Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wrote about it in another post which was subsequently moved back to drafts for another reason....but one of my favorite two alpacas died during a time period in which I was already pretty stressed and upset. When one animal dies, it's probably bad luck, but you still want to know why. So when in the course of this mess, I discovered that his lungs were bloody to the point of looking more like livers than lungs, I asked questions and sought advice and found out it was probably pneumonia. When goats get pneumonia, it's fairly obvious in my experience. Alpacas are entirely different. I watched the rest of the herd for the next couple of weeks, made sure they had warm/hot water to drink, hay, etc. They seemed ok. They got out once (the only time they'd ever escaped anything) and got into the feed room and ate some grain from a bag whose bottom had gone moldy. Maybe that's part of why the second one died. When two animals die, it's not bad luck anymore; something is wrong.

I was still reeling from this when a guy came and asked about the "abandoned" alpacas. He apparently thought they were abandoned because the place they're on is for sale. He asked if they were OK and like a fool, I told him about the dead ones and was open to input on solving the problem. He immediately styled himself as a "rescuer" and took over....called the vet out...who, after a careful and thorough assessment of the situation, determined that the cause of death was one of the remaining alpacas, who has been a thorn in my side since day one. He's been chasing the others relentlessly, trying to breed them (all four alpacas were intact males) day and night. He was smaller than the others so I had hoped that eventually someone would put their foot down, but instead, he ran two of them to death, literally. The vet examined him, said that he is dangerous not only to other animals, but also to people and advised me to get the remaining nice alpaca out of there before he got killed, too. The alpaca rescuers drove off with the nice one, saying they'd find him a good home. He was my favorite, so I hope he is well loved wherever he ends up at. That left only the last one to be put down, which was the vet's recommendation. I thought the nightmare was pretty much over....but no.

The alpaca people have been badmouthing me, making shit up out of thin air...for example, saying that the alpacas were running on the road (that never happened) and that they were so emaciated that they should all be put down. The nice one was thin, but it wasn't because he hadn't been fed, it was because he was being chased and stressed all the time. Besides which, the second one that died was huge and not thin- he was the biggest one in the herd. He must have weighed close to 200 pounds. Also, the mean alpaca was in very good flesh, not underweight. So now I've been branded in the alpaca community. They are going to really hate me when they hear that I butchered the last one for meat! I just couldn't see wasting perfectly edible meat...I wasn't happy about having to do it but since he had to die, why not utilize what's there? These alpaca people.....I don't think I ever want to own another alpaca again.

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