Friday 29 April 2011

A little bit better today.

Just a quick blog to let you know that there has been some improvement on the Marietta front, this morning when I arrived at the field she was laid flat out, (quite shocking at first) so I up righted her and she had a little munch on her hay.  I gave her her drench and the Vit B12 injection the vet had left for her.  Marietta had over the past few days managed to reach the bottom of the paddock and the only way we could see to move her was in the link box on the tractor,  She wasn't to keen on this at first but sat nicely to be transported to a flat spot at the top of the paddock.  As we lifted her out of the link box we held her up and she actually took her wait for about a minute which is a major step forward.  she has been happily sat munching her hay for the rest of the day.
We met the Vet later this afternoon to collect some more Vit B12 injection and the results of the blood test. Everything looks normal except for the Selenium which was a little low, but her symptoms did not look like Selenium deficiency.  She has higher levels of Calcium and Magnesium which was to be expected as she has had a lot of Calciject 6.  The blood test was taken before she had been given the Selenium drench so this has probably improved by now.  So we continue to hope she carries on improving little by little.

Thanks for the messages of support and the telephone calls we have received offering suggestions, good to know that Alpaca people are prepared to discuss problems they have had and pass on their experiences.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Some good, some not so bad!

I haven't blogged for a while as there has only been one thing on my mind for the last 11 day, Marietta! she had not been well since a week last monday, the shaking has now stopped but she is still sitting down, she hasn't walked since last Thursday.

The Vet came on Tuesday ............ sat on a bale of straw and scratched his head, the jerking action of Marietta's neck he described as weird and he had never seen anything like that in any animal before except a chicken!  He took some blood and we are waiting for the results, he has given her a shot of Vit b12.......... and the following morning there was a marked improvement,  the jerky action had gone .............Vet put this down to the cocktail of treatments we had been giving her over the last week.  Anyway by Wednesday I was getting concerned that she had been sat in the shelter for over a week and the floor was starting to get wet mainly because Marietta kept  kicking the water bucket over.  I decided to put her outside the shelter where she could get some sun and the floor of the shelter could dry out, so after she had had her treatments I helped her out of the shelter and settled her with feed, hay and water, she looked set for the day and her mates could visit her.  When I came back at lunchtime she wasn't where I had left her, great I thought she's up ................ but no she had rolled, turned or somehow moved about 10 mtrs down the field and she seem quite happy with life, so we left her out.  Over the last couple of days she has moved herself around the field and the rest of the girls seem to stay around her.  We are continuing to give her the treatments and I make sure she has access to water and hay when ever I go back to check on her.  Today she has started to eat grass for the first time for 11 days and she has started to try to move when we approach her, so we are still hopeful that she will continue to improve.

Phoebe on left having breakfast
So that was the not so bad and now the good, last Sunday our first cria of the year arrive in text book style.  When we got to the field Phoebe (259 days) was looking like she was in labour so we started to feed the rest of the herd as usual, Phoebe who very much likes her food saw this going on and not wanting to miss a meal ran up the field ate her bucket of feed and then returned to her previous position, less than an hour later cria was on the ground, a female cria, the fourth in a row for Phoebe, sired by Catons Golden Nugget.  The cria was up, suckling and having a pee within an hour and a half ........... wish they were all like that!

One hour later.
As we are aware that Phoebe never has much milk for her cria we have been prepared with ewe replacer, bottles etc.  Phoebe is OK for the first two days, plenty of colostrum but then not much milk, we can always tell as every time you look at them the cria is underneath and soon starts to have a little bald patch on her nose.  So Monday evening I started to give the cria (no name yet) a bottle which it took with ease,  we only give two bottles a day as we like to keep them it keen to feed of Mum and we only usually have to do this for about three weeks when the crias are no longer keen to take the bottle.  For some reason after this time Phoebe seems to be able to satisfy her babies hunger.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Todays Blog part 2

