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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Llama Pregnancy?

Sorry blogosphere, for being conspicuously absent of late. I've just been through a rather nasty bout of some type of flu thing, which I'm not entirely sure was the flu, but it involved a terrible cough, a general feeling of malaise, and a dreadful feeling of weakness and fatigue. I slept for nearly 3 days. Very unlike me. I have just begun to get my energy back and feel more like myself. Many things to blog about, but here is today's topic.

I went outside to see the animals, having done my studying this afternoon and feeling like a break. Kelly had been out feeding and told me that two of our llamas were having a big fight a little earlier. A fight? Our llamas? Really??? Indeed, our lovely Cabernet and Dolly were fighting. These two ladies are not normally antagonistic with each other, so it was an unusual event. He said they got up on their hind legs and had their necks wrapped around each other and there was a great deal of screeching going on (as much as a llama screeches - they sort of moan in a high pitched way). Oh, there was a lot of spitting too.

I went over to the llama pasture and indeed, they both looked liberally spit-drenched and also quite perturbed. They were not fighting any more, but they had their eye on each other. In addition, they both were walking around with their mouths hanging open, and drooling. How odd. This too, was unusual. Cabernet let me touch her and seemed OK, although she still kept her mouth open. Dolly doesn't usually let me touch her, and this was no exception, and I wanted to avoid a drenching.

Dolly, however, would not shut up! She is carrying on out there, whining and humming and generally sounding like a ...well....like a very cross llama! She doesn't seem to want to eat. I thought I saw her standing in a funny way. Then I began to really look at her. Llamas do not show much in the way of pregnancy signs. It would be our first llama pregnancy here, so we are not accustomed to it. But I began to think that perhaps she had a certain roundness to her sides.

So, I come to you, my readers, because some of you are experienced with llamas and pregnancies, and also their behaviours. Based on her behaviour today, and her appearance, do you think she might be pregnant?
These pictures aren't great in terms of composition, but I am trying to show what I saw as a roundness. Incidentally, it has been raining here for many days this week and the pasture area is a quagmire near the barn, which is where she was. It's muddy and nasty. We have to wait for it to dry out. So, yes, she does look muddy. Everybody looks muddy.

20 comments:

Aimee said...

here's hoping there's an adorable cria in your future!

Michelle said...

I have no clue what's going on with your llama ladies, so am interested in learning through the comments you get. Sorry you got a nasty bug; does sound like a flu. Glad you're on the mend!

knithound brooklyn said...

oh I hope so!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I don't know anything about llama behavior but hopefully one of the bloggers can help ya. Gals just get into it sometimes.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

She does look rather round, but I have no experience with llama pregnancies, so I can't say for sure. I can say that llamas drooling and leaving their lips hanging, after a spitting match is very normal. Llamas hate the taste of their own spit so much, that they try to 'air-out' that awful stench by leaving their mouths open and drooling.

Good thing, you weren't spat at. I've been spat at once, and it was the foulest things I've ever had on me. (And I'm a Mom of 3, so I've had a lot of nasty things on me, too!) Made me want a shower immediately. lol!

~Lisa

Lola Nova said...

Oh, what a treat it would be to see a baby llama! I can't wait to find out. So glad you are feeling better, it sounds much like what I had, nasty stuff.
Take care

Split Rock Ranch said...

Well, we have experienced MANY llama pregnancies around here and I have several females that are much rounder than yours but I know they aren't pregnant - just fat and sassy. As for the females fighting - we also have females who fight but I have never had pregnant females fighting like that, only the girls who aren't bred and most likely have too much testosterone in their system. Is there a possibility that the females could be pregnant? If so, when did the breeding occur? Gestation period can be from 340 days to 375 days on llamas. I've heard that many llamas are going way over the normal 345 days gestation this year. Hope this helps.

Claire said...

Brenda - Definitely a possibility that Dolly could be pregnant. We acquired Kahlua (intact male) and Dolly (the pictured girl) on March 15 of this year, and she had been open with Kahlua since July of 2008, and the people we bought them from said he had been seen breeding her. Often. Cabernet we had already, so she could not be pregnant until after Kahlua arrived, so she would be not approaching birth yet. But Dolly could have been bred anytime from July 2008 onwards, which does give her the opportunity to be approaching a birth. We have seen Kahlua breeding Cabernet and Hazel (our other girl) but not Dolly. That also made us think she might be already pregnant. But, as for a date when she might have been bred, we are pretty clueless except to say July 2008 or later.

IsobelleGoLightly said...

ooh. I think that when those llamas stand with their lips hanging and their ears sideways that I would run the other way! I have a big belly but I'm not pregnant...maybe someone has been giving your llama too many peppermints (tee hee). A baby llama would be nice! Goat kisses to you (but not to those llamas) from Isobelle!

kenleighacres said...

I was going to say what Lisa did in regards to the droopy lips. Our llama doesn't spit very often, but sometimes the rams push him to do it and he always looks goofy afterwards with the droopy lower lip :) It sounds like you might have a winter llama baby! Hope you are on the road to recovery.

Mom L said...

Claire, I'm so sorry you've been ill, but glad you're doing better now. I can't help you at all with the llama dilemma, but I hope you do have a baby on the way. You and Kelly will do all the work, but we'll get to see pictures! As for the droopy, drooly lips, your other commenters make sense. If I had something as nasty as llama spit coming out of my mouth, I'd drool, too!

