Please also see our other blog at

It is more active than this one. Always check there for updates, too.

Northeast Llama Rescue was started by Wes and Darcy Laraway of Middleburgh, NY.

Several years ago they rescued their first llama out of a tiny horse pen. Since that day, Northeast Llama Rescue has helped dozens of Camelids from several different states.
The primary mission of Northeast Llama Rescue is to educate owners on how to properly care for their animals.

We also offer assistance with a traveling chute to shear, worm, and trim toenails on hard to handle animals. A 'TRUE REPUTABLE BREEDER" should help out the llama down the road that is not being cared for by owners that understand the needs of llamas.

If you know of a llama owner who is no longer able to care for their animals, there is help available. Members of Northeast Llama Rescue will adopt any unwanted animals. Rescue animals will be relocated to farms of members for training and necessary vet work.

If a llama is able to be rehabilitated, he will be available after a careful screening process. All rescues are placed in homes with a contract that says they shall be provided for and can not be sold. In the event a rescue animal becomes unwanted, the llama MUST be returned to Northeast Llama Rescue.

If you share our philosophy and love for the animals, you are more than welcome to join us! There are lots of llamas that need a person to love.

We also rescue farm animals, and are licensed wildlife rehabilitators.

This site is copyrighted by Wes Laraway.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Birds Everywhere

Mother nature has set her clock. Right now it is saying half past get out of your shell or you will never survive winter. We have been getting lots of fledgling birds in. Last night after school I had to run to the vets office to pick up a starling that was a toy for someones cat. Got the poor bird settled in, hydrated, stabilized, started feeding (ever 20 min's) ... didn't look good, went to bed warm, content and full of food ... died in the night.

I try not to focus too much on the animals that die. Learn from your mistakes, realize that you can not save everything and be humble. I learned this the hard way with a bunch of merganser ducklings last spring. I thought I could save any animal brought to me ... they are really tough ducks to keep alive. All Wildlife Rehabbers that have ever had a box of the adorable little time bombs brought to them knows exactly what I am writing about.

I have 2 robins coming in tonight after school. I found (caught would be a better description since the bird was probably completely fine on the ground, being fed by parents after flying out of the nest) a baby robin when I was around 8 yrs old. I kept it alive (illegally, I didn't know any NYS/Federal laws) ... and then my cat ate it upon release.

I like our cats, you probably like yours. Do you know that they are the biggest predator to wildlife there is? Feral cats kill more songbirds every year than anything else. Please supervise your cats time outdoors or keep them indoors. This time of year is when the baby birds are fledgling, leaving the nest and are very vulnerable on the ground. If your cat brings one home or is playing with one in the yard. Take the cat indoors, check over the bird for serious injuries, leave alone in a safe spot out of the sun and observe to see (once things calm down) if the parents continue feeding it.

I didn't have much time to help Chris on the Raptor Center last night. I received a phone call on a Turkey Vulture near Delhi, NY that was found in a hedge row in bad shape. Its wings do not appear broken but it looks like both legs are: possibly shot. Lots of maggots. By the time we got him transported, splinted and stabilized it was pushing midnight.

The vet will determine the fate of this bird. It is often more humane to put a raptor (hawk, owl falcon) to sleep than it is to keep it alive with a very serious disability. A lot of people target vultures because they are "ugly". I was watching 27 vultures the other evening soar around the Schoharie Valley. They were not even flapping their wings, they were just riding the wind thermals for hours ... very cool and FEDERALLY protected by law I might add.

I am sure that something else besides the robins will come in tonight, I will let you know tomorrow.

The little coon is doing better. She doesn't nurse like the other kits I have had for weeks. She rolls around, plays with my hand with her back feet and often nurses on her back. She is a noisy little character which still amazes me that she survived. She isn't out of the woods yet; if she survives she will find herself back in there one day.

I also want to remind everyone that feeds the Hummingbirds that they need to change their feed often. Every 3 days at the most on hot days the nectar solution needs to be changed. Old solution will make them sick. If you are lucky like us and get so many Hummingbirds that they empty your feeders every 1-2 days, it makes keeping it fresh easy.

If you wish to make your own hummingbird food, follow the instructions of the National Audubon Society and be sure to boil well to destroy bacteria, then cool the solution before feeding:

Fill the feeders with sugar water, made by combining four parts hot water to one part white sugar, boiled for one to two minutes. NEVER use honey, which promotes the growth of harmful bacteria, or artificial sweeteners. Also avoid red food coloring.

