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Thursday 24 January 2013

Still hanging in there!

Like large parts of the country we are enveloped in snow . There are many mixed views on snow - personally I hate it ! The countryside is beautiful , but weighed against the amount of work it creates I'd rather do without.

Now in my last blog I talked about Veronica - she is doing fine . Every morning I cross my fingers as I go towards her barn , but so far the signs are good , she is eating well and full of curiosity  so far  so good. She has Bijou or Esti as her companions , I figure that  the weather is too horrible for her to risk being outside , when the snow has gone and the ground is easier then she can go out , but until then she stays inside and stays safe.

Well the jinx I got from my last blog - on Tues Mr Fox came calling big time ! We have lost a couple of chickens over the winter - but only those who insisted on roosting in trees not houses .At 6.15 I went out to take DS#2 to YFC and there was a commotion in the hen house which  i knew I had shut less than an hour earlier . Thrashing sounds revealed an ailing cockerel who I initially thought was dying from the cold , but on closer inspection I saw that part of the roof had been torn off and all my chickens ( 17) and my turkey were dead ! There was one survivor - who is currently in the downstairs toilet with another sicky chicky . I cannot believe the intelligence or cunning of the fox , but boy do I wish I had a gun!

All the alpacas come in for the night , but seem largely unconcerned during the day, wonder what they will think about all the rain that is due.

Monday 14 January 2013

Mixed times

Things have generally been going well , apart from the weather of course ! So I committed the unforgivable sin of thinking to myself ' things are going well considering the weather ' - what has happened , well of course it is not going well now !
For several weeks I have been bringing Veronica and her cria Ewart , in for the night along with Esti , my bottle baby. Veronica is my oldest alpaca , at 13 she should still have a long life ahead of her , but this weather has proved that she really is getting old . She started to loose condition well before Christmas , hence the barn overnight , with extra supplies of alpha pellets and sugar beet . On Christmas eve she was struggling to stand - just the xmas present I needed- and I really thought that the time had come . With trepidation I went out on Christmas morn to find her knooshing happily. Since then she seems to have turned a corner and has steadily gained condition and is happily out for most of the day , unless it is raining  with the rest of the herd. Last Wednesday night , her cria looked unhappy , nothing specific, just unhappy. Thursday morning he struggled to stand and was not eating . Vet visit - we seem to be boosting their coffers very nicely this week- and a general view that whilst there was nothing obvious , he was not well. He had no temp , nothing specific, but off to the vet he went for blood tests and a drip . Sadly , later that day he died . As usual , he was a cracker , always a little on the small side , but never a concern. The pm result showed nothing! No worms of any kind , no fluke , no gut problems ,  nothing , just a failure to thrive. Veronica is upset , but has got used to Esti , and now the pair are inseparable , she bears all the hallmarks of an old lady- very alert , but slower than the others , still warding them away from anything she chooses to eat , but happy to sit by the hay racks and gently nibble . I think we have to accept that we might be lucky to get through to the spring , but she seems pretty happy and is not in any pain , just old. Scarily Veronica has started tipping over occasionally when she is in a cush, this has given us all heart failure since we looked out to see her seemingly dead in the field and also in the barn , but a gentle push back to cushing and she is up and away.
The rest of the herd are all doing well - there, I've done it again- and although thoroughly sick of the weather seem quite content with the continuing rounds of sugarbeet and hard feed.