While showing Caz off at The Royal Alpaca Challenge, our third cria was born. Unfortunately, we weren’t even expecting him because the vet had told us Carte was not pregnant. By the time the farm sitters got to him, he had suffered some trauma, perhaps a kick which appears to have caused an eye injury and possibly brain damage. This little guy was named Winter Bliss because it snowed the week he was born. We are supplementing Bliss with bottle feedings, have poked him multiple times with antibiotics and performed a plasma transfer. Unfortunately, after three weeks, he still remains below birth weight. Failure to thrive crias are clearly at risk, and I am happy every day I can watch him sit with his back to the wind and his nose in the air as if he too is finding some joy there in the pasture .
Update! Bliss is doing well and now is gaining weight quickly by eating lots of grown-up food. He is weaned completely from our bottle feedings, though Mom still nurses some. He is unfortunately blind, though may be able to sense some light or shadows. The eye injury was probably actually related to another medical issue and the blindness may be genetic. If it was trauma, there is certainly no lasting damage because he is a smart little guy: He follows the herd without flaw in the open pasture and always finds his mom in the crowd, especially when its time to snuggle up to her on a cold winter night. When unsure of where he needs to go, he circles a few times to get his bearings by sound and smell and then almost always heads off in the right direction. He can find his way out of the cria gate all by himself and will follow me into his feeding area when he hears the buckets. While not completely out of the woods because his rough start, the prospects of him being able to join the ranks of working alpacas of Rita Dee farms; pulling his weight by producing a great little fleece, is seeming more likely.