I knew that something was not quite right with him, when I first met him,when I went out to the barn that morning. I had to do a double take to make sure that it was not Solei's baby, but it was the wrong color. Roxie had given birth during the night, and there was her little fawn grey male, born a day after Solei's baby. We were not even watching Roxie for signs of impending birth, as she was due the end of September. Her baby was about 5 weeks early. The signs of prematurity were evident to me, teeth not yet erupted, seemed mentally impaired as he wasn't humming to his mom like newborns usually do, due to hypoxia, (not enough oxygen at birth,) feet down in the pasterns, and no suckle reflex, and to me just did not have the will to live.
After several attempts of getting him to take a bottle, with no success, I finally succumbed to tube feeding the little guy,I thought long and hard about this, maybe it is my medical background to try and save everything, but sometimes things go wrong, or rather, aren't meant to be. I really wanted this little guy to start trying. And Roxie would stand next to her baby, patiently, as I milked her out, not an easy feat to milk an alpaca. I wanted him to live. If not for my sake, for the sake of Roxie, who has done a constant vigil at his side, humming to him and wondering why her little baby won't get up and suckle her or even hum back to her. This morning when I woke up, I took the binoculars, and sure enough, there was Roxie, kushed next to her son, his lifeless little body. All alone out in the pasture.
I thought about all this as I was out in the garden this morning, harvesting cabbage, green beans and broccoli. As I was picking the beans, I noticed a grass hopper on one of the stems, I stopped that morning and really studied him. No movement from him, other than the occasional twitching of his antennae, his multifaceted eyes were studying me in earnest, as I, him. I wonder what I look like to him???? And, does he really look like, the way I see him? Normally I would pluck him off that bean plant and throw him over the fence to the waiting mob of chickens and turkeys, for they know, whenever we go into the garden, the grasshoppers will fly/jump out, and it becomes a feeding frenzy........
I see Chester and Timmy, jumping up on their two back legs, then coming down together to head butt each other, the way little buck boys play, readying themselves for being big bucks someday.
The girl goats are busy calling to me, begging me to throw over a few corn stalks, and sunflower plants to them. Beyond the goat enclosures, I see Solei out with her little baby, she is contentedly grazing, while her yet to be named offspring is running circles around her, stopping only to take a few drinks from her full udder, and then dashing off to another alpaca, to chest butt her playfully, as male alpacas do. The whole world yet for him to explore. Oblivious to the fact, that another little boy, will never experience these things.
Life goes on, there will be some grieving here today, by two legged and four legged occupants of this little farm.
We will see this little guy again someday, Roxie and I.
AUGUST 28,2010-AUGUST 30,2010 Little Boy Alpaca.
Gone.....but not forgotten.