Friday, 7 October 2011

Time Flies

Quite a few people have mentioned that I have been lax in my literary duties with the blog!! I must admit I did not know it was quite such a long time since I updated it.  My internet connection on the laptop was very slow and my son, David, took it away and diagnosed a fault with the wireless card.  He supplied and installed a dongle to replace it, but I have fallen at the last hurdle with an apparent inability to connect with my home hub.   That means that blogging has to take place on the farm computer in the barn.  Not very appealing in the evenings.  I will have another go at the laptop shortly.

Another excuse is that our TV died, and although we do not watch all that much TV in the summer, we thought it would be a good idea to replace it so we have bought a modern TV with LCD screen LED back light etc:  Not a huge one, but 32" is about as big as we could stand in our little log cabin.  The thing is it is really riveting.    Everything is bigger and better.  Mike can actually work out which car is which when watching Formula 1 and the scenery looks great in Escape to the Country, Sheepdog trials etc:

Since the 13th September when I last blogged, I went to the annual Veterinary Issues Day run by the South West Alpaca Group and found the speaker quite interesting but the second speaker was unwell and so another alpaca breeder who is studying for a PHD gave a very interesting talk on parasitology.   We have FECs (Faecal egg count) done by our vet to avoid long term use of wormers which can encourage resistance to the treatment in the worm community.  We worm when there is a significat presence of worm eggs in the dung.  The talk highlighted the importance of taking individual samples as opposed to pooled samples, which I have been doing, and she had also been doing some interesting research into the effects of wormers on cria when weaned.   Stressed livestock are more likely to seccumb to disease, parasites etc: and of course having your mum taken away is stressful for the cria.

I decided to have some individual samples tested and the results were very interesting and although I knew that each alpaca would have a different level, if any, of infestation, I was surprised at how big the difference was.  As a result we have changed the wormer we use, as a once off, as two of the alpacas had a presence of tape worm.   This is usually not particularly harmful, but we decided we would try and get rid of it anyway.   After  24 hours we moved the females down to the winter paddocks which have not been grazed for several months, hoping that they will have shed the eggs before moving.

Tessa, the vet, came to carry out pre-movement TB testing on some alpacas which were about to go to their new home and whilst she was here I asked her to look at Maddy's shoulder again to see if she thought I should take her into the surgery.   She agreed that the swelling was increasing and thought they should withdraw some fluid and send it away for testing, so I took her in and after a few days the results came back showing that the swelling did indeed contain blood but the suggestion was there could be an underlying tumour.   I was not surprised, but obviously worried.    We decided to let nature take its course and keep her on metacam to control the pain and see how it went.  

The swelling continued to increase and she spent most of the time stading up and panting and so last Monday Tessa came and euthenased her.   I held her leg to make the vein stand out and her heart stopped before the entire dose had left the syringe so she must have been ready to go.  Mike buried her next to my dear Tilly Tonkers behind the barn.

On a more cheerful note, Dolly is going great guns with her sheepdog training.   She absolutely loves it and she is going out into the big field next week, which is apparently much sooner that expected with a novice dog.  Her agility is also improving.  It was mainly her weaving which was holding her back but she has found out that it is more fun if you go fast.   She does a bit of a Diesel scream as she goes through them.  I hope it is a good omen because Diesel Designer Blue to give him his full title is a very successful agility dog and he is her grandsire.

We have ordered our new barn so that we can start converting the old barn into a dwelling in the new year.  It should be arriving in about a month and in the meantime we are hoping that the groundwork will take place so that it can be erected as soon as it arrives.  Robbie, our architect, came along on Thursday to finalise a few points to enable him to alert the Building Regulations Department and get various reports which strange initials which you have to have to comply.   We have arranged for gas to be piped to the new build at a very reasonable price because the pipeline runs through our property anyway so there are no complications with having to dig up the main road or anything.

Seven, the sickly kid, is in remission at the moment but she is not right.  Her twin sister, Eight, is always with her, which is sweet.   The other five kids are together most of the time but Seven and Eight are often to be seen cuddling up or in the shelter munching at the hay when the others are out and about.

Chickens are not laying much, but still enough to keep us in eggs for domestic use.  No surplus for the neighbours, though.

We put the male alpacas in with the does and the buck for a short time whilst we were clipping toe nails and worming the females.    Pedro and Charlie climbed goat mountain. 

No comments: