Monday, October 31, 2005

Cabernet at camp


briefly, Cabernet was unhappy at home in a field by herself. Even though she could see the boys, she would pace unhappily at the fence when they weren't near. When they were near, she would spit at them. We have taken her to Polly's alpaca farm (Fern Hill Farm) to spend some time with lots of alpacas until Dawn and Consuella come home.

Consuella is having trouble getting pregnant. More on that later.

Dawn had a mild case of coccidiae at NWA, and they took her to the vet and treated her. She is apparently bred, and just needs a few weeks for the pregnancy to set. Duffy seems to be in fine form.

I'll go into details later, but I wanted to report that we are again down to three alpacas on the farm. Ah, the drama!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Milhouse's paste

Hi Everyone!

We are going to start giving Milhouse vitamin paste to try to treat his crooked front knees. Because he has never tried to eat pellets, his nutrition is dependent on the hay and forage we've had him on, so we are worried that he has rickets. Because alpacas are native to the Andes mountains, they are designed to get their vitamin D from sunlight through a very thin atmosphere above 10,000 feet. We are at 400 feet. Maybe you can see the problem.

Anyway, the pellets designed by WABA breeders makes up for the sunlight deficiency by adding the vitamins to the feed. This usually works for all those alpacas that actually eat them. I am sure that all of us (Charles, me and Milhouse) will soon be very tired of a daily dose of paste vitamins, so I am devising plans on how to get Milhouse interested in eating them. Mostly I think he is just not interested in competing with the other alpacas for pellets (I think they are sweet because the alpacas will fight tooth and nail for them). One strategy I am considering is to lock him in the middle stall by himself (he will see the other alpacas) and leave him with only a little hay but a lot of pellets overnight. That might do the trick. I hope it is that easy.

Still no word on Consuella's progesterone, but at least Cabernet seems less stressed. We have put her into the antechamber, which used to be the boy's pasture. It is greening up nicely, and she has a little more room to pace around it.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cabernet is back

We picked up Cabernet in Albany. Richard and Renate of Alpacas of Lone Ranch were driving up to pick up an alpaca of theirs north of here, so we met up and took Cabernet home. It's nice having a girl at the ranch again.

Unfortunately, she is the only girl here, and she isn't very happy. She doesn't like to be in a pasture by herself, but she ignores the young male alpaca when we put him in with her. We can't let her out with the older male alpacas because we think they would harass her to distraction. So, she paces the fenceline and stares off into the distance, I think at the neighbor's dogs (which aren't out most of the day). I will be SO happy when we have a Consuella back for her to be with. I am so concerned about this, though, that I am considering asking another farm to loan us an female alpaca or gelding to put in with her so she won't act so weird. Either that, or I may ask another farm to baby-sit her until we get more of our own girls back.

Consuella has had two negative ultrasounds, but she spits off at teaser males. I have asked for a progesterone test, which should come back this week. If it is postitive, we will bring her home very soon for Cabernet, and give them both Ultrasounds at 90 days, when there might be more to see. If the test is negative, my options are to re-breed her to Canadar, or pick a different stud. I'm mulling that one right now.

Well, off to put the alpacas away!


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Chicken Coop

The farm is still lonely with only the three boys. They are having a good time in Pasture One because, since it's been raining regularly, for a couple weeks now, the grass has begun to grow back.

Now that the boys are on P1, we have taken the chance to re-seed their pastures--the antechamber which will be re-fenced into runs to the new pastures in the spring. They have nibbled everything down so far that there isn't even any poison oak or blackberries left. We have also re-seeded P0, our maternity pasture/chicken run. We know that the chickens will help themselves to the grass seed, but they won't get all of it.

On the topic of chickens, we finally finished the chicken coop! It took us about three weeks of picking away at it to finish, but now we have moved the 1/2 grown hens outside. The roosters don't quite know what to do with them. They are like teenage boys with nine year old girls. We expect some scuffles in the future.

We are still waiting on word about Consuella's pregnancy status. I am a little annoyed that the vet has not performed a progesterone test on her yet, since that seems to be the next logical step if the ultrasounds are inconclusive. She ought to be nearly six weeks pregnant, and if she's not, I want her re-bred NOW. Dawn and Duffy are up there, and I'd like an update on them, too. I now sign my notes to them, "the squeaky wheel."

When you send your animals away to a big farm to be bred, you sometimes have to pester them to get information. Don't be afraid to be a squeaky wheel. It's better to be a bit of an annoyance than to miss out on an situation that needs to be taken care of sooner than later.

That's all for now!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lonely little farm...

We dropped Dawn and her little baby (named "Duffman" by the attendees of my birthday party) at Northwest Alpacas yesterday (10-1). She is to be bred to Pachacuti, and we probably won't see her or Duffy again until after Thanksgiving. Wah!

The only alpacas we have on our ranch currently are the three boys, Barto, Milhouse and Tony. We were concerned about putting Milhouse in with the big boys, be he seems to be doing all right. We put him in with Barto yesterday just so there was less chance that the bigger boys would gang up on him. He and Barto got along pretty well when they were alone. Now Barto and Tony are playing, and poor Milhouse stands by the sideline like a little brother who doesn't get to play. Poor baby.

We have let the boys into Pasture One (P1), where the girls usually are. Now that it is raining (hard) here, their pasture is nothing but mud. Between the dry summer and their overgrazing, that patch of land was nothing but hard packed dirt for the last two months. We'll seed it and P0 while the girls are away. The boys love P1 since it is twice the size of their normal digs, plus, it has actual green stuff in it!

Charles has been working hard prepping what will be Ps 2 and 3. A week ago we had someone come with a dozer and push the burn pile out of the way and scrape the land so that it didn't have weeds and huge chunks of wood on it anymore. When Charles realized that the dirt was suddenly perfect for seeding, he hurried to buy the seed and fashion a "rake" out of a chunk of chain-link fence and a t-post to drag behind his lawn tractor. He finished a full 24 hours before the current deluge of rain came. He's so sexy when he's handy.

That's the quick update from here. We might get one of the girls back as soon as the last weekend of October, but mostly we are going to miss them until November. So sad. Next year I'll be using local studs, that is for sure!