Friday, October 22, 2010

A bittersweet ending?
Tune in next spring

Several people asked if I had any idea why Little Man died, and the problem is that I have a lot of ideas. Unfortunately I don't know which one is correct, or if the answer is something I never considered. I decided not to get a necropsy, because they don't seem to be conclusive very often, and most of my theories are things that could not have been avoided.

Little Man and Katherine
I took him out of the pasture with Big Mama when Katy had her cria last month, because I realized that he could get Katy pregnant. After he'd been in the barn about a week, I realized that he hadn't created a dung pile, but being new to llamas, I thought maybe a yearling wouldn't start one on his own. After all, he had to be pooping, right? The poop must have just been falling through the straw like it does for goats and sheep, and I did see a few pebbles on top of the straw. Someone posted on Facebook, in response to my post, that they had a couple llamas die of stomach torsion, which got me to thinking about whether that could have been the problem. I tried searching online but couldn't find anything on the topic.

I wondered if he was depressed about being taken away from his mother, but it had been a month. He would stick his head of out the window and talk to her, and I'd put him in the front yard, where he could also see her and talk to her across the fence.

I wondered if it was parasites, but he's been off the goat pasture for a month, and the other llamas and goats that are still on that pasture are fine.

I wondered if there was just something wrong with him. I don't think he has grown at all since he arrived here in March. We've been putting his halter on exactly the same notch for six months, and he was nine months old when he arrived, so he should have outgrown his cria halter by now. The people who sheared him were very surprised he was still so small at a year. He was less than five feet tall, which was probably one of the things I found so endearing. He was my little buddy, my Little Man.

Someone said that we'll always have a part of him in Big Mama, and it occurred to me yesterday that she may be more correct than she ever intended. I was told that Little Man was gelded when we got him, so I didn't see any problem with leaving him with his mother. At some point, in the middle of the summer, he was in the front yard walking away from me, and when he flicked his tail to the side, I happened to notice something that looked an awful lot like testicles. No, he wasn't gelded. That could explain why Big Mama spit-off Dolce when I introduced them for breeding.

Big Mama was not supposed to be bred when she arrived here, but she wouldn't let my male touch her. That was in June, and she'd been running with Little Man since arriving here in March, so she could have been a month or two pregnant when I introduced her to Dolce. We won't know until next spring, but I have to admit it's tempting to put her in a trailer and haul her down to U of I for an ultrasound. Patience is not my strongest virtue, but I'm trying to learn.


LindaG said...

*hugs* ♥

Chris McLaughlin said...

Patience is over-rated. Get the ultrasound. Just sayin'.

SkippyMom said...

Ultra sound - definitely. Better safe then sorry.

How could he not be gelded tho' if you were told he was? But if it doesn't hurt the line [I know nothing of breeding] that would be a sweet little surprise wouldn't it.

Hugs to you.

SkippyMom said...

PS - Deborah my previous comment doesn't sound right at all - I apologize. I am 100% supportive in all that you write - it just came out sounding kind of flip.

A new Little Man would be a wonderful thing was what I meant.

[gawd I hate the internet sometimes...hee]

Susan Ryan said...

So sorry to hear about Little Man, Deborah. Having a farm can leave you with a helpless feeling sometimes.
But those critters are always fascinating, in seeing the results of what they've been up to while they were out and about. Next year will be another adventure.


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