A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 1, 2008

People Arriving, Paca’s Leaving

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, Crias, General, shearing — Tags: , , , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:31 am

Rosson

Rosson

 

Yesterday saw the arrival of Kathryn and Tracy Annis from Dripping Springs, Texas.  Kathryn and Tracy are here to pick up four of their girls, Rebecca, Rosson, Athena and Zoie and take them back to Texas.  The alpacas have been boarded here while on consignment sale but now Kathryn and Tracy have a place where they can board them at no cost and so decided to take up that offer.  Rebecca, Rosson, Athena and Zoie will still be listed for sale from our farm so if you are looking for some beautiful alpaca girls to either get your herd started or add to you herd let me know!

 

I will be a little sad to see the girls go, they have been here for close to two years and during that time I have seen Rebecca and Zoie give birth and have raised their crias.  Zoie’s cria Zeus who we worked so hard on getting to gain weight when he was younger will be staying with us and soon joining our herd of junior boys under the watchful eye of our herdsire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel who does well with the younger males.  Zeus is a beautiful young male with such a bright white fleece that shines in the sunshine.  I am looking forward to seeing him mature and using him as a herdsire in the future.

 

Rebecca and Zoie are old hands at traveling and Athena has been to a show or two, but little Rosson will be in for her first long trailer ride.  She did go to the vets with us when we took Rebecca and Zoie for Brucellosis and TB testing, the testing being a requirement for re-entry of alpacas into the state of Texas.  I know that Rosson will miss her seven little cria buddies, it will be very strange to her to be the only cria in her little group, but she will have Rebecca with her and maybe even Athena will buddy up with her.  Athena herself will be leaving her herd mates, but being a little older will probably adjust easier to the change.

 

Of course waiting for the girls in Texas is a real treat – grass!  Not lush pasture right now, but at least some grass to graze.  The shorter grass will give them a chance to gradually get used to grazing having been in a dry lot situation for so long.

 

We will enjoy our time with Kathryn and Tracy, they are both a lot of fun to be around and it has been well over a year since we have seen them.  Poor Ric will be putting up with a weekend full of alpaca talk and fiber talk as Kathryn is also a knitter and now also a weaver and Tracy is a herd manager, shears alpacas and is a Camelidynamics Practitioner.  I am sure Ric will manage to keep his sanity though.  Most likely will busy himself with projects in his workshop where it will be relatively peaceful compared to the chatter of three women who have a lot to catch up on and a lot to talk about!

 

Rosemary

 

September 29, 2007

National Alpaca Farm Day is Here!

Zeus Looking CuteWell today is the day, we have the grass mown, the place tidy (well as tidy as we ever get), the alpacas instructed to be on their best behavior, the cookies made and the alpaca products ready to sell – it’s National Alpaca Farm Day. 

Our radio interview at KTQM on Friday went well, with Ric discovering that the microphone is not going to bite him – a big thank you to Grant and Misty at KTQM for allowing us airtime to promote our event. 

We are not sure how many people will attend today, the nearby air force base has a major change of command ceremony on Monday (not just a change of Wing Commander but the mark of the beginning of a new mission for Cannon Air Force Base) and many people from the base are involved in the preparations for that, there is an ethnic fair being held in downtown Clovis and the wind is forecast to be blowing hard! 

Even prior to the event the publicity already gained for National Alpaca Farm Day has been great and can only have raised public awareness of alpacas.   Some alpacas appeared on the Today Show (go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/16487590/ to view the footage), the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association have run ads on both cable and satellite TV and numerous newspapers have published press releases about the event. 

Here at the farm little Zeus finally gained 0.5 lbs yesterday, now if we can only get him to repeat that gain today.  I have got to the point that I hold my breath as I stand on the scale with him and hope that his weight has gone up and not down.  I am not sure which of the steps that we took is working, but something appears to be so for now we will carry on with all that we are doing.  Carissima is still growing by leaps and bounds and is one of the sweetest crias you could wish to meet; she knows her name and comes running over when I call her in the pasture. 

Carissima and Zeus have been having fun in the evenings chasing each other around the pasture and they have been great entertainment as they frolic around under the soft light of the beautiful harvest moon we have had the last couple of days.  I tried to capture pictures of them in the moonlight, but my photography skills are not up to the challenge of moonlight and fast moving crias. 

Immediately after our Open House I will be heading to Shawnee, Oklahoma for the Compliance Check Class and to volunteer at the Judges Training Clinic.  It is about a seven hour drive to Oklahoma City, where I am going to stop for the night, and I am sure I am going to be glad to see the hotel room after the long drive.  I am not sure of the Internet access availability over the weekend so if the blog is quiet it means I am unable to get online.  Then again I might just turn the blog over to Ric for a couple of days and see what he can come up with! 

Rosemary 

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! 

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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