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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stormy Surprise

I know I said that my next blog post would be about sheep names.  Um, yes....well....put that on hold please.  We have more important news.  This morning we had very heavy freezing rain.  My office was on delayed opening hours, school was cancelled, and there were vehicles who could not navigate our road that were stuck outside spinning their wheels.  We lingered about inside, not really thrilled about venturing out into the cold.  Here was the view out the back window in our home office.


Kelly finally decided to go out and do the chores, and I decided to take a shower before going out to join him.  I was in the shower when he burst into the bathroom saying "HONEY!" and since our shower has a frosted door, I couldn't really see, so I peeked around the corner of the door so as not to let all the cold air in.  He was standing there holding a very unfamiliar looking animal.  Was it one of our goats?  A drenched sheep?  What the....

OH!  MY!  GOODNESS!!!

Kelly was holding a baby llama.  He blurted out "It's a baby llama and it's really cold and shivering and nobody was taking care of it."

So, I rushed to get the conditioner out of my hair and get dressed.  I ran downstairs where Kelly already had the little one in the tub with some warm water.  He was filthy (the llama, not Kelly) from the mud in the barn because we've had a lot of melting in the past week.  Here he is in the tub with the mucky water.


The animals had all been in the barn because of the freezing rain too, so you can imagine the dirt floor was not in great shape.  We washed him well and then had to towel him off first...


before we began to blow dry him gently.


We also made a little bit of colostrum formula for him and he took some of it, which we thought was a good sign.  His shivering began to ease up, and I rushed upstairs to contact a friend who had llamas, hoping she could give me some advice.  Thank goodness for Facebook!  She sent me her phone number and was able to guide me through what we should do.  He was definitely moving around well!


After drying him off, we put a lamb coat on him to keep him warm.  We then took him out to the barn where we had some lambing pens set up for our sheep that are due in February.  During all this, we decided that he would be appropriately named "Stormy" in honour of his birth day conditions!  The next thing to determine:  who was the mom?

We went out and looked at our 3 female llamas.  They all had completely clean and clear back ends.  The placenta was lying in a heap in the corner of the barn.  Nobody was talking.  I went around and felt for teats, expecting something like a sheep.  Nope.  Everybody had little teats and no moisture that I could find.  Of course, this had to be done carefully because llamas tend to kick when you go poking around their nether regions.  I called our friend again...."help, nobody has an udder!" but she explained to me that llamas don't "bag up" like sheep and goats do, so I was looking for the wrong thing.  We decided, based on his appearance, that he was most likely to be Dolly's baby.  We brought him out of the barn and over to the girls, and she immediately began whining and humming.  Check!  We've got the mom!

We had incredible difficulty in getting Dolly out of the pasture because the gate was frozen shut due to the ice storm, not to mention that the bottom 6 inches or so were under snow, with a coating of ice on it.  Kelly had to end up using the saws-all tool to cut through a cattle panel which we pried open.  Then, Dolly didn't want to leave the pasture.  It took Kelly with a lead on her, straining against her weight, nearly falling on the ice repeatedly.  Dolly's legs were going every-which-way because she was also on the ice.  We used Stormy to lure her forward despite her discomfort with the unsteady footing.  I had to hold Stormy because he was wobbly at the best of times and I didn't want him to hurt himself on the ice.  In addition, Kelly and I had only one pair of "Yak-Trax" ice walkers between us because we've misplaced the other pair.  ARGH!

Anyway, after a great deal of shoving, pulling, avoiding kicks, and prancing about with a baby llama in the middle of an ice storm, we finally got them both in the barn.

Dolly was very attentive to Stormy and immediately communicated with him and nuzzled at him.

Many people are unaware that llamas cannot stick their tongues out of their mouth - they just don't work that way.  So, baby llamas (also called crias) are not licked clean like other baby animals.  They usually dry off in the sun in their native environment.  Ice storms....not so much.  So she wasn't licking him, but she was very interested in him.  She was also interested in the hay we had put in the stall.  She began eating and he started looking for the milk bar.


It wasn't long before Kelly went out to do a barn check and found Stormy nursing away, so all is well in llama-land.


