Friday, 29 June 2012

Almost Illegally Cute...

We have another cria did arrive on Wednesday when the girls were due for lunch...unfortunately it arrived before they did...and in the pouring yet again my friends turned up looking all glamorous and there was I looking like a drowned rat!

The latest arrival is a brown male whom we have named Pedro. He is the first cria from Anzac Almost Illegal, who is light fawn. However, Mum (Pebbles) is a rich brown. He weighed in at 9.8kgs and was up and away in no time.

Beck Brow Pedro (sire Anzac Almost Illegal)

Lullaby has made amazing progress and is always up to some mischief. Here she is (below) with Shackleton checking out the camera case. We are still divided as to whether Shackleton is beige or white (I say beige) but he definitely deserves to be in the Explorer club...certainly our best cria so far this year!

Lullaby and Shackleton

Waradene St Patrick of EPC has also added to his growing family. Mr No Name As Yet joined the Florens herd last night at 7pm.

Caramella and son

It's another short blog...I am so tired I can't string a sentence there is no chance of any witty blog writing. Bottle feeding; a 12 hour nursing shift; and too much socialising... is taking it's toll on my old body. I am out with the girls tonight... think I will have to try for a little siesta if I am not going to fall asleep in my dinner!

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Pot has Boiled!

Yes, after waiting all week...fully prepared for any number of births...the pot eventually boiled at the most inconvenient  time..and in the rain. To be fair it would have been difficult for Chaska to avoid the rain...but why did she have to wait until the day after I had worked a night shift. I tell you our alpacas don't like me getting any sleep.

Not only that we were due to deliver Anzac Almost Illegal... who was going on his holidays to the North East Coast to service a few ladies...a little rest and relaxation! I was looking forward to catching up with Kathryn (a fellow nurse) and seeing her girls again. However, as Chaska started to birth just as we were about to leave, and Robyn and Craig were about to have lunch,  I decided I best stay home. Which meant I missed out on seeing a Legacy cria born for Kathryn! (Legacy of Purston was on loan there last year)

Well, I have been looking forward to Chaska's was bound to be a fawn female...after all she was purchased with St Patrick in mind...she was purchased not only because is she a top female (Jim Watt's assessment) but she is a lovely deep fawn. Last year she had a white male (sire Neptune of Houghton - light fawn)...St Patrick is much darker so surely she wouldn't do it again...well not quite but nearly...a beige male...but again a very handsome one. Half brother to Magellan; we have kept to the theme, and named him Shackleton.

Now we are having a debate as to who to mate Chaska to this year. She obviously does not obey the rules. Possibly she has a white spot gene or more likely a lightening gene. Paul wants to put her to Explorer. I see where he is coming from; if she is going to have a white then she is a great match for Explorer (she has fantastic density). However, I want to try Black Sabbath...after all she does not follow any rules so who knows what she may have...opinions welcome!

Beck Brow Shackleton getting breakfast

Shackleton...weighed in at 9.5kgs this morning

Inca Van Dieman Chaska...keeping that lovely colour to herself!

Thankfully my alpaca bedding set from Penrose Products did arrive at a convenient time (Penrose Products donated 20 bedding sets to the WAC charity auction and we won the bid on one set). The duvet is on a guest bed as it is a double bed size, but we are using the pillows...they are brilliant...I will be placing an order for some more. Great to see alpaca thirds being put into such a top quality product.

Right I am going back out to watch the pot. I am making a family meal for this evening as it is my Father's birthday, and doing some training on giving injections this afternoon, so a birth sometime this morning would be good! Or alternatively...the girls are coming out on the train on Wednesday...they are bringing lunch...and by the fact that they are coming on the train I expect some refreshments too...wouldn't it be lovely if they could see a birth...maybe if we don't watch to closely!

P.S just caught Sophia feeding two cria...who was the additional cria...was it Lullaby whom we are bottle feeding?...Ben who is needing topped up with bottles? was Lexus who already weighs 3 kgs heavier than her own cria Lula...she doesn't need any more Sophia (interestingly Kenzie - Lexus's sister was also a milk thief despite their mother having plenty of milk!)

Monday, 18 June 2012

A watched pot!

