Pet Peeve Essay Example: Alpacas
Previous owners of my alpacas had failed to provide for my alpaca's basic needs, and they almost lost their lives. Alpacas need food, clean water, ethical breeding practices, and shelter. Some of our Rescue alpacas have come from places where people do not have money to feed them but keep them, want to show more beautiful fleeces called "starvation fineness," are lazy in caring for them, greedy, or do not understand what is necessary for them to lead long healthy lives. All these things kill alpacas!
We received an alpaca named Charity from a Rescue who was close to death, because of lack of food, medical care, and improper breeding practices. She came weighing about 60 pounds. She barely had the energy to walk off the trailer when she arrived. She also had terrible diarrhea. We started giving her a drench of antibiotics and wormer medicine. When we were giving her medicine, my Mom felt a baby move in her tummy. She gave birth while in poor health which caused the baby to be in a circumstance where his life was also in danger. Her baby was named Liberty. He was two months premature and could not stand up to nurse from his Momma. If the baby does not nurse the first milk, they get sick and die.
We had to take Liberty to CSU for a plasma transplant so he could have the antibodies that will save him from catching diseases. He was septic which means he was already sick. Because they starved her, she and he were both ill. He stayed at CSU for 1 ½ week and received his food and medicine through an iv. Alpacas are pregnant for 11 ½ months. The Doctors thought Liberty was about two months premature because he had no teeth, and his legs could not walk like alpaca babies normally could. His Momma did not have milk to feed him, so we had to feed him from a bottle for the next six months. There is a genuine problem with bottle-fed babies, especially males, were they grow up with Berserk Male Syndrome and must be euthanized. So, even if someone saves them, if you do not follow proper procedure, they can be put to death. Charity and her baby were remarkably close to dying due to her previous owner.
First 4 Alpacas of Mine
My first four alpacas came from a lady that lived in the mountains where we used to live, and one of her alpacas died due to plain laziness. She was getting out of the business and tired of taking care of them. We took all her remaining female alpacas but were not able to take the males because we did not have another separate barn for them. One of my alpacas, whose name is Xerces, gave birth to one of the males when she was only two years old.
She is lucky to have survived, and so was her baby boy named Themis. Shortly after we took Xerces, the original owner did not put the alpacas in the barn at night. Themis was eaten alive by a mountain lion. This owner had beautiful fancy barns with plenty of room and shelter but was not willing to go out at night to shut the door and caused Themis's death. His death was due to laziness. An alpacas only real defense is to run away faster than the predator chasing them. Because he was locked in a fence by his owner, he could not do anything to prevent his death. We have coyotes where I live now and to avoid animal attacks by not being lazy and closing the alpacas in the barn at night.
What Can Kill an Alpaca
Weather can kill an alpaca. In Peru, they have declared a state of emergency because the weather has been cold, it was only -9 degrees at times. None of the alpacas are wild, and yet they keep them outside in severe weather. If these alpacas had a shelter to get out of the weather, they probably would not be dying. Heat can also kill alpacas. We have hot conditions where I live. We shear our alpaca once a year in May for two reasons. The first is because they can die from heat exhaustion, and the second is that we keep their wool to help with the expense of feeding them. Because heat exhaustion kills alpacas, on hot days, we soak our alpacas down with the hose to help cool them off, which they love. Weather is a severe problem for alpacas and makes a difference in whether they live or die.
Another problem is when breeders are greedy, and they breed to soon or too late in an alpaca's life and can kill them. Most babies that die come from when a breeder breeds an alpaca when they are only one year old. The baby is born when the Momma is only two years old. If they would have waited to breed the baby would not have died, but they did not want the expense of keeping the alpaca for one more year without having a baby to sell.
Another problem is when the Momma is too old to have a baby. In the US, an alpaca's average lifespan is only about 15 without extra care and 20 with excellent care. One of my alpacas was 15 and going to have a baby, and she was still nursing her last baby! She was fragile and had no energy. She was close to dying if we did not do something quick. Her baby that was nursing was old enough to be separated and weaned from her. We fed her a perfect diet and nursed her back to health as best we could before the baby was born. Then, had we not been watching her, out in the pasture, she would have died during the birth. The baby was stuck coming out and needed help being born. Because of greed, alpaca breeders try to get more babies to sell and kill the Mothers sometimes.
People kill alpacas because of several reasons. No one should keep an alpaca who cannot or will not provide the best care for their animals. Rescues are willing to take care of an animal if someone cannot. When I went to the Denver Dumb Friends League field trip, they said they do not refuse any animal, including alpacas. People should have alpacas removed if they are not being cared for properly. Some of my alpacas came from a place where they used to go to shows with them. The owner had the skinniest alpacas there, so their fleece is finer in the show rink. They no longer can bring starving alpacas to the show, and I think that is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, people get away with doing anything they want to them and even killing them when no one knows. Other people almost killed my alpaca for several reasons.