Just got back from one of the education days for breeders that we put on here in South Australia. The theme for the day was ‘Birthing Problems’
Not a day for the squeamish, the simulations and demonstrations where frighteningly realistic and used stillborn cria. I know that sounds ghoulish and, I admit that it probably wouldn’t have been my first choice of a way to spend Sunday afternoon but, there is simply no substitute for the real thing. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that when it was my turn to delve into the darkness and correct a bad presentation, I found myself suddenly taking things very seriously indeed. Approximately 2% of alpaca births have some type of problem – of these, most sort themselves out without intervention but a tiny minority can cause real problems and knowing what to do can mean the difference between life and death for mother and baby in a country where a vet may be many hours away.
All-in-all a really useful session and one that we will have to repeat (we were limited to about 30 people and soon overbooked – there’s already a waiting list for the next one).
Everyone there got something out of it and we all shared our experiences (good and bad).
Halfway through the afternoon we were joined by Greg Rodda, one of our top Alpaca vets who provided a vet’s eye view and a wealth of experience.
I can’t finish this with out mentioning the art that you can see on some of the walls. These cartoons come from a terrific book called Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care [Amazon link]
The book uses some brilliant cartoons by artist and llama breeder Kathleen McLeod which I scanned and enlarged to help lighten things up a bit. I mention it here because before using them, I emailed Kathleen to ask her permission – she not only gave the OK but was clearly very pleased to see them being used like this – If you get to read this Kathleen, many thanks from South Australia.