A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 18, 2007

Poop, Soup and an Interesting Facial!

Yesterday was an incredibly windy day with sustained winds at 35 – 40 mph and some wind gusts reaching in the mid fifties.  It is always a challenge to do chores in those conditions, getting the hay to the pastures without half of it blowing away, putting out fresh water without a ton of sand landing in it, trying to scoop poop and getting it successfully in the wheelbarrow – such are the joys of doing chores in high winds.

On such an inclement day I have little inclination to be working outside so once the chores were finished it was time to take care of some tasks inside the house.  I am leaving on Friday to go to the Wild and Wooly Alpaca Expo in Folsom, Louisiana to give a presentation on preparing alpaca fleece for showing, and so took the opportunity to gather my paperwork together, check my travel arrangements and start packing for my trip.

With the fall weather outside, it was a good day to have something warm to eat and so I made up a batch of minestrone soup for lunch.  It’s been several months since it has been cool enough to have soup here and so it was a welcome change to our lunch time menu – and it didn’t last long either!

Then it was time to run some fecal tests on the girls pasture.  I had tested the quarantine boys the day before and discovered that despite giving them a preventative treatment for coccidia when they first returned from the State Fair there was still some coccidia present, so another round of treatment is in the works.  The girl’s fecal test however was good which was pleasing and is a testament to our quarantine procedures and also to our use of diatomaceous earth on our feed.  As always when working with fecal samples I was extra careful in the handling of the samples and also of the clean up of my work area once I had finished my tests.  Bleach solution is a wonderful thing!

By 4:30 pm it was time for chores again and the wind was still blowing hard, so round two of battling the winds commenced.  The poor alpacas were not too impressed with the weather either, they loved the falling leaves dropping into the pasture but the wind and dirt blowing into their eyes was not nice for them.  They have access to their shelters and stayed in there for part of the day, but as grazing animals they need to get out and about several times during the day.

On days like today we joke that there is no need to spend money on skin exfoliation treatments in this area – just a couple or rounds of doing chores in the wind and the dust and you get plenty of abrasive exfoliation for your skin!  So not only did I get my work done but I also got to have a facial too!

Rosemary 

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!

Rosemary

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