A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 7, 2008

Back Home and Back to Business

My visit to England is over and I arrived back in the US late Sunday evening.  Unfortunately my flight from London was delayed by two hours and so my two hour forty minute layover before my connecting flight was reduced to just forty minutes.  It was a challenge to retrieve my luggage, clear immigration, clear customs (including an extra baggage inspection as I had brought food back with me) recheck my bags and make it to my next flight, but miraculously I made it!


Of course now there is much to catch up on, from email and bills to preparing for shearing and birthing of the crias that are due, but it’s not insurmountable and I am sure by the end of the week I will be almost back to normal (whatever normal is!).  Having been without internet access for most of my trip this blog has been lacking in entries while I have been gone, but now I am home the entries will be posted regularly.  If you posted a comment on the blog while I was gone and haven’t heard back from me yet then please know I will be in touch shortly.


The animals are all pleased to have me back home, the dogs gave me a rapturous welcome, the cats tried to tell me that they needed more food and the horses greeted me with a lot of whinnying.  The alpacas all came up to see me and I received lots of “wuffles” from them as the gathered around me in the pastures.  The pregnant girls are all looking much bigger than when I left and some of them have developed udders showing that they are not far off from giving birth.  The boys sense that changes are about to occur in the girls pasture and are giving longing looks to the girls.  As the girls reach the last stages of their pregnancy their hormone levels change and the boys are more than aware of this.


Monday afternoon brought with it an urgent situation for our alpaca neighbors Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas.  One of the dams at their farm had been in labor for most of the morning and wasn’t making progress.   By lunchtime the vet had decided to do a C-section on the dam and I joined Bob and Regina at the vet’s office to give them a helping hand.  Fortunately the cria was still alive when the vet delivered him – a beautiful male cria with soft shiny crimpy fleece.  Not that we could see that when he was delivered as he was very wet and covered in birthing fluids.  My part of the process was to get him dry and take care of him while the vet completed the surgery on the dam.  The cria was remarkable strong despite his traumatic birth and once dried off he was very hungry.  As soon as was possible we got some colostrum from the crias dam and give it to the new cria who greedily sucked it down.  The cria appears to be fine and healthy but unfortunately the dam had to be euthanized yesterday following complications from the surgery.  It is always hard to lose an alpaca; to see a dam struggle for the survival of her cria and lose her life in the process is especially heartbreaking.   That little cria is one special boy and I hope that he goes on to win many ribbons for the Darts and brings them much pleasure as he grows and thrives. 


By Tuesday it was time to get into shearing mode as the Darts had a shearer booked to shear some of their herd.  The shearing went well, and it was a good chance to wake up those muscles that I don’t use for the rest of the year but do use once a year during shearing holding alpacas and picking up fleece.  Thank you Bob and Regina for giving me a warm up session prior to our starting to shear our herd this weekend!


It hasn’t taken me long to get back in the thick of things, life has a way of doing that especially when you work with livestock, but it keeps me out of trouble – well most of the time anyway!


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