A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

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!



July 28, 2008

Just Plugging Away

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, General — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 6:49 am

 Saturday was spent doing something a little different.  Planting grass plugs in the back yard.


Ric has been determined since we moved to this property that he was going to have a lawn in the back yard, I was content with something lower maintenance, some xeriscaping perhaps, but Ric really wanted a lawn.


We have been through various attempts at starting a lawn involving different seed and turf with no success.  Our soil is too poor and our water supply limited, but then we came across a possible solution, Turffalo Tech Turf.


I heard about the Turffalo products on a TV show on our local PBS channel KENW.  The show has a local angle and one week featured Curt Jaynes from GardenSource nursery in Portales about 11 miles from us.  Curt mentioned a new grass that had been developed that required half the water of other grasses and (just as important) only needed half the mowing.  The grass was said to be suitable for our hot, dry temperatures and poor soil.


Recently we spoke to Curt about the grass he had mentioned and it turned out to be Turffalo Tech Turf.  You can read more about Turffalo Tech Turf on the Turffalo web site, but basically Turffalo Tech Turf is a hybrid of buffalo grass, a native grass in our area.   The Tech Turf grows much denser than ordinary buffalo grass, which helps prevent weeds invading your lawn once it is established.


Our shipment of Tech Turf arrived on Friday and so we now need to get it into the ground.  The grass comes in little grass plugs that need to be planted 12” apart, as we have a 30 ft x 60 ft back yard that comes out to a lot of grass plugs!  We managed to plant about ¼ of the yard on Saturday, the initial rows took longer as we figured out the best system for planting them, but the more we did the faster we got.


For the next few days though we will be literally plugging away, planting little grass plugs.  Once the plugs are all in we will need to keep them watered until the lawn is established which will be about 30 days.  Not too long, although our dogs Tripster and Missy might be tired of only having the side yard to run around in by then.  They get walks twice a day and so they will still get plenty of exercise.


The Turffalo Tech Turf is a turf grass and so is not suitable for pasture land as far as we know.  We had thought of planting some of the Tech Turf in front of the house, but as we let the alpacas out to graze every now and then we didn’t want to risk them eating it if it was not suitable for them.


Of course when we prepared our ground we used composted alpaca poop as our fertilizer.  Fingers crossed that will help our grass grow.  I’ll keep you posted.



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