December 9, 2013
December 2, 2013
It’s that time again for gift shopping for your loved ones and friends, so for the holiday season (and your convenience), Windrush Alpacas Farm Store will be open every Saturday through the end of December from 10:00-3:00. We have ready-to-wear, super warm garments and accessories as well as toys, bedding, crafting supplies and more. We stock a wide variety of gifts to accommodate men, women, children, and pets. You’ll find something for everyone!
Our two most popular gift items are the Extreme socks and our Adopt-a-Paca Program: one will keep your tootsies warm and the other will warm your heart. Come by to find out more or shop online if you wish!
On Saturday, December 14th from 10:00-3:00 we’ll also be open for our monthly Open Farm Day Event during which we offer tours of our working alpaca farm, give educational demonstrations and let visitors interact with our friendly alpacas. If it happens to be chilly or windy, we’ll bring one of our star alpacas into the Farm Store to visit folks so there’s no excuse for missing the fun!
As usual, we offer free admission, free parking and free (hot) refreshments. Come join us 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM… see you soon!
For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com. Also, you can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas and shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ and sign up for our newsletter!
November 15, 2013
A sad part of raising alpacas and llamas is that at some time in their life we have to let them go. As some of our herd ages this is a situation we will no doubt be encountering more often. It’s tough, but unavoidable.
This morning our guard llama Griffin passed away. At 13 years old Griffin was middle aged in llama terms, some llamas live well into their twenties but in Griffin’s case that was not to be.
We acquired Griffin through Southwest Llama Rescue along with our other two llamas Maya and Inca. Griffin’s registered name was Twilight’s Griffin Girl, her fleece was a beautiful rose grey. Griffin was always more aloof than Maya and Inca, she was a strong and proud girl and took her job of guarding the herd seriously unless someone started putting out hay and then she was quite easily distracted! Griffin loved to find a higher piece of ground to stand on so she could survey her “kingdom”. She also loved a really good roll in the dirt, and a nice “shower” with the hose during the hot days of summer. When we used to hose her legs Griffin would start a dance, spinning and twisting as she enjoyed the cool water on her skin. You had to make sure to stay out of her way unless you wanted to be showered from mud flinging up from under Griffins feet!
From her records we knew that Griffin had once had a cria, but sadly he did not live long. When crias were born on our farm Griffin would often nuzzle them and follow them around, and it was on more than one occasion that Griffin joined in the evening cria pronk. It was so funny to see the little alpaca crias pronking around accompanied by a pretty hefty llama!
We had known something was not right with Griffin since July. While I was away visiting family in England Ric called me to tell me Griffin was not eating. I was due to return a couple of days later and by that time Ric had managed to get Griffin eating again but something was not right with our girl. We consulted our vet and he felt that Griffin might have congestive heart failure and warned us that it would only be a matter of time before we had to say goodbye to her.
Amazingly Griffin perked up and seemed to be doing better, she was back to eating again and eagerly staking her claim on the morning and evening hay as she loved to do. The alpacas all knew not to mess with Griffin at feeding time. We were optimistic. Perhaps the vet’s diagnosis was wrong. Griffin seemed good and we were happy to see her looking like her usual self. But then we noticed that once again Griffin was not right. She seemed to be losing muscle in her rear end, she stood awkwardly and getting up and down seemed more difficult for her than normal. We again consulted our vet. When he examined her he said that her heart sounded good and that the symptoms she had displayed earlier in the summer were all gone, but he was a little baffled as to what was causing Griffin’s discomfort and muscle wasting. Tests were done to see if perhaps there was a neurological problem or perhaps an issue with Griffin’s spine, blood tests were run to see if there was anything abnormal, but nothing showed up in any of the tests to give us a clue.
We tried various treatments from probiotics to antibiotics, we treated for parasites and ear ticks, we put Griffin on some arthritis medicine in case that was the problem. I used my photonic red light on her and gave her gentle massages. Griffin would respond for a while and start eating again and then stop eating and start to lose muscle again. Neither our vet nor we could come up with any clues to help us figure out what on earth was plaguing Griffin.
Last week Griffin again went off her feed. We managed to get her eating again, but within a couple of days she would not eat anything we offered to her. Ric and I were both very concerned about Griffin and what we should do for her.
