Friday, May 1, 2009

Cria Watch

We start cria watch about a month before their due date of 350 days. There are different ways of deciding when to start cria watch, but for us, this is what we have decided on. Some farms set the due date at 335 days, and watch from that day on. There are as many different ways to do this as their are farms out there. However, no matter when you start your watch, everything seems like a sign of impending birth.

Sancha is on cria watch (see that ticker at the bottom of the page moving closer and closer to due date). The ticker due date is set at day 350, but full term could be a month before or even after that (yes, after!). Lightning was born on day 356, and I like to believe moms tend to have their babies near the same gestation day (though I have no stats to back up that theory). There are many theories out there, like spring babies go to a longer gestational day than fall babies. This fits in my mind with survival, you want the spring ones to stay inside until it's warmer out. For fall, you want the babies up and moving before the really cold weather hits. So I'll buy into this theory also. I've heard the mom won't eat on the day they deliver (this we can strike out as false, all our girls ate the day they delivered last year). I've heard they cush more near delivery. But the big thing is that the baby will come when it's ready, signs or no signs.

So what happens during cria watch? Not much. It amounts to the alpaca owners watching and waiting and insisting anything that mom does must be a sign of impending birth. Last weekend Sancha stayed in the barn more than she has typically so we thought that might be a sign. This morning Kateri and Victoria were walking and grazing while Sacha was cushed down - that's a sign, right? Any unusual behavior must mean the mom is in labor or preparing to be in labor, or so cria watchers believe. This morning Sancha ate her grain while in a cushed position. Now that is something I have never seen before! I've seen dogs do this, but never an alpaca. Is this a sign of impending birth? Or just that she's extremely pregnant and large and that felt right to her this morning and birth is still a few weeks off. When you witness these "odd" or "atypical" behaviors you think this has to mean she's in labor. But, then hours later you realize, no, she's just a very pregnant mom doing what she wants when she wants.

So cria watch continues. Last year we found once we gave up on reading the signs, then Lightning bugs made his appearance. I also found once our last cria of the year was born, it was a let down that cria watch for the year was over. After all those "signs" we watched for, then there was nothing to watch for. So I'm trying to enjoy cria watch, but really, it's still a matter of waiting and wanting to see those new little babies.

1 comment:

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

I can totally relate. Every little thing our girl Lady does has been analyzed for the last several weeks. For example, this morning she was laying with her head inside the barn and her butt outside the barn, usually she is opposite with her butt in and her head out...could this be a sign that the little one is on its way? ; ) She is at 351 days today and I am very very anxious to see the cria. Good luck with Sancha!

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