Today has been glorious again and we have been pretty busy, firstly I had to do a changeover in one of the cottages.  Both cottages are now full and both with returning customers from several years ago before we brought them, it's good when people return year on year.  Whilst I was doing the cleaning Steve was using the supa dooper poohpa hoover in the rented paddocks so they are all nice and clean ready to be rested for a few weeks.  This afternoon we took four of the trekking team out for a walk with friends, it was good to be out on the moor where there was more of a breeze.  Looking down towards the coast it looked as if they were having a good shower of rain, we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance but it stayed away . When we got back from the walk the guests had arrived back from their day out so we let the children meet the llamas and walk them back to the fields.  Once the guests had left we wormed all the llamas and put them onto new grass.  All of them were remarkably well behaved having their drench, which is unusual as at least one of them manages to store the entire contents of the drench gun in their mouths and then let it dribble out.

This is a picture taken from our alpaca cam this evening of Marietta sitting in the shelter, looking at her she looks perfectly normal, she just won't get up, seems to have enough strength in her legs but just not going to do it.  She can move her legs because when we lift her to give her some massage and physio we leave her with her front legs out straight and she almost immediately gets back into a cush position.  She is about 8.5 months into her pregnancy perhaps she is going to sit there until she has her cria, what else could a girl want, she has hay and water to hand and gets concentrate delivered to her, no pushing at the trough or fighting over the hay bag for her!.  The alpaca cam has come into it's own this week as soon as it is light I can check how she is with out getting out of bed, how good is that.  if anyone has any ideas how to get her up we would be grateful for them.  It has been so good to get info from fellow breeders not only from the UK but all over the world.

Marietta day 6

This morning Marietta looks fine but will not get up, twitching stopped.  She has had Vit B with the Selenium drench, Epson Salts again this morning and we are now doing Physio twice a day, having her sat on a hay bale whilst we stretch out her legs, plenty of strength there but reluctant to stand.   Just continuing to hope she improves.

Off for a walk with the llamas before next physio session.

Friday 22 April 2011

Not good

Marietta to look at looks Ok not much twitching or shaking but she won't get up.  We have tried to lift her onto her feet but she squeals constantly.  I don't think she is in pain just stressed and not wanting to stress her any more we haven't tried to lift her again.  I phoned the Vet again and he has no more idea as to what can be the problem, I also phone one of the contacts from the BAS emergency contact list who was very helpful and went through all the things he could think of, most of which we have considered.  So far she has had several injections of Calciject 6, several doses of a glucose drench, some selenium and some epson salts, ADE injection.

As she is now down I really don't know what to do,  it is so sad to see her and not be able to help.

She is tucked up in the shelter and we can watch her on the Alpaca cam, I am hoping she will improve overnight.

We spent the whole day up in the fields so we did get a day off.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Another quick one

Thought I would do a quick blog this evening whilst waiting for Steve to return with the Indian Takeaway.  We have decided to take tomorrow off and spend the day in the fields with the alpacas but not actually doing any work ................. thats the idea anyway............. I am sure we will find something which will just have to be done.

Marietta is still twitching but seems much better in herself, even came up for a cuddle this evening .  She is still having trouble sitting down very shaky legs, she is quite jerky/ twitchy and seems to keep locking her legs straight  if you know what I mean.  We have kept her off grass but she is eating and drinking well.  So I don't know what to think, just keep her quite and hope she continues to improve.

Still know cria, but the girls are really feeling the heat, both Phoebe and Ella are looking very  heavy and uncomfortable.  Hopefully they will produce something tomorrow while we are lazing around in the fields!

Anyway Indian is about to arrive so better get the wine out for Steve I shall have something non alcoholic as I don't want to have a bad head to ruin my lazy day!

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Quick blog

Just a quick one tonight:

Still not Cria.

Marietta still shaking but no worse, still of grass.

Great llama walk today, lovely weather, great company, not a bad job really.

And I took another cottage booking.

Pretty good day really.