Last night when I did chores I walked Griffin over to the pen where she liked to eat. As I walked behind her I noticed she was tripping over even the smallest of rocks in the pasture, she just didn’t look good. I offered her food and stroked her neck. I talked to her and told her that if she felt it was time to leave us then I understood. I told her how much we loved her and what a great job she had done for us guarding the herd. I told her we would miss her but that we would be okay.
This morning when I got up I looked for Griffin and found her standing by the fence in front of the house. The nights have been cold recently and Griffin had been spending them in the big blue shelter at the other side of the pasture, staying in there until the hay was put out. But this morning she had already made her way across the pasture. I watched Griffin walk around a little and then cush down.
When our helper Leigh Ann arrived I asked her to keep an eye on Griffin and told her that I was very worried about her. Not too long after Leigh Ann went out to feed the alpacas she came back in and told me that I needed to come to Griffin. Leigh Ann had seen Griffin’s legs suddenly thrash and Griffin had gone onto her side.
Leigh Ann and I went out and I when I looked at Griffin I knew her time to leave us had come. Griffin was still conscious. I put a blanket and a towel under her head and sat with her, stroking her and talking to her until she took her last breath. Leigh Ann stayed with Griffin and me too, giving us both comfort during a difficult time.
Our Griffin will be buried in one of the grass pastures that the alpacas and llamas like to visit when we let them out for a day of grazing. From that point you can see all three alpaca pastures and the hay barn so Griffin can continue to guard over us night and day. I would like to think that she now has been reunited with her cria and is pronking around with him free of pain and full of joy.
To our faithful guardian Griffin, farewell dear one, you served us well and gave us many years of joy. We will miss you. May you now rest in peace.
November 7, 2013
November 4, 2013
Pile everyone in the car and come on out to Windrush Alpacas on Saturday, November 9th (10:00-3:00) and check out everything we have to offer! Start with our Adopt-A-Paca Program that allows a lucky person to sponsor a cute and friendly alpaca for an entire year, complete with pen pal privileges, photos and other cool stuff. Now wouldn’t that be a neat gift for someone on your list!? We also have Alpacabuddy stuffed toys for the little ones, toys for your pets, crafting supplies and projects for those creative people in your life, and of course lots and lots of warm, alpaca fleece clothing and accessories for everyone else!
Oh, let’s not forget that we offer tours of our functioning alpaca farm where you can learn about alpacas, how to raise them, how we harvest their fleece, and we even let you pet the approachable ones.
As usual, we offer free admission, free parking and free refreshments. Come join us! We look forward to meeting you.
For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at http://www.windrushalpacas.com. Also, you can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas and shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ and sign up for our newsletter!
October 23, 2013
It’s been a while since I have been able to find the time to write. I know many are anxious to hear how our Pearl is doing and I am happy to tell you the news is good.
As Pearl has been getting stronger Ric and I have been going out several times during the day and getting her into a standing position. Initially she wasn’t able to bear any weight on her legs, but as the days progressed she started to be able to put weight on first her back legs and then her front legs. Soon Pearl was at a point where she could balance on her own for a few seconds. At times we would catch her trying to push herself up, she was getting stronger and wanted to be up and about but her body was not quite ready yet for that feat.
Our last Open Farm Day was October 12; it was a lovely fall day with blue skies, sunshine and just a little bite in the air. I monitored Pearl throughout the day making sure she got her medicines and always had access to hay and water. When all of our visitors had gone Ric and I went out to make sure Pearl had hay and water and to stand her up. Once we got her standing she seemed pretty stable so Ric suggested we let go of her and see what happened. So let go we did, and then with shaky, wobbly, ungainly steps Pearl walked. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t for very long but we could tell Pearl was very excited to be able to move around on her own – and you can bet that we were excited too!
As Pearl tired she grew very wobbly and soon she cushed (sat down) again. We gave her a lot of praise and made sure she had plenty of hay and water to celebrate her major progress with.
From that point on Pearl’s progress has been quite amazing. To begin with we still had to help her get up, but once we did she would always walk for a several steps before she had to cush again. Unfortunately the other alpacas didn’t realize that Pearl had a limited time to be up on her feet, curious to see Pearl up and about they often crowded around her and got in her way so Ric and I had to make sure we cleared a path for our special girl. Out of the way girls, Pearl is coming!
