Now we wait

With some effort Tam and I got Jim out of the paddock yesterday, this involved taking down part of a wooden fence, rope, and the ute. We got him out just as Julia arrived, thankfully she was early getting out of an appointment in Ohirau Valley, and swung by on her way back to clinic. So we had the PM done at 3:45 not 6:45. Due to the heat of the day, that is a good thing. The longer you wait and the more decomposition sets in, the harder it is to determine cause of death.

Jim had blood in his intestine, throughout the upper bowel. The bowel was also really inflamed. I would guess that was the immediate cause of death. Samples were taken. He also had lesions and evidence of damage in his lungs, so we toook another sample. Right now we don’t know if the two are related. There is a chance that the lung damage was cronic, or occured years ago (pneumonia as a cria?). We have to wait about 5 days for the pathology and histology reports to come back. I hope we can get a definiative cause of death.

We always knew Jim was fat, but boy we didn’t realize how fat. Fat enough to complicate the post-mortem at times. I don’t know if his fatness contributed to his death, and I don’t know what we could have done about it. All he got was grass (no feed supplements), but he was a lazy bugger, and was very good at conserving energy (sitting in the shade) and converting all that grass into fat. I shudder to think what Oak is like, as I think he is even fatter.

After Julia left we got Jim up to the graveyard with Yvonne’s help, and did what we needed to do. Steve came by with his digger to make the grave. It was a long and grueling day. We finished up about 8:30PM, and after washing up went into Tawa to get food. Eating so late has caused the predictable reaction today- migraine. I will sit in a dark room, take happy drugs, and do very little today.


Jim, our llama, just died.

Last night we noticed he was not feeling well (lagging the herd), and scouring. We drenched him, and put him up in the glen paddock where I could keep an eye on him. He was moving around, but not really eating. At about 12:45 he went down to the water trough, sniffed at the water trough, then kushed down and started rolling. A few minutes later he was groaning. His tounge was grey, and his membranes pale. Not a good sign. A few minutes after that he died.

Julia will come and do the post mortem exam after her clinic closes. I have him covered until then.

Beyond shock. Just numb. Need to get a neighbor with a digger to dig his grave, and move his body up to the graveyard. He is way to big and fat for us to move on our own, especially as he died at the lowest point in the paddock.

Tragic, Stupid, accident

RIP Nabaztag

It was death by misadventure- drowning. Nabaztag must have had his head pushed under while neck-wrestling, he got a lungful of water, he went into shock, and his heart stopped. At least it was a very quick end. Poor little guy just had his first birthday a few weeks ago.

It is one of those stories where if it happened to human kids, it would be all over the news. Horsing around in water 6 inches deep, and one ends up dead.

Some tiny solace can be found in that we did nothing wrong, and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. Another random “lightning strike”, like the bowel torsion that killed Ferrari.

I am getting sick of digging graves.

Frustrated and Angry

And a bit shocked. I expect sad will come along a bit later. Stephen just found Nabaztag dead in the front paddock. His head was in the stream, so maybe he drowned in a play-fighting accident. We’re getting him PMed in an hour or so.


Got Insulin?

Gloria’s cria Gabriella has gone home:

Not the prettiest pic of Gloria, though...

We’ve decided on a name for Saffron’s cria. It’s not exactly heraldic, but it *is* Medieval. According to the Book of Beasts, the “Latins” called a certain fish Mora, because it “compells vessels to stay motionless (mora=a delay).” It says, “The fish does this, not by a grip, but by sucking very hard.” Go Mora.

Saffron's cria, Mora.

And finally, Latte’s wee boy:

Latte's cria Oh hai !

We’re considering calling him Enfield. He’s got the big foxy ears; the white forelegs could be a nod to the eagle claws. The Enfield Repeating Rifle traditionally came “in the blue” — a dark steel color. Aaaaand, “Enfield” sounds like the name of the sort of guy who’d wear a suit all the time, like our little tuxedo boy here.


Today the part of Stephen will be played by Kerry, as Stephen came down with a case of “agriculture”.

So Kerry came with me to the Horowhenua A&P show and sat through the alpaca judging and the talk on skirting show fleeces. We also watched the judging of the biggest and littlest horses at the show, and shopped for geese (not many geese there, unfortunately). Then we went out for Sichuan for Emily’s birthday.

The symptoms of “agriculture” in this instance were bottle-feeding a cria from an alpaca we’re agisting, and driving to Kaitoke to pick up some hay (need to start laying in feed for the winter — the weather has been so hot and dry, there’s not much available at reasonable prices). Plus, Latte dropped a little dark gray tuxedo boy who is the cutest thing since Nabaztag, the little boy she produced last year.

Latte's cria

something "agricultural"

Some weeks ago a new adjective was added to our lexicon- “agricultural.” I believe Geoff coined the term when we were out helping Jasmine give birth, something along the lines of how he had no desire to go out and witness such agricultural activities.

This weekend we had more agricultural experiences. Saffron, who dropped her cria on Saturday, has a big udder. No, really, I mean it. Alpaca normally have little udders, even when they “bag-up” before giving birth. Saffron looked like a Jersey Cow. Got milk? Yes, but she also had a sore udder, and would not let her cria drink! At least that was our theory.

So Sunday we honed our alpaca-milking skills. Every 90-120 minutes we would tie Saffron up, and milk a 100ml or so from her, and feed it to the hungry cria. By the end of the day Saffron was getting easier to milk, either due to the udder being less sore, or her just getting used to the handling. Monday I had to milk her on my own, which was not as easy. The 7AM milking went well, but at 10AM (having come down off the back hilll where I was working with a professional fencer we hired to do the boundary fence) the milk was not very easy to get out.

At 4PM when I came down again (after a very long and exhausitng day in fierce winds) and tied Saffron up- and the cria got under and drank! Hurrah! A little later I untied Saffron and her cria had another drink. This morning I confirmed she is still letting the little (very persistent!) cria drink out in the paddock. This is a huge relief. We will weight the cria daily to make sure she gains weight, but otherwise things look good.

Now, what will the next act of “agriculture” be? Only time will tell.

Smell the testosterone!

Is it in the air? Is it in the water? Or maybe it is some cosmic rays from space. Whatever. We have Man-Power here on the farm. We produce boys like nobody else I know.

On Wednesday Bonus, one of the alpaca we are “mommy-sitting”, dropped a lovely little black Suri boy named Austin. Isn’t he cute!
Austin is a suri cria.  That's dirt on his face, yes.
What does that make our record? Year One: 2 boys Year Two: 3 boys (+2 more boys that died), 3 girls Year Three: 4 boys, +2 more boys from Angela’s girls we were watching (Bonus and Fabrege) That gives us a record of 11-3, or 13-3 if we count the visiting girls too.

The ratio keeps getting more and more comically bad, until Saturday morning, when we went out to get the girls for matings and spit-offs. My brain paused for a moment, wondering why Alphyn was so wet and wobbly… well, maybe because it wasn’t Alphyn but rather Safforn’s new cria!
Saffron and cria.
And a girl! Our first girl of the season! Yay! No name for her yet, we want to see if she has any quirks or traits that lend themself to a name.