Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Casey 5/30/11

     I lost Casey today. He was doing great, full of ornery and feeling good. Sunday he learned to spit properly (straight into my friend Edwin's face). Monday he laid down the in the pasture with the herd for a sunbath/nap and died.

     I let him out that morning and he took up a speeding toddle across the pasture to the gate, wanting out to eat grass. I had to go shear, so told him he had to stay in. He stomped, whined, and gave me evil looks, then finally went to eat hay with Jasper. I wasn't home, but my mom was. She watched everyone playing, then going to a sunny spot and laying in a goat/alpaca pile of sunbathers. After a few hours everyone got up and resumed eating, except Casey. She became worried when she saw the other alpacas out standing around him pushing at him, and still he didn't get up. She called me.

     There were no thrash marks, no signs of a downed animal trying to get up. I think he went in his sleep, I doubt he felt anything or knew. I'm glad he went that way, instead of being in pain or lingering. It makes me wonder if he didn't have a weak/defective heart, which is one of the causes of failure to thrive. It was one of the things I was warned might be wrong with Andy, that he'd either improve or die very suddenly.

     I had him just about a month, and many people loved him. He toddled right up to you, squinted up, and wanted to know who you were, and what you had for him. He wasn't scared of anything or anybody, and wouldn't hesitate to shove Snap or even Pixie out of the hay or grain. His only speed was a toddle, but he expressed himself well with it. He could stomp-toddle, pout-toddle, angrily toddle, happily toddle, proudly toddle, and even trot-toddle which is a gait not even listed as possible.

     He had an incredibly interesting personality, he was at the same time tiny and baby-ish while being stubborn and bossy. Innocent and bossy have rarely gone so well together. I'd have loved to spend more time with him, to know him grown up. He loved his goat family, but he'd become very close with Snap, Andy, and Jasper. He had no herd bound ways at all, and would be seen toddling off somewhere in a far corner, and Andy or Snap would run after and bring him back.

     I was just getting ready to write a post about how well he was doing, his energy was way up, his nose healthy, and he'd abandoned his nest for running about with the herd. I honestly thought he was over the hump, it wouldn't have surprised me at all if he'd gone the first two weeks I had him, but he was doing so well it was a total shock.

    Cody left his hay to come help bury him, to wrap himself around me. As long as I was in the pasture he walked right up against me, letting me throw an arm over his neck and be dragged along. He even gave Edwin kisses to make sure he was ok too. Zak walked on the other side of me, licking my fingers occasionally as he always does when I'm upset. Edwin stayed to help me feed and tell me jokes. Casey was very loved and so am I.

     R.I.P. Casey Coo, sweet little boy, num num num's to you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quick Updates

     It's shearing season, madness abounds.

     Between shearing alpacas, llamas, and the occasional sheep, and trimming horses, I am working seven days a week, getting home after dark, and getting nothing done with my animals. Cody is feeling very neglected, he is threatening to remove some vital piece of equipment from my truck so I have to stay home. A good hard stare could drop vital bits off my truck, so I know he can do it.

     Sonny is doing great, running and bucking like a crazy thing. It takes him a bit of steam to get going, but boy can he move when he does. He's keeping Honey in excellent shape for me, she's ripped.

     Snap, Jodi, and Andy have been sheared. It was ungodly hot out, so I rushed to shear them, then it dropped to 40's and 50's. Yes, the weather is my fault.

     Pocket, Jasper, and Pixie were wet the day we sheared thanks to a sudden downpour. Pocket and Jasper stood out in it, and Pixie threw herself in puddle when I haltered her to take her to the table. I made her go anyways, she was Jodi's emotional support. She was so pleased with herself for foiling my plans, she didn't mind hanging out in the barn a bit.

     Poor wee Casey is too cold to shear. I plan to shop for him a small dog coat tomorrow and shear him then. He is cold in his own fiber. Suri's are not known for their weather tolerance.

     During the sudden downpour Friday, Casey was outside. We had a week of solid poo, and no runny nose. He was apparently on the other side of the pasture at the time, and moved through the downpour at his usual toddle. I cam home to a soaking wet, sneezing, suri alpaca. I toweled him off and put him in the stall, but by that night his nose was plugged up and he was hacking and sneezing with diarrhea again.

     I put him on a round of penicillin, which improved him greatly within the next day. I have since learned Casey hates shots. He doesn't have spitting down quite yet, all he does is spit air, no regurgitation. As soon as I begin parting his fiber he spins to begin "spitting" like mad, I give him the quick shot and let him go, and he immedietly "chases" me across the stall (at a speeding toddle) to rapid-fire spit until I am out the door. He then stares at me with a puckered "death to you" face, spins on his heels, and does the toddling-stomp back across the stall to his nest, where he resumes his meal, nap, and show.

     He is improved again, just about back to were he was before the rain. Cody and Zecilly have rain-proof StormShields which they quite love, so I plan to see if I can get one in wee-paca size. He does not seem to have body temperature control down yet, he's young, small, and underweight. Hopefully we get some nice sunny days for him, I think he will be rebounding well again then.

     Everyone else is well and happy. Here is Cody taking a bath on one of our miserably hot days.

Friday, May 13, 2011


     Meet Casey.

     Actually his names is Cassius, but it's well known I'm too lazy to pronounce that long of a name to call him for dinner, so his barn name is Casey.

     Casey is a wee Suri alpaca. You can tell this from the wet-mop look. I have a personal major soft spot for suris, plus the already well known 6-mile soft spot for sickly needy creatures. So Casey was an impossibility amongst my softness.

     He arrived with a major runny nose and diarrhea, so I didn't immediately turn him out. He stayed in a stall were he could see everyone, and the goats where in the next stall over. This didn't seem to phase him a bit, he built a nest for himself in the straw in the corner of the barn and buried his nose in hay. He keeps tabs on the world from this spot, he watches "Days of Our Alpacas" through the stall wall.

     The goats immediately surveyed the newcomer through their stall wall. There was a brief discussion in which the boys voted to ignore him because he was tiny. Zecilly, who is my old mama goat (who also harbors a 6-mile soft spot for sickly things) considered him and then ruled that diminutive though he is, he's also young and will likely grow into something large that will then share his food. It was discussed, the votes were casts, and Casey was made an honorary goat.

     Whether this was done because Zec thought he was cute and was selling it to the boys, or because they recognized in him a genuinely sweet and all-around gullible guy, I don't know. Either way, Casey is a goat.

     Casey is quite delighted to be a goat. I have spent much time trying to convince him to be an alpaca, and he really does love Snap and Andy, but he is also a very happy goat. He has made it perfectly clear, via stamping his tiny feet and giving me the most pitifullest "hhuuummmmmm"s that you have ever heard, that he wants to be with his goats. So despite my prodding, Casey sleeps in the stall with the goats at night, cuddled down in his nest in the corner, face in a flake of hay, contentedly watching the other alpacas outside. Such is the rough life of a 10-month old, 44 lb. suri alpaca-goat.

     To my delight though, Snap has also adopted Casey. If Zec is his new momma, Snap is dad. He is out all day with Snap, who watches over him, eats with him, makes sure everyone is nice to him, and even sleeps with goats so Casey can be with his whole family. Snap is an alpaca saint (and again with the 6-mile soft spot). I couldn't be prouder of that big boy if I tried.

     And yes, that is actually a picture of Cody. :)