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Thursday 30 June 2011

With a heavy heart

It is with a heavy heart that I await tomorrow . Diablo has not had a good day , whilst I would usually consider myself ' a glass half full ' sorta gal , today I feel quite the opposite. I called the vet out this morning- Diablo was lethargic in the extreme , and had lost weight over night , refused to actively take a bottle and was only taking a small amount that I was force feeding him . Blood and fecal samples have been taken , temp appears normal , no obvious pain or swelling anywhere - a total mystery. The vet has scratched her head and whilst we await the test results from the VLA Diablo will be scanned and x-rayed tomorrow morning to see if anything presents itself.
His feed at 6.30pm was also reluctantly taken , but by 10 pm he was sucking , which is the first time in several days that I have had any help from him , maybe positive? He does seem to be holding his head slightly oddly , and dribbling a bit , but I am beginning to see all sorts of things which may or may not really be a problem . Hey ho , hopefully some answers tomorrow , but I am not expecting them to be good.

On the plus side , there usually is a plus if you look , we have friends visiting from SF who we haven't seen for a year, and that is great.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Emotional roller coaster

On the bright side , matings have gone well , all the girls have been mated now except Brizo , she is a maiden who showed a lot of interest a week ago , but seems to have got cold feet now that her turn has come , we'll wait and try again in a couple of days. Hermione has spat , and none of the other girls ( who were so keen a week ago ) could be persuaded to even come and look at Magic , I take that as a good sign.

On the other hand Diablo is causing me a lot of concern . I just don't have a good feeling about this . I weighed him tonight and he has lost a couple of 100g's , his feeding is erratic , and I rarely catch him feeding from mum . She has plenty of milk , and lets him feed but far too often I find him tucked up under a hedge or sunbathing and she is not paying him any attention. As soon as I appear with a bottle then she is right by his side . We have bottle fed a couple of cria over the last 5 years and I have never had one who is not interested in the same way Diablo isn't. He started so well , coming eagerly to the bottle , but now I have to catch him , and tonight I had to practically force feed him . Undoubtedly I am going to have to take a more proactive stance on this one , we go on holiday in 3 wekks time , so I need to be sure he is doing better by then or the house sitters will have a nightmare! Does anybody have any ideas or tips , I could really do with some !

And foxes , don't mention foxes !!! I have barely had a good nights sleep for weeks due to the constant attentions of a fox. Last night it chewed the corner of the nesting box , I kid you not , sometimes a gun looks most appealing .

Tuesday 21 June 2011

still going in the right direction

I am pleased to report that Diablo continues to progress , it seems that when the weather is bad he feeds very little ( and looses weight ) and if the weather is good vice versa. Tonight he took a bottle , but that is the first time since Sat. and he has gained a couple of 100 gms , so with all the ups and downs he stands at 7.3kgs ! Still hardly a giant , but good enough for me at the moment .

Today also saw some more matings , as did yesterday. Teifi Magic spent 2 weeks in a field with most of the eligible ladies and refused to perform his studly duties , yesterday I thought I was doing pregnancy tests, but it became immediately apparent that none of the girls are preg yet , judging by the fight to get into the mating pen!! So , two matings yesterday and 3 today . Artemis is very keen on this mating business , she muscled her way to the front of the queue yesterday , and then tried again today , standing next to whoever was mating and keeping an eye on proceedings. I find it very amusing that after a few minutes orgling the girls start dropping like flies until the whole mating pen is surrounded by very keen females. Lets hope it all goes to plan and we get a bumper crop of cria for next year after this years disappointing showing.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Progressing ....

Diablo has reached the massive weight of 7kgs! What a relief. He is still coming in at night , and I am offering him a bottle morning and night but he only takes a small amount if any at all , as if he is being polite , but he isn't really interested . Whilst the rain is welcome in many ways , it is proving a hindrance for cria growth , I would love some nice sunny days for him so that he can get some Vit D and run around , but it looks set to carry on as a damp June. Anyway , the progress is small but positive . Thank you for all your support and good ideas .

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Back to square one !

Diablo lost a little weight yesterday and a little more today , so we are back to bottle supplementing! I am so disappointed , I really thought that he would be up and away with the progress he has made , but a combination of cold wet days and nights has taken its toil , and I think he has entered a vicious circle where he was too cold and wet to want to feed and then he was to weak to be able to feed , I had hoped that taking him in in the evenings would help , but clearly not enough! This evening he took 200mls of goats milk with extra double cream and it went down very quickly , almost instantly there was an increase in activity and now he is tucked up in the stables with his mum , feeding happily . Lets hope that a couple of weeks of supplementing will see significant improvement , after all there must be a tipping point when they weigh enough to feed well and run around ?!

