Dystocia is rare. Dip the navel in 7% Iodine and keep clean. Watch for swelling or wetness. Crias should stand within 1 hour and nurse within 2 hours.
Crias look for a dark place when looking for the udder. If the cria seems to be having trouble finding the right place, turn on the lights, if possible, to make the area brighter. Crias also seem to be attracted to smooth walls, such as the side of a box stall, when looking for a place to nurse. Placing a portable gate against the wall, or having the baby out in the open, may help.
Check the udder for milk (mother will probably not be cooperative). A full udder is a “handful.” There are four nipples.
Failure of the mother to produce milk at first is a common problem. Domperidone has been used with some success, and can be used before the baby is born, if it has been a problem in prior births.
If the mother does not have milk, or the baby is not nursing, give 1 pint goat colostrum (cow colostrum can be used) within the first 24 hours (the first 12 hours is best). This should be divided into 2-3 feedings.
As camelids are cleaner animals than other livestock, failure of passive transfer is not as much of a problem.
If milk replacer is needed, use goat milk or whole cow’s milk. Crias need to eat 10% of their body weight to survive and grow. Feed every 4 hours (usually 4-6 oz at a time to start) for the first 10-14 days, and then decrease feedings to 3-4 times daily, while increasing the amount of each feeding.
Crias should gain a half pound per day and double their birth weight by one month of age. Crias should pass meconium in the first 24 hours. If straining to defecate, give an enema with warm water and lubricant.
Check crias (or have them checked) for these birth defects:
- Cleft palate
- Choanal atresia
- Heart defects
- Prematurity (less than 18 pounds)