Hope fully I will have some good news tomorrow.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Marietta Update.

Just to give you an update, Marietta has still got the shakes and twitching, she has had another shot of Magnesium. In fact I think she is slightly worse, she seems to have a problem sitting down very shaky action especially on the front legs although she gets up OK. I am starting to wonder about Selenium now as well, not sure what the symptoms are.

I spent most of the night trawling the internet for anything which might help me sort out the problem and talking to people from all over the place about the possible causes.

Marietta is now in a small enclosure incorporating the field shelter she seem happier if she is outside,  it's quite nice to watch the others coming over to check on her, leaning over the hurdles and may be a little hum then back to grazing.

Phoebe still looks content to hold on to her babe, but Ella looks really uncomfortable this evening so who knows perhaps I should open a book.

We are going out for a llama walk tomorrow, half day so I need to prepare coffee and lunches as well as get the linen etc prepared for a changeover in one of the cottages.

Hopefully we will see some sort of improvement in Marietta and I will have some good news to report.

Monday 18 April 2011

Help please!

Today we have had a problem with one of our pregnant females, Marietta, probably our best female, she has only produced prize winning cria.  Anyway today when Steve went to feed up and check this morning he notice straight away that Marietta was not right, she was shaking and was walking with a jerky action but she was still eating her concentrate and grazing.  She was very distressed when penned and became very flighty when handled which is very unusual as she is a very calm animal usually.

We have had a similar problem in a llama a couple of years ago which the Vet diagnosed as Rye Grass staggers but now we are starting to wonder if this was correct.  Marietta was not grazing the same field as the llama was, there is no rye grass in the field as it is old lay, so what is it?  There is eight other females in that field none of which are showing any symptoms, there is nothing poisonous in the hedgerow.

Vet arrived and gave her a shot of magnesium  which if she was a cow would have cured grass staggers instantly, we have to give her another shot for the next two days.  We have taken her off grass now and put her into the field shelter with just hay and her concentrate to eat, this if it is the same problem as our llama should cure the problem.  She is still shaky very flighty, she nearly took two hurdles with her trying to get out of the field shelter.

It would be really useful to know if anyone else has had such a problem !  It really does pay off knowing your animals because Steve spotted that she was not right as soon as he drove into the field, to anyone else she would have looked normal.  So all those hours you spent just watching your animals isn't wasting time!

As we had to move Marietta we decided to bring back the rest of the late pregnant female to the birthing paddock, so we now have seven females all of which reach their due date within the next four weeks.  Which in reality means that they should have all given birth by mid June.  Marietta isn't due until July so fingers crossed that she holds her pregnancy though this.

Sunday 17 April 2011

A bit of a senior moment

Just realised I said that one of our girls was 252 days into her pregnancy I should know that there are 365 days in a year which makes her 353 days now.  Anyway we are still waiting and she is still chewing her cud, the cria seems desperate to get out though, we spent some time watching it move about this afternoon.

Despite my senior moments we have been very busy this week end or rather Steve has,  yesterday he had 15 tonne of gravel to lay on a drive, he has a digger and dumper to play with so I think it was a bit of boys and toys.

Today he has rolled the field that we have set aside for hay, I must say it looks very good.

We did find time to have a picnic lunch in the fields watching the pregnant girls, very relaxing sitting in the sun with your alpacas, but work was calling. So with the rotovator fitted to the back of the tractor the veg garden is now rotovated and ready to be planted, so much easier than digging by hand.  Next came my bit, I planted the onion sets and some shallots. I also did a quick change over in one of the cottages after one set of guests left and before the next lot arrived.

The rest of the afternoon was spent laying on the grass watching and waiting, sun shining, lovely warm breeze, so peaceful and quiet..................... then the grandchildren arrived!

