Another extraordinary day on the farm...Graphic birthing video and photos...

This is the first full birthing video we've taken since our
arrival on the alpaca farm over six weeks ago.
I get it.  Some of our readers may be tiring of hearing about the alpacas.  For you, we apologize for our one-track minds while living on this farm.  Were any animal lovers living here, it would be easy to see how enthralled we have become with these amazing animals.
We both giggled over our "safari luck" to be able to see the birth when we happened to be walking past.
While living in  South Africa, we were equally wrapped up in the animals on a daily basis as they wandered about our vacation rental in the same manner they do here. 

The only difference here is the lack of variety in breeds of animals when instead we have the immense variety of the differences in personalities of the alpacas the more and more we come to know them. Even the rapidly growing cria have developed their own demeanor setting them apart from the others.
Elliouse walked about the paddock as the birth progressed, never far from the other mom or our easy viewing.
Yesterday morning, Tom and I walked toward Trish and Neil's home to check out birds they invited us to see at any time  Although they weren't home we were sensitive in respecting their privacy by avoiding any photos of their house itself instead taking photos of some of the interesting surroundings which we'll soon post.

We never saw the birds they'd  described but will return again soon to see what we may find and when we do, we'll certainly post those photos as well.

More ears crowning.
On the way toward their home, I mentioned to Tom that one of the four pregnant moms was moaning all of which have been kept in the separate paddock along the road awaiting the birth of their cria.  

With his less-than-ideal hearing from years of working on the railroad, at times he's unable to hear certain sounds.  On the walk back from their home, I noticed the moaning has escalated a little, not outrageously loud but slightly more detectible.  At that point Tom was able to hear her as well.

For a moment, Elliouse sat down to rest while the other moms watched with their heads up as they waited for the birth.
We stopped, camera in hand, and with our limited experience we could tell a small portion of a the cria's face was "crowning."  Birth of the cria could  be imminent.  As small as she was compared to the others, we wondered if she may be a young mom having her first birth.  Would her small stature present as issue? 

With Trish and Neil at work, with him as a physician (not a vet) and both highly experienced in the delivery of the cria, if we needed to reach them we could do so quickly when they both work in town and could get back to the farm in 20 minutes, if necessary.

Ellouise almost looks as if she is smiling as she sees the cria's birth was going as nature intended with the front legs showing.  We were also relieved.
Seeing the face crowning through the membranes gave us comfort in hoping we'd soon see the front legs.  Trish and Neil explained that if face and front legs come first, most likely the remainder of the birth will go well, providing there were no other unforeseen complications. 

Having had this experience when Miss Jessica was born one week before my birthday, we'd joyfully watched over her birth when Trish and Neil were out of the town.  With both of them in close proximity and, based on our past experience, we weren't worried, instead feeling excited. 

Our goal during yesterday's occasion was to make a video of the miraculous birth in its entirety with a number of photos accompanying the experience, should anything go wrong with the video.

The cria gently landed on the ground listless only for a few minutes while we watched in anticipation.
With our relatively modest lightweight camera which soon must be replaced after substantial humidity has caused issues over these past 18 months, taking videos is tricky.  Regardless, we forged ahead, managing to get the video we hoped at the exact moments of the birth. 

Holding up the camera up for so long was challenging but my motivation didn't falter.  Pain or not, I held it up in place as we waited attempting to anticipate the moment to begin the video when our intention was to keep it short with uploading issues on metered wifi. 

Few readers care to watch a 10 minute video when we've determined keeping a video under two minutes is ideal which we managed in this case albeit a bit shakily when I'd been holding up the camera for quite come time.  There was no time to run back to our house for the tripod.

This is at 10 minutes after the birth, as the cria wiggles on the grass attempting to stand.
It was interesting watching the three other moms as they stood watch over her during the birth of her cria.  There was no doubt in our minds they were well aware of what was transpiring as they spent less time grazing and more time on lookout and engaged in the birth. 

Once the baby was born we started the countdown on the 20 minutes requirement for the cria to stand on its own.  If the cria struggled to stand after this time frame or seemed listless, we may have had to help which we were prepared to do if necessary.

This cria hardly needed human intervention when he (we later discovered it was a male), squirmed about almost constantly during that 20 minute period raising his head in less than 8 minutes after his birth.

Smaller mom, Elliouse, didn't seem to want aunties intruding with the cria, hissing at this pregnant mom a few times.
In precisely 24 minutes from the birth the cria was on his feet.  Wobbly on spindly legs we laughed over and over as he attempted to stand, finally doing so with little certainty but considerable enthusiasm.

We'd be standing at the paddock for over an hour.  With the cria and mom both looking healthy and happy we returned home anxious to email Trish, check our photos and upload the video to YouTube. 

Finally, 24 minutes after birth the cria stands on wobbly legs while mom watches.  It amazing how the moms know the cria must stand quickly to ensure their good health.
A short time later, we spotted Trish and Neil at the paddock.  As it turned out, they were on their way home for lunch, a daily occurrence on workdays.  We'd sent an email but they'd yet to see it. 

They were as excited as we were when we shared the experience in their absence.  They explained the mom, named Elliouse, was in fact 12 years old, having given birth to many cria over the years and was an attentive and loving mom.

Now, with only three pregnant moms yet to give birth, we chuckled over how timely our stay on the farm has been.  Had we arrived at any other time of the year, we'd have missed these delightful experiences of the births and the pure pleasure of watching these playful youngsters as they quickly grow.

If showing these funny lower teeth (alpacas don't have upper teeth) can indicate an emotional state of happiness, Elliouse was indeed happy with the birth of her new offspring.  We were happy too!  What a experience!
Today, when the cleaning people arrive soon, we'll be off to town to shop at a variety of markets.  We both enjoy the shopping each week, especially stopping at a number of locations.

Each day offers some degree of magic, whether its the birth of a cria, the singing of a bird or a flower blooming as summer winds down in New Zealand. It only requires us to pay attention to our surroundings.  May your surroundings provide YOU with some magic today!

Photo from one year ago today, March 3, 2015:

Kealia Beach as we walked along the Kauai Path on a sunny day in Kauai one year ago.  For more photos from the Kauai Path, please click here.


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