Sunday 23 September 2012

Rainy day musings

! Autumn Gold has that light-bulb moment !
Yes, a hot air balloon went over and landed on the edge of the village a few nights ago, and the following night two balloons went by - there have been very few balloons around this year because of the weather, no doubt.

I've spent the day working out how much temporary fence we need for the little extra paddock, catching up on some much missed guitar playing, and satisfying the inner nerd with some statistics - yes, it's been raining.

I was curious as to how much poo an alpaca produces, and since our herd is of a modest size, I can clear all latrines in a session, so I weighed the bins as I emptied them. Making allowance for the tiny amount that the cria currently produce, and the small amount collected by hand each morning in the shelter, I can reveal that our adults have produced approximately 6kg each in the last week. I guess this might vary seasonally, and of course nursing mums may eat more than others, but there you have it, a statistic to use as you wish. You might also be interested to know, that I could collect it on one tank-full of petrol, with it running out with one 'deposit' to clear (0.32litres, 0.07gallons apparently).

That reminds me to mention some good service from Paul Helps - the suction hose had split, and so I requested a new one, but Paul suggested that at 18months old, the hose on a hand-pulled 'poover' shouldn't have failed, so he negotiated a replacement under guarantee. Thanks Paul

Captions on a postcard please...
I've also plotted the weight development of all of our cria on a graph, in order to compare Golden Delicious' slower growth,and hoped to include it, however, I haven't the skill to post it in this blog...

Sunday 16 September 2012

Comfort in various ways.

Golden Delicious continues to gain weight steadily, and we have increased her bottles to accelerate the rate - meanwhile she continues to feed from mum, Autumn Gold, which is comforting. I was wondering, when other breeders have asked, 'is she a first-time mum?', implying that short milk-supply is not unusual in first-timers, do they usually continue to breed from them without milk-supply problems in subsequent years?
It's funny how pregnancy can change the behaviour of a female - we decided to do some toe-nail trimming today, and Bramley was having none of it - she used to kush but would sit quite happily while you worked around her, but not today, and she even spat - comforting in one way - smelly in another!
We were invited to the Ashcott Harvest Fayre, so last saturday we took Autumn Gold and Golden Delicious, along with Appleknit products and advertising for the spinning and felting evenings.
We have negotiated use of a small paddock across the road, which will be useful for weaning and keeping the boys in - we've pulled out some Ragwort, and have a bit of bramble clearing and fencing to do before we use it, but it's comforting to have arrangements in place.

Monday 3 September 2012

Eventually, you will need plasma.

My last post was announcing the arrival of Apple Vale Golden Delicious - she is now just over three weeks old. After the expected first day loss of weight, she also lost weight on the second day (alarm bells rang, we got some goats milk in), and then was just about the same for three days. We were sure she had suckled frequently during the first day, though she was slow to start, but perhaps on reflection, she wasn't getting much milk. She's always been active, and bright, so we feel confident that she had taken some colostrum. So we have been giving her a bottle morning and evening, and she has gained steadily, albeit not at the rate of our previous cria - we haven't increased her bottle quanitity much, as we don't want to reduce what she does get from her mum, as that will still be better than milk suuplement. Eventually we had her IgG measured and this was found to be very low, so we asked the herd for a volunteer blood donation - since three are nursing mums, two are pregnant, and three are cria, the short straw was given to Moira, our maiden companion, by default. Since Moira is not halter-trained, and is a large animal, I decided we would use the shearing restraints to be more sure of a successful outcome - apart from a bit of squealing and spitting, the task was trouble-free, and a good 350ml bag-full came forth. The camper-van 'fridge' was brought into service, a quick trip to Classical Mile End, and their while-u-wait plasma-spin had me back on the road within 45 minutes. Our vet then came, and we found another use for the garden table, as it became the 'operating' table for Delicious to receive her plasma.
We also have some in the freezer now, in reserve. I've known that it was a good idea to have plasma in store, but the logistics put me off - another experience gained.
mmm, Delicious.

The evenings, when the cria are more playful, have often been gloomy, and so there haven't been many photo-opportunities.
A piano has not been air-brushed from this picture.

We have managed to secure the use of another small paddock near-by, which will assist with weaning the boys and getting Camelot back - we have a bit of fencing and bramble-clearing to do first, to make it secure.
"so, you want an alpaca scarf, do you?"