Monday, February 21, 2011

Herd Health and Farm Chores

Over the weekend before the weather took a turn for the worst, we spent lots of hours in the barn doing herd health and general maintenance. We got a big thaw and of the snow on our farm recently melted. It was also relatively “warm” this weekend, so we brought our 4 ½ month old baby Eliza out to the barn for her first lesson in farm life. We bundled her up in several layers of clothes, blankets, hat and fur boots and snuggled her into her stroller. The first time we went out to the barn was Friday night. We did a blood draw on our suri Otto because I recently realized that he has not had his BVDV test completed yet and needs it in order to go to show in 3 weeks. I called our vet on Friday to see if we could get him in, but we were told that our vet is the only one in the practice that does camelid blood draws. The vet was pretty booked, but was in Ravenna that day (which isn’t far from us). I asked how much it would be to stop at our farm to just draw the blood….well they wanted to charge us $74 for stopping over to our farm, plus $8 for a blood draw, plus $25 for a BVD test. I hate to complain, but I decided we would just draw the blood ourselves for free and then mail it into ARI (the alpaca registry) who will complete the test for $25. I mailed the sample out Saturday and called today. They informed me that it should take 10 days to process, so we should be set before show. Anyway, after drawing blood, we gave all of our 2010 cria and a few of our yearlings Vitamin AD injections and CD&T booster injections. I wanted to keep working, but Noah was tired and had to work early the next day, so we called it quits. Eliza did pretty good. She fussed a little bit when we were drawing the blood and then fell right to sleep for the rest of the time. Below is a picture of Eliza sitting in her carseat in her radio flyer wagon in the house getting ready to go outside. She decided Glowworm (who is her favorite toy) should go outside with us too.
On Sunday, we decided to attempt farm chores again. Noah finally has 2 days off a week now, so we try to get as much as we can done when we are both home on Sundays. As soon as Eliza went down for her first nap, we bundled up and took the video monitor out to the barn. She slept for about 45 minutes and then started fussing, so I went into the house and got her, bundled her up in her stroller again and brought her outside. We got a lot done on Sunday and Eliza seemed to enjoy watching us from her stroller. We weighed body scored the 2010 cria. We moved all the cria into the hay barn for weaning with the exception of Truxton who was limping slightly. We checked out his front leg and there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with it that we could determine from a physical exam. He most likely injured it running out in the pasture on the icy snow. While the alpacas normally stay in the barn all winter, they have been out in the pasture the last few days because most of the snow has finally melted and there were some patches of “green.” Anyway, we decided to leave him with his mommy until his leg improves; I didn’t want to add any extra stress to him. We also body condition scored all of the adults to determine who is fat, skinny and just right. Most of the lactating females were a little on the skinny side so we will up their grain intake and hopefully weaning their cria will help. We also gave all the adult Vitamin ADEB12 paste which is especially important in the winter with the lack of sunshine. We behavior tested the pregnant females and I am happy to report that all 8 of them spit off so we should have 8 little cria (6 of our own and 2 boarders) this year. We also fed and watered all of the alpacas, chickens, ducks and barn kitty. While Noah got hay down from the hay loft and cleaned the poop out of the stalls and put fresh stray down, Eliza and I started halter training the cria, but more on that in another post. After barn chores, Noah brought a bunch of wood into the house for our furnace. Lastly, I updated our herd health book and white board in the barn to reflect all our hard work.

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