We are doing what most of us alpacas do a lot of in summer, we are waiting. We have two girls left to unpack and the next one up is a bit of a worry.
Coolaroo Judy (affectionately known here as 'the horse') is owned by a lady in Australia and is here as a managed animal. In other words we look after her as one of our own and split any profits made from her with her owner. Judy has been with us for over two years and is our 'problem birther'.
Last year Judy required the vet to pull a very large cria out of her, sadly it had been dead for some time due to an abruption. Basically the placenta separated from the cria inside and there was no way of knowing about it. It didn't make us feel any better but at least we knew why the cria died.
In 2007 Judy gave birth to Sophie. Again a huge cria but this time delivered by the vet and Sue pulling on ropes. It was a struggle as Sophie was not in the right position with her legs pointing backwards and she was well stuck. Sophie thankfully is a very healthy adult herself now.
With Sophie we had the heads up that someting was wrong because Judy started rolling and was obviously in distress. Last year there were no clues until a head appeared.
Yesterday Judy was behaving strangely. She had that far away look to her and was mooching around. We watched. We could see that the cria was moving around in there and eventually Judy settled down and resumed grazing. She's now behaving normally. At the moment of writing it is hurling it down so they are all flat out in the 'It's raining quite hard' pose.
I have swapped my shift today to a late start so that I can keep an eye on her this morning. This is one we don't want to miss, if something is going wrong we need to be here.
The other thing about Judy is that she is the biggest alpaca here by miles. She is also the hardest to handle and is petrified of human contact despite the most gentle of handling. She spends her life pretty much on the verge of superstress.
It is now 1324hrs and I must go to work. Judy has grazed with the herd all day and looks no more like giving birth than I do...........................steady now children!