Meet our latest baby alpaca. I call him “Red Eye” because he has the cutest red eye lashes.”
The cria’s dam, Sonyadore, sticks close while Jim corrals the little tyke.
When a new cria is born we want to be sure he is nursing. Here, Jim has made sure the dam has colostrum. (See how his hands look like he has something sticky on them? Good colostrum is thick and sticky.) Jim is trying to help the cria get positioned up under his mom’s teats to nurse.
The cria may “miss” a few times, and try to nurse mom’s chest and poke through her legs like above, but he’ll get it. Sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes it takes hours for babies to get the hang of it. Occasionally they need humans to bottle feed them if it takes them too long to figure it out, but most alpaca babies “get it” if you are patient with them.
Alpaca dams are generally good moms to their cria. Most experienced dams with a healthy cria will require little intervention from breeders. Monitoring cria weight gains and vaccinations are required, but the cria’s mom will take over and raise her cria for the next six months or so.
For more on newborn alpacas and nursing, read: