Last month we talked about nutrition and preparing your in utero cria for a healthy fall birth. Now your due date is coming closer and we need to shift attention to a fall birth. Below is a list of supplies that you should have on hand.
There are many, many experts that will tell you how to manipulate crias to get them out, but about 95% of births are completely uneventful. A lot of the materials/supplies below are for the unusual, but many more are for routine use.
One issue that I insist every farm I consult with is the oral vaccination with the Ecolizer +C just after birth. This is a very low cost and very high return vaccine that eliminates fatal diarrheas.
The second major issue is to make sure you have Karo syrup on hand. This is literally a life saver and, when given by mouth, will perk up a limp cria. For reasons we do not know (yet) newborn crias have a blood sugar (glucose) level 2-3 times that of an adult. Thus they need the blood sugar to start nursing when they get the natural sugars in the colostrum.
The rest of the materials are rather self explanatory. If you don’t know what they are for, your vet will know if they need to help you with a delivery.
Happy crias and next month we will cover cria and dam care in the early post-partum weeks.
The birthing "bag":
List of stuff in the bag (print out of this list)
Telephone list (vet, state vet school, friends, etc)
Driving directions to vet and vet school
Plenty of Lubricant (possibly a gallon jug of pre mixed lube with pump and rubber hose)
Two unopened large tubes of "K-Y" lubricant
Flashlight (with fresh batteries)
Sterile surgical gloves, sterile shoulder length gloves
Inexpensive ($5) stethoscope (learn to use before a birth)
Inexpensive glucometer (blood glucose) – note normal for newborn cria is over 150 mg/dL
Unscented anti-bacterial hand wipes - for cleaning udder before first nursing
Roll of vet wrap – to wrap tail,
Clamp (big paper clamp) - to hold wrapped tail back
Pack of 4 x 4 gauze (to stop bleeding of umbilical stump)
Iodine (7%) or chlorhexidine – for disinfection of navel
Umbilical tape (NOT clamp) for navel (if bleeding)
White shoelaces (1/4 inch wide x 36 inches long – for sneakers) – to pull cria’s legs if stuck.
Digital rectal type thermometer (check batteries!)
Calcium paste (for oral use) – if contractions cease
10 ml syringe in capped plastic container (for Karo syrup)
50/60 ml catheter tip syringe (for oral feeding tube)
Oral feeding tube 14-16 inches long
Bottle of "Karo" brand syrup (not other brand) – for weak crias
Oral pediatric electrolyte solution ("Pedialyte", Equate, etc) – for weak crias
Cell phone (charged!), cordless house phone (charged!)
Clean bath sized towels – to catch cria on
Roll of paper towels
Bathroom scale accurate to 0.1 lb
To also have on hand:
"Ecolizer+C" oral vaccine (Novartis, bovine type)
Frozen hyperimmunized plasma (Triple J labs)
Bo-Se injection (for those in selenium deficient areas)
Several two-quart heavy-duty plastic rice bags (for microwave warming)
Small cria sweaters and cria jackets (yes, both)
Small oxygen tank (welding oxygen is fine)
Gatoraid (powder, lemon/lime)
(Editor's note: A printable copy of this list is on Hospital Blvd.)Stephen Hull, MS, PhD, Tom Cameron, DVM & families
"a full service alpaca farm including seminars and consulting"
TimberLake Farms, Inc.
12001 East Waterloo Road
Arcadia, OK 73007
405 341 8444 (home/farm)
405 550-3023 (cell)