It was a dreadful day for having a baby, but in another way, very fortunate that we were home (not by choice!) and that we could give him the necessary attention.  It was also good that we had the lambing pens set up.


So, welcome Stormy!  The sheep names will wait until next time!

25 comments:

knithound brooklyn said...

Wow, what a day you all had! Glad Stormy and Dolly are doing well!

taylorgirl6 said...

Dear Stormy-

Welcome to the world. I was very excited to hear about your untimely arrival, and I look forward to seeing much more of you in the future.

Congrats to you all! Baby llamas are about the cutest thing on wobbly legs. Keep those photos coming!

colorandtexture said...

Wow! What a day you've had! I'm so glad that momma & baby are doing well and that you and Kelly survived as well!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

wow, what a dramatic story, with a happy ending.

DebH said...

Oh what an enormous amount relief that all turned out well in the end. Looks like you saved him in the nick of time and gotta be thankful for the ice storm now. Really enjoyed hearing about your day and could just imagine the commotion the instant you saw your husband holding while you were showering...that just made me chuckle. Seems when things like that happen, a person can really kick it in gear. Post lots of photos while this one grows up! They are just adorable!

Mary Ann said...

What a great story!!! Welcome Stormy :)

Melodie said...

That is am amazing story!So glad it had a happy ending!

kristi said...

Good Grief! You sure do not lead a dull life! A blessing that you both were there.....and so is this one a keeper?????

Michelle said...

I learned some interesting things about llamas while sitting on the edge of my seat until the happy ending of your tale!

Foothills Poultry said...

Ok, that is just flat out a cute baby.

If you have any animal expecting a little one and a storm hits, you can guarentee a birth.

~~Matt~~

Renee J said...

Congratulations! He looks so much like his momma, beautiful!

Kenleigh's Fiber Studio said...

What an amazing story!!! I'm glad to hear that it all ended well. He sure is cute :)

Deb said...

Congratulations - Stormy is adorable :)

Deb said...

Congratulations - Stormy is adorable :)

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Congratulations to Stormy on being born at your farm Claire! You are so wonderful to your animals. Many goat kisses to you from Isobelle!

Heidi Welch said...

Oh my! Stormy is just too cute. Congratulations on the new arrival.

Karen said...

Wow.
Thank goodness he's okay.
Unbelievable.

Lola Nova said...

Oh my goodness Claire! What a tale and what an adorable baby! The two of you must have been exhausted at the end. Stormy is the perfect name. Welcome little one!

angie said...

Wowowowow! What an exciting day. Great photos. glad all is OK with everyone. So based on your comment, I am assuming those Yak-Trax things are useful?

Claire said...

Oh Angie, if you live anywhere that gets freezing rain or ice like we do, Yak Trax are worth their weight in gold. I'm not a big "product endorsement" kind of person, but they are really exceptional. When you are wearing an entire pair (as opposed to wearing just one, sigh...) you can walk across a yard that is like a skating rink with essentially no trouble at all. It just feels like walking on snow. We managed each wearing one of them, but it was not ideal. Our non-yak foot was slipping and sliding all over. The yak-trax foot was solid and steady. I would not be without them. Errr...except for the lost pair. They must be around here somewhere...

Christy said...

What an adorable baby! I'm so glad you were there to help the baby out.

Terri and Randy Carlson said...

What a little darling! Congrats on a job well done!

fullfreezer said...

I'm glad everything turned out well. I'm in on the story late- the storm knocked out our internet connection but we're back up now. Congrats on turning around a difficult situation.
Judy

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What an amazing surprise and such a special miracle! Stormy is beautiful! Good for you guys being there to take care of him and helping him in such tough conditions.

Did you know Dolly was bred? Good thing for those lambing pens, for sure.

I can't wait to see and hear more about him.

Stay safe and warm there, too.

~Lisa

Adryteje said...

Oh Claire...what a beautyfull story! I want my english were better to express how I feel when reading your post! the photos of the baby with mother makes me cry. So tender!
I really think you are so lucky! you have an incredible place to live, and enjoy.
Hugs from the Pampas :)