A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 17, 2007

Keeping the Flies at Bay

Homer Wearing His Fly MaskThese last few days the flies have been making their presence felt despite the cooler weather.  They are not as bad as they have been in other years, but still they are around and pesky little devils they are.  Every morning we find dead flies in the feed barn so the cooler night temperatures are killing some of them but we really need a good cold snap to get the message home to the flies to “cease and desist”.

To help keep the fly population down we top-dress our feed with diatomaceous earth, which acts as a mechanical wormer.  We also sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on the poop piles to help break the life cycle of the flies and keep them away from our property.

For the most part alpacas do not get too worried about flies, you may see an alpaca shake his or her head to drive the flies away or see them twitching slightly in the belly area as the flies land on them.

We do have one special case on the farm though who needs a little bit more TLC when it comes to fly protection.  One of our adult males Homer is being treated for an eye ulcer that is making slow but steady progress.  The affected eye has some Silvadene paste put in it once a day and while most of the paste stays on the eyeball some of it does come off onto Homers face and the flies seem to find that attractive.

To help make Homer’s life more pleasant we have put a fly mask on him.  The fly mask is dual purpose for not only does it keep the flies away from Homers eyes it also diffuses the light that is getting to the eye helping the eye to heal better. 

The fly mask looks a little strange but it is effective.   Many visitors to the farm are concerned that Homer cannot see out of the mask, but he can see well.  The material the mask is made of is a heavy-duty nylon mesh which holds it’s shape well and offers good protection from the flies and dust.  You can get a fly mask for horses made from the same material.   When we first started to use the fly mask we would take it off Homer at night, but sometimes the wind picked up during the night and then he would get dust in his eye which does not help his eye ulcer to heal, so now we leave the mask on 24 hours a day.

Hopefully Homer’s eye ulcer will soon be healed and we can take his fly mask off.  He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the mask, but we’re sure he has a really good case of “hat hair” by now – not the thing to entice the girls when you’re an adult male alpaca!


1 Comment »

  1. So lovely to see my dear sweet Homer again. A special stroke from me!

    Comment by Linda Pottinger — October 19, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

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