Till tomorrow,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Feel Drained

I feel drained should be my motto from this holiday weekend. Three days were spent working on the plumbing to the house. The drains carrying the gray water away from the kitchen sink, wash machine, dishwasher and the basement sub-pump collapsed. I spent all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday getting the old lines opened up and new lines installed. I think that I have finally found something that I hate worse than painting. The worse part of the whole weekend was that friends came up this weekend to help finish the construction on the indoor part of the Raptor Center. We could have easily finished the six remaining aviaries with the 3 days that we spent playing human backhoe in the backyard.

It was a very busy weekend of people coming to see llamas for possible adoption and wildlife coming in that needed my immediate attention also. PLEASE read the blog on emergencies. Click on the link to the NY Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Website. Go to their toolbar, click on find a Rehabber close to me..... I received a call on a duckling in Albany this weekend. If I personally went to pick up every animal that needed my help I wouldn't be home to care for everything else that came in. Remember we are volunteers, we do not get paid, you will have to drive to drop off your wildlife in need right now because most wildlife rehabbers are very busy right now.

We had a baby English Sparrow and a Robin come in this weekend. I know that it is tough to find and get ahold of a licensed wildlife rehabber this time of year but try not to hold on to your orphaned wildlife in need. Often hours make a huge difference in saving an animal. I also had an adult House Finch come in this weekend with the eye conjunctivitis thing going on. Very contagious to other birds, often passed at bird feeders. Seems like only the finch species of songbirds are getting it right now but I am sure it is in other species as well. Nasty and I hope that it doesn't spread more. I was amazed that no fawns have come in yet but I am sure that they will be coming in soon. PLEASE leave them where you find them. 90% of the time they dont need your help and are not orphaned. You can tell when a fawn is orphaned by the way it is acting or if you see the dead doe. Fawns by instinct hide in the grass and dont move.

By sat night, I was sick of large holes and plumbing and decided to get away from the facility, the phone calls, and take the kids fishing. We got to a friends farm to fish on his pond (to be sure the kids caught something). I had hardly cast their lines out and my friend showed up and said "Get in the truck quick....there is a baby fox out in the hay field". I grabbed my catch pole and gloves out of the truck. I was expecting a fox with distemper, mnost likely last years kit. Once we got down there, it was a small kit from this year.

The owner of the barn we were near said that he shot a fox recently right by his barn. I dont know why people illegally shoot animals this time a year. Most wild animals have offspring this time of year. When you shoot the parent, you are leaving behind the offspring to suffer a slow death by starvation. I saw the kit, walked slowly up to the kit and caught it with the catch pole. This little female fox was nothing but bones. I went back and collected my kids that were very upset that we only fished for 10 minutes to get the fox back to our facility. I joked with my wife that I cant even go fishing for an hour to escape being a wildlife rehabber without an animal in need finding me. Unfortunately, this little fox had crossed the line into starvation zone. I tried to get him back but he was too far gone and died in my hands sunday morning as I was feeding him. Since I was the only one exposed, he went into the outdoor wood furnace for cremation.

Later in the day 2 great wildlife rehabbers paid me a visit with a little gray fox that they had been working on. They knew that I had some unreleasable foxes and thought that it was time to get the little guy in a spot where he could see other foxes from the safety of his own enclosure. It is very important that wild orphans be raised with species of their own kind. It really helps them from imprinting on humans. As I was showing the ladies around our facility, they got a call that another rehabber had a baby gray fox. They took their fox back home with them so that they could get the other kit later that night to raise the two together. Very cool ladies, great rehabbers.... it isn't about what we want, it is about what is best for the animal. WE cant get attached because we fall in love with something we are caring for, sometimes we all have to make tough decisions for what is best for an animals....regardless how we feel.

Sunday was spent working on the Raptor Center with my friends.....what I really wanted to be doing all weekend versus plumbing. By 8pm, we had gotten almost all of the framing done...we called it a day and everyone went home. I told my wife that I was drained, couldn't eat dinner. I just wanted to take a shower and go to bed after I got the coons fed.