I've been waiting to write a blog...waiting so I could tell you about our latest cria...the one that we are still waiting for! Obviously I should know better by would seem that the more eager you are; the longer that you wait. Cambridge Camilla and Inca Van Dieman Chaska are both looking primed and ready to go...but no...not today. These are probably the two females that I am most excited about this they are sure to be late. It could be a case of a watched pot never boils...not wanting to miss any action I stayed up today after working a night shift...when I say stayed up I mean that I didn't go to would appear that I managed to fall asleep in the birthing paddock...well two hours had some how passed unnoticed and I woke up next to Hoity Toity!

Things are getting back to normal here as Lullaby now goes between 11pm and 6am without a bottle. She is putting on weight and now weighs 7.7kgs, although still looks under cooked. She is best friends with Bendigo (who is also getting the occasional bottle supplementing Katkin). The culture and sensitivity on Katkin's milk sample came back growing Staphylococus Aureus. It was sensitive to the antibiotic that she was on, however the vet advised to extend from a 5 day to a 7 day course.

Beck Brow Lullaby yesterday in the rain

Lullaby and Bendigo

Bendigo not sure if he likes his photo taken whilst mid motion!

Lullaby coat off in the sunshine...still tiny

We delivered Anzac Hollywood's Attitude to his new home at Swinden Rise Alpacas on Saturday. The rain was relentless but it didn't put him off getting on with the job in hand an arrival. We have heard that he is settling in well...thankfully...I have a very big soft spot for was a wrench to part with him...but he needs to be working and Waradene St Patrick is hogging the coloured girls at Beck Brow. St Patrick is doing a great job with all of his first matings of the season spitting off.

After last year's 500 fleeces to sort this year is a doddle. I have skirted our show fleeces (9 this year). It is always good to have a really good inspection of the fleeces off the alpaca's backs. One of the surprises was Beck Brow Crystal Maze...skirted blanket fleece...female, 11 months of age...2.98 kgs!! I had to weigh it 3 times to be sure...well at least she will get full points for weight.

I have just had to pop out to sign for some parcels...I can't believe how much stuff I have ordered from Medisave. I have found them to be the cheapest and most efficient when order syringes, gloves, Virkon etc. I had rather hoped the boxes might have contained my alpaca bedding set bought at the World Alpaca Conference...but we are still waiting!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

What a difference a day makes!

Many thanks for all your kind comments regarding our care of Lullaby...I know that you all would have done exactly the same...Lullaby is by far the weakest cria that we have had born here...but she really did want to live...and Bahati never gave up hope. Sometimes things don't have a positive outcome despite every effort but she really does demonstrate that it is worth persevering (fingers crossed we continue onwards). She has achieved more than we dared to hope a week ago...but today really has been a day for great progress:

This morning...stand me up and I can keep my balance pretty well now...the head is a bit heavy though

 Lunchtime... I seem to have fan I can hold my head up and walk if stood

 Afternoon... not only can I stand up unaided... I can jog after my Mum!

Now I accept that she isn't looking her best so some photos of the rest this year's cria so far;

 Beck Brow Lexus (sire Waradene St Patrick of EPC) at the loo

Beck Brow Lula (sire; EPC Top Account of Fowberry) who is light fawn

 High Winder Ben (sire; St Patrick)

 Wiseman Alpacas Coco (sire; St Patrick)

Here is Sophia loving Lexus...her cria is Lula!!

We had to make a trip to the vet's yesterday afternoon for some antibiotics. We noticed that Katkin wasn't always letting little Ben nurse, and that she looked rather uncomfortable. Further investigation revealed a badly cracked nipple and a hard left back quarter. We extracted some milk with difficulty and it looks like the start of mastitis. She has been given Co-Amoxiclav and anti-inflamatories. We have also dropped in a milk sample at the VLA for testing. Ben has also had a couple of bottles to take the pressure off Mum.

With all my excitement about Explorer working...we now seem to have a slight problem...he only likes white females! I wonder if this is natural behaviour...and if in the wild they would be selective by colour? Well when he gets no other choices... I am sure he will change his mind!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lullaby update.

