It was expected but out of the blue if that makes sense!
We knew the due date was near, but since alpacas can give birth a month either side of the date, unless they show you some signs it's very difficult to tell!
Vienna had given no clues at all.
However when Lloyd went out to feed them, a little later than usual as we'd had a long lie, I heard him yelling. I ran out, and lo and behold, an absolutely perfect little Cria. She was still very wet so wan't all that old.
We named her Cupcake, as I was just making cupcakes when he shouted.
But as ever with cria births on our farm, nothing was a simple as it could have been.
Firstly she was trying really hard to drink, but nothing was coming out. A quick read of the internet and I found out that there is a waxy 'cap' on the nipples and obviously this little cria wasn't sucking hard enough to dislodge it.
In the mean time we bottle fed her about 50ml of colostrum stuff just to be sure that she got some into her as quickly as possible, then I had the rather awkward job of getting rid of the waxy cap. That was fun - not.
Luckily Vienna is the most biddable of alpacas and just stood there while I fiddled around under her. All terribly dignified.
Anyway, milk appeared and wee Cupcake got her first drink from mum. And all was well. Until evening.
I'd been out in the feeding pen for about an hour just watching and all of a sudden Cupcake seemed to get incredibly dopey, floppy and not at all interested in anything. When we stood her up she fell over.
Steve and Christine from Naturally Alpacas had come up and Christine said that this wasn't great. So the vet was called. Cupcakes heart beat was fine, and so was her temperature. Vet and Christine both thought that the birth may have been difficult and that perhaps she'd been starved of oxygen for a wee bit and maybe her brain was a little swollen.
She was injected with vitamin B1 and B12 and a steroid and antibiotic. We put her wee coat on and within about half an hour she was much perkier.
Then it was bed time.
In the morning we both woke up with rather hammering hearts. Lloyd put on his brave pants and went out to see what had happened in the night. Thankfully it was all good and little Cupcake was trotting around quite the thing!
And any day now, or in the next month we have to go through it all again with Coco who was mated at the same time as Vienna...
Anyway, introducing - Cupcake!
Here she is with her big brother, Herbie. Herbie is a wee monster, he's so in your face and completely funny but certainly has never been the gentlest of wee boys. However, he seems to totally adore Cupcake. He takes care of her, makes sure that Cupcake is in the middle of him and Vienna and is just so incredibly gentle with her - I'm amazed.
With her mum, the lovely patient, Vienna
We have everything crossed for a smooth delivery from Coco. Then Cupcake will have a wee playmate!
So, after the stress of all that I decided that we needed to eat a lot of home made biscuits!
Lloyd found this stunningly beautiful foody blog - the food dept. The photography is to die for and so it would seem are the recipes!
I made some of the peanut and cinnamon salt biscuits - they are amazing.
The recipe is super simple
(I've taken this directly from them so all credit is theirs - and I hope this is ok)
Makes approximately 20 biscuits
• 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 free range egg
• 1½ cups self-raising flour
• 1 cup roasted peanuts
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon salt flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºF (360ºF). Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl, cream together using and electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well.
2. Add the flour and beat in on low until well combined. Using a wooden spoon mix through the peanuts.
3. Using heaped tablespoons full of mixture, shape into balls and place onto a lined baking tray. Lightly flatten.
4. Combine the cinnamon and salt flakes in a small bowl. Sprinkle onto the biscuits and bake to 10-12 minutes or until golden.
5. Cool on the tray and store in an airtight container.
Suffice to say these were all gone on the same day - I had a meeting in the evening so took them along and we ate them all!!