The wife/kids went for ice cream (they brought me back something) and I was going to be to bed early...or so I thought. The Northcountry Animal Hotline called and said that there was a guy with a baby raccoon that he found along side of a road. I called the guy and he agreed to bring me the coon. I got everything set up. He arrived a short time later and I got to work on the coon. She took the bottle well, I noticed that she had some ticks between her toes. The poor thing is nothing but skin and bones....much like the red fox was that died on me because I didn't get it soon enough. As the starving coon was nursing, I started removing ticks. Over 50 ticks later, I have most of them off. I removed almost 20 ticks from the inside of each of her ears. She was amazingly good. She just nursed on her bottle as I removed the blood sucking parasites that would kill her in this weakened state. I am optimistic for her.

The guy that dropped her off did not expose himself in anyway to any of the diseases she could have. He watched me work on her, went to leave around 1130 pm and his car wouldn't start.....nothing is ever easy. I got to bed at midnight, got up at 2 to feed the new coon, overslept but woke up in time to get am chores done and still get to school on time....I feel drained, but I love every second of what I am doing.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Like Christmas A.M.

Staying busy through orphan season is an understatement. I can't complain about any of it. I love boxes, every one I open that someone brings me has an animal in it that needs my help. It is better than Christmas morning,definitely more boxes for me to open. I am sure fawns will be coming in any day now. That will make the sleep deprivation that I'm having with the coons seem like nothing.

This morning I had a great surprise with one of the coons. As I was feeding them before school, I realized that one of them has an eye that is starting to open. When you have spent as much time as I have with them over the last couple of weeks, you get excited on small milestones like that. I cant wait to get them outside, be able to teach them how to find crawfish in their pool, open eggs, etc.... They have lots of things to learn to give them an edge after release into the wild.

I had a meeting at school with Carla Decker and almost 40 students from MCS. Carla is one of the directors of Workforce Solutions. Workforce Solutions runs a great program for students 14-24. They are going to get 170 kids from Schoharie County. working this summer. If you know of any local businesses that are looking to give a chance to a kid to develop some positive work experience it is a great program. I can't believe that more businesses don't participate. Our resident dog groomer Jennifer even takes a kid and teaches them what it takes to run a dog grooming shop here at our facility. I always take several HS students every summer for 8 weeks. Workforce pays them and I teach them how to be reliable and hard working. I have a lot of plans for the summer, a lot of projects that really need to get done.

The phone continues to ring off the hook, I want to remind everyone to keep calling. ALL wildlife rehabbers are running around this time of year and are tough to get ahold of. (See a previous blog on "Emergencies")

I received a call tonight, which I promptly returned, about 5 orphaned baby coons. Remember: animals showing aggression this time of year may just be protecting their young. The guy told me that the 'coons had been transferred to another rehabber but didn't know that persons name. Then he said they had been released, then they were dead.... I don't believe him.

It is very foolish to raise orphaned WILD animals as pets. They are not pets, can have diseases and will often die unless properly cared for.

I also had a baby Morning Dove and an adult male Pileated Woodpecker come in tonight that was hit by a car.

Find the best qualified person closest to you, don't be afraid to ask them if they have experience with the species of animals you have rescued. A quick way to do this is go to the NY Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's website. On the toolbar, there is a link to finding a LICENSED wildlife rehabber near you. Look and see what their specialties are before calling. Remember, many rehabbers have a specialty or may only have the facilities to handle certain animals.

We are volunteers (we do this for no pay and spend thousands of dollars to buy what we need) and we can NOT drive to everyone's house to pick up what you have found. You will most likely need to drive it to us or meet us somewhere and all wildlife rehabbers gladly except donations.

I have a group of Headstart students coming tomorrow morning so I tried to get lawns mowed and get everything ready after school.

The vet came today and gelded the llama that I picked up this past Friday. He can go out tomorrow with the sheep.

Thursday I am going to the Bronx Zoo with my oldest daughter and my wife's MCS 7th grade students. I am really looking forward to it, it is a great zoo and I love zoos. Zoos are vital to the education of our future generations of conservationists and preservation of our world's most valuable resource--our animals.

Time to sign off, it is 12:30 am and the alarm clock (or coons) will have me up by 5:30 ... if I am lucky.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Short Weekends

I am annoyed. Just wrote a blog update and lost it in cyber space when I went to put it up on the website. I hate the fact that I am so clueless with technology. The next trick will be seeing if I can remember what I wrote. :)

Weekends are too short. Wouldn't it be cool if weekends were 5 days and you only had to go to work 2 days a week? I would get a lot more done at NY Wildlife Rescue Center but I can't complain; I love my day job teaching.