Just a quick blog tonight as I am seriously sleep deprived. A twelve hour night shift (with no sleep the following day) combined with three hourly feeds for a week....have resulted in things being a bit of a blurr!

So just a quick update on Lullaby. She is one week old today and has at last made some real progress. She can now lift her head unaided and is attempting to stand on her own. She can remain standing if put into position. Bahati is being an absolute star and remains by her side.

Lullaby looking much improved

 So much so she thinks that she will try to go solo

 Oops maybe not just yet

Gosh I'm pooped now

There is no stopping Beck Brow Explorer now that he has found his mojo...boy is he pleased with himself. It is going to be all change on the stud male front here over the next few weeks. Anzac Hollywood's Attitude will be going to his new home (I will be sad to see him go but we have retained the option of some future matings). Anzac Almost Illegal is going out on lease, and we are going to collect our shared, prize winning black male; Viracocha Black Sabbath, on the 30th of June.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Give the boy a cigar!

I mentioned on the last blog that we have been trying to persuade Beck Brow Explorer that he would like to start working. First of all we tried getting him to watch St Patrick at work...we put Metisha in the pen with him...Metisha sat...Explorer ignored both her and St Patrick... and stared longingly at his little male pals across the lane...voyeurism obviously not his thing.

Next I had the idea of letting him run in the paddock with Metisha and Crystal. I also put in Alfie one of his little pals (too young to work) theory was a bit of competition might spur him on. Unfortunately Explorer was more interested in Alfie... at one point Alfie was mounting Crystal and Explorer mounting Alfie!...Alfie was removed.

Well, left to his own the privacy of his own paddock...Explorer has done the deed...the lucky girl being Metisha...I have to say he looks mighty pleased with assistance required!

 Beck Brow Explorer at work!

We have also had another birth; Morden Hall Honaria has given us our third girl. We are not quite sure if she is beige or white yet (last year I was very good and registered all our cria within 6 weeks of birth...I have since had to change a white to beige, a beige to white and a brown to fawn!) Weighing in at a healthy 9.5 kgs she was quickly up and away. I have named her Lexus (I seem to be on a bit of an 'L' thing at the moment)

Honaria with Lexus (and Adelle)

Lullaby is a little stronger. She is talking her bottles well but still cannot stand unaided. She started with constipation yesterday but we had a good result from a soapy enema. We have been trying to be careful not to imprint human behaviour on to her. Unfortunately Velvet does not understand this, and I expect Lullaby is going to be barking shortly. I have caught Velvet licking her on a number of her a proper wash and looking up at Bahati as if to say "look at the state of should be doing this"  If anything happens to her, Velvet is going to be as upset as Bahati.

Talking of licking...Katkin always like to lick her she is with High Winder Bendigo (Ben for short)...I don't think he is too keen on this kissing malarkey!

Katkin and Bendigo

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Bahati's Lullaby

The will to live is a marvellous thing...whilst we were trying our very best to keep Bahati's cria alive...we were prepared for the worst. However, we have never had a cria so determined to survive. The credit has also got to go to Paul, who has been doing most of the bottle feeding, both day and night.

She is still too weak to lift her head unaided, but she can nearly balance on her feet with some support, even if it is for very short periods. We have been doing lots of passive exercises with her to try to develop some muscle. However, the key to her surviving thus far is that she takes a bottle well. We have been milking Bahati to keep her milk supply, but she is on goats milk for the bulk of her feed. She did have some loose stools yesterday (I expect due to the cows colostrum) so we have been adding re hydration salts to her milk and we have also been giving her a little probiotic goats yogurt. Her tummy does seem to have settled today. She has neither gained weight nor lost any. She is definitely switched on...she is just so very weak.

One thing that I didn't mention on my last blog was the use of liquid glucose. I have in the past used honey to kick start hypoglycaemic cria (initially rectally if the temperature is too low to feed) but I purchased some liquid glucose (available from cake decorator stores) and decided to give it a go. We both felt that this had a really big impact when we were trying to keep her going whilst warming her.

We have decided we must now be positive, and we have named her...because Bahati and her cria hum to each other constantly... we have named her...Lullaby


The sun came out for a short while this morning so I decided to take the High Dependency Unit outdoors! Unfortunately it didn't last for long...the heavens opened without any is a while since I have ran so fast...she was more or less dry when I got her back in the barn (don't tell Paul!)

