Monday 29 October 2012

A bit more poo!

Today started mega badly.  I got in the car and it had died in the night - it would not start.  I went into panic mode as I knew I would have to drive Carl's truck and, I know this sounds wimpy, I have never driven it on the road before - it is just too big and 'manly' for me.  I girded my loins and did a bit of reversing in the drive to check I knew where reverse  was, gripped the wheel and kangarooed down the drive praying I would not meet anything on our wiggly narrow roads.  I crept along at 20mph and even hit 30mph going through Woolland - but I almost reached my nemesis going up the cut.  I was half way up round the bend when careering towards me was The Gamekeeper followed by a small van and a transit - three vehicles at once is almost unheard of.  Automatic driving took over and I pulled up the bank ( I think I even lifted my hand from the wheel to wave in a sort of action man grip type of way with a rictus grin on my face), everyone passed, I came off the bank and drove off finally making it to the field gate - and never have I been so pleased to pull into the field!  Once I was there I decided to stay there until Carl came to rescue me but, having no food, I then had to walk to Okeford which is a VERY long way.  I then had to walk back which is uphill a lot of the time.  Luckily, The Builder passed me as I was on the long stretch back up the hill and he gave me a lift.

Teddy, one of the sheep, had by then got her head stuck through the stock fencing (due to her horns she can get through but then not back again) and, as I could not find the bolt cutters, I had to spend ages sawing away with a hand saw blade I found in the barn.

I expected Carl to appear at 6pm with my car all charged up and raring to go but he didn't as I forgot I had the car keys with me.  Finally, Sam appeared with Carl and I have a car diagnosis, "Damp!"  How can that  be?!  I have been damp for weeks but I still go!  It had better start in the morning or there will be serious ramifications!

On the alpaca front, Dilly did a poo today - which I retrieved.  He must have done them before (after the mega long one) but this is the first I have seen and it is mighty odd.  I have never known a 3 and a bit weeks old cria pooing like this.  I cut it in half as the outside looks like a chocolate eclair - in fact the inside does as well.   It appears to have a membrane round a hard chocolate bean - quite a big one considering the size of Dilly.  I have a photo for your delectation as I wonder if anyone else has a cria who poos like this - should I be worried?
 And, as that was an unpleasant photo, here is Dilly with Dippy who he is trying to make friends with!

Sunday 28 October 2012

Weight gains - weight losses

Cold and wet - me and the weather!

We managed most of the Lambivac but then it started to get too muddy and wet so we had to stop.  Dilly has drunk a little more so far today but he has lost weight and is back to 6.4kg which is not good.  Tulisa, however, has gained weight, 2kg in a week and a half, and is getting very demanding with her bottles!  She also looks completely gorgeous - in a monkey kind of way!

This afternoon we went on a paddock check and have now sold Trevor and Storm.  They are not ready to go yet but a lovely new home awaits them when they are.  It is the ideal alpaca home and I am very happy to have sold them.  Storm I was originally rather keen to keep but I had an ultimatum - it had to be him or Yossarian and I really do not want Yossarian to go.  In the end I may have to very reluctantly add Yossarian to the sale list - not because I want to but as I really haven't enough suris unrelated to him that could be mated to him - and he is very lovely!

I have been trying to get some decent photos to send to someone but everyone started sulking and turning their backs to me - I put it down to the weather.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Dents and Feeding worries

A  large bale falling onto a Mitsubishi truck causes dents!  By the time Sam arrived home last night the roof had been kicked back up (I could tell this by the large boot prints in the interior) and the bonnet had received a little 'panel beating'.  Remarkably the whole of the exterior sparkled and shone as Sam and his boss had also pressure washed it and polished!  Carl checked it over to make sure none of the structural bits were damaged and something required doing to the suspension which is a little technical for me to go into but all in all I think Sam was lucky.

