All About Colostrum
Colostrum is the first milk produced after a mother gives birth. It carries the immunities in her body, and these immunities are passed to her baby when it drinks the colostrum. If a mother has no milk, or her baby is unable to nurse on a teat, then we typically bottle feed the baby either bovine colostrum (from cows) or goat colostrum.
If a dam's milk is very rich in cream, the cria may have runny diarrea. You can treat with cria with a mild dose of anti-diarrhea medicatiin and/or cut back the dam's pellets and alfalfa.
A cria needs to suckle the colostrum within 12 hours of its birth. After this time, its stomach in unable to absorb the large colostrum molecule. The reasons why a cria can't get first colostrum milk within twelve hours of its birth are many.
- If a dam has a premature birth, it may take a few days for her milk to come in.
- The genetics of the dam may cause her to have inadequate milk
- The cria may be too weak or have compromised front legs, rendering it unable tom stand and nurse
- The cria may have brain damage from inadequate oxygen at birthing and be too dumb to know how to nurse
An alpaca of llama's teats are very small. So milking her nipples is difficult. However she can be milked if she has adequate supply and will allow you to milk her. If the cria is too weak to nurse, but Mom clearly has enough milk, then I always try to milk about 1/2 cup of her colostrum milk--if she will let me.
Colostrum can be frozen for up to a year. So if you can milk some colostrum and then freeze it, you can save un otherwise compromized cria.
However if she has no milk or refuses human milking, then I can the cria bovine colostrum or goat colostrum.
This page was last updated on June 9, 2009.