A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

December 4, 2017

Create New Holiday Traditions at Open Farm Day

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November 27, 2017

Make Your Holiday Season Extra Special with a Visit to Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 6:19 pm

 

091015 OFDLooking for something new and different to do with your friends and family to celebrate the season? Create a new tradition and visit the alpacas at Windrush Alpacas’ Open Farm Day.

During your visit, you can tour the farm. Learn why we raise alpacas, about their habits, and how we use their fleece. You can interact with and feed the alpacas – even learn their names! Each one is unique and very special to us!

We make holiday shopping easy too! Our Farm Store is stocked with gifts for everyone on your list. Alpaca fleece gloves and hats, scarves and shawls, and unique toys for kids! Imagine how surprised your friends and relatives will be when they open a soft and warm gift made from alpaca fiber.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be served at the Farm Store.

The Farm Store will also be open December 2, 16 & 23, in case you can’t make it to Open Farm Day. Hours are 10-3.

Another unique gift idea is to enroll your friends in our Adopt-A-Paca© program. Your gift recipient can have a very special alpaca to visit if they visit the farm! But even if they can’t, they will get an official certificate, a picture of their alpaca and occasional letters from them too! You can choose which alpaca to adopt for them. And why not adopt one for yourself as well?

Create special holiday memories by attending Open Farm Day.  There is always something new to learn and see at the farm, so if you’ve been here before, please come again! Stop by anytime on Saturday, December 9 between 10 am and 3 pm!  Be ready for plenty of picture taking too!

It’s always free admission and free parking. Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca .

November 6, 2017

Saturdays are Fun at Windrush Alpacas! Come to Open Farm Day!

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October 30, 2017

Celebrate Veterans Day at Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 1:42 pm

Windrush Alpacas Open Farm Day

We honor our veterans every day at Windrush Alpacas, but this year our monthly Open Farm Day falls on Veterans Day. Honor your favorite veteran and others who serve our communities, with a visit to Windrush Alpacas! It is a wonderful, unique experience for all who attend.

At Windrush Alpacas our herd loves to have visitors – it means extra attention and extra food! But it’s not only about spending time with alpacas. It’s about spending time with those you love, too! While you are here, you can tour the farm, ask questions about raising alpacas, and see what farm life is all about.

Stop by anytime on Saturday, November 11 between 10 am and 3 pm. In addition to our alpacas, you may catch a glimpse of our livestock guardian dog, barn cats, and other farm friends, too!

We are also getting close to holiday shopping time! Purchase gifts for everyone on your list at our Farm Store. We have super warm alpaca socks and slippers, hats and gloves, scarves and shawls, beautiful yarns for your craft projects, and cozy pet beds for your dogs and toys for your cats! Make sure you stop by for refreshments too!

 

Special Event Alert: The Farm Store will be open every Saturday in November & December in case you can’t make it to Open Farm Day. Hours are 10 am -3 pm.

 

While at the farm, ask about our Adopt-A-Paca© program. You can have a very special alpaca to visit whenever the farm is open when you become an Adopt-A-Paca© member. You’ll get an official certificate, a picture of your alpaca and occasional letters from them too! It is also a great gift for those hard to buy for friends and relatives.

Open Farm Day is for all ages! Bring your family, your friends and especially your veterans! There is always something new to learn and see at the farm, so if you’ve been here before, please come again! Stop by anytime on Saturday, November 11 between 10 am and 3 pm!  Light refreshments will be served!

It’s always free admission and free parking. Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca .

October 18, 2017

Unexpected Treasures

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Sometimes we can try so hard to make things happen, yet our plans don’t work out as expected. Then at other times we discover acts of serendipity, when things just happen without any effort on our part.

Our gardening efforts at the farm have been historically hit and miss. A shortage of water on the farm, dry desert heat and drying winds, lack of time to dedicate to care of the plants, and a distinct lack of green fingers on my part have meant that any crop production has been low.

So imagine my surprise when I recently discovered a bumper crop of pumpkins and sunflowers in the area where we compost the alpaca poop! I’ve tried for years to grow sunflowers on the farm but experienced total failure, pumpkins had never really crossed my mind as I knew that they needed quite a bit of water. Yet here they were happily growing side by side, and in the case of the pumpkins very happily growing.

So had did this bounty happen? Well every fall we ask people to bring us their leftover pumpkins to feed to the alpacas. We feed the pumpkins to the alpacas and the alpacas are very happy. Every day we feed black oil sunflower seeds to the alpacas and the alpacas enjoy eating the seeds. As part of the feeding process some of the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are left on the ground and get raked up when we are raking up the poop piles and off they go to the compost area. In addition to this process last year we had a whole bag of sunflower seeds that got moisture in the bag and molded, so off they went to the compost pile as well.

Maya Eating Pumpkin

The seeds have been sitting there for a while, the alpaca poop has been breaking down into what alpaca breeders like to refer to as black gold, then this year we have been blessed with some rain and poof! Low and behold our bountiful crop appeared!

How cool is that! That Mother Nature did her own thing and created a much better result than all my efforts could produce!

