It’s just over a week since Lilas lost her baby at the very last moment. Val’s off again to the UK, fulfilling her grandmotherly destiny, so what better time for a live llama birth?
I’d been saying on the phone to Val on Wednesday morning that I thought Elif was looking ready to deliver. For those with a technical interest, I had noticed some ‘bagging up’ of her teats – and I can tell you that inspecting the teats of a touchy middle-aged llama is not the easiest of tasks.
And so it came to pass. Late afternoon, and time for the dogs’ toy session on the far side of the stream behind the breeders’ field (more about this delightful activity in another post!). Lenny seemed odd when we arrived alongside the fence. He was jumping around and seemed reluctant to approach the group of females gathered in the bottom corner of the field. A quick scan revealed an excess of small dark shapes – there were two cria in the group rather than the expected one.
The other concern was whether he was suckling satisfactorily. After a brief wait, while I distracted the dogs by some rather casual toy throwing, this health test was convincingly passed.
All the llamas, including the youngest, seemed to want to thoroughly check the new arrival, although he was not entirely comfortable with the attention.
You might have noticed that Lenny had not appeared in any of the shots so far. Well, nothing has changed with Lenny. His interpretation of the role of proud father is to strut the boundaries, ready as ever to repel any intruders. None of this namby-pamby check out the baby stuff for him. Mind you, Elif probably wouldn’t let him near, and no-one – even a llama with little sense like Lenny – argues with Elif . . . .
Elif is a very capable mother. She’s had lots of practice, and as the sun was dropping towards the horizon you could sense that she was content with another job well done.