This past Friday, as soon as I got home from school, Chris and I went on a rescue. We took my daughter Hannah and her friend Katie. Hannah loves going on rescues with me and could easily run the farm since she has been looking over my shoulder for the last 12 years. The first stop was to pick up a donkey, a llama (who is getting gelded tomorrow), 4 chickens and 4 rabbits. Once we got everything on the trailer (which is a story in itself) we got them all back to the facility to get settled in.

BOD Member and fellow wildlife rehabber Linda agreed to send her husband (and animal chauffer) Dan to pick up a crow for me in Schenectady. Linda and Dan are great, Dan has helped me out too many times to count by picking up and dropping off animals where they need to be when I am too busy to get mobile. The crow has a broken wing so we took it from Linda's directly to Kelly's and I helped her wrap it until she could get it to the vets. Linda also sent along a baby field mouse that had gotten dropped off to her. I passed that on to Kelly as well. All Creatures Great and Small ... I guess :)

[Continuation copied here as well, to make it easier for our readers to follow....]

I'm not even going to try to retrieve it anymore, maybe Gayle can piece these together but this will work for me. Saturday was a productive day. We got another (very expensive) lumber delivery Friday so we were ready to go.

Chris Bevins and Paul Gillespie (from the GE Wildlife Committee) were here bright and early to get to work on the inside part of the Raptor center. Chris has been worth his weight in gold to this project. None of it would be done if it wasn't for him. He has been coming up every night after work to help me and has gone above and beyond being a good friend. Paul has donated so many hours here helping us that I have lost track. GE is really lucky to have him as an employee.

The GE Wildlife Committee has been very supportive of our cause both financially and with their volunteer labor. We need monetary donations to keep going but the volunteers are vital for keeping the non stop construction going also.

Joe and Michelle came to help in the afternoon and between the five of us, we got the other six raptor aviaries framed out and just about ready for the slots. It was a fourteen hour day and we accomplished the work of ten people.

I originally thought that the Raptor Center would be lucky if it had hawks, owls or falcons in it by fall. I want to have a dedication ceremony and Open House in June to try to hopefully raise some donations to get the rehab exercise flight construction going.

Sunday was Shearing Day. We had 25 llamas and 40 sheep that needed to be sheared. Chris and Michelle were at the facility bright and early. Our shearer Ray Baitsholts [797-5201] and his wife Cheryl (another BOD Member) were not far behind. Lori Spiers and the Middleburgh Girl Scout Troop 2006 (Destiny, Sidney, Meghan) got sheep catching duty.

The sheep were pre-caught Saturday night before it rained and locked up for the night so they didn't get wet. It is tough to shear wet sheep.

As the girls got the sheep to Ray, once sheared they passed them off to me. Just when I thought that no one ever reads these blogs, Grant and Janet showed up. They said they read on my blog that I needed help on shearing day and they were here to volunteer. We had never met but we got to know one another as we wormed, trimmed feet, banded tails and gave every sheep a NYS eartag for future ID.

We worked right through lunch, finished the sheep, and then set up the chutes to run the llamas through for shearing. We had never done the llama herd this way but it worked as well as I thought it would and by dinner time every animal on the farm (that needed it) had gotten a haircut, worming, manicure, etc.

I really want to thank the Girl Scouts, my high school volunteers, my friends and everyone that stopped by who were put to work. Many hands do make light work and I appreciate everyone who volunteers at the facility to tackle these huge projects that I have taken on. The days of being a one man army are over.

As everyone was ready for a shower and a nap, we loaded 3 llamas into Steve and Karen's trailer for their departure to their new home. I love watching animals leave to go to their new homes. I wish that I could keep them all but that isnt practical or my destiny.

WANTED- Homes with caring and compassionate people that want to adopt llamas, sheep, goats for a long term commitment. You must agree to provide for all of their needs and if it ever doesn't work out, they must be returned to our facility. We have put a lot of time and money into getting these sheep and llamas ready for adoption and they are ready to start going to their new homes as approved. Spread the word.... I would love to see many of these llamas stay together and go to homes with other llamas and/or sheep. Email me, we can schedule an appointment for a visit for "Llamas 101". Grant and Janet, I already have three weanlings picked out for you. I will teach you how to finish their halter training ... I can't wait to put some llamas in your life.

