Life and Death on the Farm

The last few weeks have been a series of highs and huge lows on the farm. This day three weeks ago we attended Tullamore Show and were so thrilled when one of females, Fenella, came first in her class. The Tullamore Show is the National Show for the Alpaca Association so almost every breeder in the country is represented at it, so a first was a very big deal for us and we returned delighted with ourselves.
However the following morning brought bad news when our youngest cria, the grandly named Caraticus Potts, but known to all as Jim, was thrown down and looking very poorly. The vet was called, our first time calling for a non routine visit, and diagnosed Meningitis, and so began treatment, and because he was too weak to stand to nurse from his mother, we had to begin bottle feeding him.
Our vet had limited experience with alpacas but has been great, researching every evening and once he realised that we were going to do everything it took to save the cria, was very much on board and has shown huge interest.
The next morning brought an even bigger tragedy. One of our other crias, curious to see how Jim was doing, escaped into the yard and a young dog of ours attacked her. We had only left the yard a few minutes when we heard the commotion and ran to see what was going on, what greeted us was horrific and unfortunately the kids were with me and so saw it to. The cria was standing but was basically missing her hind quarter. I rang the vet in utter panic but when he arrived he felt that if he could do surgery it would be a very long surgery and as he was testing and the bleeding had subsided he had to return later to do it.
Unfortunately when he returned he realised that there was just no way to repair the damage, the wound was too big, and so he had to put her down, even typing this make me well up, I realise that this is all part of farming but I truly hope I never become immune to the sadness that death on the farm brings.
We still had the worry of Jim who was very sick and we were not at all sure that he was going to make it. To make matters worse I had to go down the country so Paul was left coping with two hourly bottle feeds. Jim had swelling on the brain and at one point the vet wanted to put him down but, he rallied, and through unbelievable care, attention, physio and sheer determination from Paul he has so far made it. He stood up, rather shakily last Wednesday and, while still having difficulties lifting his head up, he walking and running and sometimes even falling but he gets back up and tries again.
He is still on the two hourly feeds and we all take our turn doing them, including the children, and as a result he has turned into a total pet.
He is not out of the woods yet and needs to gain a lot of weight and strength but fingers crossed he will get there.

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