Sunday, June 6, 2010

waiting and waiting and...... day 359

This is the longest any of our females have ever gone with a pregnancy. Maddie is now on day 359. Kateri and Victoria have always gone just before day 350 (usually around 340 something, and Sancha has gone to day 356, her typical is 350 something, but she's not gone to day 359). I asked J if he knows what is the longest an alpaca has ever gone and now I forget what he said, but I want to say it was over 400 days! Ack!

More my concern is that Maddie is a maiden. This is her first baby ever. Maddie is a medium small alpaca (around 130 pounds). I worry how well she can birth a bigger baby, which is what happens when they are born later. Sancha tends to have longer pregnancies, but Sancha is a large alpaca (around 190 pounds, with huge birthing hips). All the cria she has had on our farm were 20/21 pounds. While she needed some assistance with Lightning's birth (he had one front leg stuck), her body is able to birth this size cria (she had Lily and Copper when no one was home, totally unassisted). Maddie is more the size of Victoria, who births earlier and has 14 pound cria.

Every day we think "today is the day" and it's not. All these *signs* that in the end seem to mean nothing. We've even considered, what if she isn't even pregnant? It has happened that farmers wait and wait for a baby, and the dam (mom) isn't even pregnant. J has felt her belly, and there are times I swear I see cria movement. I know what she looked like before, and Maddie clearly has a belly now. J reports that her nipples are starting to bag (getting ready for milk). We even spit tested her last week when we had Navigator here to breed to Tehya. Maddie ran and spit. If she isn't pregnant, she certainly believes she is.

This morning when I was doing some chores out there after the girls had their morning grain, I heard a little faint cry. At first it sounded like a baby and I thought there was no way Maddie could have already had a baby, she just ate her grain, I just saw her. Then I thought it had to be Copper making the sound. It was a quiet hum, but more like a cry then the typical hum. I arrived at the barn and saw this:

Doesn't her face look sad, or like "help me?" I'm sure I'm reading too much into it. But usually when I peek into the barn like that, Maddie will jump up. She didn't. She looked right at me. I calmly spoke to her. I know she doesn't understand me, but maybe they can understand the tone of my voice. They sure run and jump if I yell mean. I just told her that I know it's scary but that we will be here for her. She seemed so vulnerable and scared.

Later I found her in this position:

She does not look comfortable at all. She certainly cushes like a pregnant mom.

I did some barn chores up at the boy's barn. I know a watched pot never boils, so I let Maddie be. Every time I walked by the girl's area, I'd quick look over at Maddie. She started eating hay. Later I saw her standing outside the barn when all the other girls were inside:

A bit odd she was on her own, but the next time I looked in at her, she was cushed in the barn chewing on her cud. No baby in sight. I don't see any contractions. Nothing. Guess it's not today.

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