Here’s a little story about Mikayla. Mikayla and Tulip were both pregnant on shearing day, a month or two away from their due dates. Our vet recommended giving them a shot that prevents premature births, since shearing can be stressful. It sounded easy! Just a tiny little needle into the shoulder, life goes on, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
We started with Mikayla. Mom, Dad, and I lined up across the paddock facing the alpacas. Silence fell. They eyed us suspiciously. The showdown music played, *Duna nuna naaa….wa wa waaaaa*, and a tumbleweed blew across the gravel between us.
At some silent cue, we approached them, cornered Mikayla, and used handfuls of her luxuriously soft fleece to drag her into the barn, screaming. Alpacas scream, did you know that? They scream like children. It sounded like we were murdering a daycare’s worth of toddlers.
We managed to get Mikayla against the wall before she began to kush and spit. Alpacas have a trio of absolutely useless defenses. First, the screaming. Then the spitting of partially digested hay and stomach acid (which reeks, but would probably just make a predator angry). Finally, they sit. Yup, if it’s too much for them, they lay down on their bellies.
Dad, poor soul, had her front end. A wad of foul-smelling gut goobies splattered across his chest and another hit his throat. Mikayla continued to wail, stopping only to spit. Mom began to root around in her fleece, trying to get the needle into something other than hair. Then we let her go. She ran out into the paddock, dragging her leg as if we’d broken it before sprawling out on the ground.
As we watched, somewhat awestruck at the drama unfolding, Mikayla began to thrash around on her back, still screaming like a siren, clearly in the deepest pain ever known to an alpaca. I stood between her and the fence that separates the girls and boys, keeping her from rolling under it. Every convulsion brought her crashing into my shins before she collapsed panting on her other side. Brittany, sweetheart that she is, came running over to check on Mikayla and got a face full of green goo for her trouble.
“Well. I’ll go call the vet,” Mom said calmly. All medical (emotional?) emergencies are handled with aplomb by Mom. The vet, bless her, said “That’s Mikayla for you,” and coined the nick name that has stuck ever since, “She’s a drama queen! I can’t wait to see how she handles giving birth.” Giving the shot to Tulip was as simple as walking up to her and poking it in her shoulder. Not a peep from her!
Well, Mikayla surprised us by quietly giving birth to an enormous baby girl, Marseille. This is her second baby, Morocco was her first. Mikayla is also a surprisingly good mother.
Mikayla has soft fiber, even when she’s pregnant. Mom and Dad love the variation in color her fleece has, from white to black, with grey between. Handspun yarn made from her fiber is fluffy and light, and goes well with business attire.