Tenbury Wells' Diary 17-06-10
Being a sensitive girl I feel most secure when I am in charge. With this in mind I’ve just sprung a huge surprise on our people. On Monday morning they checked us out at a quarter to nine – nothing doing. At a quarter past nine – a little fully cooked female cria lying by my side.
Our two-legs weren’t expecting me to give birth this month. Last year I first mated with Pepsi on 19th July so our people reckoned I was due on around 4th July. I admit I did have my first girl Merrivale about 5 days early, but more than 20 days early is pretty unusual. Then again, last year my partner in misleading the two-legs, Long Meg, managed to produce her cria 27 days early. I say this is very efficient of us – why wait eleven and a half months when the cria is done?
She’s a gorgeous little thing – brown all over just like me and with a slightly darker head with a greyish tint to it. She is called Marden. Monday was a dull day and it was a bit damp, so our people took my baby and me to the yard, where they penned us in a corral of hay bales to protect the young ‘un and keep her warm. My cria wanted to get up early and feed, but I wouldn’t let her till I’d passed the placenta. Then I let the little one have my splendid colostrum milk – vital to the well-being of a young llama.
By this time the rest of the girls were milling around outside my pen, eating the bales and generally pigging out. I wanted to leave so the two-legs left the door of the pen open and I introduced my cria to the other girls. This is when all the sniffing takes place – Doll Tor and Callanish are always very interested in our cria, and of course young Hetty Pegler had never seen a baby before and was fascinated. The ‘getting to know you’ phase lasted half an hour, and then most of the girls drifted off. Maes Howe and Long Meg were the least interested – seen it all before I suppose. So we were left with a little family group of me, my first daughter Merrivale and my new daughter in the yard. After a very long feed my baby just wanted to sleep and I have to say Merrivale was very gentle with her new sister.
My baby is very steady on her feet. Usually a baby takes a while to find her sea-legs but my baby is very strong. Within hours she was trotting around the yard. Sometime I’d leave Merrivale to watch over her sister, but the aunties were really not interested. They would rather tuck into my hay bale prison.
No, much more interested were the two-legs who fussed around like a couple of grandparents, which is what I suppose they are. They picked up my baby – ‘It’s a girl’ – Brilliant. Just ask me and I’d have told them that. 10 kilograms (whatever that means) and most annoying, dipping my baby’s umbilical cord in a strong brown iodine solution. It’s meant to shrivel the umbilical cord and seal it so illness doesn’t get in, but it’s very distressing seeing your baby two-leg-handled in this way. But eventually the two-legs relented and left us to ourselves.
So what does the future hold for my little one? She’ll learn the life of a young llama here at Old King Street Farm and take lessons from her aunties, sister and me. Later on she’ll be introduced to a halter and will start to walk around the yard. I wonder what colour halter would suit her best?
Further thoughts on 23-06-10
We’re enjoying lovely hot summer weather at Old King Street Farm. The girls like to spend the nights in Home Field and to wander up to the yard for shade very early in the morning. We lounge around and my cria sleeps for a while, then, she’s up and I have to get up and feed her. A bit of running around and then another rest. I like to drink good clean water as I’m nursing, and we girls go through half a bucket a day between us at the moment which doesn’t sound a lot, but when you consider that some llamas rarely drink, it’s quite a bit really.
Later in the day we lead the way down to the field and already my cria is nibbling at the grass. I don’t think she’s actually eating yet, but she copies everything we do. Her sister Merrivale and young llama Hetty Pegler really like my cria. Hetty Pegler plays with her and helps send the little one round the field madly chasing who knows what.
My brother Silbury was given a special birthday treat on Monday. For his seventh birthday, our people organised a surprise party for him. They called it a Mid-Llama Night’s Ice-Cream, and gathered together a herd of two-legs and took them, Silbury and some of the lads out on a new walk. There is a track at the bottom of our road called Rabbit Lane, which Silbury simply insists on calling Llama Lane, and they trekked along this. It was a bit of an adventure – the track is tricky and becomes pretty steep, but llamas have no problems with altitude – remember we can live at 14000 feet, so climbing 300 feet isn’t such a challenge.
The route took the boys up the hill opposite, along a beautiful lane, with plenty of opportunities to ‘admire the view’, and to a local Ice-Cream factory. The lads enjoyed the walk immensely – new treks are always interesting, but didn’t try any of the ice-cream which is a bit cold and tastes of honeycomb, or chocolate, or vanilla, or gooseberry, or fruits of the forest. No, I think it would be better if they did hay ice-cream, or perhaps clover, or rose, or hazel. But a good time was had by all and the ice-cream farmers were pleased to meet our boys and the two-legs.
They returned home whilst it was still light and I was secretly rather pleased that everyone came into Home Field to see me and my cria. She’s such a pretty little thing that everyone fell for her.
We’ll keep you posted about developments here at Old King Street Farm, but expect some news from Long Meg pretty soon.