A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 5, 2009

The Joys of Technology – (or in our case the lack of it)

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 6:30 am


Well it had to happen, after many years of faithful service my trusty computer is telling me that it is time for it to be retired.   Simple tasks are a challenge to it and I can almost hear it groaning when I try to open up another program or file.  I really can’t complain as in computer terms this computer is a dinosaur, but as dependent as we all now are on computers I really cannot afford to have it crash on me and lose all of our valuable files.


Having seen signs of the computer’s demise we have actually been saving all of our files to a separate hard drive and also have employed an online backup service, so we hope that we would survive if the computer dies before we are able to get another one.


As rural as our business is, there is still a definite need for a computer.  Our herd records are kept not only in our barn book, but also entered into a herd management program on the computer.  Our bookkeeping is also done using a computer program.  To be able to maintain our website and our AlpacaNation site we of course need access to the computer.  Registering crias and registering for shows is now done online.  Marketing pieces, documents, contracts, reference material, photos (don’t even get me thinking about the number of alpaca photos we have stored on our computer) are all there in the computer.


So as much as the alpaca lifestyle draws us away from the rat race and corporate life, it cannot escape the link with technology.  As well as the computer where would we be without our vets ultrasound machine, blood processing equipment and x-ray machine (which now creates the most beautiful images that can be viewed on the vet’s computer) – the list goes on and on.


Having decided that our current computer is on its last legs I thought that it would be easy to replace it – but not so, at least in Clovis, New Mexico.  There are only two stores in town that stock computers and one of those only carries a small range of laptops, the other one is Walmart, not my favorite store by any means, but as large as it is I thought they would surely have some computers in stock – they did but only three desktop models, two of which were inadequate for our needs and the third of which exceeded our budget.


So the search for a new computer has moved online, where there is a dizzying array of machines and suppliers to choose from, along with the prospect of getting acquainted with Windows Vista.  I tell you it’s much easier to pick an alpaca than a computer!



August 22, 2008

Congratulations Girls!


Wednesday we made a trip to the vets with three of our pregnant girls – Theresa, Shiimsa and Queen.  The three girls have all rejected the male three times now and were between 40 and 50 days bred so we wanted to confirm their pregnancy by ultrasound.


Troy and Mary Ogilvie of Timber Lodge Alpacas actually own Theresa, but we are so used to having her at the farm that we slip up occasionally and call her ours.  Shiimsa and Queen are both ours, with Shiimsa being a maiden alpaca (this is her first pregnancy) and Queen being an old hand at the art of getting pregnant.  With some of our older girls we have taken to not ultrasounding them, trusting their rejection of the male as being a sign that they are pregnant, but as Queen had recently had a tooth abscess, had been on antibiotics and subjected to having her abscess drained on a daily basis we wanted to make sure that she had maintained her pregnancy.


Shiimsa we felt certain was pregnant, as her behavior had changed a lot since she was bred.  She is more dominant at the feed tray and has turned into a bossy girl.   Theresa had fooled us last year,  telling us she was pregnant by rejecting the male alpacas when in fact she was not pregnant and had a Retained CL  (See post June 9, 2008 – Not Quite The Result We Expected).  Having treated Theresa for a Retained CL and bred her, we were reasonable confident she was now pregnant but didn’t want to be fooled again by her behavior.  An ultrasound would reveal if this time she were carrying a cria.


We started the ultrasounds off with Theresa and in a short time our vet found a very large fetus – let’s hope that it is a large girl. 


A very nervous Shiimsa was next but she handled the ultrasound well and again our vet quickly found the fetus.  He said that looking at Shiimsa’s fetus he felt that she was about a week further along in her pregnancy than Theresa, which is about right.


Queen was last for the ultrasound and decided to cush when the vet started to examine her.   Our vet left Queen cushed and started the ultrasound, but was unable to see her uterus clearly as Queen had a very full bladder which was pushing up in the area of her uterus.  We should have told Queen to visit the poop pile before we set off I guess.  Our vet’s technician then suggested that perhaps the procedure would be more effective if we could get Queen to stand up.  With a little encouragement Queen did stand up and Ric was able to support her to where she could not cush again.  The vet started the ultrasound procedure and immediately found a pregnant uterus complete with fetus – great news!  (Queen by the way gave us her usual “I told you so look” before jumping back into the trailer).


We were happy to have the three girls confirmed pregnant.  Theresa and Shiimsa are bred to Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel our multiple color champion herdsire, and Queen is bred to Travesura’s Altiplano Treasure, also a color champion herdsire who we co-own with Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas.  


It was good to be able to inform Theresa’s owners that they now have another cria on the way.  Theresa has always produced beautiful cria and I am sure the combination of Theresa and Zin will be a good one.  In about eleven months time we will get to see what Shiimsa and Queen produce from their breedings, it seems like a long while to wait but I am sure before we know it the girls will be giving birth!



June 25, 2008

Three for three is a good thing!

Yesterday was ultrasound day.  The three female alpacas from Texas – Cariad, Marti and Celeste were at a point in their pregnancy when we could confirm their pregnancy by ultrasound and so we headed off to the vets with the three girls in the trailer.


Out vet usually likes to ultrasound at the 45 day post breeding point.  Some vets can confirm pregnancy by ultrasound as early as 21 days post breeding, but our vets’ ultrasound equipment is older and so less clear than some of the newer models.


The girls were actually all closer to 50 to 60 days bred, we had sheared them just a week or so ago and we wanted to wait a while after shearing to make sure the pregnancies had held.  Before shearing we had given the girls Banamine to help with soreness and to help block any early contractions and we had also sedated them with some Acepromazine.  All three girls handled shearing well, and a few days after shearing we behavior tested them with one of our male alpacas and all three rejected the male.


I always love to watch the ultrasound screed and see the image of the embryo as the vet finds it and today we were treated to the sight of three embryos, one in each of the girls. 

We have called the girls owners and given them the good news and they are naturally anxious to get their alpacas home.


So a good day all in all, and it even finished off with a little rain in the evening, what more could we ask for?



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