Quality Production

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Feet as big as babies!

That was the first thing I noticed as one of the tiny black & white babies ran under her tail and screeched to a halt right in front of her foot. The sow’s foot was actually bigger than her baby!

oil painting by S.V. Medaris of mama Berkshire sow nursing many piglets

‘Quality Production,’ oil on panel, 38in x 48in. Available now at Artisan Gallery, Paoli. Click on image to enlarge.

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Alpaca gives birth

newborn alpaca's head and neck

Newborn alpaca (1 hour after it enters the world).

Pretty amazing morning. But before I show photos, you should know that the scenes below are from the actual birth of a baby alpaca, so if you are squeamish about that sort of thing, you shouldn’t scroll down.

So, our neighbor Mindy (at GalPaca Farm) called to say the mama alpaca’s water broke, and she was going to give birth soon. We’d talked earlier and Mindy agreed to let me come take photos of the birth, etc., to use as reference for future art (any alpaca art I do, they get a print in the edition, as owners of the models…).

The alpaca mother’s name is Maggie. In the sequence below, you’ll also see some of the rest of the herd as well (mostly all females–males are kept in another pasture). And that big white dog is named Betty. She’s a Great Pyrenees. She was brought to the farm years ago, specifically to guard the alpaca (from coyotes, etc), and although she was never taught how to care for alpaca young, you will see below that she always knows exactly what to do. This is not her first experience at caring for newborns, but Mindy tells me that from the very first one, she knew it was her job to help the mama alpaca clean and protect the newborn.

So, anyway, the call came and I got over there just as the head/feet of the baby were showing.

(Click on any photo to enlarge it)

And so it follows…

head and feet appear

Everybody come see

birth of alpaca

Betty starts cleaning the baby even before it’s out

birth of alpaca

Wait for it…

birth of alpaca

Fell to the ground totally healthy. It’s a girl!

That’s the mama on the left looking at you

birth of alpaca

Betty and Mama Maggie begin the cleaning process

birth of alpaca

Betty pulls off all of the gunk

birth of alpaca

Cleaned up considerably…

…the newborn picks her head up, and starts to try to stand up.

birth of alpaca

Betty on guard

When one of the others gets too close or starts being too rough with the baby, Betty steps in and pushes the offender back (or gets between her and the baby). Here, she’s confronting the potential trouble-maker.

birth of alpaca

Face-plant

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She’s up!

birth of alpaca

Welcome to the herd.

birth of alpaca

Drying in the warm sun and cool wind.

Here she is one hour after she first entered the world.
What a perfect morning for a birth.

birth of alpaca