Monday, October 25, 2010

Growing By Leaps and Bounds

A month + 12 days old
Golden is growing, by leaps and bounds. Stulting is more like flying. Every day is a new adventure, a learning curve. And I am almost reluctant to post about him because it seems like tempting good fortune. This summer was filled with so much disappointment and death in the camelid community that I haven't been comfortable with sharing my good news.

So maybe a good place to begin is with what could have been bad news. On the third day of Golden's life, he almost died. Chalk it up to my beginner status, but whether it was too much sun or too much activity, or both, he really almost did not make it to day 4. It was a Sunday afternoon, and my breeder and dear friend Carol Reigh and my vet, Justin Cunfer, came running. Carol brought colostrum and a bottle and fed Golden a good ounce or more, and he revived. Dr. Justin kept me calm and I still remember his words. So each day I count my blessings that I have such a fine breeder and vet. And a wonderful little one.
So independent for a cria
Golden is totally independent. He was from birth; mother in one pasture and baby at the opposite end. Carol tells me males are more clingy, but not this one! When I try to figure out why that is, I keep coming back to his being the only cria. I wish he had a playmate close to his own age, and I wonder if he had, would it make a difference in his personality. Or not? Is he just growing up too quickly? Is he missing out on childhood?
We had bred two llamas, but one absorbed her pregnancy, so Golden has many aunts. And while he loves them all, Tess is by far his favorite. If he could choose his mother, it would be Tess. She protects him totally, and Rev, Golden's mother, doesn't seem to mind. But then Tess and Rev grew up together, born 18 days apart. Golden has tried repeatedly to nurse from Tess, and surprisingly, Tess lets him. But when it come to being hungry and getting milk, he knows where Mother is. For the first two weeks, he added a pound a day, sometimes more. But lately, he has tapered off; he is gaining, but his energy output seems to offset his gains a bit. Luckily, I have a great scale that Carol recommended from Precision Solutions, so I can monitor his weight gain accurately.
Eating hay
Perhaps the most unusual thing to me is how much Golden mimics what he sees the adults do, so by week 2, he was trying to eat hay. Now he succeeds. If he had a peer, would his behavior be different. I am thinking probably.
What's best of all about Golden--I think everything. He has his mother's loving and trusting nature and he's just so precious. Each day I learn something new from him, about him, and feel grateful that he is part of my life. Every day.

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