A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

December 31, 2008

Just Ticking Along

Anya, Cinnamon and Willow, three friends born within days of each other, relaxing in the winter sun

Anya, Cinnamon and Willow, three friends born within days of each other, relaxing in the winter sun


With school being out the last couple of weeks it has meant that Ric has not been called in to teach and so has been available to help out more with various tasks around the farm.  We have been working our way through each pasture checking and trimming teeth and toenails, body scoring the alpacas and inspecting their fleeces.   Everyone looks fine, with the exception of a couple of broken toenails (the result of boys rough housing).


Ric has set up a drain plug heater in one of the big water tubs to prevent it from freezing at night, along with an air hose to blow the water out from the water hose to prevent it from freezing too.  It sure beats dragging buckets of warm water out from the house to water the alpacas with (although the buckets of water provide a great workout for the arm muscles!)


The weather has been fluctuating from warm to cold to warm as cold fronts pass through the area, a situation that always has us more watchful.  The change in barometric pressure seems to have an effect on an animal’s digestive system.  Our vet reports more cases of colic in horses when the barometric pressure suddenly changes, and it does seem that when we have an incident of digestive upset in the alpacas it is often around a period of changeable weather.


Thankfully for the last couple of days the wind has died down, it is tiring enough for us to be hearing and battling the wind as we do chores, how much more so must it be for the alpacas and horses who are out in the wind all day and night.  Certainly they seem a bit lighter in spirit and more relaxed since the wind has subsided, exploring the pastures more and stretching out for a bit of winter sun bathing.


The weanling group are making progress, although I have to say that this particular group of weanlings seems the most determined to continue nursing from their dams.  Usually by now at least a few of the group will be headed for the hay rather than their dams when it comes to be reunited with them in the evening, but this group are all still having a good nurse – perhaps they are egging each other on to do so!  I have noticed though that where, during the first couple of days, there was an explosion of weanlings dashing to find their dams, now they are walking across to the girls and taking more time to find their dams.  Small progress, but progress all the same. 


When I walk into the weanling pen during the day there are always a couple who will come over and tell me their tale of woe.  Dream in particular likes to come over and hum at me, resting her head on my legs and turning her face up to me in the hope that her big brown eyes will persuade me to open the gate and let her back in to her dam Rosie.  Annochia too likes to let me know how she feels about the day weaning process, and expresses her displeasure quite loudly.


As the weanlings are walked across to their day pasture every morning, they also are receiving some good halter training practice.  They are all walking well on their halters, a couple of them are still a little stiff as they walk, but every day we see them getting better and more comfortable with wearing a halter.


So things are ticking along, and soon when the new year starts there will be a return to a more normal routine (if there ever is any such thing as normal!).  The New Year will bring plans for shows, seminars, alpaca sales, product sales and more.   Of course there will be new crias coming on the scene and before we know it shearing will be upon us too with the hive of activity that shearing brings.  As the saying goes “Time stands still for no man” and that is certainly the case around here!


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