A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 4, 2008

More Milk Please!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, Cria Care, Crias, General, guard llamas — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 6:31 am
Dream July 2008

Dream July 2008


Young Dream is growing fast; she now weighs well over 40 lbs and is a sturdy little girl.  Dream is still getting two bottles of milk a day from us in addition to nursing her dam Rosie.  When Dream was born her birth was a difficult one and Rosie was too sore to let her nurse for the first couple of days.   Dream was started on the bottle, and eventually we were able to get her to nurse from Rosie but she still needed some supplemental feeding.


As Dream grows up we have to decide how and when to cut back on her extra milk.  She is now eating hay and a little grain and in addition to nursing from Rosie and getting her bottles she also takes milk from our guard llamas now and then.


About a week or so we noticed that Dream was sometimes not drinking all her usual 12 oz of milk at each bottle feeding and so we took this as a sign that she was ready for us to start cutting back the supplemental milk.  We reduced her bottles to 10 oz each feeding with the plan to reduce her bottles by two ounces per feeding each week.


This last week she seemed to be doing okay with the 10 oz of milk, she drained the bottle each feeding and seemed content when she did so.  So our plan seemed to be working well, that is until last night when she not only drained the bottle but also kept trying to get more from it and followed me around humming at me asking for more milk.  I took her over to Rosie to nurse but she wasn’t interested, I know she had nursed Rosie just before I fed her, but as Dream was acting as if she was hungry I thought perhaps she wanted to nurse from Rosie again.


I wondered if I should give her some more milk from the bottle, but decided against it.  We were about to give the girls their evening feed and so Dream would be joining the other crias in a pen for some time with some hay and a little grain.  It was tempting to pander to Dream’s request for more milk, those big brown eyes of hers are quite appealing, but I know that she has access to plenty of milk and food and so felt that it was best not to encourage her to increase her intake from her bottle feedings.


Dream ate well with the other crias and seemed happy afterward, perhaps I had just caught her at a time when she was more hungry than usual, or perhaps I had made up a particularly good tasting batch of milk for her.  We will see what happens over the next few days.  If Dream persists in telling us she is hungry we may have to increase the bottle feedings again.  She is now on a monthly weighing schedule and is due for weighing this week and that will give us a good indication of whether she is getting enough to eat.  From her body score though I don’t think there is a problem as he is certainly not thin!



September 28, 2007

A Radio Appearance and More on Zeus

This morning we are off to a bright and early start as we are appearing on a local radio station KTQM at 7 a.m.  We will be talking to the Morning Show hosts Grant McGee and Misty Presley about our open house this Saturday in recognition of National Alpaca Farm Day.  I’m not sure what questions or comments Grant and Misty will have but I am sure it will be a fun experience.  

The impetus for National Alpaca Farm Day is certainly building with many farms opening their doors to the public on September 29.   We will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have alpaca products available, tours of the alpaca farm and even some cookies and drinks for visitors. 

Immediately following our open house I am planning on driving to Oklahoma City and then onto Shawnee, Oklahoma on Sunday for an Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association Compliance Check Clinic.  The Compliance Check is a method used to accurately place alpacas in the correct classes at shows based on their fleece length and color.   Following the clinic there is a Judges Oral Reasoning Clinic, which I will probably stay and volunteer at until Tuesday when I will need to head home. 

At home young Zeus has again stopped gaining weight.  We were so thrilled when he gained for the one day, but then his weight stabilized and yesterday he lost weight.   We feel that while Zoie has some milk she may not have enough to allow Zeus to gain weight.  We are also wondering if the day he gained weight was as a result of Carina allowing him to nurse from her while she was distracted. 

In an effort to improve the situation with Zeus we have upped Zoies calorie intake by allowing Carina, Chai (who is in the last few weeks of her pregnancy) and Zoie to be in a pen with a flake of alfalfa hay between them.  We don’t usually feed our alpacas alfalfa as it is really too high in protein for them, but the girls we are giving it to have a need for it right now.  By penning the three girls up together with Zeus and Carissima it also allows Zeus to have a nurse off Carina who has plenty milk. 

