Tuesday, October 03, 2006

power outages totally stink....

Hi there,
So, this post was supposed to be all about why we raise alpacas. In fact, I had a long, very nicely worded post all written out, including pictures! I was in the process of moving my mouse down to the 'publish post' button..... when the power went out.
Yup, it started drizzling, so we lost power. If we sneeze too loudly, we lose power. If the wind blows, we lose power. Yes, even if we slam the door too loudly, we lose power. (okay, not really but it seems like it!!)

That's what we get for being at the end of the PG&E line.

So, here I am, so not in the mood to rewrite right now :))
Here is my Gil Galad ((bad hair alert!!! The 2-legger, not Gil)), fair maven previously written about, and first born on our ranch. My sweetheart on four legs, giving me kisses. This picture was taken by Casey Christie of the Bakersfield Californian. They came out in 2004 and wrote an article about our ranch, and Gil was the star.
This is one reason we raise alpacas, so I can get my fuzzy fix LOL. There's nothing like paca kisses to brighten up your day.

Here is a picture of our stud Mithrandir- The Gray Pilgrim's first cria!! I am so excited, I can't tell you. Her owner has wanted a gray cria for 6 years, and Mithrandir gave her her first one :)) She is beautiful!
And so funny that her owner was all the way down here (from up near Sacramento) picking up another female who was here for breeding when it happened. She told me "I bet Cat's gonna have her baby today, while I'm gone!" and sure enough that's how it went.

Okay, why didn't that insert the picture HERE?? Where I told it to??? -- sigh -- someday I will figure out how to actually blog...

So, our little black baby born on my birthday - BTW her name is BMAR's Rosie Cotton :))- is doing great. Cute as can be, excellent fiber and such a sweetie. And what a comfort to me after last week.

I think I can write about what was hurting my heart last week now. On Sunday September 24, I went outside to do a routine check and found one of our female alpacas dead. It was the mom of the little white cria I wrote about (his picture with his mouth open). So, of course I was totally freaked out, there was nothing wrong with her that we could see, no signs of a struggle- she had hay in her mouth (had been eating last time I looked) wasn't sick, nothing at all to indicate what happened. I tried to revive her, but couldn't. Her little one was freaked out as well, and after resuscitation failed, we had to take her away from him and put her somewhere safe until we could get her to the state lab the following morning for a necropsy. A necropsy is an autopsy for animals.

I couldn't believe it when I saw it, my mind just couldn't comprehend what I was seeing. I thought she was just laying in a weird position, that she was sleeping heavily, that I could easily bring her back....

All her herd mates came over to see what I was wailing about after I found her. I did wail, loud and long. I was so sad, and it seemed to help the rest of the herd to weep with me. Not a lot of time to lose it though, there was this wee little one to take care of. He was only 2 weeks old, and didn't understand what had happened. He needed to be fed, and watched closely to make sure he didn't hurt himself trying to find his mom.

Remember that post about loss I wrote? It was right after this happened. That was me standing in the wind with my soul in tatters asking why....

Remember how I wrote about how some crias will fight supplementation, because they want mom? That you have to literally force it, and then sometimes they just give up? Well, not this guy. It took him a few days to figure out mom wasn't coming back, and food was from now on coming from a bottle, but he DID get it thank God. He is now taking supplementation without a fight, and has maintained his weight, and even gained a little bit in the week since his momma died.

Poor little one, it just breaks my heart... how hard I will fight for him to keep alive and well!

So after the necropsy, we look at the results to see what happened. What went wrong? How do we fix it? God forbid, if we did something wrong, how do we make sure it never happens again?
Well, nothing was wrong. Nothing was abnormal, nothing unusual, nothing....
So, sometimes things happen. The pathologist who did the necropsy said it's like that with people, sometimes they just die and there's nothing to say why they did.
So, it is kind of a weird thing. On the one hand, no disease, no parasites, no toxins. No heart trouble, no stomach trouble, nothing.
Other hand, what happened??

So, sad times. A stunningly beautiful alpaca dead long before her time. A little orphaned cria having to go through life alone.
This is the first time this has happened to us. We have lost new crias in the past- who have been premature, or sick. Lost our Bob the Llama when he got old and sick.... but never an adult, a momma, a healthy thriving alpaca.

Sometimes when something happens like this, the rest of the herd shuns the little one. Especially when all the other females in the pen are moms with newer crias. Little ones who have lost their mommas miss out on that momma lovin they would normally get. They get depressed and lonely and just give up.
Enter my Osita. She has a 4 month old female cria, who is almost as big as her mom now (super Jersey Cow Osita!). Osita won't let the little guy nurse on her, but she has let him join her 'family'. She lets him rub up against her neck, and tolerates his rough housing. Her cria lets him play nurse on her, and isn't jealous of him. He sleeps squoze in between them both. He is able to get that much needed physical alpaca contact so vital to his wellbeing. Even for Osita this is unusual behavior. She doesn't tolerate other crias around her (on a regular basis anyway) at all.... usually.

So, between the 2 leggers feeding him physically, and Osita feeding him emotionally- the little guy has a good chance. As time goes on all of our broken hearts will heal, although with a piece missing.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. As soon as I get another picture of the little guy I will post it.


Gattina said...

Your stories put me in another world. I just have to close my eyes and immagine I would be there with all these beautiful animals although it was a sad story. But I am sure the little one will make it with the help of the 2 leggers !

Rachelle Black said...

Some day you need to come and visit me :))
I enjoy your blog as well, you have a wicked sense of humor! Wicked as in sharp- not Wicked Witch of the West wicked of course.
Writing for me can be very cathartic. But only typing, I HATE to write with a pencil or pen, never gonna happen LOL....

cozmic said...

I am so sad for you Rachelle, what a sad loss, but the little one will be fine, between the 4 and 2 legs. Might end up a bit spoilt maybe. You have my thoughts with you at this time. But like they say life does go on.
The power outages I can sympathise with living here in spain in the 'campo' not only do we lose the power but the water as well!!
Keep your chin up girl.

Mousie said...

does it happen sometimes that a little orphan is not accepted by others? and is "social life" very important for alpacas...
and the kiss photo...ouahhhh...very romantic (lol)
are you feeling a bit better sweetheart?
love from mousie

mousie said...

forgot to tell you, the little boue house is vacant whenever you like...just bring your toothbrush!!!I lent you jamas(lol)
see you

Rachelle Black said...

Hay Cozmic,
Wow, I can't imagine going without water! We only had one time where we lost hot water for 2 weeks. Luckily it was in the summer, so cold showers were okay!
Thanks for the boost, we are giving this little guy our all!

Rachelle Black said...

Mousie dear,
LOL, the 'blue' house (my stuttering fingers again :)) is going to be just perfect for my winter retreat. When the rain starts falling, I will be there with bells!
Yes, sometimes alpaca herds will shun an ill one, or one with some other type of defect. It is only natural, they are prey animals and the weak get eaten in the wild.
That said, I know my mommas wouldn't leave their crias behind!
Take care sweet one!

Anonymous said...