As Pearl’s legs have gained strength she has gone from not being able to get up on her own to being able to get up on her own and move about at will. The act of cushing from a standing positing was quite challenging for her to begin with, but as her muscles have strengthened and her joints have got used to moving again she is managing to cush much easier. It is still a little challenging to her but every day it gets a little easier.
I think one of Pearl’s biggest joys, once she was up and about, was when she was able to make it to the poop pile instead of having to poop and pee where she lay. The instinct to poop and pee on the poop pile is very strong in alpacas, and if you are in any doubt about that you would soon have that doubt removed if you saw how hard Pearl worked to get to that poop pile and do what she wanted to do!
Pearl is a little hunched up at the rear and we can see that her legs are still not quite back to normal, but it is only 11 days since she started walking again and given the progress that she has made in that short time we are optimistic that in time she will walk normally again. It has been nothing short of amazing to see Pearl’s progress every day.
Pearl continues to be her sweet self with the exception of when I treat her legs with my photonic red light. Then she tells me that she is not a fan of my light touching her legs, something that is much more the behavior of a healthy alpaca. A good sign.
When Pearl is walking and starts to get tired she makes rapid little hums as though to say “I want to keep walking but I just can’t do it anymore” I let her cush wherever she is and allow her to rest before moving her back into a pen where we can feed her away from the other alpacas.
In the mornings now Pearl is sometimes up and walking around when we get up. The leaves are starting to fall from the trees and on Monday morning I got up to find Pearl up and about looking for fallen elm leaves which are an alpaca delicacy. On Monday evening Pearl even tried to run a little as the rest of the herd ran towards the hay at feeding time. Pearl now walks over to join her regular feeding group in the morning. She can’t quite remain standing for the full time they are eating but she tries and she tries hard. Step by step, moment by moment Pearl gets closer to being “normal” again.
Pearl is still on medication; probiotics once a day and a homeopathic liquid twice a day. I continue to use the photonic red light on her but am now treating her every other day. Pearl also still receives her daily bowl of vegetables along with her regular hay and grain, she gets so excited when she sees me coming with her feed, uttering grunting noises and sometimes flicking her tail up in the air. At times I get the impression that she feels her waitress service is not quite as rapid as she would like it to be!
Throughout her recovery Pearl has showed immense strength, determination and will to live, she never once seemed as if she was going to give up, she just fought and fought and fought. I believe that strength and will to live have been crucial components of her recovery. We can do all we can to aid an alpaca’s recovery, but if they decide they don’t want to live all the medicine in the world won’t fix the problem. Pearl wanted to live, and live she has.
We still have a way to go with Pearl, but I feel we are now on the downward slope and that time will be her best medicine from this point on.
I send many thanks to all those who have prayed and sent healing thoughts to Pearl, those who have emailed or called to check on her progress. All of those kind and good acts have been very much appreciated and just look at the results they have created!
October 7, 2013
October 6, 2013
Five days have passed since our alpaca Pearl became unable to stand as a result of contracting West Nile Virus. Last Tuesday we knew she was in trouble, the virus was progressing despite efforts to stop it. Tuesday morning she was wobbly, by Tuesday afternoon she could not get up.
Our earlier efforts to stop the virus and also boost Pearl’s immune system were obviously not enough. In doing some research about West Nile Virus I had come across an article that had outlined a homeopathic treatment protocol for West Nile VIrus in horses, the article is by Nancy Stephens an Equine Wellness Consultant. We had already implemented some of the treatment that Nancy Stephens recommended but in view of the progression of the virus we knew we had to rethink what we were doing and either change or add something to get a better result. Nancy mentions the use of Oregano oil in her article and we previously had great success using Oregano Oil on one of our horses, but it didn’t seem to be as effective as with Pearl. Part of the problem I decided was Pearl’s beautiful fleece. While I could try my best to drop the Oregano oil onto Pearl’s back in areas were the fleece was parted it was not as effective as dropping the oil onto the slick hair of a horse. To try and get a better result I started applying the oil to Pearl’s foot pads. In humans the pores in the skin of the feet are larger and lead to better absorption of essential oils so my hope was that the same would apply to alpacas.
I also contacted Dr. Gerald Wessner, one of the holistic veterinarians mentioned in Nancy Stephens article. During the consultation with Dr. Wessner he first established the reasons that we felt we were indeed dealing with West Nile and then went on to prescribe a combination of homeopathic medicines that he has had success with when treating horses for West Nile Virus. Dr. Wessner also gave me advice on where to change the treatments that Pearl was already receiving to help ensure her recovery.
