Kim Quesenberry is a beloved member of the Alpacas of Montana family. She owns Dancing Elk Alpacas in Livingston Montana and has been a valued colleague to James and Sarah for many years. Kim started Dancing Elk Alpacas in 2008 when empty nest syndrome hit her and her husband hard. Her passion and love for alpacas is undeniable and she has a true heart of gold.
In 2014, a baby alpaca named Rosie was born on Kim’s farm. Unfortunately, Rosie was orphaned at birth as her mom passed away from a prolapsed uterus. Without an alpaca mom, Kim became Rosie’s mom and Rosie had an upbringing unlike any other baby alpaca. Rosie livedinside of Kim’s home for 3 weeks. She lived in a utility bathroom blocked off by a baby gate in the front door. She had a carpet and a stuffed animal that she loved dearly. Although Rosie was living inside the house, Kim tried to teach Rosie how to be an alpaca every day. She would take her along when she went out to the barn for chores, trying to ensure that she wasn’t scared of the barn or being outside. Since Rosie was without a mom, she had to feed off of goat’s milk. Kim and her family took turns being mom and feeding Rosie every four hours. Rosie slowly started to acclimate to being outside and with the alpacas and as she progressed and got stronger and stronger she was able to be weaned from the house. Kim had baby monitors set up out in the barn so that Rosie could hear Kim reply back to her if she started to sound distressed and this always calmed her right down. Although Rosie transitioned from living inside the house to being in the barn with the other alpacas, she continued to feed via milk bottles until she was about 9 months old. Most people say protocol for milk only is for four months, but Rosie has some health issues when she was born, of which required some transfusions, so to give her the best chance at a healthy life, Kim decided to keep her on warm milk through the winter months. Kim estimated that over 800 bottles went into feeding baby Rosie until she was able to eat on her own.
Rosie is now a beautiful rose gray 7 year old alpaca with quite the personality. One day in the dead of Montana winter with deep snow on the ground, Kim walked out to the barn to bring Rosie a bottle and the baby alpaca reached up, grabbed her jacket zipper and pulled it all the way down. To this day she thinks that Kim is mom and looks for every opportunity to be standing at the front door. Kim chuckled and told us, “it was apparent that I was a helicopter mom”. Rosie would rather hang out in the yard or the house, but learned to be equally comfortable hanging out with the alpacas. Eventually she had to learn how to be an alpaca.
Rosie’s story is so unique and sweet that her mom, Kim, wrote a book about it! You can support Kim and Rosie by purchasing the book here.