Thursday, May 27, 2010

All Things Alpaca

First Cria of 2010

The arrival of the first spring cria is always a wonderful event to celebrate the end of another dreary, long winter. Even in these
parts the winter was longer and harder than most. Crias are arriving about 25 days late. Carrington arrived at 10:00 AM on a beautiful spring day to the delight of ranch visitors who stood watching in awe from the fence. Gratefully, it was a normal birth without any unexpected twists and turns. I often forget I have it in the refrigerator, but an injection of Banimine can sure come in handy particularly when you have a female that is having trouble standing still for her newborn to nurse. Does a wonderful job of taking the edge off so the female can relax a bit after the ordeal of giving birth. One cria down, one more to go this spring. Carrington is anxiously awaiting a playmate.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking Juveniles to Shows

I am always excited to take new alpacas to spring shows. However, I personally continue to question the wisdom of taking youngsters under a year old. They always seem to come back with something I have to treat. It makes for a long road after the show. It sure is hard to wait until they are in the yearling class but in terms of developed immune systems, I think they have a better chance of return from the experience without incidence. - AOL Search Results

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Words Free and Cheap Can Spell TROUBLE With Alpacas

As a marketing incentive some ranches offer free alpacas which amounts to a pet-quality animal. I have no problem with this practice if the receiving farm is local. Weaning a cria, putting it on a transport, expecting it to endure weeks of quarantine, introduction to a new social group, new climate, new food. All this spells change and stress, no matter how much probiotic you give. An alpacas immune system is not at optimum until 13 months. Fiber loss/breakage is not an uncommon repercussion. This temporary hair loss particularly on the back of the neck, will resolve in 6-9 months. However, it presents a new problem for the existing cria group who think it is great fun to chase tuffs of fleece around the pasture and sometimes ingest it. Not so good. At this rate, one little guy from Ohio is not going to need to be sheared this year!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Comings and Goings of Animals

At no time is the fact more clear that alpacas are social animals then when you change their groupings by moving animals into or moving animals out of the herd . It is a delicate balance. Yesterday, I was reminded of this when I delivered 4 animals to a new client. The group that arrived at their new destination of course had a lot of new stimulus to deal with. However, the rest of the herd also goes through an adjustment because "friends" and/or possibly nemisis have been removed from the scene. Just as much humming goes on at either end. It will of course subside in a few days but just another phenomenon to observe in the never-ending fascination of owning alpacas!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Irrigating the Fields

I always feel like Spring has sprung when I flood-irrigate the fields for the first time in the spring. Of course, it is snowing today! Rather like washing you can always be sure it is going to rain the next day. The fescue fields are already showing signs of life and the alpacas are quick to make the most of any green morsel they find. Everyone is spending a boring day in the pens waiting for the fields to dry out a bit. The back two orchard grass fields need warmer temperatures to start turning green.

The crop of crias from the fall are all being weaned this week in ancipation of their first show at the end of April in Denver. Their mothers have already started the process and are less receptive to their nursing but that doesn't mean a few of them aren't pining away for mommy on the other side of the fence. The first few days are a little rugged but they soon get over it. The first cria of the season is due at the end of April.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Receiving Outside Animals

From time to time, I take on boarding animals or animals that stay for short periods of time while waiting for a transport to pick them up. While breeders who have been in the business for any length of time often follow good bio-security practices, it is important to stick to your guns about doing fecal tests on any outside alpacas. This includes females and cria who have arrived at your farm for breeding services.

Regardless, of what medical records say, or the fact that a farm tells you the animal(s) has been "wormed, keep them in the quarantine pen and get your own test by your own vet two weeks after the animal has arrived on your property. This practice will save you money, time and aggravation, along with preventing the introduction of unwanted parasites into your pastures. Young animals are notorious for shedding large amounts of eggs because their immune systems are not fully developed.

We are blessed with a dry, hot climate. Animals coming from other geographical locations often have parasites that are not as abundant here in New Mexico. Keep it that way by following good herd health protocol.