Monday, July 26, 2010

Herd Health

Every month to six weeks we set aside a day to do herd health. It really only needs to be done about every two months, so if we miss a month or have to postpone a little bit, we have room to do so. This month we wanted to weigh all the little ones to make sure they are growing well. And since we haven't trimmed the boys toe nails for awhile, we had to make sure to do that. Saturday morning we managed to get it all done.


Rose is exactly 3 months old. She weighed in at 58.4 pounds. She's gained 9 pounds since we last weighed her, three weeks ago. She is growing well.


Copper was born at 20 pounds. Now he is 2 months 3 days old, and he weighed in a 55.6 pounds. He's gained 7 pounds since we weighed him three weeks ago. He's growing well.


Twilight was born at 17.2 pounds. She is now 3 days short of being a month old. She weighed in at 32.0 pounds. She's gained 6.2 pounds since we weighed her two weeks ago, 9 pounds since we weighed her three weeks ago. Twilight is growing well.


Chaska was born at 20.0 pounds. He is now two weeks old and weighed in at 31.6 pounds. He's gained 11 pounds in two weeks! They do tend to gain more in the beginning, but Kateri is also a very doting mother who makes sure her cria eat lots.


Challenger was born at 19.2 pounds. He is now 8 days old and weighed in at 22.2 pounds, a gain of 3 pounds. In general I'd like to see a bigger gain that first week, but, he seems to be growing and thriving. He has plenty of energy to run and play. I also know that Victoria's cria tends to follow a little slower growth pattern. Both Shelby and Cavalier consistently gained a little less that the other cria. But both have been strong and healthy with no concerns. We had Cavalier's thyroid checked to ensure there isn't a problem and his blood work came back fine. They just tend to be a bit smaller. But then Victoria is only about 130 pounds herself, so she is on the smaller side too. I personally like that body type best, the compact style that I've heard referred to as "medium small." (Don't get me started on the name. I think it's silly to call them "medium small". I personally think it's a reaction because people don't want to be accused of having a "mini alpaca" so they avoid saying it's "small" and instead call it "medium small". I have no issue calling them "small" because I know that's not the same as "mini" but since I've heard quite a few bigger farmers and even a judge refer to them as "medium small" I guess that's the more recognized name.)

All the cria seem to be doing well. The only issue we've noticed is with Chaska's poop. He has yellow poop that is pretty liquid in form. Tehya also had this (his older sister). I remember when Tehya had it, I remembered back to the days my kids were infants and the information I had read that mother's milk can cause this to happen. I can never remember if it's too much foremilk or too much hindmilk (foremilk is the milk the first comes out when the cria nurses, and hindmilk is the milk that comes out later, it is richer too. If a cria nurses often, but only for a short time, they will get more foremilk. If the cria nurses less often but for a long time, they will get more hindmilk). I think this has more to do with Kateri's method of mothering and her nursing that her cria often get this. It isn't harmful, provided the liquid poop doesn't dehydrate the cria. Chaska is gaining weighed well, and runs and plays, so he appears to be healthy and fine. I'm more concerned about a sore bottom for him from the liquid poop, than I am of any health issue. Like with Tehya, it should resolve itself as his nursing habits improve.

When we were taking the cria to weigh them, we decided to start some halter training too. We put the halter on them, and had them walk from the paddock to the scale. We did this to all of them except for Challenger, because he's so young even the weanling halter doesn't fit yet. I'm impressed that every one was able to walk all the way to the scale. Of course they did some bucking, but that's nothing with a 40+- pound cria (compared to some 100+ pound yearlings I've had to halter train in the past). It's the earliest start to halter training we've ever done. I always seem to wait until spring, when the shows are only weeks away. This year I am determined to start much earlier.

We also got the cria used to toe nail trimming. I held them like I do the older ones, and J lifted each foot to trim. Only Rose needed trimming, the others are too young to have enough nail growth yet, but it was good practice. Like with halter training, it's a lot easier to get them used to this as a small cria, than to wait until they are older and stronger. We like to have well trained alpacas that are easy to care for.

We already registered Rose, Copper, and Twilight. So on this day we needed to draw blood for Chaska and Challenger.

Another herd health day completed :)


Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Wow....your babies are big and gaining weight well! I thought Happy was big at 50 lbs at 11 weeks. We plan to wean her this weekend...she is still kind of young, but she is sucking the life out of poor Bellesa and we can't keep any weight on her. Can't wait to see all your babies tonight!

cara said...

I remember weaning Lighting early because Sancha was so thin. It's hard to see a mom struggling so. Lighting did fine, though his growth did dip a bit at weaning, in the end he's fine.

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