For the first time since May, all my alpacas are home. Now, I have alot more work to do. :-)
Let's talk about Hope and Bellafina first. We finished up a new area for Hope that is a small paddock connected to the back barn. We have been remodeling the back barn on and off for a year now. We originally had plans to make a birthing area with a small run so we could move close due females there a few weeks before delivery. We opted this spring not to put it in this year since I couldn't really help Rob do it with being pregnant. Obviously, having a premature cria changed those plans. Hope needs a small area where she can recover and be observed for a month or possibly more. When we found out we needed this when we brought them home we went to work. We created a small pen inside the barn with panels, then Rob cut a hole in the side of the barn and framed it in so they could get in and out to the pasture. We fenced in a small 10x15 area of grass for them. It is larger than Hope should be in, but Bellafina needs to be able to stretch her legs and I can still keep an eye on the cria easily. Some pictures of the area are along with pictures of Hope are above.
When we picked them up on Saturday I couldn't believe how big Hope had gotten and feisty. She was struggling to get out of the vet's arms and onto the ground. It was so great to see her. I haven't seen her since before I gave birth on Sept. 4th. Last time I saw her she still couldn't get up on her own and was still on oxygen and IV's. We put Bellafina in the trailer and the vet put Hope in. Hope immediately got up and it was quite obvious that her leg was still in bad shape. She puts it on the ground, but doesn't bear weight on it. When she walks she holds it up like a dog would with an injured leg. She also walks like a few days old cria and not a 3-wk old cria. Given everything she has been through it is amazing she is still here and able to walk.
When we got home I got the scale ready and we weighed them. Hope was born at 14.9 lbs and she was 17.8 yesterday. She isn't too far behind the weight gain she should be (1-2 lbs). We walked Bellafina over to her new paddock; Rob carried Hope. When we released Bellafina it was like she was in heaven. She went and just started to roll in the grass. It was funny. Every few feet Bellafina would lay down and roll. It has been over 3 wks since she has been outside since they were housed in an A/C building and stalled with straw/hay. This was Hope's first time in grass EVER. She tried pronking around in it. She fell once, but overall could run around on 3-legs pretty well. We now know why her front knees are missing fiber and calloused. She falls forward on them and puts alot of weight on them to get up. Hopefully, that will get better as she starts to use all 4-legs. We watched her for awhile and it was cute to see her trying to eat mouth fulls of grass. I forgot to check if her teeth erupted, yet. We gave Hope her shot of antibiotics and Bellafina her Dectomax and left them alone. I also decided to start Hope on AD&E vitamin paste to see if it will help with her bone healing. We typically give it to cria's for the first year of their life anyway.
Later that evening, I decided to coat Hope since it was going down to the mid-40's last night and this being her first night outside. Her fleece is dense, but she is patchy in places where they had to shave her fiber. Also, from the stress of everything she is shedding her fiber like crazy. Rob's shirt was covered in fiber and I could see tufts of it blowing off her. At 1AM, we went out to check her temp to make sure she wasn't too cold and her temp was 100.2. I will have to remove it today so she doesn't get too hot.
The other big event yesterday was the arrival of Tiptoes Lightly or Tipsy (as I call her). We sent her to Oregon in May to be bred. When we bought her she came with a breeding. We decided we would ship her out to get some west coast genetics into our herd. The transport guy showed up at 12:30AM this morning with her. I wish he had shown up earlier so I could talk to him since he is really a great guy. He and his wife dealt with a cria similar to Hope on their farm this year (one of their boarders animals). I know that their cria is fine now and they say you can't tell she had a problem with her front leg. He said she was "lame" on it for awhile. Their cria lost all her fiber so I wonder if Hope will do the same.
Now, we have our work cut-out for us the next few weeks. Hope will need an injection every 3 days for atleast 2 wks (possibly more). We have 4 areas set-up to care for - boys field, Hope/Bellafina's area, Tipsy and Mischievous are in the front girls pasture, and the rest of the girls are in the back pasture. We have to keep an eye on Tipsy for disease/worms from the transport, Mischievous needs some treatment for mites, Hope's injections, and I have to work on halter training for the show in 2 weeks. Cassie is pretty good on a halter, but not good enough to take into a show ring. Marauder is good on a halter, but also needs to be walked around to make sure he will stand properly and show teeth. I am not working on having his testicles looked at/touched. The judge can figure that one out on his own. We decided not to take Patriotic Star since he is still so thin. His fiber is awesome, but right now I don't think he is ready for a show. Maybe in the spring. I am going to try to substitute Armani for Patriotic Star if they let me.
I will let you know how Hope does over the next few weeks. I am just glad everyone is home. Hope seems happy to be outside and gets around well on the stone dust and grass. I just wish it was alittle warmer for her.