Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sometimes a mother (Dam), will not let her cria drink at first

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Sometimes a Mother will not let her cria (offspring) drink.
We really like the cria to have a drink within the first 5 hours is the rule, but i like to make sure they are drinking and established in the first 3 hours, that gives you a few hours up your sleeve, if it is getting dark, to establish your cria, before everyone settles for the night.
It is very important this first drink, as it is the colostrium, which carries all the antibodies for the next few months whilst the cria's system starts to make it's own, usually approx 5-6 weeks old.
Of course if the dam does not feed the cria, she becomes very full, depending on the dam and how much milk she makes, but she can become very full, too fulfor the cria to latch on properly, and then the dam can risk getting mastitis, and the cria is not getting enough, and the udder is sore, and so the dam does not let the cria on for a drink, so it becomes a vicious circle.
Thsi does not happen too often, in fact this is the first cria we have had to start off like this in a few years.
but i though it was a good chance to show the new breeder how to establish the cria, and let the milk down from the dam, if there is complications.
The colostrium is very thick, and alpacas do not produce alot of milk, like say goats for instance, but they produce a very rich milk.
you can see The men have flipped the dam on her side.
She will not stay in this position for long, especially remember she does not want to feed the cria.
So the men have to hold the dam down, the man at the back legs is a vital member of this team, as he has to hold the feet tight, as the dam will often try to kick out of the position, and could endanger the cria and it's handler, as they are in stricking range of these two powerful back legs.

First of all, remove the plug, it is just a very small thin piece of wax you will see sticking out on the tip of the teat, and gently ut firmly squeeze with a forward motion down from base of teat to tip of teat.
Again, you will usually only get thick drops, occassionally, you will get a stream, but not often.
Then you place the cria, opening the mouth to go over the teat, by squeexing the cheeks, your pointer finger on one side of the mouth and thumb on the other side, slight squeeze, and the cria mouth will open, place over the teat.
sometimes, the cria will start to hook on, and start sucking, sometimes, squeeze the cholostium into the crias mouth.
If it is too difficult, milk the dam, and then use a syringe and slowly squirt the milk into the cria, making sure cria is swollowing each time.
Milk dam out and monitor.
You may have to do this a couple of times, but the more milk and cholostrum the cria gets the stronger the cria gets, and they usually then bond.
Also the relief of the milk been expressed from the udder, is sometimes enough for the dam to then feed the cria.

 I hope this is of some help to someone.
Once you have emptied the dam out.

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