Unfortunately we could not get overnight delivery for the medicines from Florida (where Dr. Wessner has his practice) to Clovis, New Mexico, so it would be Thursday before the medicines would arrive.
Thankfully on Thursday the medicines arrived safe and sound, along with instructions from Dr. Wessner and I was able to begin treatment on Pearl.
So how is Pearl doing? Well we have seem some improvement. Pearl still cannot stand on her own, but as of this morning both Ric and I felt that when we tried to help her stand (something we do 2 – 3 times a day) that she had more strength in her legs. Not a lot more strength but at the moment we will take any small positive improvement that we can get. I had noticed this morning when I first checked on Pearl that she had moved quite a distance from where she had been when I did my last late night check on her. As I worked on chores this morning I did see Pearl attempt to stand on her own, something that she has continued to do since she went down last Tuesday. Today though she was making more progress with her attempt. Instead of just being able to push either her front legs or her back legs up I watched as she pushed up on both front and back legs at the same time. I am cautious not to get my hopes up too soon, but hopefully she is headed in the right direction.
Pearl was also a little more feisty today! When I went to put the Oregano oil on her feet she grumbled a little. When Ric and I went to try and stand her up she grumbled a lot and told us in her own way she was not impressed. When we laid her on her side to massage and work with her legs Pearl tried to spit at Ric! Not from pain but more from “stop messing with me”.
Pearl is drinking more from the water bucket on her own too. Initially she would not drink from the bucket, but would accept water from a dosing syringe. Today she has had a couple of good drinks from the bucket on her own, although at times she still reaches out to me asking me to syringe water into her mouth. We all like to be pampered when we are ill and Pearl is not exception.
Pearl is eating well, enjoying a daily feast of hay, grain, soaked beet pulp shreds and a bowlful of apples, carrots and celery every day. Peeing and pooping are still happening which is another good sign.
Pearl has been such a fighter through this whole ordeal, something that gives me hope for her survival. Having dealt with seriously ill alpacas in the past I know that the desire to fight is a major factor in an alpaca’s recovery. Some give up, others like Pearl fight and fight hard.
Taking care of Pearl is time consuming and at times tiring, but so very rewarding. Whether it is a nudge from her muzzle as I give her her medications (something which she accepts and handles well), or a long gaze she gives me as I sit with her, there are signs that she knows I am trying to help her. I talk to her as I work with her, I encourage her to keep fighting, I praise her for trying to stand, for eating, for drinking, at times I sing to her and watch her close her eyes and start to relax. Can she understand what I am saying? Who knows, how wonderful if she does and if she doesn’t I haven’t really lost anything by what I am doing. I still remember when one of our other alpacas Tequeely was down with tick paralysis that I would sing to her until she went to sleep. As I left the barn Tequeely was fine if I carried on singing until I got to the house, but if I stopped before then she would wake up and start to thrash around her stall until I went back to her and started signing to her again. I prefer to give animals the benefit of the doubt on their ability to understand our efforts to communicate with them.
I realize that Pearl’s recovery is most likely not going to be a rapid one, but that’s okay, I have patience and tenacity and I believe that Pearl does too. Together hopefully we will make a good team. I will try and post again in a few days to give a further update on Pearl. In the meantime I ask that all those who are monitoring Pearl’s progress keep up the healing thoughts, good wishes and prayers – our Pearl is still with us and I am sure those thoughts and prayers have something to do with it.
September 30, 2013
You’re sure to have a good time meeting our herd, watching them play, getting some ‘paca love, and learning really cool facts and trivia that you probably don’t already know. Plus our Adopt-a-Paca Program gives you the opportunity to sponsor an alpaca — with some special privileges!
Our Farm Store will be open as well, featuring products made from our alpaca’s fiber, crafting items, souvenirs, and so much more. Since the weather is starting to cool down, now’s the time to stock up on super warm and soft alpaca fleece garments. And it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts.
What better way to spend the day with your whole family, learning, growing, and having fun!
We can’t wait to see you on Saturday, October 12th, 2013 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. As usual, we always offer free admission, free parking and free refreshments.
For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at http://www.windrushalpacas.com. Also, you can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas and shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.com/store/ and sign up for our newsletter!