Wednesday, 17 February 2010

All Systems Go

We drenched all the alpacas with ADE paste yesterday to ensure that they have enough vitamin D in the months when there is not much sunshine.  By the way, drenching means administering by mouth!!  We don't spray them with it!!

Ben, our only wether, is always a pain about having his toe nails clipped, and  unfortunately when we were administering the ADE we noticed that his nails had grown to a point where they looked uncomfortable.  The whole herd is overdue for a nail trim, especially since they seem to grow faster in the wet weather, and this will be done shortly.    We have noticed on other occasions that when an alpaca gets really worried about anything we are trying to do, they calm down a lot if we cover their eyes.  This usually entails just putting a hand over them and Nick suggested we tried it with Ben.   We wrapped a towel across his eyes, and although he went into a kush, Nick, who was holding him said that he felt quite relaxed.  This is the first time since we have had him that I have been able to trim his nails without having a fight.  It was much less stressful for him and for me too.  Nick says this works with other livestock, so it is worth remembering.

I am really concerned about the goats who seem to be really cold.     They are shivering a lot even though they are shut in the goathouse and we have put extra layers of straw under them.  When you touch them they feel quite warm, though.  Mike is away today, but I nailed up a tarpauling across the doors to try and keep the wind out and make it a bit cosier for them. 

This morning one of them looked really poorly so I gave Nick a ring to help me give her an anti-biotic jab. If it was an alpaca I could do it on my own but I am not used to handling the goats yet and I did not want to stress her too much.  He thinks she just has a cold and advised giving her some glucose and extra feed.
I had already put them back on to the more nourishing haylage plus extra goat food.  I am now upping the feeding to three times a day instead of two until they get their fleece back.

I wish we had not had them sheared now, but it was a catch 22 situation.   When we bought them we were told that they needed to be sheared twice a year and were due in January.   We did not have it done in January because of the snow and really bad weather, and judging by the amount of fleece I think it would have been very difficult to shear them if we waiting any longer than we did.

Good news as well, though.  Bono is still thin but not quite as bad as before.  He is also much more lively, so we are hoping he will continue to improve.  Crystal, who was very thin, is at last putting on some weight.   She has been thin for a long time but we could not find a reason.  Her blood tests showed no deficiencies or any particular reason for her condition.  She was thin all the time she was pregnant with this last cria and as it was a late birth, the cria was only weaned a month ago.  She will now have several months to get back to being her normal hefty self.

The puppies are doing well.   Romie is being a very good Mum but is quite careless when jumping out of the box or back in - she often causes a noisy outcry from her babies.   

Mike and Nick have been cutting down trees along the farm entrance and our neighbour from across the road volunteered to help.  He cut back the laurel hedge that runs the whole length of the frontage on one side of the gate in just two days.  He is coming back after his holiday to do the other side of the gate.  It makes it look a lot more cared for and has released quite a lot of extra space which can be used for grazing.

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