Thursday, August 14, 2014

An Interesting Day

Yesterday I went to Aragon Alpacas to 'help' with Atom's gelding.

Atom is six and hadn't been gelded. His fiber is quite nice but it isn't 'breeding' quality. When I moved him to the new farm, he had to deal with an 'alpha' male who has been picking on him a bit. This is somewhat normal alpaca behavior--but Ann, Atom's stepmom (she owns the farm), also noted that he still had his 'fighting teeth.'

Here is what they are (from the Alpaca Farm Girl site): "Male alpacas get what are called “fighting teeth” at the back of their mouths on the sides. In the wild this is one of the only weapons alpaca males would have to fight each other for doiminance and the right to breed the females. It is customary to cut male alpaca’s fighting teeth, which are very sharp and pointy like a shark’s tooth, as they come in. These teeth come in as the males reaches sexual maturity.  If the alpaca has fighting teeth that need to be trimmed, we use obstetric wire and saw them off. The process takes a minute or two, and then your alpaca is “safe” and ready to go. Often this only has to be done once in a male’s lifetime. What happens if you don’t cut the fighting teeth? They can puncture a herdmate while fighting or “play” fighting. Adult alpaca males are generally housed together and spend some of their time neck wrestling and chasing each other around. This is something they do playfully, as well as seriously to establish dominance. Alpacas have distinct personalities and they have a pecking order and social roles."

So Ann let me know that Atom's fighting teeth needed cutting, and she also mentioned that it might be good to geld him as well. This will help calm him down, keep him from getting frisky among the girls,   his fiber will be nicer,  and his fighting teeth will stop growing.

So yesterday I went out to 'help', as Dr. Pat, a camelid vet, came out to do the deeds. He gave Atom a tranquilizer that gave him a half hour nap, and then he made an incision, took out what needed taking out, crushed what needed crushing, and sewed him up. Let's leave it at that. The whole process took about 10 minutes with almost no blood. I basically watched and worried about fainting. Then came the teeth. This was much harder for me! I held Atom's lips back while Dr. Pat used a coarse wire to grind the teeth off. It was something.

A minute or two after we finished, Atom woke up on his own, and about ten minutes later he stood up. Kind of amazing.

I also spent some time working on the Arkadian Ulla socks--they are really fun to do! The shadow wrap technique is pretty simple and looks good, and now I'm working on the leg of the first sock.

Tim comes home around dinner time! Yay!

1 comment:

kathy b said...

WEll that's my thursdays at the shelter OR !! spays and neuters and all that jazz