Pumpkinsharvested

The pumpkins are about ready to harvest. To start with we will use some to decorate the farm. Once their decoration duties are done we will use some of them to feed to the alpacas, llamas, chickens and guineas. Some of the pumpkins appear to be sugar pumpkins so will be cooked and used for pumpkin pies and cookies, with some cooked pumpkin being reserved in case we need it for a sick animal (pumpkin is an excellent soother of the digestive tract). I was hoping to be able to harvest some sunflower seeds from our sunflowers but our horses Savannah and Saber decided to eat the heads off most of the sunflowers. No wonder their coats are looking so glossy! Hopefully they will leave me at least a few sunflower heads to harvest for next year.

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So where do we go from here. Well my plan for next year, provided we have a chance of rain, is to take a random assortment of vegetable seeds, toss them on the alpaca compost area and let them grow if they wish to. Why toil for vegetables when they apparently do better without me? (Although I probably should consider a horse fence!).

Until next time,

Rosemary

September 4, 2017

Open Farm Day is Back at Windrush Alpacas

September is a great time to visit Windrush Alpacas

August 29, 2017

A Difficult Month at Windrush Alpacas – Test Results

Test Results

On Monday, July 28, we received test results that gave us some answers and direction. It seems as if we experienced a bizarre coincidence with the events on our farm.

The first alpaca we lost, Echo, who was in our male pen, tested positive for West Nile.

Moonie’s test results came back with 100% diagnosis for Polioencephalomalacia (PEM). The next step was to figure out what caused the PEM. The vets were still suspecting the water, grain or hay with the water and grain being top of the list, so those samples were tested first.

The girls who showed symptoms were all in the same pen. They were girls who needed additional supplementation for one reason or another and so received more grain than the rest of the herd. We were suspecting that it could be a combination of a problem in the grain and a problem in our water supply. In the meantime, we had been advised by our vet to feed only long stem grass hay to help clean out our alpacas’ stomach compartments just in case there were toxins.

As of August 15, 2017, we have results back on the hay and water.  The hay did not contain any noxious weeds or seeds and the water tested as being suitable for livestock.  So now we are waiting for results on the feed tests, a liver toxicity screening on Moonie’s liver and a West Nile test on Moonie’s brain. We will update this post when we receive the results.

For those of you in the Clovis/Portales area please take steps to control mosquitoes on your property and also use bug spray to protect yourselves.

West Nile Virus can affect humans as well as animals and is a devastating and sometimes deadly disease. If Echo’s death can at least serve as a reminder to people that West Nile Virus is still a threat in the US then he will not have died in vain. https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html

Here is a link explaining what PEM is for those interested in learning more.http://www.merckvetmanual.com/…/overview-of-polioencephalom…

Into August

On July 30, after a couple of days off all appearing to be okay on the farm, we were upset when we found our girl Dream showing neurological symptoms. She was trembling, in a stupor, staring into space and walking backward. Fortunately, we feel we caught her early and she responded well to treatment overnight. By the next day, she was eating and drinking and appeared okay. Our vigilance continues, we are not out of the woods yet.

Thankfully no one else has shown any systems. We adopted a new normal at the farm as we waited for the test results. We give you the details of our experience to offer assistance to other alpaca farmers and breeders who experience dis-ease in their herd. Act quickly. Be diligent in watching your entire herd. Treat accordingly. Had we not done so, our herd may have been hit even harder.

Tributes to Echo, Queen, and Moonie

The beginning of the story

A Difficult Month at Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Alpaca Health — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 8:30 pm

July 2017 was the most difficult month we had at the farm in 18 years of raising alpacas.

Mid-month our herd was hit with two diseases – West Nile Virus and Polioencephalomalacia (PEM). Sadly, we lost three of our alpacas – Echo, Queen, and Moonie. Each succumbed to one of the diseases.

The course of events was difficult for everyone as several other alpacas had symptoms and we did not know what we were dealing with. We had to wait several days – and longer – for test results to know how to most effectively treat any animal with signs of distress.

The beginning

Early in the week of July 17 Echo, one of our alpaca boys, started with strange and sudden neurological symptoms. He rapidly went downhill. Since Echo did not respond to anything the vet was trying and only got worse, we made the difficult decision to euthanize him.

A few days later, our livestock guardian dog Duke alerted us that something was wrong in our female pasture. On checking the girls, we found eight of them with symptoms similar to Echo’s.

We started treating the girls immediately and contacted our vet. By the time we were loading up to go to the vet, two of our girls, Queen and Moonie, were in bad shape. Sadly, by the time we got to the vets it was apparent that Queen was suffering terribly. The vet said the chances of Queen making a full recovery were very slim. Once again, we had to make the difficult decision to let one of our alpacas go.

Moonie stayed on at the veterinarian’s hospital. She was blind by the time we left her and the vet told us there was a 50/50 chance of Moonie regaining her eyesight. Moonie was on IV fluids, receiving antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicines.