It is getting late and I am hoping that this goes to the blog this time. Till next time, feel free to volunteer, send a check for what you can afford or stop by and have a cup of coffee and enjoy the view.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Tenant

Well as of 10 pm last night, it is official. A new (hopefully temporary) tenant has moved in to aviary number one of the NY Wildlife Rescue Center. My good friends and volunteers Chris and Michele helped me move in a ton of stone dust to level off the floor. Then we put in chain link to prevent anything from being able to dig in and added another foot of stone dust on top of that. It was a backbreaking project. The perching was designed with "U" shaped brackets on the walls where custom cut trees can be inserted without any metal hardware. Replacement will be very easy and quick. I still need to wrap some of the trees with rope and tweak things a bit but our first tenant, the Redtailed Hawk that I picked up on sat night is settling in nicely.

This Redtailed Hawk was picked up in a yard in Troy, NY. Latham Emergency Vet Clinic x-rayed him and he didnt have any visible breaks. He is thin and in poor condition, he is eating everything that I give him--I will keep you updated on his progress.

"Not quite finished" enclosure

This Saturday I am hoping to get the other 6 enclosures framed in. We will be starting around 8 am. I have several guys that have already volunteered to help out for a day and get the other aviaries up. We can always use more help and even if you are not a carpenter (I'm not) we will have something that you can do to finish the first half of the Raptor Facilities. The second half will not be started unless the donations keep coming in. Even with volunteer labor, the materials for the 175 foot long flight addition will cost around $10,ooo . Not a lot of money, but enough that I don't have it without your help. A $5,000 donation will get the largest raptor conditioning/exercise flight named in your honor.

This Sunday I have a local girl scout troop coming to volunteer at shearing day. They will be catching the sheep for shearing. I will need bigger bodies to wrangle the llamas (many of whom are not halter broke yet) into the chute for shearing. Many hands make light work. I usually dread shearing day. With over 40 sheep and over 30 llamas to shear in one day, our shearer Ray Baitsholts will have his work cut out for him. We start at 8 am. If you want to volunteer to get dirty ... see you then.

I am very pleased with the progress and support of NY Wildlife Rescue Center. The word is getting out that we are making a difference. The donations are slowly trickling in--but are coming. People are volunteering to keep expanding the facilities to accommodate the ever increasing numbers of animals. There is so much that I want to do and the "good weather" is so short for construction. My wife asked me last night "Why are you killing yourself to get things done so fast?" I told her ..."It isn't a choice, it is a necessity".

With your continued support, we will continue to expand to help the hundreds of animals that we save every year.

All my best, Wes

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Update

Been busy since the last time that I blogged. Chris and I have been working nights after school on the Raptor (Hawk, Owl and Falcon) Enclosures. We have made a lot of progress. I am kind of sleep deprived. My baby 'coons are not sleeping through the night yet but I am getting good at giving them their bottles in my sleep.

Friday I took a personal day from school to go to the circus with my daughter Emma's class from school. I got to walk all of the boys in her class to the bathroom before we left for the Pepsi Arena. As a high school teacher, I am not used to the walking in line trick. As they all got out of the bathroom they got in line and I thought it would be cool to teach them how to walk like Elephants back to the classroom ... what an entrance.

The kids were great the entire day, I was impressed. I haven't been to the circus since I was a kid. I know that a lot of circus shows have a bad rap right now but I was really impressed at the Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey Circus production. The horses, dogs and goats looked great. The Elephants looked great and the tigers were what I was waiting for. The actually set up the tiger act during the intermission. I was 50 foot away and watched it all. Very professional, very well done and the tigers were fat and into the routine. I am not giving my endorsement to animal acts, but I didn't see anything that I didn't like and I was looking.

On Saturday, my day started with my 4:30 am wake-up call from the 'coons. Gayle and I got to do something that all wildlife rehabbers love; we went on a release to one of my favorite release sites. We took John and Donna with us, they are the folks that brought us the raccoon that we rehabbed overwinter. I also released the red fox that was brought to me in a trunk of a car one night after the ladies picked him out of the road. Gayle took some great photos of the release which she will add to my blog so you can see what it looked like. Gayle is invaluable to NY Wildlife Rescue Center and getting our message out to you on the web. (Thanks Gayle)



Or you can view the entire photo album here

When we got back to the facility it was a zoo as usual. I had Justin and Shep show up to volunteer to work on the Raptor Center ceiling. Gayle and I got some photos of the Mammal area, the construction of the Raptor enclosures and of course--the animals.


