Saturday 26 September 2009

Autumn high - Autumn low

The high pressure over the country has taken us into autumn, and we are off to Cornwall for a week to relax, with the probability of more settled weather for a few days. However, we had Autumn Golds leg x-rayed on friday, and while the anti-biotics got her back to leaping and pronking fitness, the bone is sequestered, and so she will have to have an operation as soon as we get back, to remove the sequestered bone, otherwise the body will react again against the sequestered bone - hence Autumn low. Hopefully, that will deal with the problem and she will be fine. Does anyone have any experience of this?

Minnies face seems to be improving, though her throat is still quite crusty, and difficult to remove, while attached to the fleece - the facial scrubs help, but it is a slow process. I managed to clip a few of their toe-nails this morning, without assistance, which I was pleased about.

Mating continues to be a puzzling process - Minnie spat, but Pela sat again last week.

We went to see 'We Will Rock You' (the Queen 'tribute' musical)at Bristol Hippodrome last night. It was absolutely fantastic - great lead vocalists, male and female, and typically good Ben Elton story. A real credit to the songs of the band, and Freddie Mercury.

Sunday 20 September 2009

Cher wig discovered...

Autumn has a trace of milk on her lips - I couldn't resist a photo before I gave Minnie another facial scrub. This week we get another X-ray on Autumns leg - she's greatly improved in mobility - fingers crossed that the bone hasn't suffered permanent damage.

I finished extending the shelter, so now there will be room for all five of the girls - very satisfying. Had another mating session with Minnie and Pela this week...

Yesterday was a meeting of SWAG - Veterinary and social day, hosted by Nick Weber at Westway Alpacas near Yeovil. As usual, not enough time to deal with all of our questions, but much interesting debate on preparing for and dealing with arrival of a cria, followed by a fine buffet lunch in the sunshine, then demonstration of fleece assessment and skirting, by Tim Hay of Inca Alpacas.

Today, more warm sunshine, so I got our fleeces out and skirted them with my new-found knowledge. Dear Moiras fleece was nearly all 'skirt', though it is exceptionally fine - it resembled one of Chers' wigs. What can you do with so little, fine, short, fleece?

We've had no rain here for over two weeks now - the weather always balances out in the end - vitamin D aplenty - albeit shorter hours now.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Waxing lyrical...

Something is missing from this picture - alpacas. While established alpaca breeders were able to swan around at a cheese fair (only joking!), at the beginners end of the industry there was a shelter extension to continue building - and in this weather, it's great to be outdoors.

What was amusing at feeding time this morning, was Minnie and Moira ducking as if birds were dive-bombing when they caught sight of the rafters above - so much so, that I had to take their buckets outside - Pela, who will eat anything anywhere wasn't at all bothered.

Taking note of my alpaca care training, I tried to top up my vitamin D intake, and went topless - it was due to the lack of a tee-shirt that my under-arm came into contact with sticky timber sap resin, and I discovered a cheap way of removing body hair!

Minnie had another facial scrub followed by Ruggle-It salve.

Autumn had another anti-biotic jab - yet again, she leapt before I'd finished so I had to stick the needle in again, we had another bleed, and it clearly caused her some irritation for a while after. Are there any tips for injecting cria?

Saturday 12 September 2009

'Paca pampering

After a visit to Boots the Chemist, I set out to practice as as a beauty consultant - armed with a shower body buffing 'thing', and exfoliating glove (I see where Michael Jackson got the idea for a single white glove as a fashion statement from), I gave Minnie a facial scrub with Ruggle-It shampoo (formerly Stop-It-All). Pleasingly, she is quite tolerant to this, though it is difficult to do the upper jaw without spooking her, once she can see what you are doing.

We are advised that there must be a fungal problem since we have tried several products against mites, so now a concerted effort to get this cleared up.

We made the most of a beautiful evening to take our dinner up the top of the hill as the sun set, with a glass of wine, which Ambrosia appears to be interested in - see photograph.

As I type this enjoying a hot cross bun for supper, I wonder, 'did I miss Christmas? Mrs. Smallholder says she held off buying them through the summer. It must be autumn - it's the Last Night of The Proms

I made a meaningful start on extending the shelter this afternoon, which was very satisfying - after the beauty therapy, it brought out the cave-man in me. This will give a larger covered area infront of the shelter, and hopefully reduce the slipperyness there in wet weather.

We have opened up the little paddock at the top of the 'alotment', which has not been grazed before, to allow the other paddocks to rest, while there is still some warmth for growth.

Sunday 6 September 2009

Wedding belle

With our daughters wedding last saturday, it's been a full-on fortnight. In between the ceremony at Glastonbury, and the reception in our village hall, we had a champagne reception in the garden. We couldn't afford the Three Tenors, so instead we had the Four Gazebos - ones we erected, not the name of a performing troupe. We did have a fine duet in the form of Nils and Dave on piano and trumpet. Remarkably, in this last month (or 2) of changeable weather, we had a lovely afternoon. Being very much a Do-It -Yourself wedding, we had to get the garden ready, and the hall for the reception, so everyone was running around like headless chickens in ever-decreasing circles.

It was during this, on friday afternoon, the day before the wedding, that Autumns drama unfolded. She had been limping five days earlier, so I had been treating for mites between the toes, having found crustiness. This didn't improve, she kept all weight off the leg (front right), and when I saw her sat apart from the grazing herd, just before a wedding and Bank Holiday, I decided we needed the vets advice. The vet found her thigh to be swollen, and advised an x-ray, so amidst all the wedding preparations, I placed her in the back of the estate car, and took her to the surgery. X-ray revealed no break (phew!), but a bone infection, Osteo-myelitis, and the concern is that it may leave sequestered (dead) bone tissue. So she is on injected anti-biotics (Rosflor) for a month.

The good news is that she has responded well, using the leg again, has chased a chicken, and the swelling has reduced, but remains, and she still keeps a bit light on it. We assume that the leg received trauma such as a kick, though there were no external signs, other than a tiny red spot. Have considered a snake bite (there would be two marks? and presumably that wouldn't affect the bone in any case). One night when injecting sub-cu, I penetrated muscle tissue, which she didn't like, went all wobbly and rolled on it due to soreness - it scared the living daylights out of me, wondering what I'd hit.

Meanwhile, I am still battling with Minnies mites - while her face has improved in some areas, there has been another wave of hairloss and crustiness.

The next job is to extend the shelter.