WARNING: ( There are some pictures of the actual birth here so don't scroll if you get queasy)
Jared had been out of town for a few days and he got home around 5pm on Tuesday May 8, and we spent the next 3 hours clearing brush from the back of the property because a new fence was going to be put up on Wednesday morning.
At around 8:00 I ran down to the animal area and fed everybody. Felicity, who is usually very hungry, was walking around kind of weird. She ate a little but didn't seem to have a great appetite. I found it a bit odd but just finished up and went back up to the house. Before walking in the house I was outside talking to Jared and noticed Felicity laying on the ground out in the middle of the field by herself. I knew something was up. Jared and I were starving so I told him to go inside and start boiling some water or pasta and I'd be in real quick. I was just gonna go check on Felicity.
Before I continue you have to know that I have been praying for Felicity and for her baby to be born when we were home. I had been waiting since Mid-march for her to have her baby. We did not know exactly when she was bred and it was kind of a guessing game at that point. ( on a side note, we are not sure who the father is?? More on that later)
Having animals has taught me a lot but mostly to depend on God more and myself less. I try to have it all under control usually and I've realized it's all in God's timing and not our own.
So I go down to the field and I see something coming out. And I thought to myself " NO WAY" I've read all sorts of books etc and they all say that alpacas usually have their babies in the morning. Mostly before 1pm. So I thought " Well this is crazy, it's 8:25pm! Almost sundown! Of course my phone had died so I ran up to the house and told Jared Felicity was having her baby. I had prepared a basked with birthing essentials and I asked Jared to bring that along with a phone! I then took the picture below
In all my reading I had read that an alpaca birth should take around 20 minutes, 30 at the most. So I just hung out with her watching. The baby's head was out and covered with the sac covering. I cleared its mouth and nose with my bare hands, eek! At that point I did not care I just wanted to help. The baby was breathing and making a squeaky noise. 1front leg was completely out but the other was halfway out. Felicity had been sick back in February with meningeal worm which caused her back legs to have a form of paralysis. As the minutes went by it looked like Felicity was getting weaker and weaker in her legs. She no longer seemed to be contracting to me. It seemed as though the birth was at a standstill. At this point it was almost dark and I wanted to get Felicity into an enclosed area and more of a controlled setting. So Jared and I lured her into the area we have between the two pastures that has a little enclosure. We lured her with difficulty because she is not want us near her.
We were 20 minutes in and I started to get concerned. I had Jared go get my alpaca book. This book is quite the recourse when it comes to information about alpacas. I wanted to look at their birthing section to see if the position the baby was in was normal.
The Book is called Alpaca Field Manual by C. Norman Evan, D.V.M It's quite expensive but I have used it lots and has proven to be a very helpful recourse. Click Here to purchase
According to the book it said both legs should be of equal length. So if they were not, it was best to try to put the short leg back in and then slowly try to pull it out. So I put gloves on and did that. It did not work. At that moment I realized I was in over my head. So I asked Jared to grab my phone ( which had now charged for about 15 minutes) and had him call James and Rick over at Suki Farms.
They have been great friends and I get our alpaca grain form them. I had actually been at their farm earlier that day to get food. So I called them to see if they thought the birth was going okay or not. They had me try a few different tricks ( pulling the baby straight down, not out. Tryign to insert the leg back in again, etc. After another 5 minutes or so we were at about 40 minutes of birth time. I then knew I had to call the vet. I just didn't trust that the baby was going to come out safely and at that point I was nervous for Felicity.
I have to say that our vet is the MOST AMAZING vet ever. If it wasn't for having her this past year I'm not sure where we would be. I called her at around 0915 and it was already dark outside. She answered which was an answer to prayer and said she'd be over asap. What a blessing. At this point I could tell the baby was struggling as Felicity had been in labor for almost an hour. Dr. Wilson arrived about 10 minutes later. She put on some really long gloves. I had just been wearing some regular gloves:) Anyways. Felicity was laying on the ground. Dr. Wilson had me put her on her side and hold her down. Then she proceeded to pull out the baby. It was NOT easy. She has to really, really pull. She got the leg that was stuck out and then had to rotate his hips to get them out. Then all of a sudden he was out!! It was amazing!! I put some towels on the ground and we dried him off. Dr. Wilson said he was a very big baby and that it was good I called her. She did not think Felicity would have been able to push him out on her own. Nor could have I pulled him out as I had never done it before and he was quite stuck.
