A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 6, 2009

Au Revoir Shiimsa and Rio

Shiimsa and Rio

Shiimsa and Rio

Sunday saw the departure of Shiimsa and Rio from our farm.  Their new owner Terri Faver collected them so that they could start their new life at Terri’s farm, Almost Canyon Ranch in Canyon, Texas.

Shiimsa is a little bit of a nervous girl and so we gave her some Rescue Remedy to help relax her during her move and also gave both Shiimsa and Rio some MSE Probiotic and Enzyme drench to help their digestive systems adjust to the change in their surroundings.

Shortly after we had finished morning chores we loaded Shiimsa and Rio into Terri’s trailer and they were on their way.  The day was a nice cool one, ideal for traveling alpacas.  Shiimsa showed some concern by humming as we loaded her up, but what she didn’t realize was that once she arrived at her new home she would be reunited with Anya and Serenity who Terri had also purchased from us.  As far as Rio was concerned as long as his dam was there all was okay, I am sure he will miss playing with our other crias, but hopefully Serenity will feel still young enough to join in with his cria games.

What Shiimsa and Rio were also unaware of was that they will soon have access to grass pasture, as Terri has been working hard to get her pastures set up so that the alpacas can go out and graze.  Now that will make them happy!

So we said our farewells to Shiimsa and Rio, but it was really more a case of Au Revoir as we will be seeing them next weekend when we take Regent and Zin over to Terri’s ranch next weekend to breed Anya and Shiimsa.


October 7, 2008

A Sad Start To The Week

Our Dear Beeper

Our Dear Beeper

Sadly on Monday morning Cinnamon’s cria Beeper died.  We became aware that Beeper was not well when I did my last late night check on the pregnant girls on Saturday evening.  As I checked that all of the girls were okay I notice that Beeper was trying to poop but nothing was passing.  I watched him for a while, the poor little guy was pushing really hard but nothing was coming out.


I went into the house and got Ric to help me give Beeper an enema.  Crias do sometimes get constipated, especially if their dams have rich milk as Cinnamon does, but generally I do not like to give crias enemas unless it is essential, and in Beepers case it was.  The enema did not seem to help and so we gave him another one, he passed a little watery poop but was obviously still uncomfortable.


All through the night I checked on Beeper, initially every 20 minutes and then every hour once he seemed to settle down for the night.  I gave him a dose of Rescue Remedy to help him relax and it did seem to bring him some relief.


Sunday morning we tried to call our vet only to discover he was out of town, so we called a different veterinary clinic and talked to the vet on call there.  That vet advised us that the best thing we could do was continue with the enema’s and also give Beeper some Karo syrup which would help draw fluid into his digestive tract.  The vet advised us to keep Beeper hydrated, but said to hold off using any Banamine if possible as he was worried that it might affect Beeper’s kidneys. 


All through Sunday we kept up the regimine the vet prescribed and did manage to get Beeper to pass a little poop so we were optimistic that things were going in the right direction, but by Sunday evening Beeper was becoming bloated and was in pain.  He would strain so hard that he would fall over in the process.  We gave Beeper some Banamine and it did help ease his pain, we spent another sleepless night checking on the little guy.


Monday morning we called our vet as soon as we got up and arranged to take Beeper to the clinic.  There our vet was able to withdraw some poop from Beeper, but said that he could feel a clump of it higher in the bowel.  To try and move the clump of poop Beeper received more enemas and also was tubed with a solution of mineral oil and Epsom Salts.  Poor Beeper was really stressed about the tubing, and it was hard to watch him gasping and stressed, he just could not get comfortable.  Our vet gave him some Banamine and some Dexamethasone.   While we were waiting for Beeper to pass something our vet explained to me that the area where the problem was is not a good area for surgery, it has a unique system of blood vessels and typically surgery in that area ends up in a bad result.  The only option was the tubing and enemas.  Beeper did strain a couple of times, but just a tiny bit of liquid poop came out.


As I watched Beeper I noticed that he was starting to get blue around his lips and nose, he had been getting up and down quite a bit and seemed to be finding it harder to get up.  As Beeper tried to stand up I went to lift him and he went limp, at that point we knew that Beeper was not going to make it and he passed away a minute or two later.


Although we had an idea of what Beeper’s problem was I asked the vet if he could do a necropsy to see if it would provide us with any clues as to why Beeper became so plugged up.


The necropsy revealed that Beepers intestine had ruptured, but the puzzling thing was that while there was some poop in his bowels it was not a huge amount and our vet felt that the enemas and tubing should have been able to move it.  The vet checked Beeper’s stomach and it was not overfull with fluid, so it doesn’t appear that the tubing caused any problem.  There was one thing that was significant though, Beepers bladder was huge.  It didn’t seem to be just filled with fluid but seemed to contain quite a bit of air too, it was about the size of a large mango, which in comparison to Beeper is way larger than it should have been.  Our vet checked for other obstructions in the bladder or surrounding area but found none.  We had seem Beeper urinate earlier that morning so it did not make sense that his bladder was so large.