Monday 13 June 2011


It has rained ALOT over the last couple of days , but thankfully it has been sunny today . I am so grateful for the rain , and very sorry for the farmers in the SE who are on water restrictions , but yesterday when I was knelt on the grass in the pouring rain bailing out a drainage hole that was blocked , whilst DH tried to locate the problem I was rather less grateful.


Diablo was looking very sorry for himself , cushed against a hedge in the rain , so in he and mum came for a dry off and a comfortable night in the stable . I don't think he had been feeding very much , he looked a little lethargic and sad , so cria coat back on , and plenty of feeding , he looked much brighter this morning. At lunch time I let them out for some sun , and weighed him as well . Worryingly his weight gain since birth was only 1.5kg. I guess in percentage terms that s ok since he only weighed in at 5.5 kgs in the first place , but I had hoped for a bit more . Today may have seen a greater weight gain , fingers crossed, otherwise we'll be back to a supplement bottle for my peace of mind . Veronica is a good mum and always has plenty of milk , but being so small I suppose he uses alot of energy just feeding .

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Shearing done at last!

Last night I was too pooped to blog - shearing started at 8.30 and finished 14 hrs later at 10.30pm ! and we only did 22 alpaca!

Initially we started well , a friend bought her 3 to join us for shearing and it seemed to be going smoothly , 3 alpacas in the shearer complained that the hand piece was warming up too much and he would have to switch to the reserve hand piece , this also had a fault and so did the back-up reserve hand piece! After 3 hours of 'fiddling' with the hand pieces DH and the shearer admitted defeat and we called the whole thing off. Friend departed with her 3 unshorn animals , and we put everyone back in their fields. 3 hours later the shearers called to say that they were on their way back having got a new hand piece and would be with us in an hour! Back to square one!Call friend, round up alpacas , start shearing again at 6.30pm. This time we sheared our Friends animals first , and finally finished our own at 10.30 - at which point we all sat down fro bacon sandwiches and beer ! but only after everyone had showered!

ps the alpaca look great , and I am stiff as a board from all the bending and gathering of fleece

Sunday 5 June 2011

Shearers - a blessing or a curse ??

It has been absolutely boiling here for a good few days and the alpacas are clearly finding it hard going - plenty of showering under the hosepipe- so I was pleased to hear from the shearers on Friday night , 11pm to be precise , and find that they are coming on Monday! All hands to the pump getting the barn spotless and dust free ( yeh right ) but very clean nonetheless and getting the house ready for the shearers to sleepover as the boys put it! Well that's the blessing - the animals will be cooler and happier and look lovely , the curse is that as soon as the date was set the weather has changed- it bloody well rained yesterday , and we have gone from hot but very dry alpacas to warm and slightly soggy alpacas , which everyone knows is not a desirable state for shearing. A strong wind is blowing at the moment so fingers crossed .

Diablo is doing really well , I haven't been able to catch him to weigh him , so I take that as a sign that he is flourishing !He has had his coat off for a few days now and is truly a lovely colour , just like his dad.

I have decided to re-name Teifi Magic , it seems that Houdini would be more appropriate ! On Thurs day evening I moved him from his field with the girls back in with the boys , so that we could spit off next week and see how we stand so to speak. Having made a monumental fuss about leaving the boys 2 weeks ago , Magic made a similar fuss about leaving the girls! Finally , we walked him , on his halter , back to the boys field well out of sight of the girls . For the first half hour it all went as expected , the girls breathed a sigh of relief and got back to relaxing , Magic stood at the gate and hummed in a most upset sort of way. Dh and I got back to planting the veg beds. Gradually the humming got louder , DH looked concerned and eventually commented on how loud Magic was , suddenly we both realised that he was very loud and very close ! Magic was on the bridle path on the other side of the veg garden hedge , trying to get back to the girls! Slight panic as we tried and eventually managed to get him back into his own field with the boys. This time I left him in the catch pen by the gate with Flag for company and breathed a sigh of relief , secure in the knowledge that he could not possibly get out of there. Flag sat down and looked thoroughly bored with his companion who was still pacing the gate and humming. DH and I went to get some supper , half an hour later Magic was back at the gate , this time the gate from the bridle path to the back garden! How the hell did he do it ? Anyway , by now we had decided that we would not sleep if we weren't sure he was secure , so gave in and put him back with the girls , Magic 1 - Humans 0!
Now we are onto plan B, not sure what that will be yet, but certainly plan A was a flop!