Monday, 30 July 2018

Waiting over

Josefs and Aggie
The waiting game was over and done with very suddenly in one day and within two hours. Aggie, poor girl, was looking very tired and fed up one evening and the next day Ian noticed she was distinctly uncomfortable. She went into labour but struggled a bit and Ian helped her to give birth, by making sure the baby did not go back in and easing the head out so it could continue to breathe. At least this was a better scenario than last year when he was on his own and she lost the baby. The vet gave us an injection to give her to relax her muscles if she needed it and we decided that it was prudent to use it as it looked like she was having another big baby. Indeed when we weighed Josefs , he was massive at 8.3kg. Aggie bonded quickly with Josefs, licking him and fussing over him. We then left them alone to carry on and went for lunch.
Still a bit groggy

Mum and baby doing well as we went for lunch
As we were sat having lunch, I noticed Mari went into the alpaca house and I jokingly said to Ian that perhaps she was just waiting for us to get out of the way and so she could have her baby in peace. There were several times this last week we thought that Mari was going to go into labour and didn't. When we got back to the alpaca house though, there she was half way through labour. Ian just helped a bit as the baby was half in and half out and she was laid down. It seemed to take it's time to breathe and Ian held it upside down a bit to help it drain out any fluid. Mari bonded quickly with Jakobs and she had obviously learnt what to do from last year and was quickly in the swing of feeding, at least once the placenta was passed.
Jakobs arrives on the scene
Josefs doing well

Mari and Jakobs bonding
Meanwhile Aggie seemed to have unbonded with her baby. We are not sure what happened, although we have read of another case of two mothers giving birth at about the same time resulting in confusion for one of the mothers and I wonder if that happened here too. Who knows. We were concerned though as the baby needed feeding and Aggie was not impressed. All through the first night we would go in every two hours, pin Aggie up against the wall and let the baby feed. This was not doing Aggie's mood much good and she started to even get aggressive with Josefs. The next day we commenced bottle feeding. It was heartbreaking as the poor little fella seemed to be all on his own as if nobody loved him.
Josefs was up and about quite quickly

Feeling lonely and tired
We couldn't give hm a cuddle as we knew that if we did that, we were setting ourselves up for even greater heartbreak later on as it would probably result in an aggressive alpaca. We often wonder about the cute alpaca videos that show one alpaca becoming part of the family and even going upstairs to sleep. After two years these little alpacas are moody teenagers and can reach around 50kg and it is at this point they could quite likely start trying to throw their weight around and try to dominate. It is called Berserk Male Syndrome or Novice Handler Syndrome. It is not funny and not curable. It often results in the animal having to be put down. Not nice when you have spent so much time with the animal.
Jakobs is getting plenty of sustenance as he is putting on
plenty of weight

We carried on feeding Josefs the next day, being careful to make sure we left him alone after feeding. Eventually though he started bonding with Veronica. It seems she is being super tolerant of the little ones again. It could also be because she isn't too bothered about anything at the moment as it is just far too hot for her. She is sitting around peacefully in the shade, just what a poor lonely little fella needed. She looked a bit stiff this evening as if she needed to move about more though. We were so pleased that Josefs started to be accepted in the herd and he started to play with Jakobs. Mind you, it seemed to freak Mari out and the two young ones would run after Mari as if it was a game.
Jakobs is doing well and running around. He has spent a lot
of time with his mother and she seems more concerned about
him than she was with George

Aggie running away from Josefs
Eventually a miracle occurred. Josefs was running around looking for someone to feed him when Aggie stood up and Josefs went up to her and started feeding. She just stood there. She had been spitting him off for two days and wouldn't let him anywhere near. As soon as he had finished though, she made it clear that he was to go away. This carried on for a bit, but gradually he is spending more and more time with her and not being sent packing. She is still not the most motherly of mothers, but at least he isn't on his own and he is getting alpaca milk. We will monitor his weight carefully to make sure he is getting enough food, but even if we have to supplement, he is still part of the alpaca herd now and not so dependent on us. The timing of the births was a bit inconvenient though, it was the weekend of the local festival and so we managed to miss all of that. Oh well! There is always another year.
A buzzard

Getting stronger
It wasn't the only excitement. A little bit earlier in the week Ian was flail mowing with the two wheel tractor  and managed to get it stuck in the mud at the edge of the pond. If it hadn't been such a dry year, it would have been in the pond itself. I wished I'd taken a photograph, but I was too busy doing what I could to help or just observe. I was also thinking that I was pleased it was him and not me. I think he would have been a touch upset with me if I'd done it. The grass had got a bit long and he was trying to avoid some stones that he knew were there and got too close to the pond edge. The flail mower is very heavy and once it started to slide away, there was no stopping it. In the end he used the big tractor to lift it out after failing to be able to winch it out.
Playing games

Night time trips to the greenhouse kitchen
With baby feeding every two hours day and night the first night, four hours on the second, a couple of times on the third, we are both rather tired. The heat isn't helping. It is a good job I haven't too much academic work to do, especially as the waiting game is kind of coming to the end with one paper. In a rather peculiar way I have heard that it has been accepted, although it still says under review on the system. That will have to do for now, but then I have to get something more official I think for the thesis. At least it is a step nearer. I also have had word back from my supervisor to say that another paper is good enough to be submitted, so it will just need proofreading now. Two more papers need finishing off soon too, but first I need to get the felting course and English workshops out of the way. Then it is sit down in earnest to write, write, write.
Lady V our hero for her acceptance of the little ones

Jakobs gets fluffier by the day
We did have another surprise as a friend of ours alerted us to an article about ten places to see animals in Latvia and we were there as number 10. There was a picture of an alpaca, but it wasn't one of ours. I think we shall send them a few of the new ones, just to make it more relevant.
Mari looking good

Jakobs resting in the shade, although I did find him out on his own
in the sun earlier on today and had to reunite him with his mum,
who had sensibly gone in the alpaca house

Although it is still hot in the alpaca house too. It is strange to
think that we have seen -32C one winter and here it is +32C


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