Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Although I had not needed a colostrum replacer once in a ten-year period, having on hand an excellent source in case of an emergency had been a concern of mine; and due to several "colostrum" emergencies in 2015, I finally resolved to find a reliable and readily available source of colostrum for my 2016 crias.
Paradiso's MARS de LaCroix, a beneficiary of maternal colostrum replacement.
Within a period of 30 days in August and September of 2015, I found that I needed an emergency colostrum replacer due to the birth of 5-weeks premature twin crias and for a cria born a few days early to a maiden whose milk did not come in until 36 hours after his birth. One of the twins was stillborn but the other did receive the necessary colostrum [a frozen source] and a precautionary and expensive plasma transfusion although he was so young and tiny that he survived for only a week. The second event occurred at the birth of our handsome Mojito's RAMBEAU during the Labor Day holiday. EVERYONE was taking a holiday! The colostrum that I was able to obtain for him proved to be inadequate, and another expensive plasma transfusion was required. Thankfully, the weather was ideal for RAMBEAU. Although he did rest more than a normal cria would, he always seemed healthy, despite a critically low IgG: only 287! In fact, because he appeared to be healthy and strong, the veterinarian, who administered the plasma transfusion, was quite surprised by his critically low IgG level. Thankfully, RAMBEAU's second IgG result was with a very respectable 1204 IgG, and he has always been healthy.
BUT THAT DID IT! Unreliable colostrum sources and expensive plasma transfusions had cost me too much in money, time, and worry, and I became determined to find an excellent-quality, maternal colostrum replacer to have on hand in case of an emergency. In my research, I found helpful information on the internet in an exchange of e-mails between an alpaca owner seeking colostrum advice from an alpaca owner who had used a powdered maternal colostrum replacer successfully for years. I contacted the experienced owner and I contacted the company that manufactures the colostrum replacer. I was convinced and purchased the powdered, plasma-based, maternal colostrum replacer in April of 2016, in anticipation of crias births.
And my first cria born in 2016, Paradiso's MARS, needed a colostrum replacer! He was born a few days early and his maiden dam had no colostrum. [No genetic relationship to the previously mentioned experience.] This was quite a surprise since his dam's dam had always had plenty of milk for her crias. Nonetheless, being able to feed MARS a quality, plasma-based, maternal colostrum replacer that was handily on the shelf for emergencies was a relief. MARS didn't miss a beat and he is growing into a very macho little guy with a beautifully fine and carpet-dense fleece!
What have I learned from my experiences?
That there are complete maternal colostrum replacers in powdered form on the market. Just be careful that you select a COMPLETE and PLASMA-BASED maternal colostrum replacer.
That plasma transfusions are VERY expensive and time consuming [vet visits & tests].
That a complete maternal colostrum replacer is VERY economical, easy to use, and safe.
That it is wiser to have a maternal colostrum replacer on my shelf for that rare emergency, even if it is not used by its expiration date [two years], than to worry about the availability and quality of fresh or frozen colostrum.
I do realize that some breeders have excellent and readily available sources of fresh or frozen maternal colostrum. However, this blog is written to help those breeders who have not been so fortunate. I welcome any questions or comments that you may have.
MARS with his dam, TEMPEST, at sunset.
Mojito's RAMBEAU with his dam.