Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Challenging week

Slightly soggy alpaca crias. I do wish their mums would
take them in
Our week started off rather well as the young lass who was coming to practice her English turned up and worked well at her chores. She is still a bit shy but she loves the alpacas and wants to make friends with them, so that is a good start. She helped Ian for most of the morning before helping me in the afternoon. Ian took her to see the sheep and found that a rather large expanse of their electric fence was down. It was a good job the sheep spent most of their time at the top of the field, otherwise they would have been able to escape easily. Between the two of them they fixed the fence back up with the young lass taking some initiative when Ian didn't have his hammer with him, she found a large piece of wood to bash the wooden poles back in. Obviously used to thinking for herself, which is good.

Long necks are good to catch that itch
The young lass was happy enough that she asked if her cousin could come along later on in the week too. Her cousin's English is more fluent and she helped our young helper to understand more of what we were saying. The cousin is also a bit brasher but pleasant enough with it, so we had fun with some banter too. I introduced them to scones and English style cakes, but they were quite used to licking out the bowls or learnt quickly, not sure which.

At least here he is cushed, but we found him many times
flat out and lethargic
I collected some Selenium injections for our young cria as sometimes they do not get enough and with our youngest cria, George, being a bit lethargic it was wise to make sure his Selenium levels were okay. Later on in the evening though after our young helper's first visit, he was so lethargic he wasn't really responding. We were really worried and asked the sheep camp for some antibiotics. I also gave him some water with sugar and salt in to ensure he got some energy inside of him, but it wasn't really having any effect. We took him into the caravan with us and I kind of kipped out on the floor while Ian went to sleep on the side, we didn't even bother getting changed.

George sporting the latest alpaca style shave. Actually it
was shaved for the cannula
He seemed to settle with me stroking his tummy and if I dropped off and stopped stroking him, he would become agitated. I managed to keep that up until about 4am with the occasional wetting of his mouth with some more sugared solution. At about 4am, he suddenly cushed, which means he put his legs underneath him and sat like an alpaca should, instead of on his side. Whatever was bothering him, was ebbing. I managed then to doze for a few hours.

Although here George is resting in the sun, he spent too
many hours like this, but he is definitely picking up now.
Frederiks at least looks upright and alert here
The next morning we took him into the vets and we have to confess that there were times we didn't think he would see the morning. Ian and our vet tried to get a cannula into George's vein or at least try and work out where it would go, as I pinned him down on the table. Ian had managed before on a previous alpaca. Although worrying, it was also kind of amusing when our vet pulled in one of her customers to help us. Normally the customer worked with ambulance - sort of paramedic type but apparently she was able to get to get a cannula into dog's sometimes when our own vet struggled. It was partly, if I understood correctly, because she also worked on children, who can also present difficulties in finding veins.
Although life can get a bit too much for babies at times, even
the strongest ones get tired

Chilling out together in the sun 
Eventually though it was decided to put a drip in subcutaneously (under the skin) after a couple of failed attempts. It did strike me though that it could only be a rural practice where a paramedic nurse, a vet and an ex-heamatologist try to put a cannula into an alpaca. She sent us back with the drip with instructions to give him another drip subcutaneously early afternoon and then we took him back before she closed for the evening for her to check him over and give him another antibiotic. Although still weak, he was beginning to improve.

Herkules chewing on a straw
We took him back the next morning and this time our vet managed to get a cannula into his vein and he was given another drip. By now he was beginning to look much stronger. He was being picked on a bit by the older cria, Frederiks, though, which concerned us, as did the on and off showers we were having. We couldn't leave George in the rain, but neither would his mum take him in. She enjoyed a good shower and so we would have to coax her in and she was not happy. All the female alpacas were most unhappy about being kept in over 36 hours when we had heavy drenching drizzle and cria health was more important than their playing in the puddles.

Stopping the boys from going into their alpaca house for a
pee. They are not happy about this though
We have been really struggling with the rain this last week. It has meant that many of the outdoor jobs are not getting done, especially haymaking. Our hay stock is just about exhausted now and we have just about enough to keep us going for another week or so for feed (alpacas still need hay, even in summer, as they need the dry feed) but the bedding is a real problem. Because they are inside so much the bedding is getting wet. The boys alpaca house is even worse because the roof is leaking and although we have the roofing to deal with it, we need the dry weather over two days to get it sorted. They all really need their houses cleared out or lots and lots of hay put on top to keep them dry and we just do not have it. We are just hoping and praying the weather improves this next week to get some cut and baled.

Mr. P 
During the week the forestry guy turned up at our farm and tried to tell us something about the forestry certificate we needed that allows us to cut trees above 12cm. Ian had been wondering what had happened to it. The last one was emailed to us and he had been into renew it sometime over the winter. We resorted to the mobile to call our friend to clarify what the problem was. Apparently he had been several times but nobody had been around, which is odd as we are more often there than not. For some reason Ian had to go and collect the certificate before July 1st because there were some changes going on - well that's about as much as we knew. We managed to get our translator friend to help Ian as he had to go to the office in the big town to get it sorted. It turns out the lady who helpfully filled in the forms for Ian, ticked the box that said he would collect it instead of getting it emailed. At least we don't have to worry about that now for another three years.

A still shaggy Chanel
Despite the rain and delaying projects that need doing, we still managed to do jobs like plough ditches to see if they will divert some of the rain off the roadway. It isn't good to have such a soggy roadway with all this rain. I also managed to plant out a load of caulis that needed transplanting and our young chap who has started coming helped me to put a good thick mulch of old hay around the potatoes. The place now looks a little tidier too as we managed to use up some really manky bales of hay in the process.

And a soggy Mari, looking decidedly grubby
The rain does mean that it is not such a problem for getting admin done, the problem though is I managed to get the end of my charger covered in bread dough and it would appear to have corroded the contacts. I am now back on the Nokia phone, but since it is not a smartphone it means I cannot use my internet at the moment, I have to use Ian's on his phone. Not terribly convenient for downloading bank statements and such for the accountant. So annoying!

Our chicks are getting bigger and the next load hatched.
Just to finish up this week and the reason the blog is late I went to pick up friends from bus station, as my young crazy friend is back to visit and she brought a friend with her. We have really enjoyed a good catch up and she and Ian are back to the banter that only good friends can get away with. It is a shame she could only manage a couple of days but with the bad weather we could at least sit around chatting and not feel guilty.


  1. Really hoping that the weather improves, the land dries out a bit and the alpacas and you can all get out into some summer warmth. The weather in the UK is all over the place too! X

    1. The good news is that the sun has come out, the wind has picked up and the ground is drying out nicely. At last!


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