A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 13, 2007

Friday Fog

Foggy DawnAs we get further into fall there are signs of change appearing all around us, the light is softer, the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and of course the days are getting shorter.  This fall has been dry and warmer than usual, yesterday evening at 5:30 pm it was still 88 degrees Fahrenheit and rain has not been seen around here for a while.

On Friday morning though we woke up to fog, so there was moisture somewhere in the air.  As I looked out at the girls pasture to check on Chai, our girl who is due to have her cria, I was taken with the sight of the sun rising behind the fog.  It really was a striking sight and I tried to capture it with my camera, the photo in this blog is the best I could do but hopefully it will give you an idea of how beautiful the dawn looked.  If you look really hard you can see the girls sitting around in the pasture, they all had a good coating of dew and looked as if they were wearing special sparkling blankets.

Chai has been a little more mobile the last few days.  She is still stiff in her joints and we had a consultation with our vet as to what we should do about her.  Our vet has advised us to draw some blood for a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and also a Chemistry Panel.  He is a little concerned that she may have a pulmonary condition that causes traveling joint pain, but of course without blood work or an examination it is hard for him to diagnose Chai correctly.  Usually I would take Chai in to the vets for examination but as she is so close to having her cria I don’t want to put her under any undue stress.  Chai is not really a hands on alpaca and I feel that the stress of a trip to the vets and any subsequent action would be too much stress for her and cause her to go into labor early.  Our vet feels that as Chai is not getting any worse we can safely wait a few days until she has her cria and then draw blood from her.  As we have him come out to draw blood from the cria for IgG testing at 24 hours post birth it will be an ideal opportunity for him to examine Chai at the same time.

I am a little encouraged that Chai has been more mobile, but still feel that there is something going on with her that we need to get to the bottom of.  Chai’s cria is certainly lively enough and we see a lot of cria movement particularly at night.  We check on Chai about once an hour until we go to bed.  When Ric did the “Chai check” late on Thursday evening he could see Chai’s cria kicking hard and could hear poor Chai grunt every time the cria kicked.  I am sure Chai is more than ready for the cria to be born and be kicking around the pasture rather than kicking her!

Today a cold front is due to roll into the area, bringing the temperatures down to the 70’s, sometimes a front can also trigger births as the air pressure changes so maybe Chai’s cria will decide it is time to make an appearance into the world.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


October 6, 2007

Is it really Fall?

I am beginning to wonder what has happened to our seasons, after a relatively wet summer with cooler than average temperatures we are now experiencing a warm, dry fall.    Yesterday the temperature reached 90 degrees with high humidity as well, high for us that is.

The alpacas didn’t seem too bothered by the heat; they did a fair bit of sunning but moved around the pasture well so I was not too concerned about them.  Having turned the fans off earlier in the week we had to turn them back on to provide some breeze, I guess when the first snow hits the ground it will be time to clean off the fans and put them up for the winter.

Chai was the only alpaca that seemed to be taking it easier than normal, but considering that she is only two weeks out from her due date her behavior was not unusual.  Of course we kept a close eye on her throughout the day to make sure that she was not going into labor.  Chai loves to sit on the bed of hay in the big shelter, I suspect it provides nice cushioning for her ever growing “bump”, but it means that we have to walk out to physically check on her rather than just looking out of the window.  Throughout the course of the day Chai looked good and was definitely enjoying lying on the hay and nibbling what is left of the big bale that was in the big shelter, she has developed wax caps on her udder now and so we are probably not too far off from her giving birth.

On the Zeus report there is exciting news, he had his biggest gain yet yesterday 0.6 lbs!  We were so excited that we phoned his owners and told them that we were going to have a party.  What will be really exciting is if he can show the same gain today, you can bet we will be holding our breath again as we step on the scales with him this morning.

We finally have a weekend we are both home so are planning on sorting through some fiber to send it off for processing into socks and also sorting out which fleeces to send to the Alpaca Fiber Coop of North America (AFCNA).  We have a lot of fleece to sort through and the process will take a little while but once we get into the routine of sorting some fleece every day the job will soon be done.  We also have several show fleeces to skirt so I need to work on those too as there are some good shows coming up which I would like to enter.

It will be nice to have a weekend without dashing here and there, that is of course unless we end up dashing out to deliver Chai’s cria!


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