A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 7, 2008

Ivanna Gets a Gift

Ivanna, the recipient of a kind gift from a farm visitor

Ivanna, the recipient of a kind gift from a farm visitor

 

 Our Open Farm Day went well, we had good attendance and as usual enjoyed meeting our visitors.  For some it was their first visit to our farm, for others it was their first time seeing an alpaca up close and others have been to visit us before and wanted to come and visit us again.

 

The weather was reasonable until later in the afternoon, but fortunately we had the air conditioned studio where people could cool down and enjoy some cold lemonade and cookies.

 

We had a lot of children visit us this time with their families and it was wonderful to see their fascination with the alpacas.  We were impressed with how many of the children remembered the things we talked about during the course of the visit, a good indication that they were interested in alpacas and had been listening to what we said.

 

Regent and Asteroid behaved well when we used them to demonstrate the various traits of alpacas and what traits are common in the camelid group.  The boys did get a little restless after a while but as we were discussing them while standing in front of the girls pasture that was hardly surprising.

 

For Mags and Song, the two orphaned crias, the visitors were a little too much excitement and Mags started to revert to some of his inappropriate behavior.  We didn’t feel it was fair on Mags to challenge him with dealing with so many visitors and so put him in a pen with Song away from the visitors.  He soon settled down to a relaxing day eating hay away from all of the activity.

 

One group of visitors experienced the fun of giving the alpacas a “shower”.  The girls all came running once they realized the hose was turned on and then there was the usual jostling to see who could get closest to the hose and hog the water.  Ma Cushla, our gray alpaca did her usual trick of drinking from the hose and TeQueely’s cria Pride decided that the standing water on the ground was much tastier than the water in the various buckets and waterers in the pasture.  Apparently hose water and dirty water is much more appealing than clean fresh water!

 

We were also fortunate to experience the kindness of our visitors when Joy, Matthew, Barbara, Gemma and Aubrey from Lubbock, Texas showed up with a gift for our alpaca Ivanna – some sterile water!  The family had read on the blog about Ivanna’s allergies affecting her eyes and our not being able to find any sterile water in Clovis and so brought Ivanna some sterile water.  What a wonderful gesture, their kindness truly touched us, and we are sure Ivanna will appreciate their gesture too as the sterile water soothes her irritated eyes.  Thank you all!

 

So now we look forward to our next Open Farm Day, which is scheduled for September 27 as part of National Alpaca Farm Days.  If you happen to be in the area at that time come over and join us, we would love to meet you.

 

Rosemary

September 4, 2008

Eye Baths All Round

 

The ragweed is late in making it’s appearance this year, but that hasn’t stopped it from having its usual effect on those who live around it.  Typically I know that most of August will be spent with red, swollen, itchy eyes courtesy of ragweed allergies and I am not alone in that affliction as one of our alpacas, Ivanna, seems to have ragweed allergies too.

 

We have noticed in the past that at certain times of the year Ivanna has sneezing fits, which coincide with when my allergies are at their worst.  This year though we have noticed that one of her eyes is also a little weepy.  We cannot see anything in it that could be causing the problem, no signs of stray hairs, pieces of weed or dirt or an ulcer.  Initially I thought that just because only one eye was affected that Ivanna’s eye irritation could not be allergies, but then I realized that my left eye is always more affected by the ragweed than the right one.

 

I know that it helps me to bathe my eyes regularly during the peak of ragweed season; at that point they are so sore that even plain water can sting my eyes, but it does seem to help if only by removing some of the pollen that has made contact with my eyes.  So we have taken to bathing Ivanna’s eye every day and it appears to be helping.

 

We had consulted with our vet as to what to use on Ivanna’s eye, we had tried to locate some sterile water but apparently that is a rare commodity in Clovis, New Mexico, our vet came up with an easy suggestion though, to use lactated ringer solution and so that is what we are doing.  We fill a 12 cc syringe with the solution (no needle on the syringe of course) and gently irrigate Ivanna’s eye.  So far we have not had any problems doing this and Ivanna seems to quite enjoy having her eye flushed.

 

At the same time as Ivanna started with her weepy eye, we noticed that one of the other girls Bjorn seemed to have a little grass seed stuck on her eye.  So Bjorn has had her eye flushed too and also received some antibiotic ophthalmic cream on her eye.  The ophthalmic cream comes in two preparations one with steroids and one without and we always use the cream without the steroids as the steroids in the other cream could cause a pregnant female to abort.  Bjorn is not as cooperative as Ivanna about having her eyes treated, but it is necessary to ensure the good health of her eye in case the grass seed scratched it.

 

So Ivanna, Bjorn and I are all enjoying our eye baths (I am still sticking to plain water for me!), but I have to say that their eyes are looking a lot better than mine!   Roll on the end of the ragweed season!

 

Rosemary

November 9, 2007

Tea With Everything

Echo’s friend Rascal  Being a British Citizen afternoon tea is something that I enjoy on a daily basis.  I don’t make a high tea every day (tea, sandwiches, cakes etc.) but I do enjoy my afternoon cup of tea. 

While in moderation drinking tea is good for you there are other uses for tea besides just drinking it.  My mother makes a tea bread called “Bara Brith”, a Welsh recipe that calls for the dried fruit to be soaked in tea overnight.  It’s a recipe that many Americans don’t appreciate as it is close to a fruit cake and for some reason Americans have a fear of any sort of fruit cake.  I must admit having tasted American fruit cake I can understand a little of that fear as it is typically made with too much dried fruit, too much sugar and does not contain a lacing of brandy, whisky or rum as any good British Fruit Cake does.  Tea can also be used for staining things (it stains really well) and I have seen some people use tea to give an aged appearance to paper.

Yesterday we had cause to use tea for a different purpose, the tea we used was chamomile tea and the purpose was to bathe the eyes of one of our alpacas.  The day before we had let one of the groups of boys out into the back pasture for a day of running around and finishing up a round bale of hay we had set in that pasture.  The boys had a good day and reluctantly came in at evening chores (either that or they were too full to move too quickly).

The next day we noticed Echo had some watering of his eyes, we checked his eyes and could not see any ulcers or any foreign objects in them.  As a precaution we put a little Silvadene cream in each eye.

Yesterday Echo’s eyes were still watery and all we can think is that he has either rubbed them on the hay and irritated them or he is having some form of allergic reaction to something out in the pasture.  Usually by this time of the year the pollens have started to get less, but as this year has been so warm the plants are still happily pollinating and we are getting medium to high pollen counts on a daily basis.

Interestingly Echo’s sister Keeva also use to get weepy eyes on high pollen days when she was younger.  Keeva thankfully outgrew her allergies and hopefully Echo will too if that is the problem.

Chamomile tea has some very soothing properties and we find it good to use to flush and soothe irritated eyes.  Obviously the tea needs to be cold before being applied and I usually make the tea in the morning and then allow it to cool in the refrigerator before using it.  A word of caution though, if you decide to use chamomile tea on any eyes do make sure that the tea is 100% chamomile and not a mixture of chamomile and something else.  Many teas available in the grocery store are called chamomile tea but contain other herbs too that may be irritating to the eyes, so stick to 100% chamomile tea.

The chamomile tea will hopefully give Echo some relief from his irritated eyes.  We will continue to apply it daily until his eyes no longer weep, and maybe next time we let Echo out into the back pasture he will get to wear a fly mask like Homer does to prevent his eyes from getting irritated again.

Rosemary 

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