Monday, 30 December 2013

Mud. Mud, inglorious mud !

It has been a little while since the last blog.  Mostly because it's been hectic in the non Alpaca part of life.

One reason for the slow blog rate - we have had a bit of a building project on the go !

There hasn't really been too much to report on the Alpaca front either, no comings or goings. The odd visitor now and again.  But that is about it, except for a bit of a scare with our wee Dougal !  We were worried about Dougal a while back. He was isolating himself from the herd, being lethargic and off his food.
Man down ! Where is Dougal ?
(Yes Kenzie is looking directly at the Camera , even from 1/4 mile away !)

This wasn't right, so we double checked on his prophylactics, he had been wormed but was not due to be fluked and AD&E wasn't due just yet. We tried coaxing him to eat and tried sugar beet to get him going with little result.  We made sure he wasn't deferring to the others but there really wasn't  anything obvious.  In fact they seems as concerned about him as we were.  After a few days we called round for advice but there really wasn't much to go on. After a week of the same, we were no further forward. We had brought forward AD&E and there wasn't any improvement so we called the Vet out. He advised that fluke treatment would have been better a little earlier (he is more local than previous vet)  and so we treated the herd straight away (a generic available in small quantities from new vet works out a lot cheaper). The Vet did initial poo checks for worms and sent samples away to confirm and check for fluke.  Clear !  But still Dougal was not getting any better and would even lay with his head in my lap in the shed if I joined him in a lay down.  We were worried and more calls and texts were dispatched to the ever patient Barbara who recommended we try maxigro, a mineral drench.

Maxigro day came and we loaded the drench gun. We thought we had better start with Finian who coughed, spluttered, wretched, hacked and drooled then coughed some more in a most dramatic way. Convinced we had poisoned him we again called the third emergency service - Beckbrow to check we had got the right dose, the right stuff and what it would be like if you had drenched into a lung !  Reassured by Barbara's , "oh yeah, they all do that" we carried on, with similar results - they really don't care too much for this stuff !   When it came to Dougal however, no cough, no gag, no, he licked his lips and rose like Lazarus. Well,he licked his lips anyway and was right as rain the next day. He has not looked back.  Thanks Barbara ! 

We divided the field into two paddocks this year.  This lead to some interesting herd etiquette.  There is something of a prestige about being the first to get through the gate.  A prize often won by Hamish

Hamish - Bold and Fast

The weather it was atrocious (Sorry -  slipping in to Bob Dylan quotes there folks !) .  We are well used to the wind up here.  In fact it is so windy the overhead lines to the house are intentionally slack to reduce the howling !  Being in the Pennines we ought to be used to a bit of rain too.  But it has rained, rained and rained some more.  The whole place is soggy, slippy, and wet. We are going to have to do some serious field drainage work this summer.

The gate between the paddocks has become a quagmire.  Inches deep in slimy mud.  The poor boys are a disgrace to Alpaca kind. There is a different etiquette at play.  They race to the gate then venture across in order of finicky-ness. 

 Boys in Finicky order;  Fin, Noah, Dougal, Hamish, Kenzie .  
(Kenzie is always last and tiptoes with a look on his face -  so undignified)

All the boys have black feet up to their ankles.  So a plan was formulated.  Actually several plans were formulated but the farmer across the road dismissed most of these and recommended a solution that involved some 8'x4' boards and anti-slip stock mats.  So on Christmas eve, in a snow storm, Ted the tractor and I set off on a mission to retrieve and install said boards.

 Ted is a firm herd favorite and always attracts a crowd

Kenzie (rear) , a nice, very light fawn / off white is ..well.. A grey, and not in a good way.

So we are all fed up with the mud.  Just a day or two respite would at least let the standing water dissipate and the drains clear. Here's praying for some lovely clear, frosty winter days.  The boys don't mind the cold, but incessant muck ... No thanks !

New years resolution - More blogs - less moaning .. Happy New Year All.

Andy Bev and the Boys