I have just completed a run of late shifts and now have two weeks away from the day job. In other words the day job is now how it should be, alpaca breeding!
Anyway, yesterday morning at about 6am I was lying in bed in a state of semi-conciousness when I became aware that Sue had arisen and left the bedroom, the chickens were making a racket and the dogs were stirring. After my late night however, I was keen to get back to sleep for another hour. I was drifting off when I heard what I can only describe as Sue galloping back up the stairs. Now I know that Sue is not a horse but 'galloping' is the descriptive word that truly conjures up the urgency in those footfalls. My eyes opened wide, my senses were instantly on full alert, for Sue does not gallop up the stairs unless there is important news to impart. Was it good news or bad news I pondered as my brain urgently sent messages to my still slumbering limbs telling them that very soon there was going to be some physical action one way or the other. Sue reached the top of the stairs with a whinney, alright there was no whinney, but she came into the bedroom and breathlessly declared 'There's a baby!'.
Now at this point people I may point out that there are certain times when I can move like greased lightning. I recall being chased by a ferocious German Shepherd once, I was definitely shifting there. I was pursued by a housemaster at school on more than one occasion for committing some heinous offence or other after lights out, my feet skipping across a scorched earth as I blazed away from his schoolmasterly shouts of 'Stop you horrible child'. I once gave chase and caught a very quick night time burglar, yes, I did. Hard to believe looking at me now, but still, when the time calls for a rapid response, over ever decreasing distances of course, I can muster some pace. This was one such occasion and in something approaching 3 or 4 seconds I had fired out of bed, donned trousers and was on my way downstairs. At the same time questions were asked of Sue as to which entry portal into the world had the baby come from? Poppy? Fantastic! Poppy!
Angus was being roused by Sue as I flew out of the house, collected the birthing case from the shed and roared into the field at maximum thrust.
Indeed it was Poppy and the cria was dry, the placenta was out. Probably about an hour old. The cria was brown, which was a great start and on closer inspection it was a girl! Fantastic! She was in a cush, she had all her bits and she felt strong. We did the necessary and left mother and cria to themsleves. It was a ferociously windy morning but Poppy had her down the hill out of the worst of it.
I returned a while later to witness the little one feeding. Check out those milky lips!
After she had fed she lay down and was properly mobbed by the rest of the herd who all wanted to come over and say hello.
She is the perfect start to our birthing season, she was 'baked' for 330 days and weighed in at 8.5 kilos.
Her mother is Patou Poppy, an ATA Cambridge Centurion girl, and her father is our own Cambridge Columbus, or Clump to his friends.
We have named her Patou Sirocco and she is lovely.