Like Queen, Moonie was one of our older girls which is probably why she was more susceptible. Out of the six other girls, Snow, Clarissa, and Carina responded well to treatment at the farm. Betty, Theresa, and Ana Lynne had fewer neurological symptoms but their appetite was very depressed. They were definitely not themselves.

Our vet has worked hard with us to try and determine caused the illness in our herd. The prime suspect was some form of toxin in our feed or hay or West Nile Virus. Blood samples were submitted for testing. It was the weekend, so we knew it would be several days before we had results. In the meantime, we became very observant of our herd and prayed that no-one else would show symptoms.

At the end of the first week, we were emotionally and physically exhausted.

On the morning of Sunday, July 23, we had some good news.

The girls who were affected but remained on the farm were all back to eating and drinking on their own. One had been a little slower to respond than the others so we kept close attention to her, but we were hopeful she would follow the path of recovery of the others, which she did.

Moonie, still at the vet, showed signs of improvement that morning, too. On Saturday, we gave the vet some Oxbow Critical Care we had used to encourage the appetite of the alpacas on the farm. The vet tubed Moonie with the Oxbow and on Sunday morning Moonie was eating and drinking on her own. I took that as a hopeful sign.

Moonie still had very limited vision, she appeared only to be able to differentiate light from dark. We were hoping that her vision would improve with time.

Sadly, by the afternoon, Moonie had taken a turn for the worse. She had four seizures within 15 minutes. The vet sedated her and gave her stronger doses of anti-inflammatories. When we left, she was able to hold her head up. We were still hopeful.

On Monday morning, however, we had to put Moonie to sleep. She rallied a little during the night and then started to crash around 2:30 a.m. I was with her when she passed.

We had a necropsy done on her and samples of all of our hay, feed and water had been submitted for analysis. We were still waiting on the West Nile test results from Echo. We needed an answer soon.

Our vet contacted four clinicians at CSU who all felt that this had to be something in our feed, hay or water. She told us there was also some other blood work she could run that could help us figure out what on earth this was.

We remained on alert for anyone else in the herd showing symptoms. With there being about week between the first incident and the second we realized there was a chance this could happen again.

That same morning, we had two boys possibly showing very early symptoms of whatever this was. At this point, we were so paranoid that we didn’t know if we were being oversensitive or if we were getting more cases. We were ready for this nightmare to be over.

Through this difficult couple of days, we had to acknowledge the brighter moments. Most significant was the recovery of the girls on Sunday. Then the discovery that we have a new vet in town who has good knowledge of working with alpacas (the vets and staff at Clovis Veterinary Hospital were amazing)!

Our new livestock guardian dog who, despite having been here little over a week, alerted us to what was happening with our girls (and this guy is a rescue who we have no background history on, who doesn’t appear to have been around livestock before), and the outpouring of love and support from the alpaca community, family and friends.

On Tuesday, the two boys who we had a concern about seemed to be normal.

Our vet, Dr. Hornig, told us our samples ended up going to Texas A & M rather than CSU partly because she felt that Texas A & M would have a better knowledge of noxious weeds in this area. The samples from Moonie went to Texas A & M too so that there would be consistency and continuity in our case. Dr. Hornig had spoken to the lab at Texas A & M and was working with them to systematically run various tests in an effort to keep our costs down.

She spoke with our other vet Dr. Orton. Together they identified certain things they felt should have priority when it came to testing. When those things are eliminated then they would start working down a list of possible causes. It would be a timely process, but a necessary one to get this right.

I spent some time that evening walking through the herd doing my last check before I lost daylight. Everyone seemed peaceful, content and calm. We hoped, that in time, we would join them in that peaceful, content, calm state too.

Click to read about Test Results

 

June 5, 2017

Last Open Farm Day til September – This Saturday!

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:11 am

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May 29, 2017

Summer is Almost Here! Celebrate at Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Open Farm Day, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:05 am

Newly Shorn boys are waiting for you at WIndrush Alpacas

June is a month filled with celebrations. National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, Corn on the Cob Day, and Best Friends Day. And those biggies too – Father’s Day, Graduations and the first day of Summer! Why not celebrate with your best friend, dad or grad at Windrush Alpacas? Bring them to Open Farm Day, Saturday, June 10 between 10 am and 3 pm.

Our owners will show you and your special someone around our farm, tell you all about raising these gentle, soft fleeced animals, and give you a chance to get close to a couple of our herd. You’ll even be able to feed them! The alpacas will be feeling great as they will all have been recently shorn and will be wearing their short summer coats! Be ready to take pictures! We’ve got a couple of alpacas who are real hams and will pose for you!

Stop in at the Farm Store where we’ll serve refreshments. You can browse our shelves filled with alpaca socks, scarves, toys, cushions and more! Treat Dad to a pair of extreme alpaca sport or hiking socks. Plenty of gifts for grads from pre-school through college too!

June’s Open Farm Day will be our last until September. Don’t miss it! There is always something interesting to learn and see at Windrush Alpacas. Stop by anytime on Saturday, June 10 between 10 am and 3 pm!

Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates http://www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/, or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca.

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