I am still struggling with Dilly who desperately wants his bottle but takes a sip and then stops.  I have taken his temperature and that is normal, checked his mouth and nothing appears amiss.  The only thing I could think of was that he still had a poo problem.  Carl was left in charge whilst Sam and I went over with Mother to visit relations and have a very splendid dinner.  Carl did his best but by the time we got back Dilly was still not drinking much and shivering badly.  We decided we would have to do another soapy water thing and I wrapped him in an alpaca scarf until he stopped shivering - I try not to fuss him but this was a bit of an emergency I felt.  After about 10 minutes he had a mighty bout of wind, stopped shivering and did drink about 150 ml.  He is now lying in state with Bert in the field shelter looking very perky and chewing hay.  Next worry is whether to give him his Lambivac tomorrow.  He is not a month yet but I was planning to give him his early due to being a bottle  fed - I will have to mull that one over.

Tulisa is taking full advantage of the Dilly situation as she really loves bottles now and finishes everyone he leaves.  She is very small, still drinks from Lina but Lina does not really have enough milk.  Tulisa has never, until now, shown any interest in a bottle.  Now that she is, I think she is starting to really grow - tomorrow we will weigh!
A busy day tomorrow as we have all the Lambivac injections to do as well as visiting a couple to check out the size of their paddock!

Friday 26 October 2012

What happens when you drop a tonne bale?

I am glad I made some feel better about their day!  Cake making is off the agenda as the hens have now given up laying.

Carl told me to stop moaning  - so I have and today has improved in some ways.  Dilly still will not have a bottle.  He wants one and has a couple of sips but then gives up.  I have changed the teat, thrown the milk out and got new, cleaned all bottles - still will not drink and he is cold despite his coat.  He is still lively though but does keep retreating to the filed shelter where he sits in solitary splendour - moaning, just like Bert does!
The weather has really turned today - I wore gloves for the first time for ages this morning.  And on the subject of arctic winds - Arctic Lad really is beginning to look ridiculous now - he is too big to drink standing up and so has to lie down.

So - despite the Dilly feeding worry - today has been better for me.  However, today was Sam's turn to have a REALLY bad day - his boss dropped a tonne bale on his truck (his most prized possession)!  I am waiting to view the damage!

Thursday 25 October 2012

Roll on Friday

Today has been - not to beat about the bush - rubbish.  I am now in a foul mood, made no better by the fact that the cat, Little Wee, stole the vast majority of my portion of roasted pork loin from my plate.  Just to catalogue my day for those who want to see that their day has been better than mine -

Dilly would not drink his bottles properly - he has only managed 300 ml in  an entire day.

The Mule is hopelessly stuck in the mud so I have had to carry bales and water around  without wheels.

Going up the cut at lunch time I met big tractor with beaters wagon on the back.  I backed back into a gateway - thinking as I did so, I am going to get stuck - which I did.  I could not roll out as there was a bank behind and could not go forward despite putting a Tesco's Bag for Life as far as I could under the stuck wheel.  Actually, this was not a complete disaster as The Perfect Tractor Driver had pulled up to check I wasn't stuck and, when he saw I was, he returned to help.  Pushing and a board did nothing so he reversed back an pulled me out.  Not sure how Tesco will react to a Bag for Life being  returned with a tyre print through the middle.

It has been misty/foggy (not totally sure of the difference) all day.

Tried to make a cake and broke the eggs directly into the mixture - one egg was off.

The End

Sunday 21 October 2012

A bit of movement

Not a bad day for getting animals moved round today.  Dude is in his winter quarters.
Not really very well planned as he now has the biggest field shelter all to himself - and he rarely uses it!  When the mud dries up we are going to have to move it yet again I fear.

The babies and Mums are enjoying their new paddock with plenty of  grass.
Dilly is very lively but not making much progress in the weight gain department.  Once he has had his bottle he reverts back to sucking on Bert's legs - something all her cria have done.  Next week I am going to have to start getting a bit of cream onto the bits that are hairless.

