Long Meg’s Diary
I had a big surprise last Tuesday. We were all in Bottom Field lying down in the afternoon sun when something unusual started to happen to my body. I felt very strange, and had no idea what was going on, but Maes Howe said maybe I was giving birth? I was pregnant after all, and maybe it was my time?
Well, I DID give birth, but my baby wasn’t big and lively like Maes Howe’s Croft Ambrey. He was very small, tiny by llama standards, and he bled from his umbilical cord. He got weaker and our people didn’t spot the tiny brown speck in the grass for a couple of hours. Then, they called my doctor and carried the baby up to the yard. I came along madly alongside as I was very worried. What would happen to the little
thing? He was SO small and weak. Our people tried to stop the bleeding and tied-up the very long and thick umbilical cord with something they called ‘floss’. My doctor was along soon and looked at the 19 pounds of my baby. He tied up the cord again, clamped it, cut it and sprayed it bright blue, and then he stuck a needle in my baby’s leg.
My baby wasn’t able to stand and everyone knows how important it is for baby llamas to get a mother’s first milk. Well, I’d been caught out and I was dry, and the baby couldn’t stand anyway, so my people bottle fed my son with some powdered milk. They stayed up with us all night and make sure the boy drank a lot.
Next day my doctor came along and checked my son. He did look stronger. My doctor showed our people how to milk me, but seeing as I’m a highly strung gel, this was tricky. I stood on three legs and then they could milk me, and I wasn’t able to knock the milk over. A bit of milk came out and straight into the boy.
Throughout the rest of the day, he was plonked on his feet underneath me to see if he’d get the hang of feeding, but no, so more bottles for the boy.
Again, a sleepless night for my people and me as they fed the little one every 90 minutes or so. Sometimes he was too weak to take the milk and it dribbled down his chin and neck.
Next day, better again, and he’d clearly put on weight. Then in the middle of the day, he was put on his feet under me and he fed naturally. My milk tasted better than the stuff in the bottle and I took over all feeding duties over the next day. The next couple of nights, our people still woke him up to make sure he fed.
I think seeing Maes Howe suckling Croft Ambrey next to us really helped, and we both learned from that. My doctor stuck another couple of needles in my boy and took some blood – I thought he’d lost enough already, but this is apparently for his own good. The doctor will tell me next week how he’s doing.
My people told me, my son is called Kennett which I like, though Kennett doesn’t respond to his name, but follows my different calls and hums. I think he must be doing better, because Silbury called Kennett a ‘runt’, and I think that must mean ‘strong young llama’.
On Saturday Kennett visited Home Field and spent a couple of hours there with me and the herd. At the moment we are in the yard, and he’s kushed in the sun next to me. It’s very important he has sunshine on his back to help make him big and strong and give him good bones. I eat extra mix and good hay, grass and clover and produce lots of milk for my cria. It’s a week since the birth and he is getting stronger all the time.