Maes Howe's Diary - 20-05-08
Last Friday I gave birth to my first baby and the first baby llama at
Golden Valley Llamas. Let me tell you all about it.
Well, they say that we llamas have a gestation period of 350 days, give
or take 20 days or so, and I pushed it to the limit, with my baby being
born after something like 368 days.
Our poor, tired people had been getting up early and sitting out in the
barn with us for weeks, even though llamas are supposed to be able to
give birth quite all right on our own.
On Friday, they had given up on me I think, and for the first time in a
month they were both out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I saw
my opportunity and I went for it. My favourite place on the farm is
where I sit when I'm eating at the manger, and I thought this would be a
nice place to give birth.
Our male person was back in time, just as I started to push my cria out.
Silbury was peering very closely at my rear end and our person came to
have a look too. Two feet and the tip of a white nose were just showing
under my tail. The baby's toenails were covered in a protective yellow
My herd was very excited and were shepherded out of the barn as I stood
at the empty manger. Our person put some hay out for me to eat, and
then as my contractions continued the baby started to appear. As I
rested, the cria would slip back an inch or two. His legs came out in a
normal position and then the head with his enormous ears.
What gets a bit worrying for the two-legs is that the baby begins to
pant and gasp for breath, but he was still attached to me, so there was
nothing to worry about.
A big push, and the shoulders were out and my baby was hanging down for
a while. I ate some more hay, then decided to kush. The baby oozed out
a bit more, then I stood up and out he plopped onto the mat with a wet
splat. The umbilical cord was broken and I had given birth to a
beautiful grey baby boy llama.
I turned and sniffed him - he was covered in a membrane. He tried to
get to his feet, and kept slipping over. Our person rubbed him down
with a towel to dry him, our female person arrived, all of a tiz, and
she continued to dry my baby. It was a cold wet day. They put the
baby's umbilical cord in a strong iodine solution to shrivel it up and
seal his tummy shut.
Then the vet arrived and checked me and the baby over. I didn't quite
understand what I was meant to do in relation to my new baby, and he
kept trying to duck under my body. I wanted to keep him in sight. But
after a while, I cottoned on and let him feed - that's what he needed.
Mother's first milk is vital stuff - full of all the good bits.
It took him a while to latch on and when he did his tail bent over his
back. I just stood and let him feed.
Huge excitement for the herd of course - baby and I were penned as
Silbury and Callanish were displaying major interest in number 11. I
think my sister really wanted to adopt my baby. The two of us spent the
night in a pen in the barn and he continued to feed. The next day I was
told my llama cria was called Croft Ambrey, which is a nice
So, we have a mother and baby llama at Old King Street Farm, eh? How
Sometime I look at him and can't believe my luck.
Further news 01-06-08
My cria Croft Ambrey is an excitable little thing. He's over two weeks
old now and he changes daily. Sometimes he runs off at great speed and
arcs around the field, before coming back to be near me. He doesn't
spend all his time with me and it is well known that llama aunties are
the greatest of help in the herd. They can teach him useful things and
even though he isn't eating grass or leaves yet, he practices eating
when we're all in the field.
The first time he went into Home Field he climbed the hill with Aunt
Callanish, and the next morning Uncles Brodgar and Stenness paid him
close attention. I let the herd know very early on that I wouldn't
tolerate any messing with my boy, and as soon as I saw Ringsbury walking
up to Croft Ambrey I spat at our herd leader. I've never spat at anyone
in my life before, but this was a useful warning shot.
It's quite funny watching Silbury and Croft Ambrey too, because Silbury
can't make out the little one and sometimes submits to him, which makes
After a long day of exploring, checking out plants, fences, aunties and
uncles, a young llama can be quite tired, and preparing to go to sleep
in the yard with his mum is probably all he really wants to do.