We had assumed that by now we would have a little baby alpaca running around our fields. In fact, it should have been around 20 days old by now, but where is it?
Well, we aren’t sure.
Nicole was pregnant when she joined our herd, and when we purchased her, along with Morwenna, they came with useful notes on their vaccinations and mating history. She had her pregnancy confirmed via a spit off and you can see an example of how that works on our YouTube video from last year. She is certainly chunkier than when we bought her, but is she just fat?
Alpacas are normally pregnant for 11 ½ months, so we use 342 days as our guiding figure based on the average data collected. After that amount of time you would think they should be glad to give birth. But they also have a weird ability to pause a birth. How that works is way over my understanding, so I wont try to explain it but, it does make calculating a due date even more tricky.
Over the last few weeks Nicole has been showing signs of getting ready to unpack but they always pass. She has been restless, she’s been getting friendlier, and her appetite has been up and down. We were so confident in these signs I went live on Instagram a few weeks ago to tell you we expected to see a little one by morning. But nothing.
Before shearing, we had our vet Fay, from Scarsdale Farm Vets pop along and give her a quick check to make sure there wasn’t anything bad happening. For anyone who has met Nicole you will have seen her running around, jumping up on anything high or rolling, both things she shouldn’t really be doing so before we got her on the mat for shearing we wanted to be sure she hadn’t caused herself any problems.
The good news – everything feels ok with Nicole. She is healthy, and nothing seems to be out of place.
Is there a cria? That one isn’t so clear right now. We thought we felt something, but it certainly wasn’t the size Fay would have expected if it was this late being born.
So, what happens now? There is a chance we had our dates wrong when calculating her due date. If there were multiple mating dates, she could be due a little later than we first thought. Over the next few weeks, we will keep an eye on things and now that she has been sheared it will be easier to see anything wriggling around. If we don’t see a cria in a few weeks, we will have her scanned to check for a definite yes or no, so we know if she is eating for two or just greedy.
On the plus side, if she does wait a few weeks there is potential that she and Morwenna could birth at a similar time and their cria would be able to play together (assuming we have Morwenna’s dates correct!).