This article reprinted with permission from author Ian Lutz of Cas-Cad Nac Farm Alpacas. It was originally published in the Autumn 2009 Cas-Cad-Nac Farm Chronicles.
If you birth out enough crias sooner or later you will run into a female [alpaca] who wants nothing to do with her newborn. Often times, though not always, these are first-time moms who having just gone through a rather painful experience, just don’t grasp right off that they need to nurture that floppy looking wet thing that keeps humming at them. The good news though, in our experience, is that in the vast majority of cases the maternal instinct is there, you just need to figure out where the switch is to turn it on!
I want to start with the assumption that we have isolated our mom and newborn in some way, preferably into a bonding pen of some sort. The classic case of rejection we see most often is the female who when her new baby tried to go underneath her looking for the udder either screams, kicks, spits, lies down, or best of all: some combination of all of those! In these cases the best solution is to keep your cool and come up with a plan. Obviously the end goal is an independently nursing cria through the shortest route to that may not always be a straight line.
Thankfully there are two creatures involved here, the dam and the newborn and a natural instinct exists in both of them. The trick is to nurture that. [Read more...]