Thursday 14 April 2011

Still waiting

We are still waiting for Phoebe (252 days) to have her cria, we seem to have been watching her for weeks now, at least since we were in Stoneleigh for the Futurity, thank goodness for Alpaca cam.
The camera in the birthing field really enables us to get on with work and other things and when we can't be sure that we can log on to it we can get someone else to keep watch and ring us if there is something happening.
With this in place we went to the spring Show last weekend, really enjoyed meeting up with everyone and the weather was really good, breakfast on the decking at the Hand centre on Saturday morning, great facility.
No rosettes for us this time, but with our show team of two fawn males up against such fantastic quality animals in very large classes, we were not surprised. It was good to see some other smaller breeders doing so well though.
Well it was back to work this week, very busy with our gardening work, holiday cottages are starting to get busy as well now so I have to get back into the swing of change overs etc and at this time of the year it is short breaks, so more change overs than usual.  The holiday bookings are definitely different this year, starting much earlier than last year and more last minute, which means we still have a few weeks left in the summer season which was full by this time last year, so who knows, very difficult to predict what is happening!
We went on a lovely Cream Tea walk this afternoon, we weren't sure if it was going ahead when we got up this morning it was thick mist and drizzle but it turned out fine in the end and it was great to get out on the moor again.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Filing cabinets

As it has been raining most of the day I thought I could catch up with the accounts whilst watching the pregnant females on Alpaca cam.  Phoebe is looking very uncomfortable and sitting down a lot so I don't think it will be long before her cria puts in an appearance.
As I had filing all over the floor this morning the conversation came around to filing cabinets, decisions had to be made, carry on filing into box files,......................... never can find anything when needed quickly.  Purchase a suspension filing cabinet, ...................wood or metal, I would have liked wood, Steve liked Metal.  Do we go out to purchase or buy on line, ....................can I get out of filing now and maybe have coffee/lunch out ...............easy decision there then,  ............... go out and purchase two two draw metal filing cabinets.  Had coffee out, Steve has spent the rest of the afternoon putting together said filing cabinets. (I think the wooden ones would have been easier to put together) Lots of cursing and lots of mess later tools and packaging all over the front room and I think the first one is almost complete.

I have roasted a joint of our pork in anticipation of Steve's eldest son coming for dinner tonight and am now not sure if it was tonight or tomorrow, still haven't done much filing or accounts but its been fun watch the construction progressing, don't think the other one will get done until we get back from the SWAG show at the weekend.

It's still pouring down with rain and I still have to go and check the animals and collect the eggs.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Thought this was funny

Josh with the alpacas
I just had to share this.

4 year old grandson in car with his Mum, passes a stock trailer/ horse box, asks Mum  "are there Llamas in that horse box?  .................... not cows ................. not sheep ............... or even a horse ........... what have I done to him!

Went out with older daughter, Leanne this afternoon for my Birthday treat,  foot spa with little fish, I must admit I wasn't sure about it .................... and I am still not sure as it didn't happen!  Apparently the company were due to open a second shop today on the Barbican in Plymouth but the fish didn't arrive in time, so instead of canceling the new shops appointments they tried to fit them all in the one shop.............. chaos.  We waited for quite a while after our appointment time than had to leave as Leanne had to go to work. So we will try again another day.   We had a lovely lunch and look around the shops, quite a treat for me ...............I don't get out much!

Friday 1 April 2011

Thought it was time to update......

Well it has been awhile since I blogged and I have been nagged at for not keeping up to date with everything that is happening here on Dartmoor.
In the last two weeks we have been very busy starting with a deliver of a bright red shiny new paddock cleaner which we purchased whilst at the futurity, very exciting, Steve took the day off as we also had the vet coming to do a vet certificate and some castrations........ more about that later.  Any way delivery went like clockwork even the driver remembered to ring about an hour before arrival so we could be ready waiting for him.  Lorry arrived, large pallet on back of truck with no tail lift, driver had been told he didn't need one!  Luckily we had the tractor with link box on had so we slid the pallet into the link box and lifted it down, signed deliver note after a quick check over .......... bye bye driver!  We quickly removed the wrapping ready to hitch up to the tractor.............. never been so excited about picking up poo.   Steve being more technically minded instantly noticed that although the wheels were on the machine they weren't actually fixed on ...... something about split pins!  How b.....y infuriating.  A phone call to the parts department resulted in the said split pins arriving the next day............... no apology though.  any way not to be beaten a couple of large washers and two nails later and we are picking up poo.  Not a bad job as I got to drive the tractor whilst Steve did the poo sucking............ funny he isn't as keen on using the hoover at home.  We now have lovely spanking clean fields and the veg garden has a good load of manure ready to be rotovated in.

