. She never even had any milk that came in.
Archie did pretty well the next two days, taking in life, and hanging with his still reluctant mama in a stall. He was sooo stinking cute, and we loved watching him wobble around. It was exhausting for us though, as we were trying to work, and take care of the farm and Ellasyn. That Friday evening, Archie started going downhill very fast. Within just a few hours, he went from playing in his stall and sucking down his bottle to shivering uncontrollably and running a very high temperature. We rushed him back to the vet clinic for more antibiotics and some pain meds, but he passed away very shortly thereafter.
I was utterly devastated. We had worked so hard with the little guy, and he had so many people praying for him, as I’d been posting regular updates on FB. I wondered if we’d done something wrong, but truthfully I think something went wrong with the placenta and he just didn’t grow like he should. I think Annie knew he wasn’t going to survive from the beginning, and that’s why she was completely disinterested.
That Monday, Labor Day ironically, started off as a beautiful, crisp, early fall day. Once again, I was out feeding when I noticed all the alpacas standing in that too-familiar circle again. I let out a scream so loud that my husband heard it on the second floor of the house, where he was painting a bathroom WITH several fans going. I’ve never been as scared as I was in that moment running down to see what was going on. Abbye had just finished delivering a baby. Except this one was normal sized! And already trying to stand!Asha means blessing. And that’s totally what she is. A mending of our broken hearts, and such happiness every time we see her. She weighed in at a whopping 17.2 lbs and was standing and eating within 20 minutes. Her mama was completely, utterly besotted with her from the beginning. We know that Asher got in with the girls for just a minute, and apparently that’s all it took, lol!
She is almost 4 months old now, and is growing up to be a beautiful girl. She looks to be a light rose gray color, and she has the softest fiber. She is an absolute riot, and enjoys running, jumping on her mama and aunties, and eating. We are so so so grateful to have her in our lives. We miss her tiny brother, but known he is in a better place where he is free of pain and happy. Life is such a funny thing….
Both Annie and Abbye are due to have babies again this fall. I will keep you posted!!