The highs have been that we have had our busiest week ever for llama walks, not that we have done more walks then usual but we managed to combine several groups together meaning we could take more animals out and I have to prepare more lunches, cakes and our famous cream teas.
We had a lovely day at the Honiton show, great weather and we came home with a 3rd and a 4th Rosette, met lots of lovely people and spent all day talking Alpaca -------what could be better!
We have started to get enquires for our cottages for the Autumn, we are full until the end of September (except for 6 nights) and have already got bookings for October, November and next year. So thats looking really healthy, I am now looking at what advertising has worked best this year and where I should be looking to target for next year. This is work I usually save for rainy days but we haven't had that many of those lately, not that I am moaning about that although the grass could do with it ------ never satisfied are we.
The lows---------- we lost an Alpaca this week--- Himma was a gelding we inherited when our friends decided to return to Wiltshire and we took over their herd. He was the first cria they had born and he was over handled as a youngster, to be honest he was a pain in the neck as he got older--------- what started as being quite cute and amusing started to turn into threatening behavior as he got older. When he was about two years old he got a kick from a llama shattering his shoulder, the vet operated on him but I think he was always in a little pain and he did tend to sit down a lot. Anyway last Sunday we had been out on a walk and when we got back we noticed he looked a little bit off colour, nothing you could put your finger on but just not right. We took the decision to see how he was in the morning whilst putting him in the shelter for the night. Any way Monday morning he was dead, I felt so bad I should have rung the Vet but knowing Alpacas - if they look sick it is probably to late. We arranged for a Postmortem which revealed nothing conclusive but did confirm that it wasn't anything nasty which could affect the rest of the herd.
Himma was always a reminder to us not to over handle young cria especially males they can become a problem (BMS Berserk Male Syndrome) which may not show up until they adolescents and they start to treat humans as they would other alpacas which we all know is not alway pleasant. We do routine husbandry with the cria as we do the adults and we have bottle fed several cria but it is strictly feed the bottle and leave alone. Once they are weaned they are handled everyday until they are halter trained and are behaving calmly, easy to catch in a pen and can be stroked once caught without them trying to escape. All the young males get to go on walks with our trekking llamas who are all calm and well behaved which they seem to pass on to the youngsters.
I also remember the advice from an experienced breeder when we were first looking at buying our first Alpacas-------- "beware of over friendly Alpacas it isn't their natural behavior"