Rick and Terry Simpson
HC 79 Box 52-E
Romney, WV 26757
(304) 822-3494

June 11, 2003

Boy, wasn't last week a doozy, though? We found out on Monday that Sarai will never be able to carry a pregnancy. We found a dead alpaca behind our barn on Wednesday, and thought it was Clovelly. The remaining pregnant alpaca gave birth on Friday to a male cria we've named Kirby - so the living one had to be Clovelly because she delivered a full-term cria; The dead one had to be Sobata, who wasn't due 'til September. So Sobata is dead and Clovelly lives and we have what looks like a healthy 16.4 lb male cria with lovely markings. Head and feet are white; neck is grey, back is rich, rich brown. Then on Sunday, the Lesperances came and got Seneca. What a week! then we got a couple days of break, when we were able to go out and get something done outside, and now tonight it's going to rain again - really heavy thunderstorms, according to the weather forecaster.

But Rick was able to get more pictures of Kirby today. He weighs18.5 pounds in these pictures. Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.

Kirby at 5 days old
Kirby at 5 days old
Kirby at 5 days old
Kirby at 5 days old
Kirby at 5 days old

I did finally get hold of Wilkins Insurance Company. They'll be sending us new papers for Sobata, and we'll throw away the papers for Clovelly. We did examine the papers, though, to see what was required. We have to provide them with copies of the checks we used to pay for her. We looked through our checkstubs and found the check numbers. We have the kind of checking account in which we don't get the canceled checks back, but they're just listed on our statement. So we called the bank and asked for copies of those checks, which were written in February through March of 2001. Well, they said, it will cost $30.00 an hour for them to search for the checks unless we could provide them with the reference numbers.

So we searched through all our old records, and we found all the statements for 2001 EXCEPT the February through March statements! So Rick went to the bank and said he'd pay the $30.00 per hour for the search. I suggested he just ask for copies of the statements, and we'd provide the reference numbers from that, but I guess he forgot about that by the time he got to the bank. What a nuisance!

I also contacted ARI, and they said they couldn't use the clotted blood, so I called Dr. Spaid and told them to go ahead and throw it away. Then I got an email - about 3 hours later - from ARI saying we should ask UC Davis whether they can use the clotted blood sample to do a DNA test! Sheesh! But the insurance company didn't ask for a blood test. They asked for some tissue analysis, and Dr. Spaid sent the samples off to the state lab. Don't know how long it will take for that information to get back to us.

I had contacted the folks who sold us Clovelly and told them she had died, then had to contact them again and tell them it was not Clovelly, it was Sobata. They offered a reduced-price breeding to one of their herdsires.

Then I had to contact the Ciszewskis and tell them about Sobata's death. I also had to tell them about Sarai, who is no longer able to carry a pregnancy. They offered to let us breed Clovelly to their Solomon, who is Seneca and Kirby's father. We're in favor of that!

And did I mention in my last entry that Double "O" Good, where we had taken Sarai to breed, has said we can bring Molly as a substitute for Sarai? They did! So we'll get our two girls pregnant this spring and not have to take Clovelly and Kirby away for 90 days! We're pleased about that. Next spring won't be so easy, though. We'll have to pay for all our breedings next year. I hope we can find another "mobile stud service" so we don't have to take the crias off the farm for their first 3 months of life!

June 13, 2003

I'm not going to panic, honest. I think. Not yet, anyway. Last night when we were feeding the 'pacas, we noticed two silver-dollar-sized puddles of a mustard-yellowish-greenish-brownish stool in the 'paca poop pile. Rick thinks it was Kirby. Kirby had lost about 1/10 of a pound since we weighed him yesterday.

Today, Rick went to Baltimore to see about a thyroid biopsy - the doctors don't know what is wrong with him, but they know it is something to do with his thyroid gland. I went out to feed the 'pacas at the usual time, and called them for breakfast ("Hey, pacapacas! Hey pacapacas!") Clovelly and Molly came running, but Kirby stayed kushed in the field. After the two females were out of sight, he stretched out on the ground with his legs in front of him. This is not indicative of anything being wrong, necessarily, but it seemed unusual to me that he would not follow his mama into the barn. So I went down the hill to check on him. He struggled to his feet and slowly made his way to the barn, stopping every few feet and checking to see whether I was still behind him. I was, so he took a few more steps. And so on, til he got to the barn.

And in the barn, in the 'paca poop pile, I saw two more little puddles of the liquid stool. This is not good. I covered every bit of the pile in PDZ. A day or two ago, the handle broke off the lid of our poop bucket, so I don't have anything to hold the bags up while I put the poop into them. Rick is picking one up today from Walmart, I hope.

About half an hour later, I went out to check on him again. This time, he was in the barn with the females, but all stretched out - not kushed. He was down. This is not particularly good. I called Dr. Spaid and Dr. Hott. Neither of them are available. Rick called about 2:30pm, and I told him about it. Fortunately, he's on his way home, and is only about 2 hours away. He'll probably get here before the vets get back to their offices. I don't know what to do for Kirby! If it were one of the goats that had diarrhea, I would feed him a glob of pepto-bismol... but I don't know what that might do to an alpaca! Oh, WHERE are the vets when you need them?

I kept checking on him every half hour or so. No real change. Sometimes he's kushed, but mostly he's down... stretched out on his side with his feet in front of him. I won't panic yet. I'll wait til Rick gets home and THEN I'll panic!

Later on June 13, 2003

Dr. Spaid just called. One of the tissue cultures for Sobata is back. She died of pneumonia. There are still other reports to come in, but apparently the pneumonia is what killed her.

June 15, 2003

A comedy today. We were supposed to go get Sarai from the Double "O" Good farm today, and it took us about half an hour to get the trailer attached, turned around, and positioned in the driveway so we could get Molly into it. We're taking her down to be bred instead of Sarai. Then Rick went out to get the alpacas rounded up so we could get Molly, and found that the goats had broken down the fence between the alpaca field and the goat field. And now the goats are in the alpaca field munching away at the weeds, and the alpacas are in the goat field happily scarfing up the grass - strange, but the goat field, where we didn't plant grass, is where it's coming up!

So I ended up calling and cancelling our appointment. We'll get the pacas tonight at dinner time, and then we'll go tomorrow to take Molly down and pick up Sarai.

More later...

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