Nancy

Apifera Farm said...

Could it be they are just in heat?

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Do I see your donkeys in with your llamas in one of those pictures? How's that working out for them? I've recently taken in 3 rescue llamas and have them together with my new pal, Chester, the donkey. He tries and tries to make friends and be part of the "club", but the poor guy gets spat at repeatedly. He flinches now if their ears even go back. :-( They've only been together about 3 weeks, so I'm hoping the llamas will give him a break at some point.

So your llama's name is Dolly? I wonder how many of those there are. lol. My white one is named Dolly, too. :-)

Amber Martinez said...

Did you have a baby llama??? I didn't see any more comments and I am anxious to know if she did deliver? Thanks,
Llamas in Oregon!

Claire said...

Hi Amber - we sure did have a baby llama! He arrived last week and Dolly is being a wonderful mother. Check out my 2 blog posts from this month about "Stormy" (that's his name). He looks just like mom. I don't know if what I was seeing was really her "showing" or not, but she was definitely pregnant!

Marty keeps on Trudging said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. I have MS and have frequent spells of not feeling well, hate it! But, my Llamas, horses, dogs, cats, and chickens really go a long way to making me push myself and see the wonders of this life!
I have 3 1/2 Llamas. The 1/2 is attributed to my very soon to be born cria. This will be Merengues second cria. Kuzko her last cria turned 1 year old on May 10. We knew Merengue was pregnant because she would not allow our intact male Ivan to mount her after the initial 2 times they willingly mated. We have watched her belly grow and grow (easy to see when she has been sheared) we can see the cria kicking and moving its legs. Llamas only carry their pregnancies on one side, the left I think, All of their internal organs and bowels get pushed to the opposite side. Now that she is close to delivery her milk is coming in evidenced by enlarging udders and teats. Her vulva are swollen. There is a wonderful array of information on the internet regarding Llama pregnancy. Our Cria Kuzko is absolutely a huge joy. He is loving to all of our friends and family and we hope to use him and his daddy as therapy Llamas. Taking them to Cancer centers, schools, homes for the disabled etc. I hope you have a Cria in your future and that is information helps. Take Care

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Hi Marty - thanks for your comment. This posting was actually from October last year, and Stormy the cria was born back in January in the midst of an ice storm. Strangely, it was very difficult to determine who the mother was because none of the 3 females had any sign of udder, nor swelling or signs of afterbirth. But, Dolly responded after Stormy was cleaned up and warmed up (severe shivering when he was found, had to bring him in and warm him up). He would have died had he not been found. So he's now 6 months old and adorable as ever!

nancy said...

HI
I have never posted on a blog before, but am excited to hear about your first time experience with a llama birth. We are expecting our first in January - at least we roughly know when! I have been told to just leave well enough alone. Our pasture isn't huge, so we'll probably see it happening, but I am concerned for the cria of course - and being a mother of three humans, I want to get in there and help! January here is rainy and cold, so I am wondering if we should leave them alone or bring them into the barn to stay warm and dry? Will the mother follow? I ask because a vet told me he did that - but locked the door - and the mother ran in circles, trying to get out and the baby was ignored and died! Thanks for your great blog.

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for posting! It is exciting to hear that you will be expecting your first cria in January. Not the best of months, but we can't always pick what we want, right?! In my case, with Stormy, the January cria, once he was brought into the house and warmed and dried (because when he was found, he was shivering and not at all doing well), I measured him and made a polar fleece coat for him, similar to a dog coat. Then he and his mom were put into a stall in the barn, which was roughly 10 feet long and 7 feet wide. This was done to help keep him warm and out of the wind, as well as ensure that they were bonding well. I would recommend that you do bring them in, but keep them in an enclosed area of some sort, so that the mom can rest, get some grain or other high-energy treats, and the cria can also rest out of the cold. That initial bonding is so important. This summer, my second cria birth was less eventful because it was warm and dry outside and I did not bring them in, but if I ever had another due in winter, I would not even think twice about it. It's sad to read about what happened to the other llama that was taken inside. I have not seen that happen, but if they are in some kind of stall, the mom would not run around. Maybe, if you can, bring the mom into the barn for a half day or a day at a time to get her comfortable to a stall. Give her treats. That way she will know it is a good place to be. Then when the birth happens, she will be comfortable being taken in there. Also, she will generally follow you if you pick up the cria and take it into the barn. At least, that's what has happened for me both times! Keep in touch!

Marty keeps on Trudging said...

Hi Nancy. Congratulations on your coming Cria birth. I've had one born here in May, another this past August. January in East Tennessee is extremely cold. I would definitely carry the cria into the barn, away from the cold. Mama should follow you when you have her newborn. You need to dry the cria really well, weigh her or him and apply blue violet to the cord stump. I've learned that the cria should be up and moving within 30 minutes of birth. Mama wouldn't normally ignore her cria, to avoid her becoming distressed about being locked in the stall away from the weather, take her in there for short periods while you wait for the birth. Remember that Llamas are well equipped for the extreme cold since they originate in the mountains of Equador, Peru, etc I've been in the mountains in my home Country of Colombia, South America and it snows often, very cold climate. Good luck! I hope you get as much enjoyment from your Llamas as I have mine. What a priviledge.