Alpaca Meet and Greet with Nicky Noodle: The Alpaca Who Swallowed A Fe - Alpacas of Montana

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Alpaca Meet and Greet with Nicky Noodle: The Alpaca Who Swallowed A Feeding Tube

  • 3 min read

On this week’s Alpaca Meet and Greet, we’re getting to know our beloved Nicky Noodle. Nicky Noodle is now an 8 year old male who like LeRoy Brown had a very wild entry into the world. 

When alpacas are in the womb, they typically grow with their legs curled up against their bodies -- imagine them all tucked up in a little ball. Well, Nicky Noodle was born with windswept legs which means that when he was in the womb his legs didn’t grow all curled up against his body, but instead they were splayed down. This made for quite an awkward birth since there was so much leg going every which-a-way. When he was born, he couldn’t walk which isn’t a normal thing for baby alpacas. Because of how he was positioned in the womb, he needed to wait for things to line up and to get his muscles squared away. Since he couldn’t stand on his own four legs, he couldn’t nurse from his mom, so James and Sarah milked his mom so that they could get him some nutrition. 

white alpaca with windswept legs

example of a baby alpaca with windswept legs

Feeding baby alpacas is quite the process. It involves a foot and a half long tube, a syringe, a bottle and a stethoscope. After milking Nicky’s mom, James and Sarah had a bottle of milk to give the newborn baby. Unlike some other baby animals, alpacas can’t latch onto a normal bottle to nurse, so in order to feed them, the previously mentioned long tube must be delicately maneuvered down their throat, while ensuring it is in fact in their throat and not their lungs. This is where the stethoscope comes into place. Whoever is attempting this has to listen to the baby’s lungs to make sure there isn’t any gurgling that insinuates the tube when down the wrong pipe. 

Once the tube was safely down Nicky’s throat, James filled up the syringe with milk and got ready to push the milk through the tube in order to feed him. However, once the syringe was attached to the tube, disaster struck. Nicky turned his head, bit down on the tube and turned away from James. When this happened, the pressure from the syringe released, causing the syringe to shoot out of the tube and in turn plunged the tube down the throat of the newborn baby. In short, Nicky swallowed a foot and a half long tube as a two day old baby alpaca. James panicked, knowing that if this were a human the tube would need to be surgically removed. 

owner james laying in the grass with black baby alpaca

owner, James, laying with Nicky Noodle as a baby

James and Sarah promptly took Nicky to the vet and to their surprise and bafflement, the vet said that Nicky would either poop out the tube or he wouldn’t, and if he didn’t that the tube would just be natural flora in his belly. That was it. The vet took an X-Ray to see where the tube was, wondering if there was any way they could just pull it back out, but it was just far enough down that it was apparent it was in there for good. James and Sarah waited and waited for Nicky to poop out the tube. They spent hours and days wandering through all of the poops in the pasture looking for the tube. But somehow over the last 8 years, the tube has never surfaced. Because of this, the young alpaca got named Nicky Noodle since he swallowed the tube whole and now has a permanent noodle in his body. 

black alpaca in field

Nicky Noodle

Nicky Noodle is a castrated, pet quality male who gets along with anyone and everyone. Over 8 years, he has never been sick and has never had parasites, which is super rare for alpacas. He does nothing but goof around and play with all the other little boys. We love this boy and will remain on poop watch for the rest of his life.

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