Sunday 26 October 2014

Eye eye Oscar, anyone for mushrooms?

Thanks for your comments on Nelson, he seems just fine after his transfusion, today is weigh day so I'll update you on that next time.

He had Thiamine Judy and was clear of cocci, it didn't make any difference unfortunately, and his Albumin levels were normal too.  The only slightly high result was his bile acid but this was only at the top end of normal and not something my vet or Claire Whitehead had any real concerns over.

Moving on to Oscar, the ophthalmologist was very pleased with him and his eye and the speed at which it was healing.  He is still on a cocktail of eye drops but the injections are coming to an end and the drops have reduced, and there is definitely sight there.  We're back again in three weeks.

We are are heading towards thoughts of winter and winter grazing so the main group of girls have had another move round, fresh grass always goes down well!  Before they move I always check the fields carefully and there were some very impressive mushrooms in this field, not sure what they were but I don't think I'd fancy them in an omelet!

I've decided that I think I seriously need to look into a milking goat, as I have now started feeding another of the cria.  Black Betty has always been a slow grower but last week she lost weight, I'd tried feeding her before but she wasn't having any of it, however she must now be hungry as she took just short of 300ml twice.  Hopefully that will help her weigh gain, poor little thing doesn't have a very dense fleece either so she might end up with a second coat on before long too!!

Yesterday when checking the sheep we noticed that someone had hit the crash barrier on the far east side of our farm and had pushed it into part of our fence.  Thankfully the sheep hadn't noticed that they could actually get out!  I was not impressed that they hadn't bothered to tell me, it must have been a big lorry as they have pulled two huge lumps of concrete out the ground, the police knew nothing about it either so looks like it's another fence repair that we've got to fund.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Nelson news

I mentioned little Nelson on the blog last week and the latest blood that had been taken by the vet to try and establish what was going on.  We have tested for everything, you name it we've tested for it, including the nasties like BVD (not that we thought he has/had it) and everything comes back ok and it did again!

He has clear fecal counts, his heart, lungs and chest sound fine, but then you look at him and he's tiny, his growth chart is far from normal and without something we fear he wont make it through winter.

As you can see on his chart initially his weight gain was normal and at the first peak at just over 6kg he got heat stroke and nothing has been the same since.  After lots of hard work and various medicines we did manage a month of very steady weight gain but nothing significant and we have now slowed to between 50 and 100 grams a week if we are lucky.  At three months and one week he weighs 7.71kg!!

We had decided that the next step was a plasma infusion, not that there was really any evidence that this was going to help we are just running out of ideas!  So on Wednesday we headed off to Robson & Prescott this time with Nelson and a bag of Barnacre plasma and a rather paranoid me!

He's the gorgeous little man waiting patiently for his appointment with Sam Prescott.

I've never know Sam struggle to get a vein but he did with poor Nelson and when he did manage to find one they either collapsed or there was a valve, but Nelson being the calm and laid back little man that he is just sat there and got more and more shaved and stabbed.

I was so relieved when the plasma was in and the cannular removed and all appeared well.  I am the first one to admit I am paranoid when it comes to Nelson, I just can't help it!

Nelson was pleased to get back home and went straight to get a drink off his mum Andromeda and didn't seem to be in the slighted bit upset by his little outing, a bit of milk solves everything :-)  Fingers crossed this will kick start some growth.  Sam is off now for a week and on his return wants a phone call saying Nelson has hit double figures!!

Sunday 19 October 2014

Keeping an eye on Oscar

I have so much to tell you I’m not sure where to start, if you follow our tweets you will have seen much of what has been going on, but 140 characters can be very limiting at times!

Marne’s little man has been causing me major worries, you may recall he was the 410 day gestation cria who was found flat and freezing cold in the field, initially couldn't stand, has had a plasma transfusion and is being bottle fed because mum has not milk.

At a few days old he developed an ulcer in his eye which we put down to the fact he couldn't stand and had probably been rubbing it on the floor.  With eye ointment the clouding cleared and his sight seemed fine, but it had left two white dots on his eye which the vet checked when he was out seeing Nelson (mentioned in my last blog, more on him another night).  

The drops Sam put in showed that there was not retinal damage and he was happy that it was scar tissue that could be scraped under a local anesthetic if it bothered him.  However a few days later the eye started to water and it clouded within a few hours and a black dot appeared next to the raised white scaring (you should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them).

