Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Flies strike kid.

We have been away for the weekend and Nick has been looking after things for us.  On Sunday he noticed that one of the kids was scouring (farming term for diarrhoea) and suspected Coccidiosis  which is caused by a parasite found on the ground and which can be fatal if not treated.   He dosed her with some Vecoxan the recognised cure and by the time we arrived home on Sunday night she appeared to be much better.   We washed her off so that we could tell if she scoured again and we thought we were in the clear, although we decided to dose all the kids as a precaution.  This morning, however, the scouring reappeared so it is possible that it was caused by a worm burden, so the poor little thing had an injection of dectomax wormer.   On his arrival Nick checked her over and found that maggots had assembled around her dirty bum and were about to burrow into her skin (fly strike) was imminent,.   We did not have any specific applications for maggots but found an ageing bottle of spot on which is a cattle parasite killer.   This seemed to do the trick and when we checked her this evening the maggots appeared to have left.   We will need to keep a close eye on her, however, as once the maggots get into the flesh they will devour the animal and kill it within a few hours.

We had planned to trim all the goats around the tail area to prevent contamination and also to trim their hooves, so the first part of the morning was dedicated to goats and kids.

We then trimmed the toe nails of all the female alpacas.   Whilst trimming, which was a bit later than normal, I noticed than some nails had broken off and fitted exactly around the pad, which brought up the question of what happens if we don't trim their nails.   We decided to leave the toe nails of the males, whilst checking them from time to time, to see if the nails actually break off naturally when they get too long.   If this was the case it would make alpaca husbandry practically  nil as worming and vaccinations are infrequent and simple events which are not very labour intensive, unlike toe nail clipping with is quite hard work and can be stressful for the animal if they are feeling temperamental.  Apparently in the sheep world foot trimming is very infrequent and no harm seems to come to them.

We also had to do my least favourite job on the farm which is tagging and chipping the young cria.  We did 5 today.  Unfortunately I was applying some button tags to cria belonging to a customer who has not yet collected her animals and must have misloaded the tagger resulting in a pinched ear and the necessity to cut the tag off and contact the customer to admit my error and get her to re order a tag for her favourite little girl!!  I expect she will be understanding as she is very nice, but I shall be very embarrassed.

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