Thursday, June 28, 2012

Update on our Premature Alpaca Baby, Moorea

Here's an update on our little girl who was born on Monday, June 25th at 320 days gestation. She's doing great!! For the first 36 hours, I syringe fed her one ounce of colostrum every hour. She wasn't sucking on her own, so the syringe was needed. I gave her a baby enema, with warm soapy water to get her to pass her meconium (the first poop). She was still weak, floppy & struggled to stand. I gave her 4ccs of alpaca nutri-drench in a child's oral dosing syringe (1 cc= 1ml). Since she can't regulate her own body temperature yet, I found myself moving her from the shade to the sun as needed. It's summer here in Southern California; but it dips to the 50's at night, so I need to make sure Moorea stays warm. I put her in a child's sweatshirt at bedtime & wrapped her in a warm blanket. I found that the "furry' blankets for kids retain the heat better than towels. Also in the middle of the night when it's coldest, I filled two plastic milk jugs with warm water & put them on both sides of her with the blanket draped across the top.
Finally, success! Moorea is nursing on her own! I still need to watch her temperature & monitor weight gain. I also need to remind her to eat every couple hours. I find a small squirt of warm colostrum (from an unused clean enema bottle) is just enough to get her up & nursing on her own. The next few days is still critical, but I'm very optimistic (& sleep deprived) at this point!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Introducing our baby alpaca, Moorea!

We had a little surprise at Erin Murphy Knits yesterday. Our alpaca Tahiti had her baby 20 days early! Luckily I had my cria (baby alpaca) kit assembled, so I didn't need to rush out to get supplies. I was down in the corral at 10:00 hanging out with the herd & all was normal. At 12:20, I promised my 9 year old lunch at McDonalds, so we headed out past the corral. There was a beautiful little girl kushing (laying upright, see photo above). It was obviously a fairly quick easy labor, as she'd already passed the fully intact placenta too. After checking to make sure all was well, we made the quick trip down the street for chicken nuggets from the drive-thru. The new little girl is named Moorea & since she's premature she's an at risk baby. She has all the symptoms of a preemie alpaca: slightly floppy ears, teeth that haven't erupted the surface, down on the pasterns (legs) & trouble sucking. My vet told me that at 320 days gestation, she has a good chance to survive, with significant assistance. the vet had me give her a few cc's of Karo syrup for energy & then she attempted to stand & nurse for the first time. Due to her weak sucking reflex & her mom's engorged teats, the vet has me milking the mom & feeding Moorea 1 oz every hour. I've been syringe feeding her colostrum (the vital first milk)for the last 17 hours. She's made attempts to nurse, but only for very short periods. At this point, I don't know what her prognosis is. the first week is really critical. She can't regulate her temperature, so I need to make sure she's neither too hot or too cold. I'll continue to post updates. Thoughts & prayers are always welcome!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Erin Murphy Knits on LA Talk Radio

Yesterday I did an interview with LA Talk Radio talking all about how I quickly went from having two alpacas, to having an alpaca ranch & starting Erin Murphy Knits. You'll hear all aboout the benefits of alpaca fiber, what's involved in processing & all the steps to turn raw fiber into a finished product. We also talk about supporting the local economy, marketing via social media and how to start your own small business. Plus of course, the conversation includes Bewitched & my current acting career. The entire interview is archived online (Thursday, June 21, 2012). Enjoy! While you're at it, check out my 100% alpaca hand knit hats for sale!