Maes Howe 's Diary - 03-08-09
I’m a llama mother again. Last Tuesday morning I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Hetty Pegler. She is brown with a darker head and feet and dark hairs covering her soft, fluffy fibre.
Our people had guests staying and they were showing them round the herd of female llamas. I’d been feeling uncomfortable earlier in the morning and everyone knew I was about to give birth. My cria’s toes and nose appeared and our people could see the membrane sac covering the baby. After a few minutes I’d managed to push the baby’s front legs and head out and I had a breather.
It’s a bit stressful giving birth because I’m not really sure what’s happening to my body. So, with the rest of the females looking on, and giving the partially born cria a sniff I was concerned and spun around a few times trying to see what was going on.
With another push the baby was half out and gasping. This is quite normal as we were still connected, but it is now best to get the birth over and done with as quickly as possible. The baby was born with a wet plop on the grass and was shocked into breathing properly. Our female person removed the remains of the sac covering my baby. The two-legs and four-legs stood and waited for her to get up (though young Merrivale did pile in for a few extra sniffs).
A baby llama’s legs are just TOO long, or have too many joints. A new-born llama struggles to rise and finds the last leg joint gets in the way, and so, Hetty Pegler fell over a few times. But within 10 minutes she was up properly and instinctively looking for food. Really quickly, I expelled the placenta and then my baby fed. She had my best milk – first milk is called colostrum – she needed this as it gives protection and strength.
So my second cria, and my first girl llama was born, and I am a proud mother. I let the aunties sniff Hetty Pegler, but don’t want them to be too keen. The really good thing is that Long Meg had her son Stanton Drew 4 weeks before and the two crias already play in the field. She’s not much smaller than him, and he’s quite gentle and I tolerate him chewing her tail, and it IS only play.
I’ll tell you more about young llama Hetty Pegler soon.
Merrivale has some thoughts…
Oh I'm sooo happy, the thing I have been dreaming of all my eleven months has happened!! I've got a new baby sister! When I saw that Auntie Maes Howe had had a girl I thought "Coool, that's really wicked!". I say ‘sister’ but she will be my 'yard sister', so to speak, as her dad is Pepsi, while my mum and dad are Tenbury Wells and Hogle. But that doesn't matter at all, she's a sister to me and her name is Hetty Pegler.
I watched her being born. Maes Howe was being particularly ratty that morning. She just seemed to be cross with everyone. ‘Do you HAVE to make a mess of the yard with the hay’ she said. I thought ‘grown ups are just so impossible, I'm being picked on and I just can't do anything right’, but it wasn't that...Maes Howe was in labour.
We were in the field and Maes Howe sat on her own, then got up, walked about, sat, got up...and before you know it Hetty Pegler was emerging front feet and nose first. A mere 15 minutes later, she was wet and sticky on the ground, covered in membrane. Soon after the placenta followed. ‘Oh, Gross!’, I said. But I really thought "that is aaaawesome!.... my sister is a beautiful darker brown haired girl than me. And while she is a bit of baby now, she'll soon grow. We are going to have such fun!
Don't get me wrong, I adore my yard brother Stanton Drew, and I love belting around the fields at top speed but sometimes I just don't want to do mock mounting and chest charging. I don't know, it just doesn't do anything for me! With Hetty Pegler, we will be able to hum about how we like our fibre groomed, what is our favourite-coloured clover and I'll tell her my secrets, like just how dreamy I think Croft Ambrey is!
I was in my field with my current girlfriend Tenbury Wells, when all of a sudden a great commotion broke out in the female’s field over the way. Maes Howe was giving birth to my daughter. To a chap like me, this is intensely interesting for, oh, 2 or 3 minutes, before same old, same old takes over and I move on and eat more grass. Another cria for Pepsi? Pah, it’s really no trouble at all.