Big Rewards of Small Livestock

The benefits of tending a mini herd can outweigh the effort and expense.

By Craig Summers Black

the pros and cons of raising livestockWhen our first llama gave birth, it was out in the pasture on a fairly chilly, but not freezing, afternoon. To reprise a line from my favorite Jesse James movie, "Ain't that a wonderment?" As I checked on the progress of our baby cria (yes, you will learn a new vocabulary as well) throughout the afternoon, it seemed to be faltering. And, with a look of finality, it eventually went down.
So there I was, kneeling in the middle of the pasture as the sun was going down, with a limp llama in my lap, its eyes fixed and closing. So I did what anybody else would have done in this kind of situation. I did what you would do. I improvised. I gave it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Covering its nostrils, I gave it a lip lock and breathed slowly and determinedly into its mouth. I don't even know how to give mouth-to-mouth to a person, and there I was attempting it on livestock! And you know: It worked. The little guy quickly revived, at least enough to give us time to call the vet to meet us at his office, even though by now it was dark and after hours. The vet showed me how to "tube" my little friend, sticking a long flexible straw down its throat and pumping nourishment into its stomach. I was also told to keep the baby warm and dry all night, using a hair dryer on occasion. So the two of us spent the night on the floor of our laundry room, and neither of us got much sleep. But by morning, it had four on the floor and was ready to be returned to the barn and its mom.
Made me feel pretty dang good about the whole thing. That was the ultimate reward. But I had llama breath for a week.