Monday, July 8, 2019

Coccidia-to continue

Well, it's been three-four weeks since we isolated the incoming girl from Illinois and our other three animals who contracted the nasty worms. The fecal samples were sent out, and we received the results five days later. All four of the animals came back with zero occysts and eggs. Yay!!! We opened gates and let them in with the rest of the herd. Talk about a celebration and a grand reunion! There was pronking, jumping, running, some were even playing tag. The herd was joyful, and we could feel the happiness in the air but the biggest take away.....never allow any outsiders in with the herd before fecal sampling and getting results that they don't carry the deadly worms. While we don't expect the animals to stay 100% clean because ANIMALS HAVE WORMS (said by one of the vets who assisted me in the dosing process), we don't want the big, bad and the ugly!!!
Clean pastures, rotate pastures and barn (corral) cleaning all must be daily. We've knocked it out of the park with the three of us (myself, husband and ranch hand) alternating clean up duty throughout the day. I'm sure we are in the top 1% of the nation with at least 5 cleanups daily. Yes, they poop that much!!!! Healthy alpacas means healthy babies!!!! This is one of the aspects in breeding for excellence.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


It's been a rough three plus weeks. I've only had my herd for a year or so, so I guess you could say I'M A AMATEUR! After a friend suggested I pull some fecals (that's the scientific name for poop)on a few of my girls and especially on a new girl I brought into the herd without isolating her first. BIG MISTAKE! I agreed and pulled five samples (they for the most part look like coffee beans) from unsuspecting alpacas. They were all pulled randomly. No specific animal, no specific order. (Of course, I did targeted the new girl in town, she was only eight months old but very thin). I waited a week and the results left me speechless and without answers. The little female who was shipped in from Illinois had 375oocyst of Elmeria Macusaniensis (E-Mac), 1600 oocyst-Coccidia, 60 ova-Trichostrongyle, 15 ova Nematodirus. What the heck? I went into panic mode and had no idea of what to do. AND to make things worst, she also was diagnosed with Haemonchus Contortus. You may ask "What does this all mean?" They are all a bunch of scummy worms, some of whom are deadly, very infectious and threaten the rest of my herd, especially the young, old and the feeble. Marc and I went to work setting up isolation pens everywhere there was room for one. In the corner, out in the corral, three in the barn. Seriously, anywhere. We separated the infected into one pen, the girls who are pregnant and due within the next month into another, and the babies under a year old into their own. The rest were left with any space they could find. I studied what these worms are and how they are treated. I got five different answers from five different sources. I got my hands on some ponazuril which is one of the big guns for treatment but very expensive and some safeguard (a gooey paste that is hard to dose). I started with the infected girls in isolation. Three days of weighing and dosing. It isn't an easy feat unless they have haltered trained. Most of the girls I've bought have never seen a halter to make things worst. We literally had to drag some of them on a blanket to the scale. Talk about spit, the alpacas don't think much of the oral medicines and if you don't hold their heads up high and concentrate on holding their mouths closed until they swallow, you might get hit with a big wad of goop right in the eye. It stings! Believe me! I know! I'm now in waiting mode after sending in some samples this morning to see if I have cut down on the parasite load..........Stay posted.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Freckled Bliss Birth

We'd only had the ranch up and running (if you could even say that) for a month or two as we watched our females stomach's expand. We had no experience with alpaca childbirth but I must say Marc and I were very experienced with human childbirth. Together we had delivered four children, one in the elevator at the hospital with no doctor present, the other three very quickly and completely natural. Did that help us with Freckles birth? "Hell no!!!
I sensed something was going on at the barn as I made the trek down the long driveway. What I saw next was something I was hoping wasn't happening. In the middle corral stood Luzie Luna of Bright Water with two feet sticking out of her behind, and they were crossed!!!!! Being the only one at home, I utterly and totally panicked I reached for my phone. Darcy immediately picked up and asked for a photo. Do I have time to get a good pic? I thought and couldn't keep my teary eyes off of Luzie's hind quarters. Darcy calmly said "You need to uncross the legs and watch for a head to appear." What? Uncross the legs? I stooped down and grabbed the first leg I could get a hold of and never let my eyes drift from Luzie. Was I worried about the baby? No not really. I was more worried about getting a good kick to the chops!!!! I got a hold of the second leg and begin to try to figure out which leg was on top and which was underneath. With each contraction, I tugged a little after listening closely to my coach. Aha! A head was present and the birth was moving right a long. I remained stooped watching and tugging with each contraction. I was in deep concentration when I noticed our ranch hand come around the corner. His eyes grew large, a concerned look formed on his face and an "Oochy Mama" left his lips. I couldn't believe it as I slowly smiled and said "I know." With a few more grunts, Freckled Bliss of PBR was born. She was beautiful, bright white and covered in fawn spots. A beautiful appaloosa. Everything I could dream of and aw, the satisfaction of helping Luzie deliver her baby was indescribable.