Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pet Females

Nick came yesterday after missing last week because of the weather. We prepared 3 young males who are going to their new home on Sunday. This entailed clipping their toe nails, giving them a final ADE (vitamin) injection, and doing a last minute bit of brushing up on their halter training.

We also rescanned some females who had uncertain results when last scanned and some who were not far enough on in their pregnancy to scan before. The results were more or less as expected but not as hoped. Two white females, Audrey and Bianca were not pregnant. Bianca has never been pregnant and Audrey did not take last season or this year. The other two who are not pregnant are the females who think they are males - Emilia and Imogen. It seems they are right. We are going to sell them off at the same price as pet males, which is a great shame because one of them has been successful in the show ring. It is not fair to put them through the obvious stress which overcomes them when confronted with with the possibility of sex with a rampant male alpaca. Can't say I blame them really.

We also formally condition scored the alpacas in the "Remedial Paddock" where any out of condition females are contained so that they can have extra feed and closer attention. It was good to do this with Nick as a second opinion so that we could agree the score. There was only one that we differed on, and of course, Nick was right. We will follow up in a month to monitor progress. We have weaned off as many cria as possible, some of them quite early to give these mothers more of a chance to put on weight to see them through the winter, but some still have cria at foot milking off their backs, as they say. Condition scoring is done on a 1 - 5 scale and involves assessing the coverage of the backbone. The more concave the coverage the lower the score. 3 is the optimum and most of them were 2.5. We are giving them extra vitamins and minerals, all the remedials have been wormed to make sure that is not the reason for their loss of condition - and we currently have a nil worm egg count on the farm apart from a very low presence in the male paddock. We are currently looking for a good Zinc supplement which we feel might be a factor.

Tanya, the black and white cria, is in with the remedials with her mum because after the early weaning of the of the others she would have been the only baby in the main herd and would have no mates to play with.

Mike's dog Jake, seems to have decided to settle down a bit and is doing some stunning agility at home and at training, so watch this space for next season's results

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