We worked all day on the ceiling (100 foot) and finished it by 11pm. Got a couple of the walls framed out as well. I was thinking that things were going too well and the phone rang. Latham Emergency Vet Clinic had a Redtailed hawk and 7 baby cottontail rabbits that someone had brought in that they wanted me to come and get. While John and Justin worked on framing, I drove the 2 hours to get the animals from Latham. They had everything packaged up and waiting for me, they had done an xray on the hawk for me which showed nothing broken. They donated their services and that is something that every wildlife rehabber appreciates. When we volunteer our time, spend thousands of hours doing what we do, spend huge amounts of our own money, everything--donated helps keep us going.

Got back from the Vet Clinic, finished up with construction clean up and called it a night at 1:30. Didn't hear the alarm in the office go off at 4:30 am but the raccoons did. Glad they got me up because my wife Darcy didn't hear the alarm in the house either. I woke my son Jacob up because Darcy had to run him to the airport at 5am; the lucky kid gets to go to Florida with his Uncle Scott and his Grandparents to see the last launching of the space shuttle tomorrow to fix the Hubble telescope. Little bum is probably swimming right now as I write this.

I called off construction on the Raptor Center today to do the Mothers Day thing. Chris and Michele finished framing out the back walls that we didn't get done last night today. I took Darcy and the girls to the Diner for breakfast once I got a.m. chores done. Then we went on the annual pilgrimage to Guernseys Nursery to buy trees.

I also bought two grape plants to grow up the bobcat and fox enclosures. Once it gets growing I think that it will give great shade and will look cool on the caging. Then we went to Barbers to get some perennials "to feed the damn chickens" as my wife says.

I didn't feel like mowing the lawn with the hour (that I found to myself ) after getting everything planted so my daughter Hannah and I dug out the wisteria that was taking over our house deck and I transplanted that out near the bear enclosure (hope it survives the transplant). Then we planted 25 small spruce tree seedlings around the bear enclosure and the mammal area for a windbreak and more privacy for the animals. It will look great in a couple of years; I've basically planted a forest around the enclosures.

I managed to get my work-boots off and thought that it was amazing that everyone was going to make it to the dinner table at the same time and the phone rang. One of my students from school called. A deer had gotten hit near his house last night. They knew that it was alive and in the ditch--he wondered what I could do. We got the deer moved back to our facility, it is banged up pretty good and is in shock but stands a chance now since it is here.

Gotta go feed some critters and attempt to get to bed by midnight.

Hey Mom, Happy Mothers Day! Sorry I didn't see you; hope you liked your tree.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Excuses

I know that many of you check often and enjoy my blogs. I am going to try to write shorter posts, and do so more often. I have a lot of excuses why I haven't blogged in over a month.

All of my "free time" has been devoted to the construction of the Raptor Facilities. On April 4th, The GE Wildlife Committee helped me get 2 of the 8 indoor enclosures framed out. I am proud to say that a couple of friends helped me "finish" those two enclosures this past weekend. I am estimating that it takes around 30-40 hours to build one enclosure the way that I am doing it. I will get some photos up on the website soon so that you can all see how great that they came out.

As the donations keep coming in, we will keep building. It seems like we are in a never ending state of construction . Combine that with my kids schedules, karate, softball and riding lessons.... I stay out of trouble. I really want to finish these 8 enclosures ASAP so that we will have a species specific cage for virtually any Raptor (Hawk, Owl or Falcon) that may come in.

As soon as the 8 enclosures are done, we are going to have a huge Open House and every donor will be invited to come and see what their (Wildlife) contribution has made. It is beautiful, one of the nicest facilities I've seen.

The second phase of the Raptor Facilities will be a 175 foot addition off of the back of our existing structure. The 8 individual (inside) species aviaries will have doors, so that the birds can be rotated in and out of the huge flight aviary. This facility is desperately needed in our area to prepare raptors for release back into the wild. They must build flying strength to successfully hunt once released or saving them will be a vain effort. Please send your checks to keep construction going and PLEASE stop by and actually see what we are doing. I love giving the 3 minute tour. If I am not at an fundraising event, I am home working at our facility. If you stay longer than 30 minutes I will put you to work.... :)

Michele, Kelly, Gayle and I did two events on April 25th. Michele, Gayle and I took a Red Tailed hawk, Great Horned Owl and a Kestrel to the Maple Festival at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds. Kelly took some of her raptors to the Wildlife Festival at the COBY College Ski Lodge. We all love to educate the public and it is a great chance to get off of our facility and educate the public about what we do. It also helps us with fundraising to keep things going.