Unfortunately this is one of those cases where there isn’t really a good explanation as to what happened to cause Beeper’s problem.  It could be that Cinnamon’s rich milk made Beeper’s poop hard to pass, but if that were the case surely the enema’s would have helped.  The place where the bowel ruptured was adjacent to the bladder and I have to wonder if Beeper’s real problem was with his bladder.  As his bladder became enlarged it pressed against the bowel preventing the poop from getting through.


Cinnamon was in the trailer with us the whole time the vet was working on Beeper.  As Cinnamon tends to be highly strung we had given her some Rescue Remedy before we left the house and had also put Velvet in the trailer as a companion for Cinnamon.  Velvet is very calm and did seem to help Cinnamon remain calm while Beeper was treated.


We all miss poor little Beeper, he was quite a character and was such a strong little thing, but the one who misses Beeper most is Cinnamon.  She has been sitting in the pasture crying for her baby.  Whenever Cinnamon sees Ric or myself she runs to the fence crying looking to see if we have Beeper.  Our vet had his technician remove Beeper from the trailer so that Cinnamon would not think I had taken him, but still she runs to Ric and I in the hopes that we will bring Beeper back.  Cinnamon has also checked out Keeva’s cria Sleeper and Dutchess’s cria to make sure they are not Beeper.   So our concern now is for Cinnamon, we don’t want her to become ill from the stress of losing her cria.  We have put her on some MSE drench for the next few days and will also give her more Rescue Remedy throughout each day to help her with her grieving.


You can never get used to losing a cria or watching a grieving dam, it’s a hard experience but one that you risk having if you are in the alpaca business.  You always hope it won’t happen but once in a while it does.  We’ll miss you Beeper, with your funny little hum and your larger than life personality – we’ll definitely miss you.



March 16, 2008

A Productive Day

Yesterday we finally had a chance to catch up on some of the routine herd health tasks.  Between the show in Fort Worth and illness we were a little behind schedule and with many of our pregnant girls coming up to 60 days from birthing we wanted to take care of as many tasks as possible so that we can leave those girls alone until after they have their crias.

Our young friend Alex Stewart joined us for the day; Alex was the subject of a previous post on the blog when he formed an instant bond with Stars, one of the alpacas on the farm, during a farm visit.  Alex has a good touch and manner with animals and is interested in becoming a veterinarian, he had asked if he could come out to the farm on herd health days to assist us and this was the first opportunity we had for him to do so.

Between the three of us we were able to get a lot done and now most of the herd has received a manicure and pedicure (okay we really just trimmed their toenails), preventative ear tick treatment and had their weight and body score checked and recorded.  The few alpacas that we didn’t manage to get too will receive their herd health check during the week.

It is important to keep up with these routine tasks.  Overgrown toenails can cause the alpacas to walk badly and put a strain on their joints, as the weather warms up ticks will be more active and can cause major problems if they take up residence in the warmth and safety of an alpacas ear, and overweight or underweight alpacas need to have their diet adjusted to keep them in good condition.

While dealing with the pregnant girls we were careful to try and avoid excess stress on them, the last thing we want to do is lose a pregnancy because of stress caused by something as simply as a toe nail trimming.  Each girl is different in her personality and hormone levels, some took our work in their stride while others were not so at ease.  To help keep the girls from undue stress we gave them some Bach’s Rescue Remedy about 30 minutes before working with them.  Rescue Remedy is a wonderful preparation and helps just take the edge off things for the girls without us having to sedate them.

Having accomplished much during the day we were joined in the late afternoon by Donna Given of Kiss Me Alpacas who was delivering three of her females to us for spring breedings.  Donna traveled to us from her home in Bandera, Texas and was traveling with her friend Deborah and Deborah’s two daughters Laura and Rachel.  Donna’s daughter Tamara had intended coming on the trip but unfortunately had to stay home to write a paper for a course she is taking.

Donna’s three female alpacas – Celeste, Marty and Cariad – plus Celeste’s cria Skylar Moon and Cariad’s cria Copper Chai were all pleased to come out of their trailer after the long drive and took no time at all to start exploring the quarantine pen.  Celeste was enthralled with some tumbleweeds that had blown into the pen and proceeded to rub herself all over them and then roll on them.  While the tumbleweeds obviously felt good to Celeste we did remove them from the pasture, as the last thing Donna needs is to have to spend time picking tumbleweed out of her alpacas fleeces.

During the afternoon our friends Justus and MJ stopped over too, and so the group of us went out for an evening meal together.  We ate lots, discussed much and enjoyed a great end to a productive day.


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