A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 26, 2008

Lack of Sleep Delays Light Bulb Coming On

Bjorn\'s BoyOur bottle feeding of our cria continues, although I suspect that before too long nature will take it’s course and our services will no longer be needed by our little female cria.  Yesterday she started refusing bottles at times having already nursed from her dam; we have now extended the period between her bottles with the hope that she will go to nurse from her dam more and the bottle less.


Saturday found us shearing alpacas again and we managed to get most of them done but there are still enough left that we need to plan another whole day of shearing.  The fleece pile is rapidly growing and one of our next tasks will be to decide which fleece goes to which co-op or producer.   Not just yet though, as by Saturday evening it was about all Ric and I could do to stay awake during dinner!


No more of the girls have had their crias yet, although Rebecca had us going for a little while during Saturday’s shearing.  It turned out to be a false alarm and most likely the cria was in uncomfortable position and has now righted itself.


Our cria with the weak knees is showing improvement (that’s his picture at the beginning of this blog entry(.  On our veterinarians advice he has been confined to a small pen with his dam to restrict his movement and prevent him from stretching his tendons in the wrong direction.  He is able to nurse from his dam and has been gaining weight steadily.  Our veterinarian had us start him on regular doses of vitamin’s A, D and E which we administer in a specially made good flavored paste, however the other day it suddenly dawned on me that we really had not been thinking straight.  There was our veterinarian having us administer vitamins A, D and E and there were we keeping our boy and his dam Bjorn in a pen inside the shelter in the shade.  Surely we should be taking advantage of those sunny New Mexico days by allowing our cria to sit out in the sunshine and absorb his vitamins naturally as well as through the paste!  It took a while for that light bulb to come on, but we’ll use the excuse of lack of sleep!  So now we have taken to moving Bjorn and her boy to an outside pen in the sunshine at least for a couple of hours a day and it seems that we are seeing even better improvement since we have been doing that, although that might be completely coincidental.



May 23, 2008

Another Plate to Juggle

My poor blog has been neglected these last few days as my time has been needed elsewhere.  Shearing is still a priority and gradually we are getting there.  We still have 19 alpacas left to shear but some of those are girls who are due to have their crias at any time and who will probably not be shorn until after giving birth.


In addition to shearing we are still bottle feeding our little female cria who was born in the early hours of last Saturday morning.  She is up to 3 hours between bottles now and most likely will soon be able to go four hours between feedings.  She had a bit of a set back as she contracted an infection but thankfully has responded well to antibiotics and is now a lively little thing.  We have finally come up with names for her and Queen’s cria but I will disclose those in another entry. 


On Wednesday we were just about to start chores when we noticed that Bjorn was in labor.  Bjorn’s labor went well and within a short time she delivered a hefty 20.5 lb white male cria, followed shortly by a 9.2 lb. placenta.   That’s nearly 30 lbs that poor Bjorn was carrying around with her!  Bjorn was understandably tired after delivering such a large cria so we gave her some hay, some pellets and a 10cc dose of MSE probiotic enzymes.  We also started her on some arnica Montana to help reduce the bruising and swelling that can follow giving birth.


Bjorn’s cria is a beautiful boy with crimpy, shiny, dense fleece and a beautiful head style.  We are quite happy for the cria to be a male as he will not be related to most our herd.  But there is a problem with him, hopefully one that will rectify itself, for our new cria’s front legs bend backwards. 


We have had our vet examine our new boy and he explained he has seen this condition a lot in horses.  He does not believe the condition to caused by either nutrition or genetics and is optimistic that eventually the crias legs will be normal.  For now our vet has advised us to confine Bjorn and her cria to a small stall to reduce the area that the cria can walk in and also to protect the cria from our rambunctious weanlings.  Splinting the crias legs may be an option, but our vet tells us that in his experience the results of splinting are not much better and splinting brings with it other complications such as pressure sores.


So now when we go out to feed our little girl, we check on our big boy and his dam, making sure he is getting up to nurse, massaging and flexing his joints to the correct position and keeping the stall clean to prevent him from lying in the poop pile that Bjorn has established.  Poor Bjorn is anxious to be cooped up and I think that later today we will let her out for a little walk around the pasture, provided her cria does not get too upset at her being away from him for a short while.


It’s funny how things happen in batches, for years we have had few problems during birthing season and this year we seem to be making up for the years when we were problem free.  At the moment it feels as if we are juggling plates as we move between bottle feeding, giving medicines, working with Bjorn’s cria, watching for signs that another cria is about to be delivered, shearing and just keeping the business running in the meantime.  I have to say that if it were real plates we were juggling we would be in trouble as I have dreadful eye-hand co-ordination, so we will take the “plates” that life is throwing at us for now and hope we continue not to drop them!



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