But most of the day I have been watching one of the sheep who is very unwell.  A phone consultation with the shepherd diagnosed Pneumonia but I have a suspicion it is circling disease - possibly caused by eating old silage.  We don 't have any silage but she is a new one and may have got hold of some somewhere.  She has had a hefty does of Penstrep for two days and I have been giving her sips of water from my hand.  I shall see how she is later and maybe go on a Shepherd hunt for a further consultation.

Saturday 20 October 2012

A visitor or two

No proper rain today but still mostly overcast with a great deal of mud.  The youngsters and their Mums came up to the top paddock near the gate as they had some visitors to see them in the afternoon.  Arctic's mum, Flemenco, got left behind in the big paddock but didn't miss him in the least and he did not miss her!  All are now reunited!  I think young Dilly was a bit of a hit as he does tend to  run over expecting a bottle.

We also had a visit from Farm Boy in the early evening which was a big help as I commandeered him to assist with the last few cydectin and vitamin D injections.  These were for the group of males and it meant we could easily do it in the field without bringing them into the barn which means taking them past Dude and all the girls - something which always gets them overexcited!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

A fairly disgusting blog post.

I have warned you!  You may not want to read on - or look at the pictures. 

For a couple of days I have had a problem with Dilly having his bottle.  He has also been straining a lot and today it reached a bit of a climax.  Despite my best efforts I could not get him to drink anything despite him running over and obviously being hungry.  I went for a bit more soapy water at lunch time and after a bit the most enormous poo came out - as long as he was tall!  In fact it was so huge I took a photo of it!
And that is only half of it as half of it dropped off and blew away in the gale that was building up.  It was so interesting I disected part of it - there was a bit solid bulge first and the inside was full of tiny black grit like pieces which I presume was still his part of his meconium.  Poor little mite!
He went and had a good sleep after that and has just finished all his bottle so maybe he will be better tomorrow.
Interestingly I found a good blog post regarding something similar

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Cat Fight

Making use of a break in feeding Dilly to clean the lounge.  This was not what I planned to do but while I was over the fields this morning another cat came in, beat up Little Wee and Cruella and left his calling card everywhere!

Up until this point the day has been good with lovely weather and a lot of sunbathing alpacas.  Sam's Jess was soaking up the rays!
Storm was just being annoying!  JJ did not want to play!
But Storm soon perked up when he saw the camera.
Dilly is learning to scratch without overbalancing - but he does use Bert as a leaning post!
Arctic is getting all grown up and takes eating very seriously!

Saturday 13 October 2012

Chaos amongst the Scots

Today was the day!  Lots of tasks to accomplish.  First on the list was to check the new sheep feet.
Plan A - shake the bucket and tempt them into the run - no chance they just stared.
Plan B - get the dog (small Jack Russell) to help chase them down - no chance, dog was scared and wanted to stay in the truck.
Plan C - Carl to walk slowly behind them whilst I ducked and dived at the side in the manner of a sheep dog in order to guide them into the run at the bottom of the field - this worked like a dream!

We shut them in the run and then tried to manoeuvre them into the race - here things went catastrophically wrong!  Carl got the Dorset Down and rolled her but whilst I was looking at the feet there was an almighty commotion behind, one Black Scot jumped into the gate, ripped it off it's hinges and escaped back into the field followed by A.N Other (mainly a Cheviot) whilst another Scot rammed the run with his horns and similarly escaped - we were left with two in the race making a very good attempt to destroy it. A little bit of handling area reconstruction now required.

After we had recovered we got the girls and babies down for their cydectin and vitamin injections - only to find I had left everything back at home.  And then it started to hail!

Tomorrow is another day!  Could be better weather so I will try to remember the camera.

Friday 12 October 2012

Colour Decisions

The Black Scots are still eyeing me suspiciously from a distance.  The Shepherd did warn me, Debbie, that these were not the ones for me and I did go against his advise so we will see!

The sun shone quite a bit today and Dilly had his coat off - I followed him around with the BAS colour card trying to work out if he was light brown or dark fawn - I have gone for dark fawn.  I got it wrong with Yossarian when he was little as I thought he was light brown - but he isn't.
Trevor is soon to be weaned and is now actively looking for a new home (well, I am looking for one for him!) so we are starting to get familiar with a halter - we are not too keen at the moment!

