A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 4, 2008

Eye Baths All Round


The ragweed is late in making it’s appearance this year, but that hasn’t stopped it from having its usual effect on those who live around it.  Typically I know that most of August will be spent with red, swollen, itchy eyes courtesy of ragweed allergies and I am not alone in that affliction as one of our alpacas, Ivanna, seems to have ragweed allergies too.


We have noticed in the past that at certain times of the year Ivanna has sneezing fits, which coincide with when my allergies are at their worst.  This year though we have noticed that one of her eyes is also a little weepy.  We cannot see anything in it that could be causing the problem, no signs of stray hairs, pieces of weed or dirt or an ulcer.  Initially I thought that just because only one eye was affected that Ivanna’s eye irritation could not be allergies, but then I realized that my left eye is always more affected by the ragweed than the right one.


I know that it helps me to bathe my eyes regularly during the peak of ragweed season; at that point they are so sore that even plain water can sting my eyes, but it does seem to help if only by removing some of the pollen that has made contact with my eyes.  So we have taken to bathing Ivanna’s eye every day and it appears to be helping.


We had consulted with our vet as to what to use on Ivanna’s eye, we had tried to locate some sterile water but apparently that is a rare commodity in Clovis, New Mexico, our vet came up with an easy suggestion though, to use lactated ringer solution and so that is what we are doing.  We fill a 12 cc syringe with the solution (no needle on the syringe of course) and gently irrigate Ivanna’s eye.  So far we have not had any problems doing this and Ivanna seems to quite enjoy having her eye flushed.


At the same time as Ivanna started with her weepy eye, we noticed that one of the other girls Bjorn seemed to have a little grass seed stuck on her eye.  So Bjorn has had her eye flushed too and also received some antibiotic ophthalmic cream on her eye.  The ophthalmic cream comes in two preparations one with steroids and one without and we always use the cream without the steroids as the steroids in the other cream could cause a pregnant female to abort.  Bjorn is not as cooperative as Ivanna about having her eyes treated, but it is necessary to ensure the good health of her eye in case the grass seed scratched it.


So Ivanna, Bjorn and I are all enjoying our eye baths (I am still sticking to plain water for me!), but I have to say that their eyes are looking a lot better than mine!   Roll on the end of the ragweed season!



August 8, 2008

A Couple of Updates


Things seemed to have settled down with young Dream’s milk intake.  While she had the one day when she seemed very hungry she has settled back to her pattern of taking 10 oz of milk or slightly less at each feeding.  The supplemental milk we give Dream is not a large part of her daily intake, she still has her dam Rosie who she nurses from and who seems to have a good supply of milk.  Some times when we are feeding Dream Rosie will wander over and call Dream away to nurse from her.  When that happens I do not intervene, Rosie needs to have her udder relieved and Dream needs the milk she produces.


Dream also nurses from Griffin the llama and when we body score Dream she is definitely not thin, but I have decided that for now we will stick with the 10 oz of milk twice a day rather than reducing it further.  In time Dream will most likely give me her own signals that she is ready to reduce the amounts she consumes and so I will follow her lead, at least until it comes time to wean her.  I did wonder the other day as I watched various alpaca crias nursing from the llamas at what point the llamas will tell the alpaca crias no more?  I suspect that once we do our final weaning that bond will be broken, but you never know, maybe one day I will be looking out and seeing those same crias all grown up and still nursing from the llamas!  Surely not!


We have made progress on our girl Queen who has the tooth abscess.  She has now finished her course of antibiotics and the swelling on her jaw is greatly reduced.  There is still a little bump there and we still have to drain and flush the abscess once a day.  We have noticed though that in the last two days the flush solution appears to be going into Queen’s mouth when we syringe it through the external hole of the abscess.  I can block the flush solution by placing my finger a little way up from the abscess and putting pressure on that area to block the progress of the fluid.  I am not sure that the bentadine/lactated ringer solution going into Queen’s mouth is detrimental to her, but if the flushing solution can make it into her mouth then I wonder if some of the pus from the abscess is traveling that way too.  We will be consulting our vet about the situation with Queen, but he is on vacation in Alaska until later this week.  (Lucky man – Alaska is beautiful at this time of the year and he well deserves the vacation).


In the back yard our Turffalo Tech Grass is also making progress.  The first sprigs we planted have started to grow and appear bushier.  They have also started to put out runners as they establish themselves in the ground.  The weeds unfortunately have started to creep back and so Ric is spending time every day pulling the little weeds from between the grass plugs.  Backbreaking work but it has to be done if the Turffalo Tech Grass is going to survive.


So good progress all in all, which is what we like to see.  Our pregnant girls who are due in the fall are also making progress of a different kind.  We see their crias moving around inside them and notice their appetites have increased; they also tend to take more breaks between sessions at the feed troughs, resting to chew their cud and enjoy the sunshine.  Not too many more weeks and they will be giving birth and we will be back into the cycle of delivering crias.  Funny it seems as if we just finished doing that!



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