A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 28, 2009

One Sick Little Puppy

Not much time for writing on the blog the last few days as our little puppy Blue was taken ill at the weekend.   We still don’t really know what the problem is; our vet suspects a bacterial infection and hopes it is that rather than an intestinal blockage.

On Sunday evening we could tell Blue was not well, as the evening went on she progressed from having diarrhea to starting to vomit and then becoming lethargic.  We already had a vet appointment for Monday for Blue’s last vaccinations and so arrived at the vet poop sample in hand (the vet has us well trained) to see if the vet could figure out the problem.

We ended up taking another trip to the vet on Tuesday as Blue was getting worse.  Now with some antibiotics, antacids and anti nausea medication Blue is making some progress but in fits and starts.  We are optimistic when she eats only to have our hopes dashed when she goes back to not eating the next day and vomiting again.  We have had days when she will not eat or drink anything – a worrying situation when she is only a 9 lb. puppy.

Yesterday Blue seemed to be doing a bit better.  On Wednesday evening we gave her some of our tried and trusted MSE drench (yes you can use it on dogs too).  While Blue hated the taste of it (that’s understandable) we did get most of the ½ cc dose into her.  We also syringe fed her chicken and rice baby food to try and stimulate her appetite and gave her a photonic red light treatment for nausea and to increase her appetite.  By Thursday morning she did seem a little perkier.  Yet another consultation was made with the vet who feels that the antibiotics are starting to have a positive effect and that we should see greater improvement today and Saturday.  Let’s hope so!

So with a little sick puppy who did not want me out of her sight (how can you resist those pleading blue eyes) there was not a lot else done around the farm except routine chores.  I did manage to do a little spinning as Blue was too lethargic to try and bother my wheel as I used it.  She still had her influence though as she had been into one of the bobbins of yarn I was plying and had made a huge tangle of the yarn.

By Thursday evening Blue was up to playing and starting to be able to take a little more food, but the amount she can eat at one time is very small and we are being very selective about what we feed her.  We have found a homeopathic anti nausea remedy called nux vomica that seems to help.

It’s difficult to tell what started Blue’s illness, she loves to pick things up in her mouth and while we try and stop her sometimes she does manage to sneak something past us.  It’s likely Blue picked up something up that had some nasty bacteria on it which then entered her system.  Whatever it is really hit her hard, but it looks as if we might be turning the corner and heading toward Blue’s recovery.  Who would have thought we would have missed her flying face licks and cracker dog sessions so much.  We look forward to seeing Blue flying through the air at us again soon.


July 30, 2009

Another Hay Bites The Dust

Last Sunday Ric and I (accompanied by puppy Blue) drove down to Roswell to meet with a hay grower and bring some sample bales of hay back. The hay we were interested in was a Bermuda grass hay and an oat hay.


The hay grower was a lovely man, very amenable to working with us and very proud of his hay. The grower already had an analysis on his oat hay and it was only running around 10% protein which is too low for our needs. Having ruled out the oat hay we brought some of the Bermuda grass hay home with us.


We tried the alpacas out with the hay and they ate it but were not as zealous about it as they are with the wheat hay we are currently feeding them. We would never just switch from one hay to another as that can really have a bad affect on the alpacas digestive system and it means that if they really don’t like the new hay then they have nothing to eat. We blended some of the Bermuda in with the wheat hay and over a couple of days the alpacas were starting to eat more of the Bermuda. Griffen the llama was particularly taken with the Bermuda grass hay, but her tastes in hay do tend to be different from the rest of the herd and our other two llamas Maya and Inca.


On Tuesday we ran the hay in for testing to our local lab ADM Labs. We received the results back on Wednesday and sadly they were not the best. While the Calcium/Phosphorus balance was good and the Potassium was not a disaster (higher than we like but better than some we have seen this year), the crude protein was only 9% which is nowhere near high enough for our herd, especially the pregnant and nursing females.


We were sad that the results did not pan out as we had hoped, we liked the hay grower and had looked forward to working with him. There is not point though in buying hay that is not suitable for our needs, at 9% protein it is not even sufficient for our fiber boys.


The results of the hay analysis will be shared with the grower, it is only fair to do so and it will help him decide what adjustments he needs to make to his hay management. For this year we will not be buying hay from him, but by next year perhaps things will have changed and we will be able to business.


In the meantime we will be keeping our eyes open for more potentially good hay on sale. Eventually we will find some I am sure and for now we have a reasonable stock of wheat hay on hand, but of course every day the alpacas keep eating it and the stack gets smaller!



June 18, 2009

We Have New Additions!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, Family, General — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:44 am

The last few days have brought new additions to the farm, all four legged of course.  But our first new addition is not an alpaca.

Meet Blue our Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy!

Our New Puppy Blue

Our New Puppy Blue

Blue is just over 8 weeks old and was born April 18th.  Coincidentally our dear Toby who passed away recently was also born in April and so we are hoping that is a good omen.

Following Toby’s death the house seemed very empty without his happy, fun personality.  We decided to start looking for another housedog and were hoping to adopt another Pomeranian, but that was not to be.  We did find one Pomeranian available for adoption in another part of the state but the rescue organization ended up adopting him out to someone in their area. Responsible rescue groups require a home visit, which would not have been a problem except the only other Pomeranians available for adoption were in other states and the rescue organizations did not want to spend their limited funds on out of state home visits.  Understandable, but disappointing all the same.

We did check local rescue groups but did not find a dog that seemed right for us, nothing clicked between us and the small dogs available for rescue.

Our friend Val Smith of Double Diamond Alpacas has a Miniature Australian Shepherd “Charlie” (actually he belongs to her daughter Allie) and we had been quite taken with Charlie when we met him.  He is a very sweet dog and seemed to have that happy personality we were looking for.

We discovered that there was a litter of Miniature Australian Shepherd puppies for sale about 2 hours from us and so last Sunday took the drive to take a look at the litter.  If truth be known Ric would have been quite happy to take the mother dog Morgan.  Ric and Morgan hit it off immediately, but Morgan was not for sale.  It is always good to see the parents of a litter of pups and we were impressed with how smart and fun Morgan was.  After much deliberation we picked out Blue, it was so hard just to pick one cute ball of fur!  If we had not had Missy and Tripster at home we might well have taken two pups, but we thought it best that we pick out just one.

For an 8 week old puppy Blue is pretty impressive, she has already started to tell us when she needs to go outside for a potty break (we just have to be attentive to her signals) and when she is in a playful mood she will play fetch with the tiny ball we have brought her.  At night Blue sleeps in her crate and with the exception of the second night when she did whine a little she is quiet during the night.  Blue is a fun pup to have around and has easily adapted to our routine. Blue loves to trot at my heels when we are outside, she has not tried to nip my heels or herd me (Australian Shepherds can be prone to doing that and need to be discouraged from trying to herd humans) and she just loves to be with us.  In the evenings she is content to play a little and sit with us or lie in her crate snuggled up in a blanket we brought her.

Blue will not get to be very big, no more than 14 inches at the shoulder.   As of right now she is only 8 inches tall at the shoulder and can’t weigh more than a couple of pounds!

And the reason for the name “Blue”?  Well it is mainly because the children of the breeder had already given her that name.  With her Blue Merle coat and her bright blue eyes the name seemed appropriate and she answers to it!  Her registered name will most likely be a little longer, but not much as the National Stock Dog Registry where she will be registered request that you keep the name short and not include reference to the sire or dam’s name (how different from alpaca names!).

Life with Blue will be much different than life with Toby, we cannot replace Toby but we can enjoy the fun and love that Blue promises to bring us and look forward to her being a big part of our lives for many many years.


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