Sunday, January 6, 2008

Herd Health Day

Saturday was set aside for Health Day for our alpacas. Being that we only have 3 on our farm it did not take us all day, but I do think it's important to set aside plenty of time to dedicate to the monthly health requirements.

This month the agenda included trimming nails, shots, checking teeth, checking weight, and looking all over the alpaca. Since last month J struggled to get any of the alpacas into the chute, this month he had me there to assist. We were determined that these things needed to be done.

First victim was Snowstorm. Snowstorm is a big alapca, and he is very stubborn. He has been known to kick. We closed off the gates to the pasture, and J herded the alpacas into the catch pen. There they had no where to run to. J got the halter on Snowstorm and led him to the chute in the barn. I kept the barn door open because I think the alpacas prefer that. They do not like to be closed in, so leading them to an area where they feel trapped goes against their nature. Snowstorm led well until we got to the chute, he did not want to go in. I got out the poles that he usually moves from but even a tap on his butt did not get him moving (I even did it harder than a tap and he would not move). We all struggled and eventually got him in the chute. J trimmed Snowstorms nails while I held his halter. The chute does give the alpaca places to lean, but I found the closer I was to Snowstorm the less he struggled. He did cush a few times (cushing is when the alpaca sits down), but we managed to get him to stand again. For the weight check J feels the back spine, it should be in a V shape. Before Snowstorm was overweight and his V was very flat. We cut back on his grain and this month J reports he is at a "4" which is much better. J gave him his shot (Ivermectin which is for meningeal worm, a worm that is found in deer but an live in the ground where deer are present and be transferred to Alpacas).

While we were working on Snowstorm, Victoria kept coming in the barn to see what was going on. We did notice that Fluffy was not her usual attack cat. Seems she enjoys playing with Thunder and isn't so needy for attention. When I arrived at the barn I found both cats snuggled in the cat cage together. Thunder did sometimes wander into the chute and we had to move her away.

Victoria was next. J got her halter on and led her to the chute. Since she arrived we have not trimmed her nails so they were pretty bad. She had appeared to be a bit overweight at our last health check so we have cut back her grain. J said this time she was down to a "4" and doing much better. She got her nails trimmed, a shot, and fiber check. J felt her belly and thought he may have felt a baby in there moving around.

Kateria was last since she is our known spitter and the one last month that gave J a really hard time. She did not want to get into the chute either, but I was hesitant to hit a pregnant girl with the pole (like I did with Snowstorm). I ended up getting behind her and pushing her butt with my body instead, which actually worked better. In the chute she really struggled and kept trying to cuch. I ended up holding her lead tight and putting my arms around her neck. That way she felt like I was holding her and did not struggle as much as if it was just the chute holding her. When trimming her nails J accidently nicked her. I have trimmed dog nails (which are the same, a nail with a pad underneath, and a vein in the nail, you trim just up to the vein, but if you nick it, they will bleed) so I understand how easy that is to do. She got her shot, teeth check, and fiber check. Kateria had been a bit underweight last month which is why we went to feeding her separate from the other two (they kept stealing her food). This month she was right on with weight based on her V.

This month's health day is complete.

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