Could there be a Baby on the Way? Birthing Information
Gestation 330 - 350 days is normal--research has shown a bit longer in the spring. 30 - 45 days is fine for a rectal ultrasound, 90 days for an abdominal ultrasound on left side.
You will find on this page information on signs of pending birth, what to do once the baby is here, and needed items for a Neonatal Kit.
Notify Vet on pending birth and wait and watch
- Relaxed or puffed out vulva
- Laying on side with legs out to the side
- Rolling or flopping (kush--flop to side--kush)
- Humming or groaning a lot or more than usual
- Lack of interest in food
- Check temperature, below normal is a sign
- Remaining in a squat position for long periods with no result. You may want to have vet assist or if you feel comfortable, go in, she may need assistance and it may not be much. Baby may be in birth canal so you should not delay too long!
- Water break--sudden splash of water, even as little as a cup
+ - Baby is Here! - Now What?
- Iodine the navel with 7% iodine in film canister by dunking the umbilical cord into canister and shaking it against the body of the cria. Do not pour into navel!
- Hang the baby over your shoulders with the rear legs of the cria going down your back and the body of the cria laying down your chest. Support the baby well and firmly (not too hard), thump a few times on the rib area of cria with head and neck hanging towards the ground to expel any fluid inhaled during birth.
- If there is a problem in breathing for the cria, you might try oxygen. This is one of the most important items in our barn, I have found. A simple nose clip/clamp (designed for humans) works well for crias and adults. You can use the tube as a loop and run it behind the head under the ears and secure it. Turn the dial on the tank to 2 1/2 to 3, but no higher, for about 15 minutes. You can proceed in towel drying as the cria takes in the oxygen.
- Dry the baby with towels and hair dryer to warm and stimulate the baby. Make sure the cria is totally dry and not damp. A warm baby will get up and nurse--a cold baby will not get up from the warm straw as frequently. Keep taking the temperature for the first 24 hours.
- Take the temperature! Do this two or three times the first 24 hours. If less than 100 degrees, warm the body until it reaches 100-101 degrees and stabilizes.
- Evaluate in the first two hours and determine if you have a strong healthy cria or if you have a very weak cria. Most of the time, just a couple or three feedings by a tube or bottle, 3 ounces of warm Pedialyte, before the baby ingests colstrum, will give the baby enough energy to get up and suckle on Mom quickly. The bottle helps stimulate the suckle reflex and the Pedialyte gives the electrolytes needed for energy. Again, always watch the babies temperature. Do not feed a very weak baby colostrum until the temperature has been stabilized at 100-101 degrees. Warm Pedialyte will help with this. If colostrom must be given by you, only feed three or four ounces every three or four hours. Do not mix or feed the colostrum and Pedialyte at the same time. A baby's system cannot handle larger quantities of rich colostrum in a single feeding. Frequent feeding in small amounts of three ounces will allow the baby's system to absorb the nourishment without overloading the system and enhance the baby's ability to start suckling on its Mom on its own. After each hand feeding, put the cria under Mom to bond and teach where the main supply is really coming from. Time and effort in the beginning will be less time spent in the long run. Between each feeding, hot compresses applied to the dam's teats will be comforting and will stimulate blood flow to make more milk and hence make it easier to milk the dam until the baby is on its own.
- Heart rate 60 - 100 beats per minute and respiratory rate 10 - 30 breaths per minutes.
- A cria should double their birthrate in 1 month. Weigh the cria when dry and weigh each day to establish weight gain. You should see a half to one pound gain per day. This may fluctuate a bit, but over a 5-day period, it should tell the story.
- Watch to make sure the baby urinates well.
- The baby should pass the meconium within the first 12 hours. If you do not see this happen or cannot find it, a warmed baby mineral oil Fleet Enema could be used.
- Put a cria coat on the newborn if it is chilly and most always at night. Remember, a warm baby gets up to suckle. Now get some sleep yourself!
- Have the vet pull blood from the cria 24-36 hours after birth to test if the baby has had its passive transfer. If too low, the baby needs plasma. This will supplement the immune system until the baby can make its own, somewhere between 50 and 100 days old. They need a good start to grow and thrive.
- Vaccinate with CD&T vaccine (3 way) at two to three months of age (3 cc) Follow up 30 days later the 3 cc CD&T again. At Pearson Pond Ranch, we also do a third vaccination 30 days after the second dose of CD&T with 3cc of Covexin 8 to total three separate shots over a three month period of time.
+ - Birthing Kit
This is a list of suggested supplies to keep together so that you will be prepared for any situation that might arise when one of your llamas is giving birth. I find it helpful to keep these items together so that if there is a rush in helping one of my Moms, I don't have to run around looking for and collecting them individually.
- Red tube with catheter tip (60 cc syringe)
- Long plastic or rubber gloves (Can order through Jeffers catalog)
- Latex gloves (needs to be short and tight) from Jeffers catalog
- KY jelly (Jeffers catalog)
- 7 % Iodine in 35 mm film canister
- "White" shoe lace (clean)
- Fleet Enema (save one empty for re-use)
- Mineral oil
- Pedialite (no taste) seems to be accepted by cria
- Cria coat
- Vetrap elastic bandage
- Digital thermometer
- Baby bottle (Evenflo is great)--make hole in nipple a little bigger and get extra nipples
- Hair dryer
- Notes, reference articles, and telephone numbers in box
- Oxygen with nose insert (works well and never dial over 3)
- Oxytocin (keep refrigerated)--get through veterinarian. This is to help drop mother's milk if she is slow in coming into her milk. Do not give over 1 cc, one time!!! This helps release the placenta so she will cramp a little bit.
***This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Pearson Pond Ranch provides general information for educational purposes only. You should not use the information in place of a consultation or the advice from your Veterinarian. Pearson Pond Ranch is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.
We welcome visitors by appointment, call or write
Jack and Tracy Pearson
Pearson Pond Ranch & Llama Co.
242 Llama Lane #6017
Ellijay, GA 30540
Phone: (706) 276-3658
Fax: (706) 276-3680