We have also started Zoie on an extra ration of the herbal lactation stimulant and some of the MSE Probiotic Drench.  I will also give her a treatment with the photonic red light that is supposed to help milk production.  Fingers crossed something will work to help increase Zoie’s milk production. 

We did try Zeus with a bottle yesterday, but like many alpaca crias he did not want to have anything to do with it.  We tried both goats milk and whole cows milk without success.  Zeus seemed a little more comfortable with the whole cows milk (to which we have also added some whipping cream and full fat vanilla yoghurt) but he still was not at all cooperative about drinking from the bottle.  It may just be a case of being persistant in getting something in him. 

We will be holding our breath this morning as we weigh Zeus, I won’t feel comfortable leaving town if he does not start to gain weight soon.  Ric will be here to look after Zeus while I am gone, but I will still be reluctant to leave town if Zeus is not progressing in the right direction.   Let’s hope we can exhale with a sigh of relief once we have weighed the little guy! 


September 24, 2007

On The Matter of Boys

The State Fair is now over and Ric and the alpacas have returned home.  All of the show alpacas will now be placed in quarantine for about three weeks just in case they picked something up at the show that could be transmitted to the rest of the herd.  We will also give them a preventative treatment for coccidia for the next five days, as that is a parasite that can sometimes make an appearance after shows.   

Having the Darts of Llano Soleado Alpacas so close to our farm works out great for both herds.  We each take one group of alpacas for quarantine – this time we will quarantine all of the show males from both farms and the Darts will quarantine all of the show females from both farms.  By doing this each farm only needs to provide one quarantine pasture, plus it means that there are no lone alpacas quarantine, as between us we always have more than one show alpaca of each sex.

Our boys did not do quite as well at the show as Shiimsa, but we still came home with some ribbons.  A fifth place for Rascal and a sixth place for Treasure with little Echo and Rian not placing.  All of the boys we took to the show were white and the white male classes are typically the most competitive classes in the show, so to even get a ribbon in a white class these days is something to be grateful for.

On the home front, Zoies cria now has a name; his owners are calling him Zeus.  It is a name that really suits him and follows the “Z” theme of his sire (Zindel) and dam (Zoie).  It also ties in with his grandsire Poseidon so all in all it is a good name for the little guy. 

Young Zeus had actually lost 1/10 of a lb. in weight when we weighed him yesterday morning, it is not unusual to have crias lose some weight on their first day but I am still a little concerned about Zoie’s ability to produce milk.  I feel she has some, but wonder if it is enough for her cria.

Signs that a cria may not be getting enough milk are lethargy, frequent nursing and a lack of a milk moustache when the cria comes away from nursing his dam.  Zeus trotted around a little yesterday, but I would like to see him a little more active, he is not nursing frequently but I did see Zoie walk away while he was nursing yesterday.  I went out and watched Zeus trying to nurse and noticed that Zoie’s teats each have a raw spot or two on them.  Either little Zeus has some sharp teeth, or he is sucking so hard on Zoie that he is irritating her udder.  When watching Zeus nurse I do not see a milk moustache on him when he comes away from nursing, milk moustaches are harder to see on white crias but I just don’t see any signs of milk on his lips.  He could well be fooling us as he did have a small frolic around the pasture with Carissima yesterday evening that shows that he at least has some energy.

So this morning we will see how much weight Zeus has gained, if it is very little or a weight loss I will introduce a supplemental bottle or two of goats’ milk and yoghurt.   Perhaps if Zeus felt fuller then he would not suck so hard on Zoie and her udder will get a chance to heal.   Actually Zeus has taken matters into his own hands (or feet!), I caught him earlier today stealing milk from Carina as Carissima was nursing.  If Carina had not been producing much milk I would have taken steps to stop Zeus from nursing her, but as she produces a lot of good milk I let him continue to nurse.  Hopefully as the days go by Zoie’s milk will really come into it’s own and we will not need to be so concerned about little Zeus.   Whether or not he stops stealing milk from Carina will be a different matter though, to quote my mother “it’s unusual for a man not to find his way to the pantry” and in Zeus’s case I think he has found a new pantry to visit in Carina!


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