A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 5, 2007

Isn’t it always the way ……

Yesterday’s trip to the 2007 Small Farm Conference and Trade Show in Moriaty was a success, we met people who were keen to learn about alpacas and who enjoyed our presentation.  We got a little time to look around the event but as our presentation was one of the last of the day by the time we had finished many of the vendors and informational booths had either packed up or were in the process of doing so.  We have asked the organizers of the event to keep us on their list for next year.  We are pretty certain that by next year word will have spread about the event and there will be more interest in it.  There were several presentations we would have liked to be able to attend, and so next year we may plan on spending a day or so in the area rather than driving up and back in a day.

 We did well with our efforts to get up early and be on the road in plenty of time.  The fact that we switched back to Standard Time from Daylight Savings Time did help us a little and we were able to be on the road by 9:15 with chores done and dogs walked and happily worn out for the day.

In addition to doing our regular chores we also had to take time to examine and treat one of the alpaca girls.  We had noticed Becky acting a little strangely the night before.  As the temperature dropped and we started our evening chores I saw that Becky was lying stretched out on the concrete close to the water feeder.  Now if it had been a hot summer’s day I would think nothing of it as the girls like to lie on the cool concrete when the weather is hot, but yesterday evening was not hot and it struck me as strange that Becky was lying on the concrete.  When the feed bowls came out though Becky got up and ate as normal.  Later on when we went to do our last check of the evening we found Becky sitting on her own inside the small blue shelter.  This behavior is unusual for Becky as she usually sits outside and close to the rest of the herd.

By this morning we could tell something was amiss with Becky, she ate when the feed was put out but within a short while she moved away from the herd and cushed with her legs stretched out to the side.  She appeared to be uncomfortable and then lay completely stretched out on her side.

Not liking what we saw, we caught Becky and put her in a pen so that we could take a closer look at her.  One of the first things we noticed was a lot of gut sounds coming from Becky.  We took her temperature and were surprised to find it only read 94.3 (the usual alpaca temperature is 101.1), Becky was not shivering and her ears felt warm to the touch, but her core temperature was definitely low.  We suspected that Becky had some digestive discomfort and so gave her some MSE drench to help improve her rumen function and also a shot of Banamine to help relax her and relieve the pain she was in.  I also gave Becky a photonic red light treatment of her nine standard points and also the digestive points (more information on photonic red light treatment to follow in another post).  As anadded precaution we also treated Becky’s ears for ear ticks using 2cc of Dr. Adams Fly Spray and Repellent for Horses in each ear.

While we waited for the banamine to take effect we were able to continue with chores and observe Becky’s actions.  Fortunately within a short time Becky was looking much better and up eating hay.  We watched Becky long enough to satisfy ourselves that she was going to okay while we were gone for the day.

When we returned later in the evening the first thing we did was to check Becky, who at the sight of us stood at the pasture gate anxiously awaiting feed.  Our helper Bethany was already doing the chores when we got home and we were able to keep an eye on Becky and watch her as Bethany completed the chores.  Becky ate well and later on was seen to be cushed and chewing her cud.

I suspect that Becky had eaten something that gave her a stomachache and caused her unusual behavior in the morning.  Thankfully all seems well now and we were able to still get off on time to complete our journey.  It always seems to be the way of life that whenever you are in a rush to get somewhere something will happen to slow you down.  We like to think that circumstances like that happen for a reason and just try and go with the flow of whatever life throws at us.


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