A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 4, 2008

Found Him!

Well the watching and waiting paid off, we have found the culprit with the diarrhea, it’s Atlas.


Atlas is the oldest of our cria group and so is definitely trying out the hay, but he also is a milk thief and has tried milk from several of the dams in the pasture.  Atlas is a pretty good milk thief too, he waits until the dams’ cria is happily nursing and the dam is not paying attention and then sneaks his head under the dam to steal some milk.  Our older dams are wiser and realize pretty quickly that they have an intruder, but some of the younger dams take a while to realize.


We do discourage Atlas when we see him nursing from other dams, we do not want him depriving the other crias of their milk or putting an unnecessary strain on the dams.  We do allow Atlas to nurse from our llama Inca, as she does not have a cria of her own and actively encourages crias to nurse from her (see blog entry Hey Llama Lady – Got Milk to read more about Inca)


Atlas does of course have his own dam Queen to nurse from, but Queen is an experienced dam who has very definite rules for her crias, one of which is that they don’t nurse from her until she has had a good chance to pick out the best hay.  Once she has finished at the hay feeder she will find her cria and allow nursing, but until then she makes her crias wait.   Queen’s crias are always robust and outgoing so I guess her rules work for her and her crias.


We have started Atlas on the MSE drench and Biosponge and he has shown some improvement, he will be under a close watch until he gets back to normal and if he does not continue to improve we will look at other causes and treatment options. 

Funnily enough the picture I used for yesterday’s blog entry is a picture of Atlas wrestling with Dream, maybe my subconscious knew all along which cria has diarrhea and was trying to tell me!



July 3, 2008

Tracking Down The Culprit

Atlas and Dream have fun wrestling

Ahh, the joy of crias.  We watch them chase each other around the pasture, checking out new sights or sounds, stalking one of the cats when it is close to the fence line and then jumping and runing away when the cat turns to look at them and then there is the joy of trying to figure out which one of your crias has diarrhea.


Yes, the cria diarrhea has revisited the pasture most likely brought on by the crias really starting to eat the hay.  They love our new hay and the other night one hay feeder was completely surrounded by all eight crias and Griffin the llama.  The diarrhea does not seem to be something that is contagious, as we are not seeing evidence of a lot of it; just enough for us to know that most likely just one of the crias has it.


We have checked under all of the crias tails and no clues there, we have checked the crias hind legs for evidence but there is none.  All of the crias are behaving well and are lively, none of them has a temperature and so how on earth are we going to figure out which one is the culprit.  Well we are just going to have to watch and wait.


We thought we stood a good chance of finding out who has the problem when we cleaned up all the poop piles and kept all the adult girls in their pens while they ate.  We did manage to eliminate at least three of the crias from our suspect list as we saw them use the poop pile and everything was okay.  Then we turned our backs for a second and there is was, diarrhea on the poop pile and not a cria one next to the poop pile in question!


So back to more watching and waiting it is.  Once we find the culprit our first step will be to use probiotics and something like Biosponge, a product which will help stop the diarrhea itself but will not address the cause of the diarrhea.  If that does not work we will most likely resort to an antibiotic and treat the alpacas water for coccidia, which may be the cause of the problem.  But my instinct tells me that this is a result of one of the crias eating the new hay as the diarrhea is the exact color of the hay!


Of course we will also be keeping a close eye on the crias for any other signs that one of them is not feeling well, we cannot completely assume that the hay is what is causing the problem.  In the meantime our eyes will be glued to the pasture – guess it beats watching TV!





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