Friday, 17 July 2009

The downside of having livestock...

.. having heard it hundreds of times by now, if you have livestock, you'll also have dead stock!

Young Tilly was born last Thursday morning (9th July)... a pretty young thing.

She was soon up on her feet and suckling and in the early July sunshine looked a little unsteady on her feet. She was a bit knock kneed, a common fault that is rectified as she gets older and stronger.

She was a little premature, just a week or so, but as the gestation period is eleven and a half months, something that is quite common.

Mum, Clara, was a doting mum, this was her second and everything seem to go so smoothly.

Last night though, the weather had turned, and we have had such a downpour, that even my bucket in the office that sits under my leaking roof was over half full, something that it hadn't done at any time over the winter.

At 6pm, our neighbour, also a vet, had popped over to give Tilly a vitamin injection, and while she was at it, gave her a quick once over. Thought she looked a bit thin, but she had a warm tongue and seemed to be fine. Took her injection as calmly as you like.

Vicki popped out at about 7.30pm, the rain was just getting harder and the wind stronger, and wanted to ensure that Tilly was still in the warmer and certainly drier field shelter and not out in the open. Clara was however out in the rain, and so was Tilly. Tilly was not happy, and having fallen down did not want to get up again. Vicki picked her up, and carried her to the field shelter and came and got help. We dried her off and wrapped her in a couple of old towels to warm up.

The vet popped back over, so useful having one as a neighbour, and thought that a some food would help, so having rung around some other llama owners we determined that lamb milk would be OK. She took a couple of mouthfuls, and died in the vets arms.

It was so sudden, and awful at the same time.

The feeling of guilt that we could have done something more to help is still with us, despite the assurances from the vet, and the various other llama owners that we have spoken to have given us. She was just a week old, and all that hard work by Clara to bring her into this world has all gone to waste.

So, various theories, she was premature, she wasn't getting enough to eat, she was too weak to cope with the cold and wet weather (llamas can normally cope with cold temperatures but it is the wet cold they don't like), we'll never know.

Time to reflect, but the other animals all need looking after now, especially Clara!

Thankyou for reading, I hope the next blog will bring a happier tale!