Nota bene: the video in this blog post includes footage of bums, poo, and mammals doing both the things that mammals are famous for.
About 10 AM this morning, I went to feed the pacas only to find that Poppy had an extra pair of legs. Poppy gave birth to an 18-pound daughter who is white with black feet and black ear tips, and a brown spot on her withers! Congratulations to her father, Van Diemen Qjori of Patou.
I feel I have to add a few explanatory caveats to the video included with this post, which managed to capture most of the birth. Unfortunately in the modern information age, some people try to rely on the Internet as a how-to guide, which can cause problems if they have misunderstood genuine information, without going into the amount of misinformation and outright disinformation that goes around. Also, there are always some people who think they have an inalienable right to take offence at anything they see that they don't understand.
Poppy and the cria are in the corral so Poppy can give birth where she can still see the other alpacas and animals with whom she shares her pasture, but where she has some privacy to keep nosey neighbours from getting too close and stressing her or stepping on the cria. Once the cria is dry and feeding well, probably by this evening, they will be let out to rejoin the other three alpacas.
When the cria's head and forelimbs were out, Poppy was becoming agitated trying to find the cria and moving a lot and sitting down and getting up, and not straining to expel the cria, which looked to be quite large. I held the cria's front legs gently in a clean towel to help her give birth. I did not apply force or try to pull the cria out, I just held the cria still and let Poppy do the work, as this gives her pelvic muscles better traction when the cria can't move backwards and increases her urge to bear down. You should never attempt to pull an infant animal out of its mother unless you are sure it is stuck and the life of the dam or offspring is in danger because of this. I made a straining noise to try to encourage Poppy to strain and because I tend to talk rubbish to my animals when I am doing things to them to reassure them and let them know where I am (particularly as some animals have restricted vision to the rear).
The cria is covered in a membrane which has a rubbery texture, which rubbing with a towel helps to remove. This cria had some of the membrane stuck in her mouth and nose, which was removed to help her breathe.
Poppy's loin looks to have caved in after she has given birth because her pregnancy has stretched her abdominal muscles and caused her internal organs to rearrange themselves. It takes a few days for her abdomen to shrink back down and them to return to their non-pregnant positions. Most of the film was made before she had expelled the placenta, and the contractions also make her suck in her flanks. She is in correct body condition.