Thursday 11 October 2012

A rather good letter!

Doom and Gloom on the hill today - - weather wise!  Hence no pictures.
The new sheep are settling well.  The Black Faced stare at me, feet firmly planted, "Come and get us!  We dare you!"  I am saving that pleasure until the weekend when Carl can help!
Bert's baby has a name - Dilettante (Dilly for short).  His sire, Jayne, was Dylan who suffered a catastrophe in the Brussel Sprout department last year shortly after his mating debut - so he is the only Dylan baby ever!  And a very nice one he is!  He is also thoroughly lovely and has taken up residence at the back of the field shelter under the hayrack.

If you too are feeling like a slightly gloomy alpaca breeder at the moment beg, borrow or otherwise acquire a copy of Farmers Weekly dated 5th October and take a look at the letters page.  Rather good!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

The Wild Ones

Today I have made a new purchase - they are pretty wild!  I now have four Black Faced Scottish ewes with big sharp horns, a Dorset Down and A.N. Other!  One of the Black Faced was a present from mother and I did try to capture a shot of that one - but as you can see she is only a blur!
I managed a long distance shot of two of them.
Bucket training is going to be a challenge!

Bert and baby are doing well, despite the weather.

And, just to show that he does have legs, here he is coming for his bottle.

Monday 8 October 2012

A bit of soapy water

As I am sure has everyone, we have been busy, much of it battling the elements.  The alpacas live on top of a hill but we have still had difficulties with ground water making tracks and runs lethal.  Yesterday was our first break for what feels likes weeks - we went out to lunch and had a lovely time with conversation ranging from early warning rain detectors, children falling out of cars, rats in the bedroom, being decapitated by a church bell to the place of the internet in a fete quiz.  Today we are back to thick misty fog and all is damp.

I have been battling with mastitis in George, one of the sheep.  Getting a yellow dry cow tube (that's what I call them!) up a sheep teat is something of a challenge but that combined with milking her out and a course of Pen Strep is saving her - although she may end up with half an udder.

We have also had a case of fly strike in alpacas (not our own).  I think the cause was the wood shavings they used for bedding which had worked right in and rotted, got dirty and attracted flies.  A trim, spray of Crovect and all the horrid maggots dropped out.  We also gave him a spray of Click as a preventative measure and he is now as right as rain.

Then, in the middle of torrential rain, Bert had her cria.  I had been watching her constantly ready to administer plasma, colostrum, antibiotics, spray but she chose to have it between 4pm and  6pm while I had gone to cook tea, no sign at all beforehand.  Bert never can feed her babies due to a damaged udder so at least I was prepared.  First he was very slow to catch on to drinking from the bottle and then I realised he kept straining and nothing was coming out.  He had two lots of soapy water and some cod liver oil and appears to have recovered.  I thought we had lost him as I found him flat out on his side in the rain, shivering and obviously in pain late on Friday evening.  He is now drinking very well and runs over for his bottle.  Not a very good photo today I am afraid due to weather!

 I had hoped it would be a girl as I think they are easier to bottle rear but he isn't and I keep reminding myself that it went okay with bottle fed Greeves.  Greeves is now a perfectly normal alpaca who does not seek attention but is very easy to handle when you have caught him - but still will not walk on his halter!

This afternoon I managed to finish the first update of the online shop -
and it now actually accepts Paypal (which it would not do before) - and I have updated Alpacaseller with our sale alpacas -
although there is one I am not too sure about and who may be coming back off again!

Now I must go and feed Bert's baby!

Saturday 6 October 2012

A Mummy again!

Just look what we have got!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know I have not blogged for a while - and I haven't even read other blogs due to THINGS so I will be catching up on all the news from everyone on Monday - and back to writing my own blog (providing there are no further crises!) and telling you about our new little one.