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P.E.I. farm owner surprised by unexpected birth of baby alpaca

Six-year-old alpaca Dorie keeps a close eye on her new baby Lolly while she is held by Island Hill Farm owner Flory Sanderson. Staff at Island Hill Farm were surprised by Lolly’s birth in mid-December because the young alpaca was not expected to be born until May.
Six-year-old alpaca Dorie keeps a close eye on her new baby Lolly while she is held by Island Hill Farm owner Flory Sanderson. Staff at Island Hill Farm were surprised by Lolly’s birth in mid-December because the young alpaca was not expected to be born until May. - Katherine Hunt

HAMPSHIRE, P.E.I. - When staff heard there was a new baby born Island Hill Farm on Dec. 15, they were in for a surprise.

While farm staff were expecting to be greeted by some baby goats when they entered the barn, they were instead surprised and excited to find a healthy, six-pound male baby alpaca waiting for them.

“Christmas came early,” said farm owner Flory Sanderson.

Some Islanders got their first chance to meet the newborn alpaca, who has been named Lolly, during the farm’s fifth annual Christmas Tree drop-off on the weekend.

While Sanderson knew her six-year-old alpaca Dorie was pregnant, she didn’t think she was due until May.

Alpacas are difficult to do ultrasounds on, which is why Dorie’s doctor thought she was about two months along in her pregnancy when she was checked in the summer. Alpacas are pregnant for 12 months before they give birth.

“You can only tell if they’re 30 to 100 days pregnant or more than four months,” said Sarah Cheverie, who works at the farm.

The successful birth was also a blessing for Dorie, whose first baby Tulula died two years ago.

Tulula was born blind due to neurological damage from the -30 C temperatures during her birth.

“Flory came out and the baby was near frozen,” said Cheverie.

“The first day, we knew she was going to be a great mom.”
-Sarah Cheverie

Two-week-old baby alpaca Lolly has a bite with her mom Dorie.
Two-week-old baby alpaca Lolly has a bite with her mom Dorie.

Tulula was then taken inside the Sanderson’s home where she bumped into walls while wearing a little red coat she was given. She would periodically be taken out to Dorie, but it was too cold to keep her outside.

Tulula died after a month and Dorie did not know where she was.

“After Tulula passed, every time you’d come out to the barn with the colour red on she would run right over to you and start humming because she thought that her baby was there,” said Cheverie.

After a year of healing, Dorie was bred with Alphie, an alpaca her age who also lives on the farm. Alphie also fathered Tulula.

In the days leading up to Lolly’s birth, Cheverie said Dorie started to act strange and fellow alpacas Alphie and Kiwi were protective of her.

“She was acting funny, so it made sense why when the baby was born,” she said.

The timing of Lolly’s birth wasn’t the only surprise with the newborn alpaca.

Despite both of his parents having a brown coat, Lolly came out with cream colour.

“It was amazing because he came out white when both parents are brown,” said Cheverie, adding that Dorie has taken well to parenting.

“The first day, we knew she was going to be a great mom.”

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