Gains and Loss


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This past week has, yet again, been one of joy and sadness.  I'll start with the sad - Monday morning we found our last cria of the year, Hank, dead in the pasture.  We are baffled as to the cause.  It was around 8* out, but alpacas are very cold-hardy animals, and he had his mama to snuggle with so I don't think it was the cold.  After I sheared him (in the living room, as I said it was 8* outside!) he didn't look excessively thin - pacas are always pretty lean creatures, and he was still nursing.  We just preventatively wormed all of them the weekend before, so it shouldn't have been that... We froze his body and were planning to take it to the state lab today (Friday) for a necropsy but Nashville is in a state of emergency from the snowstorm so that is put off.  He is now in a friend's freezer awaiting an opportunity to take him up there and see if there's anything they can figure out.  We are so frustrated with this - we've lost all 4 babies this year, and it makes me nervous and more than a bit pessimistic about this coming year's crias.  I hope we can learn from any mistakes we may have made - I'm just not sure what they might be, which makes it difficult to extract a lesson!

As so often happens, we lost Hank on Monday, and on Thursday welcomed our second lamb of the year, little Hatchet.  Since he's a he, he's slated for the table by fall, so we chose a name that reflects both the tree-ness of the mamas' names, and his eventual demise, and was a strong name as Liam requested.  He's a cutie, of course, and has finally enabled me to get a sheep in the sheephouse!  He was born first thing Thursday morning, and by lunchtime it had started to rain.  It was barely above freezing out, so I put him in the house - and he loved it!  He was tromping in big staggery circles inside, while his mama Hickory bellowed in the doorway.  She wouldn't go in, so he'd circle back and nuzzle her every few minutes, but he wanted to explore.  When I checked later, he was snoozing in the open doorway so she could stop by to sniff and nuzzle him, and even later I actually found her inside with him!  We put both of them as well as Chestnut and little Alder in the house for the night (it poured steadily the entire night) and they remained there in the morning, even after Caleb opened the door.  I'm especially glad that Hickory will go in the house because I just recently read that, unlike goat babies that nestle somewhere until their mamas come by to feed them, sheep are instinctive followers, and the lambs stay with the ewes and nurse all day long.  I was worried that, with Hatchet in the house, he wouldn't get fed, if Hickory wouldn't go in and he didn't come out.  No worries there, though, and I've seen him nursing - he's definitely got that figured out!  

In the final bit of upbeat news (that's probably not news for those of you that pay attention to Caleb on Facebbook), we will be expanding our own famly this summer.  Liam was fairly underwhelmed to learn that the newest Rae is predicted to arrive on his own birthday, July 24 - "oh great, so instead of having a celebration for my birthday, we'll just have another baby!"  He's taking comfort in the fact that due dates are rarely correct, and he's warming to the idea, as long as it's another brother.  When asked why, he had a perfectly logical answer - because then they could be the Three Amigos, of course!  When I pointed out that a girl could still play Three Amigos - or at least Two Amigos and an Amiga - with him and Malachi, he just gave me "that look".  Malachi really doesn't understand yet, but probably will once I'm showing.  Also, by July he'll be approaching 3, and the difference in comprehension between a-little-over-2 and not-quite-3 is pretty dramatic.  



So sorry to hear of the alpaca losses--hope you are able to figure out what you can do differently. Thrilled, of course, to know of another Rae's impending arrival. And tickled to see a photo of your newest lamb.

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