A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 8, 2007

Facing Up to Mother Nature’s Challenge

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpaca Nutrition, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — alpacalady @ 7:11 am

Chamberino and Tobiano GrazingWe have heard from our client who recently lost a cria, the results of the initial part of the necropsy of her cria are in and show that the little guy had large amounts of blood in the abdominal cavity.  It appears for some reason he hemorrhaged.   Additionally the breeder lost another cria on Friday.  The second cria was known to be hypothyroid and had appeared to be doing well but showed signs of being unwell on Friday morning and then died within the hour.

So now our client has to figure out what is going wrong on her farm.  The blood and tissue samples from the first cria have been sent into the lab but are estimated to take at least 5 days before results are known.  By that time more alpacas could have died.

Our first thought is that perhaps there is a toxic weed in the pastures or in the hay, or that a neighbor has been spraying for weeds and the alpacas have managed to ingest plants that are close to the fence line.  In case these are possibilities our client has today purchased new hay and different feed and is having her old hay tested for nutritional content and toxins.

It seems to have been a rough week in the alpaca world with several reports of sick alpacas.  I personally think that some of the problems experienced in the last week are due to the unusual weather we have had this year.  Excess moisture and excess heat have caused plants to grow that usually lay dormant, fungus to spore where it would normally not be a problem, nutritional deficiencies in pastures that are normally good pasture and of course the heat and moisture create conditions where heat stress is an issue. 

Raising alpacas is no different from any other form of form of farming, there will be good years and then the not so good years when alpaca breeders are faced by challenges created by Mother Nature.    To be successful and to survive these periods you have to be tenacious and resourceful and dedicated to your business.

As the cooler weather of fall comes along lets hope that conditions become easier and alpaca breeders can relax and enjoy the sight of healthy fall crias chasing each other round the pasture while being watched by their content dams and proud sires.



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