Straight back to the vets we went as I was very worried, he now appeared to have lost sight in the eye.  Sam Prescott referred us straight to an ophthalmic specialist, Chris Dixon at veterinary vision who immediately prescribed a cocktail of eye drops and injections until he could move round his appointments to see us on Firday.  Here is the little man waiting to see Chris.

The poor little man underwent a number of very uncomfortable examinations including an ultrasound of his eye which was rather fascinating.  Put simply Chris diagnosed a protruding iris, his eye had ruptured and the black that had appeared was his iris!  

He was happy that he was suitable for surgery and he immediately underwent very complex corneal surgery to remove all the clouding, return the iris to it's rightful place, re-inflate the front of the eye and have a corneal graft.

It took almost two hours, which seemed to be the longest two hours of my life sat in Morrisons car park 5 minutes from the vets!  The relief when Sam (he was doing the anesthetic)  rang to say he was out and in recovery was immense.  I was there within minutes and within half an hour we were heading home with over 40 tiny stitches on his eyeball!  This is his eye tonight.

This little man is such a fighter, he's had so much thrown at him in his short life how could I have done anything else but try and save his sight, I'll worry about the four figure vet bill next month when it arrives!

We have now given him a name, Oscar which is a Celtic boys name meaning jumping fighter.  He's a keeper!!!

Thursday 16 October 2014

Thirsk Show

Things just seem to be manic here, with the days getting shorter outside jobs are getting harder to fit in and with a knitwear order book growing by the day I'm trying to knit like crazy at night whilst fitting in four hourly (I'm trying to stretch them out!) feeds round the clock!

As I was on bottle feeding duties Paul headed off to Thirst without me last weekend, he was commentating as usual so my mum and dad were meeting him there so mum could do most of the handling, she's great at it and loves it thankfully.

First up was Boulevarde, this was the first time we'd actually shown him, although he'd already won a championship a couple of years ago as an adult.  He won first place senior grey male and went on to win Grey Male Champion; result!  He has a lot to live up to with his half brother, five times grey champion Sunburst.  

Shirley said he caught her eye the minute he entered the ring, she loved his walking, his fleece and everything about him, he does have that effect on you!

Next up was little Galapagos, hes' only 12 and a half months but has a stunning fleece.  1st place and Champion brown male; Shirley's comments were finest, densest and best fleece structure, beautiful animal, watch this space!

Next in was Paul and Zoom, not sure if that was because he wanted a break from talking on the mike or he'd sneaked off for a Jan cake and thought I'd better give mum a break.  Zoom won the Fawn Adult male class and also went on to win Fawn Champion.

Next it was the turn of the girls, Elfida in the intermediate fawn class.  She came second with the comment that she was finer with more character than the girl in first place but not as consistent in colour.

After lunch it was on the whites, first in for us was Czara.  The text I received was 'Czara in massive class be patient' I was struggling with the patience bit!!  After what seemed like an eternity she was placed 2nd on density with the comment this fleece woos you.  She went on to win Female White Reserve Champion.

That just left our two white adult boys, after a lengthy deliberation we got 2nd for Thor and 3rd for Plato.  The joral reasoning from Shirley on Thor was fantastic, in fact I got three texts from different people all congratulating me on the fantastic comments, and another text described the comments as orgasmic!  But at the end of the day she said she preferred a bigger 'boxier' male.  

Thor then went on to win Reserve Male Champion, clearly he was rather bored by the whole thing!!

The darkside of the Championship line up was a sea of Barnacre, three out of 5 so not a bad days work.  We took 7 animals can came home with three 1st, three 2nds, a 3rd, three colour champions and two reserve Champions so not to shabby ;-)

Saturday 11 October 2014

A gain at last

Oops it's now early on Saturday morning and I have been meaning to blog since about Wednesday!  Better late than never, I'm here now!

Thankfully Fair Lady's cria, who is still to be named; we can't agree on anything but none of the options seem to really suit her, has finally started gaining weight.

Fair Lady seemed to be starting with a touch of mastitis, but with having antibiotics and pain relief following a very traumatic labour I think I caught it very early and it has cleared up.  I was struggling to get any milk from her back quarters and she wasn't keen for the cria to nurse on three of her four teats.

