Sunday, August 29, 2010

Herd Health

On Friday night, Noah and I both came home from work, took long naps and then went out to the barn at 8pm to do herd health since we were feeling rested and it had cooled off outside. We gave everyone their ivomec shot (to protect against meningeal worm and other parasites) and checked every one's body score. We currently have a normal/fat girl pen and a skinny girl pen. Because many of our females are nursing their cria right now, they can lose weight dramatically and it is important to monitor their body scores to make sure they don't get too skinny. We have a livestock scale, but tend to only use it for our younger alpacas since it is stressful on both us and the larger alpacas to actually get them to stand on the scale. We ended up moving some alpacas out of the skinny pen and putting others in depending on their body score. The alpacas in the skinny pen get pasture, free choice alfalfa/grass mix hay and extra grain, while the other pen just gets pasture and a little grain. The majority of our alpacas are right on with their body score or slightly overweight. We also checked every one's toenails, but no one needed trimming at this time. Lastly, we behavior tested the girls who have been bred or who need to be bred to see if they are receptive. We brought Sequoia in with these girls and fortunately all the girls who have been bred and should be spitting off were.

After doing all the big alpacas, we weighed each of the 7 cria. They are all gaining weight well which means they are eating well and getting enough nutrients. We checked out their umbilical stumps to see how they are healing. Everyone but Noir's is healing well. She has a umbilical hernia, so we have been treating that. We gave the cria their appropriate shots, including ivomec for the older ones, and BOSE, Vitamin AD, and CD/T for the younger ones. We also checked out each one's fiber and conformation. While their fiber and conformation can change and improve (or get worse) as they mature, there are 3 that I am really keeping an eye on to show next year....Alchemy, Alpacacula, and the new Sol cria (who still needs a name). But we will keep a close eye on them all as they grow to see how they mature.

After all this, we did our normal nightly barn chores, but it was of course dark by this time. Luckily we have lights on the barn. We fed the pacas grain and hay, rinsed out and filled water buckets, and cleaned up the poo in the barn and catch pen. We of course fed and watered the ducks, chickens, and barn kitty too.

It took us about 2 hours to do all of this. Despite me almost being 9 months pregnant, I am still a pretty good alpaca wrangler....although a little more cautious now. There was a beautiful huge deep orange moon coming up on the horizon while bats flitted through the air as we headed in from the barn. I love the farm life!


darcie said...

Peaceful picture of a peaceful life.:)

Tamara said...

Sound wonderful! I cannot believe you are already 9 month pregnant and that you are able to work in the barn.

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Thanks for reading the blog guys! I can't believe I am already 9 months pregnant too! I am definitely getting slower doing chores these days.

nicola said...