Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Very, Very Close Call

When I dropped Nathan off with his mom and came home this afternoon, I found Tony in terrible distress.  He is shaved more than the other two llamas, who were hot, but not unduly so.  It was about 104 Degrees out at the time, and very humid.  Inca, as you know, lays down in the swimming pool and gets herself very wet. 

I found Tony drooling and foaming at the mouth, and called Keith over.  Five minutes after Keith went back to the henhouse work, Tony went down.

Here he is just before he went down:

That is Inca's swimming pool he is standing over, filling with very cold well water, about 4 PM.  He was NOT drinking... he was panting so hard, drooling and foaming, that he could not drink.  He staggered around me for about 5 minutes, as if begging me to do something, and then kushed against the rubbermaid trough to my right rear (where the ground is very cool and damp) and then literally fell over, his head flinging back.  I ran to get Keith to come, I thought he was dying right then. 
Right here, I need to tell you that the llamas do NOT like to be sprayed, and I had tried to spray him a few minutes earlier and it only increased his agitation.  Keith came to see what was happening, and told me to go in the house.  (I was going down in the heat, too).  I went in, thinking we were losing Tony then and there.

Five minutes later, I looked out.  I could see Keith doing something.  I saw Inca and Aztec walk away from him, then I saw Tony standing, and then saw Tony walk around in a circle, still staggering, but coming towards Keith.  I finally realized Keith was spraying him! 

What he did saved Tony's life.  I am convinced.

He took the hose and made the spray only medium hard, and sprayed Tony's neck and chest.  Tony was able to get up, and instead of bolting away, he actually stood and let Keith run the light spray on him, almost mist, but getting him very, very wet.  He turned his haunches towards Keith, and Keith got him chilled.  After about ten minutes, Keith put the hose down and came in to have me look outside.  Tony was up, and the staggering was gone, and he was actually drinking some cool water! 

Here he is about 5 minutes later.

He is wet and was feeling better, and had his eyes closed because I was spraying him with a fine mist of water.  You see his knees are very dirty where he went down, and you can't see the dirt across his neck on the other side.
I can't tell you how grateful I was that he was up.

Here you can just see the dirt on his neck... he was feeling MUCH better and was eating some llama feed from the fortex.  Later he went over and had some hay from the hay buffet. 
Like humans, now that he has had such a bad episode, we will need to watch him closely.  I soaked the ground around the trough and the pool, so that they can lean against them to cool themselves.  Even in the heat of the last two summers, Tony was never affected so badly.  The llamas dissipate heat through their "underarms" and their upper legs and under their flanks.  (The reason Inca lays in the pool).... but Tony has never learned to lay in it.  He crashed into it today and I thought was literally falling into it as he staggered. 
We are going to call Tractor Supply tomorrow and see about getting a big fan to blow down into the pasture in that corner, to try to keep them cooler in this heat.  The herd from which Inca came is kept cool in summer with very large barn fans, positioned to blow on those llamas in the shade.
So far, I have not lost any chickens to the heat, though they are suffering greatly.  For tonight, the big henhouse popholes are open, because it is so hot in there.  In past summers, I have left them open for weeks, but when I did so one night in May, I lost a fine black cochin.  We will have to risk it tonight, as it is just too hot still at 11 PM to shut them.  The smaller birds seem to be getting along okay, and today I let the little juveniles out of their pen for the first time.  Pictures of that, tomorrow. 
As Keith had to remind me, I am not any good to anyone or anything if I go down from the heat, and he's right.


  1. I'm so glad he's okay. I have tarps up in some of the dog pens to give them shade.

    I khow they have those water cooled fans. I'm sure they are not cheap. But, it sounds like your climate is hotter and you might need something like that.

    Do you have a lot of shade trees for them?

  2. Glad all is well.
    I am ready for the 70's again! How
    much longer till Fall?????

    Take Care and stay cool.


  3. Oh my gosh! It is hotter than hot there!


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