In the last three days she has gained 750gms so we seem to have cracked it, although I did notice a bit of scouring last night so now need to keep an eye on that; there's always something to be watching.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had a lovely young girl Lucy here for some work experience, she is wanting to be a vet and is wanting some alpaca experience for her portfolio.  She was very good and I'm sure will make a fantastic vet one day.

Tuesday I had the vet out, Nelson is still worrying me.  Despite now being three months old he is still only 7.5kg and gaining no weight despite eating, peeing and pooing completely normally.  He had started to stiffen up a bit on his back legs so that was a concern.

Sam has taken another two lots of bloods to see if the lab can find anything, so far everything has come back clear but I can't give up on this little man, I'm worried that without some growth he is never going to survive winter.  He is the most adorable little thing and has the best black fleece we have ever bred, he is a very special little man!

Wednesday we did a round of Lambivac injections and routine cocci drench for some of the cria, Lucy was happy to get involved and was very competent at giving injections.  Here she is giving Perry his.

We also did a bit of halter work with the young boys, Asher likes to think he's the boss and doesn't really like being told where to go!  However for the first time he seemed to get it and walked the best he has ever walked, it is still a work in progress mind you.

Paul has headed off down to Thirsk this morning with an amended show team, I'm at home on bottle feeding duty so feel a bit like I'm missing out!  Hopefully our twitter feed @BarnacreAlpacas will be keeping us all informed with proceedings.

Monday 6 October 2014

The wait is over

 At last the wait is over, Fair Lady eventually decided to go into labour late on Friday morning (just before it started to rain)!

I was quite pleased she'd decided that Friday was the day as we'd got mum farm sitting on Saturday whilst we were at Morpeth for the Food and Drink Festival with the alpacas and our knitwear.  After the Marne delivery a couple of weeks ago I didn't want mum to have to deal with another overdue baby to be delivered.

At 11.30 mum went up to check and thought that Fair Lady was showing all the signs; she's getting very good at it now, she was spot on.  After lots of rolling, and visits to the poo pile out fired one leg, yes just a leg, no sign of anything else!!

Fair Lady is a real worrier so I knew getting hold of her in the field wasn't going to be easy but I needed to investigate.

I decided the easiest way was to get everyone out the field and into the channel; perfect it worked and she was soon in a catch pen.  All lubed up and in I went, further and further to try and find the other leg and a head.

I eventually found the head down low underneath the cria and squashed to its tummy, but as for the second leg I couldn't find it anywhere.  I could find back feet but no front leg so I called the vet as I knew I was going to need help.

It took the vet over an hour to arrive so during this time we took Fair lady down to the shed, Rose and Selkis were happy to show her the way as it was raining by this time and they'd spent time in with Nelson if you remember and found it rather cosy down there.

I continued to try and get the cria out but try as I might I couldn't budge the head, she was on 365 days so I was thinking the cria must be big and I was starting to think it would be dead.  Having chased the location of the vet (they said she'd left an hour ago so should be there!) I had one last go and somehow managed to get the head up and out.  I've never been so relieved about anything, there was a few coughs and splutters but the cria was alive.

With some extra space I hoped I would now be able to find the missing leg but I still couldn't feel it and then I heard a car, I can't begin to tell you how pleased I was.

It took the vet some time but eventually after constantly finding back feet she sighed a sigh of relief she'd found the leg, somehow bent over the back of the cria!  Fair Lady wasn't very keen on the cria being pushed back in to move the leg but she was clearly very pleased to have the cria and the vets arms eventually out!

Other than a bit of a wonky neck the cria didn't seem any the worse for her (yes it's a girl) rather stressful arrival into the world.

Despite being 365 days gestation she was only 6.48kg and is showing signs of prematurity, down on her pasterns and teeth not erupted.  She is also causing me some concerns over feeding, my regular vet Sam Prescott is coming out tomorrow so we'll see what he has to say about her.

I've got to be honest she is not at all what we were expecting.  Fair Lady was mated to Lavender Park Tully and has herself produced two very nice cria, the first one of our colour champions' Zoom and the second a very nice fine black Jumping Jack so we were hoping for grand things but that is not the case, however as long as she is happy and healthy that's all that matters, we all know alpaca mating results are far from predictable!