On Saturday 10/24, Dr. Walter Bravo came to CARODEL FARMS and held a seminar on the management of the alpaca cria. The group in the photo is Sergio holding Divine's head in a gentle ear old, with Dr. Walter Bravo teaching Dr. Ken Cato along with Dr. J. D. Mixon the techniques of removing retained incisors. While he was here, he examined several of our females to ascertain pregnancy. Those who were not, he gave his opinion as to why. Since productivity is the name of the game, he was very helpful in helping us to assess the herd mix and male retention (or not).
When he presented the seminar, these were his research results that came from LaRayo, Peru. Each year he goes to this research center east of Cuzco, Peru to draw blood and assay on a herd of about 1500 breeding females. Plus he has discovered how to spin down blood, in large quantities, and give the plasma to the newborns thus helping the village to decrease the mortality.
A lot can be learned when you have a population of that many, in one place, and limited variables.
What we learned more than anything is that if you are going to help a species do better, thrive and have ultimate production, you must mimic what Mother Nature would do.
To share with you the results of his research, I will give it to you in increments.
Lesson I: The first day of the cria's life there is a pattern to its feeding. Dr. Bravo found that the cria nurses every thirty minutes for the first four hours for approximately three-four minutes each visit to the milk bar. Then, the cria goes to once per hour for the next few hours, in subsequent days they suckle 10 times per day, with very little nursing done after nightfall.
Now that is important information. If the cria is having a tough time getting started or the mama is not up to the task right away, the human has to intervene and to mimic the pattern. This research gives us clear marching orders as to frequency and some indication of quantity of colostrum to administer by mouth.
If there is an issue with the cria and it does not suckle, or has a personal issue, trying to stay close to its natural habit will be useful. Make sure the dam is milked out according to that schedule also. If the cria is orphaned, that is another issue.
The pattern is what matters and requires the mimic.
Now that is a cool word, agree?
The group, George and Judy Dick, Joe and Gloria Williams, Penny Millar and Nicole Taylor are thanked profusely for the great lunch content, homemade desserts and bread. Thanks to ChesterFried from Publix for the entree!