29 November 2006

Drochscéal

Cúpla seachtain ó shin, chuaigh mé síos chun mo chuid alpacaí a sheoladh chun na páirce uachtaraí, agus bhí cuma shláintiúil is sásta orthu go léir. Bhí imní orm mar chaill Seacláid meáchan, ach taobh amuigh de sin, bhí cuma mhaith uirthi. Bhí a fhios agam go dóiche an cúram a bhí uirthi ag tógáil a cria. Dá bhrí sin, chinn mé go mbainfainn den bhainne é. Bá é seo fáth eile í a sheoladh chun an páirce uachtaraí, áit a mbeadh féar úr aici, agus bheinn ábalta súil a choinneáil uirthi.

Dá bhrí sin, chuir mé na hadhastair orthu, agus thosaigh mé á dtreorú, ach tar éis cúpla meadar shuigh Seacláid síos agus ní raibh sí sásta éirí suas. Tar éis tamaill a chaitheamh ag iarraidh í a chuir ina sheasamh, threoraigh mé na cinn eile beagán ní b'fháide, cheangail iad, agus chuaigh ar ais chun í a fháil. Sheas sí suas, agus bhí cuma shásúil uirthi. Shúil muid píosa, agus shuigh sí síos arís, agus ní bhogfadh rud ar bith í.

Chuir mé glaoch ar an tréidlia, thug sé vitimíní agus rudaí mar sin, agus rug muid í suas an cnoc agus isteach an beithíoch. Dúirt an tréidlia nuair a thosaíonn ainmhí ag cailleadh meáchán, ní raibh mórán seans aige, ach mar nach bhfuil cuma péine uirthi, ba choir dúinn fanacht cúpla lá.

Chuir mé plúideanna go leor agus buidéil uisce te uirthi,agus d'oscail mé mála úr "calf munchies" ar a son. (Tá boladh chomh deas as mála úr "calf munchies", iontach cosúil le cinnamon, thiocfaidh cathú ort féin é a bhlaiseadh. Ná bac leis; tá blas gairbhéal, maranáidithe i molás, air.) Thug mise agus Dougal cuairt uirthi gach cúpla uair ar feadh an lae. Thosaigh mé ag éirí dóchasach mar d'ith sí go cíocrach, ach lá go leith ina dhiaidh sin, thosaigh sí bia ag diúltú, agus bhí orm glacadh leis an chinniúint. Chuir mé glaoch ar an tréidlia í a chur síos, ach fuair sí bás tamall gairid sular tháinig sé. Dúirt sé nár fhulaing sí.

Tá bród orm as an gharcheangal le mo chuid ainmhithe. Tá aithne agam orthu mar ainmhí aonair agus tá muinín acu asam. Cén chaoi go mbeadh duine a léigh leabhartha James Herriot go léir dosaen uair ábalta lig rud chomh hinseachanta a hainmhithe a mharú? An fhadhb le halpacaí, agus ainmhithe tréada i gcoitinne, ná nach dtaispeánann siad aon chomharthaí go dtí go mbíonn siad ar bhruach an bháis. Chuala mé ráite á go mbíonn caora "subject to a wide variety of diseases, the first symptom of which is usually death".

Cé go raibh mé féin ciontach i mbás Seacláide, tá sólás le fáil sólás agam as an tuiscint go bhfuil mé ag foghlaim, agus ní dhéanfaidh mé an botún céanna arís. Is dócha go ndéanann feirmeoirí a bhfuil taithí acu botún anois is arís. Tá mé sásta go raibh a fhios agam gur chóir domh mo chuid ainmhithe a lomadh ní ba luaithe sa bliain, agus go seas mé lomadh a fhoghlaim mar nach bhfuil mé ábalta duine a fháil go dtí an mí Lúnasa. Dá mbeadh cóta iomlán ar Seacláid, b'fhéidir go gcuidigh sé léi.

Tá ná halpacaí eile maith go leor, agus tá sraith bhlonaige slánúil orthu. Beidh cúram éigin ó Foighid bocht, cria Seacláide, le cinntiú nach gcaillfidh sé meáchan dá bhrí scoitheadh. Ceapaim nach bhfuil rud ar bith le déanamh ar son Seacláide anois ach an aire is fearr a thabhairt dá mhac.


A couple of weeks ago I went down to shift my alpacas to the upper field, and they all looked happy and healthy. I was concerned because Seacláid had lost weight, but apart from that she seemed fine. I knew it was probably due to the extra burden of nursing a cria (baby alpaca), so decided I would wean him immediately. This was all the more reason to get her to the upper field where she could have fresh grass, and I could keep a closer eye on her.

So I put the halters on them, and started leading them, but after a few meters Seacláid sat down and wouldn't get up. After trying to get her up for a bit, I took the others a bit further along, tied them, and went back to get her. She got up, and seemed fine. We walked a bit, and she sat down again, and this time nothing would shift her.

I called the vet, he gave her some vitamins and stuff, and we moved her up the hill into the byre. The vet says that once they start losing weight they go down quickly, but since she didn't seem to be in any discomfort we should wait a day or two to see.

I bundled her up with lots of blankets and hot water bottles, and opened a fresh bag of calf munchies just for her. (A freshly opened bag of calf munchies smells so delicious, so cinnamon-y, that you'd be tempted to try it yourself. Don't bother; it tastes like gravel marinated in molasses.) Dougal and I visited her every few hours around the clock. I was beginning to have hope because she ate with gusto, but a day and a half later she started refusing food, and I had to accept the inevitable. I called the vet to put her down, but she died shortly before he arrived. He did say that she didn't suffer.

I pride myself on having a close relationship to my animals, knowing them as individuals and having earned their trust. How could someone who has read all of the James Herriot books a dozen times have let something so preventable kill one of her precious animals? The problem with alpacas, and I think herd animals in general, is that they don't show any symptoms until they're at death's door. I've heard it said of sheep that they "are subject to a wide variety of diseases, the first symptom of which is usually death".

Although Seacláid's situation was my own fault, I'm consoling myself with the fact that I am learning, and I won't make the same mistake again. Probably even experienced farmers make mistakes occasionally. And I give myself credit for recognising that my animals need to be sheared earlier in the year, and insisting on learning how to do it since I can't get anyone to come here to do it until August. If Seacláid had had a full coat, it might have helped.

The other alpacas are doing well, and have a healthy layer of fat. Poor little Foighid, Seacláid's cria, will need special looking after to make sure he doesn't lose any weight as a result of being weaned. I guess all I can do for Seacláid now is to take the best possible care of her son.

3 comments:

Séamas Poncán said...

Is féidir nach raibh aon mhilleán ortsa. Cá bhfios nach raibh ailse ann, nó rud mar sin? An raibh a fhios ag an dtréadlia cad a tharla?
Mo chomhbhrón leat, pé scéal.

Muddle-headed Wombat said...

Go raibh maith agat, a Séamais. B'fhéidir go raibh fadhb eile i gceist. Rinne an tréidlia post mortem, agus ní bhfuair sé cúis éigin.Ach is ceacair a bheith cinnte faoi cursaí faoi seo.

April said...

Mo chomhbhrón leat chomh maith, a Ruth. Is deacair peata a chaillúint.