Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This would be the hard part about being a farmer. This morning I went out to do farm chores and found Victoria's newborn cria had passed away during the night.

The alpacas clearly already knew, they were all far away from him as if he was not part of the herd anymore. They weren't mourning, though I suspect they had already done that during the night. I knew before I even got to him that he had passed by their behavior.

This is our first cria loss, but I doubt it ever gets any easier. We have had losses on our farm - several kittens, a few cats, and one older alpaca. My kids, growing up on a farm, have seen the cruel side of nature. These are hard life lessons.

We don't know for sure what the cause of death was. I suspect there was something wrong with him from the start. As I mentioned in the post about his birth, Victoria acted strange throughout the pregnancy. Then when he was born, the placenta was not normal. We checked him over and didn't see any clear signs of a problem, but something internal would not show (such as heart or brain problems). Other causes could be an infection, or even heat exhaustion. He was born during this oppressive heat wave. I thought he was getting enough fluids because I saw him pee several times, even last night, the last time I saw him alive, I saw him go to pee. But I also admit he wasn't acting completely normal. He peed just where he was, he didn't walk to the poop/pee pile (all our other newborns have, though I don't know exactly what's the typical, last night I chalked it up to him being slow to learn). He also seemed, I don't know how to verbalize it, like when you looked in his eyes, he didn't really see you or register that you were there. He could possibly have had something neurological going on.  We believe he was blind, likely because of lack of oxygen due to the placenta not working right. In addition, he may have had issues with his heart that we couldn't outwardly see.  Looking back, he did seem weak.  At the time, last night, I just figured he was a newborn and I shouldn't expect too much from him. But looking back, he was already struggling, I just didn't know these were signs to be alarmed at. Whatever the cause of death, it's hard to lose one so young.

Rest in Peace little guy. We will always remember your short life on our farm.


Cathy said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. No, it does not get any easier.

Debbie, Barnacre Alpacas said...

Poor thing, like you say nature can be cruel and losses never get any easier.

WonderWhyGal said...

Big hugs! You are right, loss never gets easier.

Barbara@beckbrowalpacas said...

Really sorry, I know from experience how tough it is. Unfortunately it does not get easier but thankfully there are many more happy occasions than sad ones.

Poor man sounds like he was a 'dummy cria'. We lost our first one too. Our vet now gives bicarbinate of soda intravenously if hypoxia is likely, but sometimes whatever you do we can't beat nature.

Judi B said...

So sorry to read of the loss of your cria. Whilst it's part of farm life, it's always sad to lose an animal.

Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

I am very sorry. That is so sad. I had been worried when I was reading about the placenta looking funny and how odd Victoria had been through her pregnancy, but I had hoped that all would still be well with baby. Rest in peace, little one.

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