The same morning as our exciting delivery Richard our vet came to  vet check Titan and castrate Felspar, Quartz and Merlin, a little sedative and some local anesthetic and job done, all three grazing in field.  When we checked on them later in the day it was obvious that Merlin was not happy, on closer inspection we could see he was bleeding badly from his wound, his fleece was all matted so he had been bleeding for a while.  Safely in a pen I was able to wash him down and check his wound which had now stopped bleeding, sprayed him with purple spray and left him separated from his field mates in the track next to his field with Murphy as a companion.  We are not sure why he had bled so much but there was evidence of some blood on one or two of the other llamas, so whether there had been some altercations going on we don't know.  Merlin has now fully recovered from his ordeal thankfully.

Last weekend we took the llamas to Hound tour for a 60th Birthday party, we had been asked to help carry the guests picnics up to the tor.  There must have been over 60 guests there but what we didn't realise was that they all brought their dogs!  the llamas took a it of interest in all these dogs arriving but weren't that bothered.  We didn't know what to expect when all these people, dogs and llamas walked up on to the moor and I was getting worried that they would get really upset about it............ not a problem, why do I worry like this......... The llamas lead by Lenny calmly walked carrying bags of food, totally ignoring all the dogs............. I am sure that they sussed out that these were very well behaved dogs and were not going to be a threat to them.  We even had a bit of a sniff at any dog that dared to get close enough..... even young Murphy had a sniff with a spaniel.  So I now need to rethink our no dogs rule!

Last sunday was my Birthday so we had the day off, drove down to the coast, had lunch and walked along the coast path at East Prawle and then had some dinner before we came home, so nice not to have to cook!

On Wednesday we held our Spinning course, Jean Field came and gave us some excellent instruction, our friend Norma provided a lovely lunch including some very nice cake.  I have now spun quite a bit of Titans fleece and now need to decide what to knit with it.

Yesterday we had  a llama visit from a local hospital OT Dept, it was too windy to go up on the moor so we had a walk along the lanes and had tea on the patio of our holiday cottage.  We really enjoy these group visits as everyone seems to get so much out of the experience.

Finally today we delivered the five Alpaca boys to Cornwall, Titan and Calypso to join Carpalla Herd, we unloaded them into a six acre field which is great but it was misty and after a few minutes they disappeared into the mist.  They are going to be very busy boys as the girls were in the field on the opposite side of the track and they all looked very ready and eager to meet the boys........... a lot of flirting going on along the fence line!  I think Nigel and Margaret are going to be very busy over the next few weeks as well and we can't wait to see the results next year.  Good Luck to you both.
Felspar, Quartz and Stephano have landed on their feet, they have gone to live near Fowey where they have holiday cottages.  We unloaded and settled them into their new paddocks which had so much grass,  at least 6 inches high and really lush and green.  After some basic instruction on how to handle them, put halters on etc we left them just munching away, they didn't even look up, not sure they notice we had gone! that gratitude for you!  I will really miss this group of boys in the morning when I go to feed up, they were such a lovely group. Now we just have Atlas and Prospect who when we returned with the trailer were a bit bemused that their friends had not returned as well.
Felspar & Quartz
So as you can see it has been busy here, tomorrow as a birthday treat! I am having a foot massage and something which involves little fish ............... not sure what thats all about!