Well, we are back to normal after a mixed Christmas break.
Mike was rushed to hospital in an ambulance on the 23rd with what turned out to be an irregular heartbeat. He was released back into the wild in the early evening of Christmas Eve and apart from being breathless and tiring easily he is much better and doing bits and pieces around the farm again, although he is still being assessed and may have to have his heart stopped and restarted. The calender seems to be full of various appointments he has to attend including twice weekly blood tests whilst he is adjusting to warfarin which he needs because his heart problem makes him more susceptible to dvts.
He enjoyed his Christmas dinner but went to bed early leaving me and the family to finish off the day in traditional fashion but without him.
The weather in the West Country has been appalling and we have kept the alpacas in shelters or in the barn for most of the time, letting them out to exercise and get a few rays whenever possible. They have all learnt to recognise the shake of a bucket and rush to return to their abode whenever summoned thus. The girls in the barn make a bee-line to get back in as soon as it starts raining. The four Gotland sheep are in with them and they are worse than the goats for eating, so if I do have a bucket in my hand I have to hang on for dear life and dish out the contents before being mugged.
The chickens are enjoying the alpacas being kept in because it means lots of straw and hay lying around with plenty of seeds for them to scratch around for. We have to cover up the wheelbarrows if there is any hay on them or it all ends up on the floor, having been thoroughly scrutinised for the slightest tasty morsel
The cat spends most of her time in the hayloft and only ventures down to have her meals or to nip out for the odd mouse or call of nature if the rain and wind have stopped. She likes to take an overview.
One of the older male alpacas, Anchor, is a very large boy but seems to be getting rather thin. Obviously hay is not a complete substitute for grass, even with added concentrate feed, but I was rather worried so have dosed him and his two companions with an extra dose of wormer. The whole herd will be dosed against fluke tomorrow. Even though they are mainly indoors, we are concerned that they may pick it up when they are out in the wet fields. Anchor will have a dose too and then there is little we can do except keep an eye on him and make sure he gets plenty to eat. They are all having regular doses of ADE paste to try and compensate for the lack of sunshine during the winter months.
We only have three goats left, but the two older boys are having real problems with their feet. I keep trimming them and spraying them with anti-biotic spray but even though they spend quite a lot of time on the dry straw in the their shelter, their feet are wet a lot of the time. Tomorrow we are going to move them to a shelter nearer the house and keep them shut in completely for a week or two to try and help them recover.