We hope you enjoy some photos from the Maple Festival:

NYWRC at Cobleskill Maple Festival

(Click the slideshow once it's running to open it in a new window if the photos don't load properly for you.)

Speaking of donor checks, an update: The llamas (several more have come in) and the sheep and cows are all doing great. I found a home for all 5 of the Great Pyrenees dogs that I took in as well.

Photo by Paul Taylor

On May 17th, a local Girl Scout Troop is coming for Shearing Day. Ray Baitsholts (our shearer) is planning on starting around 8 am to get the 40 plus sheep and 30 plus llamas sheared up. As we shear the sheep they will also get feet trimmed, get wormed again, get their tails (and testicles) banded and get a State of NY eartag for permanent ID. I need Dectomex Injectable Wormer for cattle (if anyone is looking to donate an item). Many hands make light work; if you want to volunteer, May 17th would be a great day to do so.

Speaking of sheep, I received a phone call on another 120 sheep that need to be rescued and need long term homes. There are people that talk about it and people that make things happen.... I try to be the latter but am getting spread thin. If you know of anyone that would provide a great (nonbreeding, no kill) home for these sheep please contact me privately because I can not afford to bring in another 120 sheep without some support. If someone pledges to pay their hay, I'll take them in and find them homes and deal with their problems but I can not open the doors to 120 without some assistance. Please ask your friends that have sheep and call your friends that sell hay to ask if they want to empty out their haylofts for the upcoming haying season. We take donations of hay gladly. Sandy Gordon has been great about bringing us hay when he can. Round Bales (that are not rotten) are gladly taken in also. I want to help these sheep but I need your help.

It is official. "Orphan Season" (as we refer to it as wildlife rehabbers) has started. All of the 20+ rehabbers that work with NY Wildlife Rescue Center have started answering the calls for baby cottontail rabbits and squirrels. I received my first raccoon orphan call last night. The mother had died in a barn, the foxes and farm cats had eaten part of the litter but 3 very tiny "coons", about the size of newborn kittens, came in. I estimate them to be about 1 week old. Their ears and eyes are still shut. I was up most of the night with "Whine, Moan and Scream" (now you know why I don't name my wildlife charges). I am working hard to keep these little guys alive. I bet we get a ton of (rabies vector) calls this year. Most rehabbers don't want raccoons and their licenses do not allow them to take them in. 'Coons are tough, sometimes have rabies and carry a roundworm parasite that can kill or blind you. That is why I built our rabies vector area last year (which we are planting shrubbery in to finish now); an area completely off limits to people for the wildlife we rehab that carry diseases fatal to humans.

My wife (the squirrel girl) has taken in over 10 squirrels. She loves them and we both leave school during our lunch period to run home and feed the orphans rather than eat our own meals.

In the first 4 months of 2009 we've been busy. We've taken in over 150 animals! That is more than many shelters do in a year, and many shelters get some govt funding: we don't. It is going to be a busy year for domestic livestock, exotics and our wildlife. I was hoping to do some bear cubs this year but it looks like it will be next year before that might happen. There is only one other facility in NY that does bear and Jean does a great job at it.

The whitetail fawns will start arriving soon and all of the baby birds will start coming any day. I guess I don't need any excuses for not blogging. I will start blogging more often about what is coming in and going on at NY Wildlife Rescue Center but the blogs will have to be shorter.

You can do your part by keeping the checks coming. I know that times are tight but we can not continue to expand and take in the animals that we do without your continued support. Do you do a random acts of kindness daily? We do. Till next time (soon) Have a great day.


Northeast Llama Rescue by Wes Laraway

The Northeast Llama Rescue was started by Wes and Darcy Laraway several years ago after they rescued their first llama out of a tiny horse pen. Since that day, the Northeast Llama Rescue has helped dozens of animals in 5 states. The primary mission of Northeast Llama Rescue is to educate owners on how to care for their animals properly. We also offer assistance with a traveling chute to shear, worm and trim toenails on hard to handle animals. If owners get "tired" of the daily maintenance of their herds, members of the Northeast Llama Rescue will adopt or buy, if possible, any unwanted animals. Rescue animals go to the farms or members of the organization.

The Northeast Llama Rescue does not wish to compete with other rescue organizations, although any llama or alpaca is welcome. We need to cooperate to help ALL camelids, not just registered or "nice-looking" ones. Everyone has the right to breed and sell llamas, but a true reputable breeder will "help out" the llama down the road that is not being cared for, regardless of its age, sex or conformation.

Our last rescue came from Central New York. A farm had purchased 9 animals from a Midwest auction. Four of the animals had died from natural causes....starvation? The owner had health problems and no longer wanted the animals. After several other concerned people failed to negotiate their sale, I eventually called and within five minutes we had agreed on a price and the deal was done. The next night, Wes Laraway, Kim Scheurerman and P.J. Wagner went to pick up the animals. The owner informed us that the llamas were wild and could not be handled. Within five minutes all were calmly caught, on lead ropes and in the trailer, with us using a wand and some TEAM Training techniques. The owner thought I was the "llama whisperer" because I got those llamas to do things in five minutes that she couldn't do in a year. She unfortunately knew nothing about handling llamas.

Three hours later, we were back into quarantine at Red Maple Farm starting "damage control". The animals were immediately wormed, fed fresh hay and grain, and watered. All were body scored under three by sight and by feeling through their wool. This hands-on inspection revealed barbed wire that needed to be cut out of the fiber. We decided NOT to shear because it was too late in the year and they were too thin.

Another concern was an ingrown halter. One of the best ways to remove ingrown halters is to undo the buckle(s) and cut the nose band with sharp toenail clippers on each side of the nose. Then gradually, over time, the remaining pieces will fall out. With application of an antibiotic cream, any wounds from the ingrown halter will heal quickly. In this particular case, the halter came out of the nose and was added to the "wall of shame" in our barn (along with the barbed wire and ear tags still on them from the auction they were purchased from). The blood stream stopped within fifteen minutes and now, after a month, we can tell that scarring will be minimal. Please tell everyone you know that owns camelids, NEVER leave a halter on a llama! Even in a week, with wet conditions, a halter can embed itself in a llama's nose.

My biggest concern was the 10 month old female that was exposed to her father. If bred, we decided to abort the unborn cria for the safety and well-being of the young female. None of these five animals were over the age of three years. All of them, over the following months, would need intense care and proper nutrition. The animals were all updated on health requirements and gelded. All of these animals would need training before they could go up for adoption.

New problems continuously arose. Two weeks after they arrived, one of the females surprised us with a weak, constipated fourteen pound male cria. Within hours I knew it wasn't "normal" so mom and baby were moved to a quarantine pen in the barn. The decision was made to supplement the cria with goat colostrum and give him an enema. Although the cria was walking, he continued to strain to relieve himself. Around the clock surveillance did not reveal any nursing or defecation. At two days old, I found very small maggots between the cria's toes and by his umbilical cord. After consulting my vet again, the cria got a bath and dried out in the heated office before going back to mom in the barn. My vet explained that crias born on rainy days must be completely dry or flies will lay eggs in moist areas of umbilical fluid. I've never heard of this problem before but I know now to check my newborn crias for maggots every day. After five days of constant care, we lost "Trooper"....I guess it was not meant to be, but we tried.

The rest of the animals are doing well today. Concerned individuals found them, bought them and will protect them. Today is actually a special day, because the vet did fecals on them and all five of them are parasite free and can join our llama herd. After training and further rehabilitation, by Spring 2001 this group of animals will be available for adoption to carefully approved homes. All animals sold or placed by Northeast Llama Rescue will be adopted with a legal contract. The contract states that if the llama ever becomes unwanted or is not cared for properly, the animal will return to Red Maple Farm for a full refund. I used to think I could save every unwanted llama in the world...I know that I can't . It is too great an undertaking for one farm to rescue all the unwanted camelids out there. For this reason, several other farms have joined in the effort with Red Maple Farm to pool resources and save neglected and unwanted camelids.

Any farm that shares our philosophy that every llama deserves a life with proper care is welcome to join us. We are people who genuinely love all llamas and want to make a difference one llama at a time. Eventually we will print an educational brochure to hand out at events with member farms listed. Don't just tell people that you love your llamas; show people by making a difference and actually save one. Always quarantine new animals for at least one month while getting wormings, vaccines and nutritional needs in order. Always do a fecal exam and consult your vet about when new animals should go out with the herd. Geld all males and most of all BE PATIENT. Llamas are very forgiving animals and will learn to love and trust again with gentle care and training.