Out door special care

I did intend to take photos of all of the cria but unfortunately I had only got as far as Coco when the rain came down...they were all in the barn much quicker that I managed to make it with Lullaby!

 Willow and Coco

One of the reasons that Paul was on duty on Monday was because I had agreed to steward at Northumberland County Show. We had decided not to enter this year as the show was later than is usual; due to the Jubilee, and we didn't want to delay our shearing. However, as I still had the Supreme Championship Cup (won by Beck Brow Explorer) and needed to give it back, I couldn't really cry off. Numbers were down this year, with a lot of entries unable to attend, however as is always the case; it was a relaxed and fun event and it  ran very smoothly...meaning it was over by 14.30hrs and I was able to get home early afternoon.

I didn't take my camera but our friend, Andy Stewart kindly shared his photos from the day. Here are a couple of my favorites.

The most delightful junior handler award...had there been one...would have gone to Northumbrian Alpacas

...and some of you may recognize these two pretty brunettes!

We have got our fleece results back from AAFT, and like Rosemary we are also impressed by the service and the amount of information provided. Unfortunately I missed sending a sample from Explorer. Hopefully I can work out where a midside sample is as I sprayed purple spray on his biopsy wound!

One of my favorite fleeces belongs to Silverstream Galaxy ET. It is not the longest, but if you consider that she is five years old and has had three cria, and that she is also mid fawn...I would say not bad;

MFD: 19.8,  SD: 4.1  CV: 20.7%  CF: 97.5%  Curvature: 56.8

It's bottle feeding time again. I must also check the paddock. Cambridge Camilla is bagged up and showing all the signs of thinking about birthing...she is only 11 months so I wasn't expecting her to be so soon...after all she was pregnant for over 13 months when she had Explorer...she could however just be teasing.

We have been trying to get Explorer working with some unsuccessful but amusing attempts...I will share next time!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Crias Galore!

What a busy Jubilee weekend we are street parties for us as we have been too busy playing midwife. On Saturday Paul was in charge whilst I was at work. We had had a good look at the udders whilst shearing on Thursday; so he was left with advice as to who was most likely to birth. Sophia was not bagged up at all...and caught Paul out when she decided to go for it.

Pregnant to the the Futurity Champion Herdsire 2012; EPC Top Account of Fowberry, we have been excited to see what Sophia was going to produce. Well she didn't disappoint...we have a beautiful, healthy, light fawn female weighing in at 8 kgs. We (that is I) have named her Beck Brow Lula.

Beck Brow Lula

 Things haven't gone so smoothly today. Bahati gave birth to a very weak cria at 9am this morning. Hypothermic, and I assume hypoglycaemic, the cria was unable to even lift its head. We have a gorgeous golden female (sire; Waradene St Patrick of EPC) but we really are struggling to keep her alive. She is showing all the signs of a dysmature cria ( this is Bahati's fourth cria...all females...and taking her average gestations she was due last Monday). She cannot stand and cannot lift her head without assistance.

Her temperature was unrecordable, but with the help of a hairdryer and heat lamps it is up to 37 degrees (still lower than normal but acceptable). We called the vet with a plan to give her intravenous glucose, but as always happens, by the time the vet arrived we had managed to warm her enough to get some colostrum into her. Her suckling reflex is weak but she is swallowing and we have managed to get 260 mls of colostrum into her within seven hours. She has also had probiotics, vitamins, selenium and injectable vitamin B1.

And if that wasn't keeping us busy enough, Katkin (who is still on livery and is owned by High Winder Alpacas) decided to birth 15 minutes after Bahati. She has a lovely fawn St Patrick boy. Who thankfully was quickly up on his feet and suckling

Katkin with her as yet unnamed son.

We are going to have a sleepless night no doubt, as we will be on duty in the barn. I am stewarding at Northumberland County Show tomorrow, so hopefully Paul will not have such a traumatic day as today. I will have to hand back Explorer's Supreme Championship Cup...I am sure that I will regret not taking him to defend it...especially as getting his fleece off (or seeing them naked) hasn't done anything to improve his interest in the girls!