Those of you familiar with the story of Tsar from last year know how much we laboured to get him right after a pretty poor beginning (he is now in great form by the way). You will also be aware of the fact that I declared him last summer as 'the best cria we have ever produced', a statement I still stand by as it was then. Well as we were so pleased with Tsar we repeated that mating. His mother, an ATA Cambridge Centurion girl, Patou Amelie (daughter of Patou Lily) was put back to our Aussie boy, Qjori and Vanilla was the result. A daintier version of Tsar but otherwise exactly the same. Great colour, great fleece qualities, beautiful.
Unfortunately Vanilla also had problems as a young cria, she gained weight initially but after two weeks she suddenly started losing weight and we had to step in. We started supplementing her feeding with a bottle and watched her very closely. It became apparent that she was only suckling from one teat. She would nudge the others but only the front left teat got used properly. There was no sign of mastitis but we treated Millie for it anyway, twice, to no avail. We continued to bottle feed, always a struggle as Vanilla never really gave in to us and at the end of September we stopped bottle feeding.
Acting on the gingery wise words of the Lord Chief Justice of Inca we put Millie and Vanilla in the shed and introduced Foal Creep pellets to Vanilla. A slightly complex arrangement with the feed buckets ensured that Vanilla could get them but Millie couldn't. Vanilla weighed in at 8.51kg. A month later and she had put on 3kg!
We have dealt with diarrhoea, pneumonia, listlessness and sudden weight losses since then but I think we have now turned a corner. Amelie and Vanilla now spend the days out in the paddock with the others and come in at night where they have plenty of feed. Vanilla is now off the foal creep pellets and eating regular alpaca feed, she is nudging 16kg and is a bundle of energy. She is a midget of course but she is, very definitely, the darling of the herd.