Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Hi Speed Husbandry

Nick and I vaccinated all 50 alpacas by tea break this morning.  We now have a really good set up in the barn which allows us to feed the animals through quickly and in small lots.  They are quite used to it now and seem quite comfortable and happy to wait their turn for treatment.   Of course there is always the odd grumpy one.  Bourree (a big black female from our original herd) and Ben the wether are usually quite stroppy but they both behaved as if butter would not melt in their mouths this morning.

The very last alpaca to be vaccinated was Citrine and she decided to object and spat at me, so as Mike confirmed that I was not very nice to know I had to shower and change.

We have given a 28 day prior notice to build a new barn behind the existing one.   Because we have sufficient land we are allowed to build a new agricultural building every two years  (not that you would want to) but we have to notify the council and they can have some input on the design, colours, siting etc:  The present barn is not really fit for purpose as it is long and narrow which means that it is not possible to get farm machinery in without leaving the doors open.   The new barn will be the same length  but twice as wide
and so should be evenmore useful.

The land is absolutely sodden at the moment and very muddy and slippery in places.   The dogs have to be hosed off several times a day if they are allowed to run free.  The forecast is for a few days of dry frosty weather so we are hoping that will help.

We have got a very thin female called Tanya.   She is absolutely gorgeous but she is very underweight at the moment so we have moved her up to live with the weanlings for a while.   They have access to some better grass and we are hoping that she will benefit from it.   She has already been wormed, treated for fluke and been dosed with vitamins,so we are running out of ideas.   She is eating alright, but we wonder whether she was being bullied off the feed when she  was with the main herd, although she appeared to be tucking in .   She also seems quite lively.   I was expecting her to be upset at being separated from her Mum and the rest of the females but actually far from pacing up and down the fence as they sometimes do when stressed and wanting to return to their friends, she seems very relaxed and has been seen munching away all day without a care in the world.  I do hope it is simply that she was unhappy for some reason and that taking her out of that situation will help her gain condition.    She is one of my favourites so I do hope she recovers soon.

We have decided to remove  buck from does and house him and the wethered male kid in together.   To this end Mike and Nick spent this afternoon starting to adapt the old pig ark that is in the kid's paddock.  It will be raised up so we can get in to clean it out and the doe kids will go and live with their Mums.    They had to measure the Buck's  horns to make sure the door is wide enough.   They measure 25" tip to tip!!  He is a real gentle giant.

The Goathouse where the does and the buck live at the moment is much bigger than the trailer where the kids live so there will be plenty of room for them all  when we change them around.   When the does are ready to give birth we will move them into the barn so that we can set up the heat lamp if necessary and the kids can stay in the goathouse until their mums return with their new brothers and sisters.

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