He was just so precious and he looked huge compared to what Pearl looked like when she was born. ( Pearl was born premature. See her story here) A few minutes later we tried to get him to stand. He was already to strong and determined to move around. Fiesty little thing!
At this point Dr. Wilson left and I decided to hang around and make sure things continued to go well. After delivering the baby there are a couple things to monitor for. Observe that the mom paces the placenta ( by morning, but preferably over the next few hours) Also, ensure that the baby learns to suckle and gets colostrum from the mom. Colostrum is super important those first 24 hours, but especially in the first 6.
About 2 hours later Felicity passed the placenta.I then went to the house to eat some pasta, well at that point it was basically 11pm, but I was SO hungry!You'd think I wouldn't be hungry after seeing all that but being a nurse you pretty much get used to eating no matter what you've seen that day, ha!
My sweet mom who had come to see the baby once it was born stayed down with the animals watching them. You can see the picture of my mom holding him below.
We then just waited down there and I kept moving the little one close to Felicity and placed him under her multiple times so he could try to find milk. He kept going to the area but not latching on. So we waited patiently.
Finally around 3:00am he got the hang of it. I then felt I could go to sleep! It was a tad cold that night so I put a little blanket around him and secured it with safety pins just to ensure he did not get too cold. He was still not fully dry although we had towel dried him off.
I then went to sleep around 3:30 am Wednesday morning! I really wanted to sleep in but I wanted to go check on him right away and make sure all was okay. At around 6:30 am I went down there and he was so cute, awake, and jumping around. I kept him and Felicity enclosed for that whole first day to ensure they had enough bonding time before introducing him to all the other girls. I then set up some things for Felicity to ensure she had enough nutrition and energy after a long birth.
*Fresh Clean water with electolytes
*Some Fresh Alfalfa Hay ( usually they do not eat this, but in this case it's good for her to have extra protein.
*Chaf Hay which is a fermented hay that has lots of probiotics and essential things.
*Grain- I gave her a big bowl of grain to munch on as she'd need.
There are many things I could say about the whole birth experience but heres a few.
1.) God's timing is perfect and I am so grateful we were home to see the birth and be able to intervene. I need to TRUST more. The whole time I was so nervous the baby and or Felicity would die, but then I kept telling myself "You were home to be able to catch this God has got this, trust Him"
2.) Everyone has told me Alpaca births are easy. They usually have them in the morning, they hardly never need assistance and the baby is out in 20 minutes or less, Well apparently I get all the complex births so I am now more prepared.
3.) I did have a birthing basket ready which did come in handy. It had the following.
*4-5 Towels to dry off the baby,etc
*Gloves ( It was definitely good I had gloves for most of the birth cause it got messy)
*Betadine ( to wipe baby's umbilical cord)
*Bulb Suction ( To clear baby's nose if needed)
*Powder Colostrum replacement + bottle - should I have needed to supplement him.
All these things proved to come in handy.
I am so grateful all went okay. He weighed about 16.5lbs at birth and is now almost 20lbs! Growing like a weed and Felicity is the best mom! Felicity had had a rough year battling the illness she got and now birthing a baby, but she is a strong mom and I am so proud of her. Alpakita is a wonderful big sister and everyone seems to be getting along well and bonding.
Thanks everyone for all the love and name suggestions over the past few days! We love having this little guy around ! My nephew loves Thomas the Train so when he was asked what the baby's name should be he said Percy. So Percy is it! We love the name and think it suits him perfectly. Comment if you guys have any questions and be sure to follow @azurfarm on instagram for updates on Percy and the farm. I have videos of the birth and will be posting a video soon!