Sunday 14 September 2014

Cria nursing, risk assessment needed.

With the weather being settled, I sprinkled diatomaceous earth into the rolling pits yesterday, and within minutes the herds had gathered in their various pits, and were falling over each other to roll:
Rockin' and a rollin'...

Diatomaceous earth can be useful for preventing or reducing parasite attack in many livestock species.Our faecal testing has not shown any significant levels of parasite, but it is a good non-chemical way of treatment and prevention.
Collisions can happen, in a crowded pit!
Finish with a little shake.
Finally, I couldn't resist these shots of Flamenco, our new cria, finding a short cut to the milk bar can carry serious risks...
Flamenco, that isn't a good way to reach for a drink...
Now, it's beginning to look decidely risky...
Quick! run!
I want you to own up, if youve been in the rolling pit - I have ways of finding out!

Thursday 11 September 2014

Apple Vale Flamenco arrives.

Yesterday morning, during this warm September spell, Golden Delicious went into labour, and I was able to 'race' home from work to witness/assist in the birth. I arrived to find a little nose-shaped swelling from the rear - Delicious had spent a lot of time rolling, and her waters had broken before Joy 'phoned me - within minutes, a black nose poked through, and then several minutes later, a head appeared, and a mouth gasped as the membranes cleared away. Around ten minutes passed, and the head descended, and occasionally flicked, splaying its ears out, so we knew the cria was lively, showing more neck...but no feet...moments later one foot came out but not the other, and it was immediately apparent we could have a problem. I 'phoned the vet, knowing it would take some time for them to reach us, and Joy donned the gloves and lubed up, we approached Delicious and she was happy for me to hold her - alpacas often know when they need your help - Joy located the front leg, and felt around to find the back leg, just to be sure she had located the correct one. Contractions began squeezing against Joys' arm, and it became apparent that the leg could not be straightened to come out, without pushing the neck and head back, but she was too far out - Delicious had laid down by now, and the change in position allowed Joy to keep the leg pressed close to the body as the cria was delivered - it was a light brown or fawn female, and 11.45, and Apple Vale Flamenco had arrived. (tonight, Joys thighs and knees are aching from the strain!)
 We drew back to allow mother and cria to bond. Delicious continued to sit for a while, and the cria made efforts to sit, succeeding quite quickly - then she started struggling to stand, but the leg which had been kept back would not open, so she lost balance, rolled a few times, and eventually began to shuffle around on her front knees - we decided we couldn't let her carry this on for long, as she wouldn't be able to feed, and she might just get used to it - so we lifted her, and held her steady to eases the lower leg joint into use (a bit like when you've slept in an awkward position, it takes a while). Gradually, she staggered about as the leg began to work. She clearly had lots of energy, as she continued to walk, then run about. We sat for three and a half hours anxiously hoping for the first feed, while she went around and around, sucking mothers fleece, disappearing into her front groin, coming out of the back - we started thawing plasma, made enquiries to try and locate bovine colostrum, and Joy went and bought goats milk - we didn't want to be caught out late in the day. Fifteen minutes after Joy left, her heaad disappeared high up into the udder region, and my heart lifted - she spent at least ten minutes up there. She had two more feeds an hour and a half later. We breathed sighs of relief.
She weighed in at 6.4kg. As a cria, Golden Delicious had to be bottle fed, to supplement her mums supply, after a plasma transfusion, when we realised from IGG tests that she hadn't had much Passive Transfer of Immunity. So, Flamenco is a third generation to be born here, and her sire is EPC Columbus of Patou, now owned by us here, and he's done a great job! She has his'smile', viewed from the side.
The class of 2014: Florina, Flamenco, Fortune & Fiesta