Monday, 4 July 2011

It's not looking good

Unfortunately little Kenelm has not managed to stand up, let alone suckle.  My mother thinks there's some problem with one of his hind legs.  He's gone off to the vet's with a bottle of plasma (which is spun from alpaca blood, and is a sort of baby alpaca buck-you-uppo), but to be honest, it's not looking likely that he's going to thrive.  It's very sad whenever a baby alpaca dies but the bit I find worst is the behaviour of the mother if we have to take the baby away.  I think I've mentioned before that alpacas are on the whole a little wary of us, but are usually pretty cooperative when there's something wrong.  They seem to get the idea that we are agents of change, and useful to have around in a crisis.  When you take an alpaca baby away to the vet (and probably slightly fewer of these ever come back than don't) the mother makes concerned noises, but essentially doesn't stop you.  And then she waits by the paddock gate, making enquiring sounds, and catching your eyes whenever you look out of the windows.  If you go up to her she peers very intently into your eyes, as if trying to read some message there.  I remember one alpaca whose baby died at the vet's stood for ages by the gate, bleating at us every time we went near.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it; but it's the way that the noises they make at us aren't angry noises, but distressed or asking noises, that I find sad.  I do hope that we'll be able to reunite Kenelm and Dorcas.  She's standing at the gate right now, looking for him.

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