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LadySong Farm

Live in the Rainbow: Whites to Dye For

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Tribute to Portia

Today I lost a friend, a partner in my herd development program and the matriarch of my suri herd. TF Portia was an awesome partner. She produced exquisite progeny who also produced exquisite progeny. She ruled the herd, maintaining order and decorum among adult herd-mates and her own offspring and grand-offspring. She brooked no nonsense, but moved regally and elegantly among the herd for the 17 years I owned her. Her fiber quality was consistently excellent right into her 20s, not reaching even Grade 4 until she was 20.

For the past several years, I have feared the onset of winter, with its special challenges for our elderly (and of course very young) alpacas. Yet each year, until today, she managed to come through unscathed.

Several weeks ago, her routine fecal revealed a high level of coccidia, which we treated and conquered. However, her follow-up fecal instead reflected a high level of haemonchus and nematodes, which explained her failure to regain weight loss caused by the coccidia, so we began treatment for those deadly invaders. Sadly, we were unable to get them under control in time to save her life. Weeks of dealing with one set of parasites after the other had weakened her to the point where even aggressive worming was not effective, and this morning she lost her war with these lethal invaders. Portia crossed the rainbow bridge from her incarnate self, surrounded by daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters, in a warm, protected barn where she had settled into her favorite corner beside an overflowing hay bin, and having dined royally last night on fresh hay, pellets, and Chaffhaye, with her own small bucket of water.

I'm sure Portia is now greeting and governing all her predecessors from our farm, and that she is enjoying a parasite-free pasture of fresh, green grass and rippling streams of Paradise-flavored water. Pronk free and enjoy your New Life, Portia! Until we meet again in the Rainbow-sheltered pasture, my friend, I will miss you.