Saturday, April 19, 2008


Yesterday, Friday, was our first really warm day. J noticed that Sancha was uncomfortable. She was wrestless and her nostrils were flaring (more so than any of the other ones). He bought fans for the barn because it was getting hot in there. Especially given the alpacas have not been shorn yet, they have a lot of fiber keeping them too warm. It's no suprise an 11 month pregnant alpaca with full fleece on would be hot.

Even after we got the fans going Sancha still seems uncomfortable but she did stand right in front of the fan. For a few days now she's stationed herself in that part of the barn. We wonder if she's picked that as her birthing spot. The baby was moving all over, and J wondered if Sancha was feeling contractions. We suspected Saturday might be the day.

Well this morning came, we raced to the barn at about 7 a.m. but no baby. And to our disappointment Sanch ate her morning grain (a sign of labor can be that the mom will not eat her grain). Her nose was still flaring some, so could be early labor. Her udder is bigger and appears to be filling with milk. So far she's showing the signs of "2 weeks prior to birth" based on information we've read.

2 weeks prior to birthing:

* returning often to one spot (choosing place for birth) - Sancha keeps returning to the one side of the barn

* rolling - we have not noticed this one

* sitting alone more often - hard to tell as Sancha was at times a loner before, but we have noticed the other 2 girls grazing while Sancha is in the barn which did not happen before

*slight to more prominent increase of udder size - we have noticed a distinct increase, it was bigger last week and now again this weekend even bigger

* a little dischrage at the vulva - this we have not noticed (but also haven't looked closely, she doesn't like anyone near her and kicked when we tried to look, plus who wants to upset an 11 month old pregnant alpaca, so we've stayed back for the most part)

* ventral swelling under belly - again here I haven't noticed but I haven't looked.

The next step is what happens 2 to 5 hours prior to birth:

* restlessness - I see this in Sancha now, pacing and wanting us to get away
* discomfort - she looks uncomfortable to me!
* lots of humming - I have not noticed this at all, but I can't say I've ever heard her hum, she's not a hummer in general
*Frequent visits to the dung pile - I have not noticed this, one I've been looking for
*Isolation from the heard - yes, we've seen this
* tail is up often - not really, it's more "up" than it use to be, but not all the way up
* discharge from vulva - nope

So we still have some more signs to watch for before we put her in the 2-6 hours prior to birth category. I think the big one being the frequent visits to the dung pile, that shows a need to push.

J looked up when Sancha has given birth before and it appears she's given birth as early as 329 days pregnant and as late as 349 (we have mixed information on Sommerfield's birth, she may have gone later than 349 days, but of the 5 others we could find information on: 349, 329, 329, 342, and 339 days). Right now she's on day 334. Definately in the range of when she's given birth before. They say alpacas' due date is 11.5 months (the chart goes by 350 days), but there is almost a 2 months range that is "normal". We are in the normal range based on charts and we are in the range Sancha has delivered before.

I'm off to the barn to see how she is doing now :) But we also could go on like this for another three weeks! Oh the waiting of cria watch, it's hard! I can't wait to see our baby.

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