Monday, October 19, 2009

Hope's One Month X-Rays

Our vet was out on Friday to take x-rays of Hope's leg to send to New Bolton. I have to say I didn't know that they made portable x-ray machine and how NICE they were. The vet comes with everything - even the iron apron you need to wear. Hope was very patient for the x-rays and the vet got great images. The nice part is that the images can be emailed, copied to CD and viewed right there. We had fun blowing up the photos and looking at them. We also got a CD of the x-rays and the software with the images allows us to blow up the x-rays and view them. Pretty cool, Huh!

I called New Bolton today since I hadn't heard from anyone. I was told someone would call me back later once surgery viewed the x-rays. Dr. Norton, who was one of the vet's on duty during her stay, called to discuss everything. She said there is no sign of active infection in the joint. Great. She said the growth plate was compromised and that she may be small overall or the leg may not grow the same length. The good news is that we could allow her to go out with the rest of the herd, stop the antibiotics and just keep an eye on her leg and weight.

I mentioned her weight. She is not gaining as she should be. This is disturbing to us and the vet. There are several reasons why this could be: stress, antibiotics, infection, or maybe not enough milk from the dam. There is no active infection so that cause is taken out of the equation. We are all thinking stress or ulcer since they were alone for so long and we have been catching her every 3 days and injecting medicine into her. We will watch her weight now that she is off the antibiotics. We will only need to inject her once a week for another 2 weeks with some medicine our vet put her on to help the cartilage. That will be over in a few weeks. I am also giving her probios every few days to help with the stress/ulcer and Vitamin ADE&B12 every 2 weeks. We will see if she starts to gain better.

I let her out tonight. I watched her running and pronking in the field with Silver Streak and Dawn. She was having such a ball! I have never seen her so happy. I was worried she would get hurt as I don't want her to strain the leg since she has been inactive on it since birth. However, I let her run as she wanted. I did notice she started to limp when she was done. I left her out with the herd tonight. Tomorrow I only want to leave her out a few hours and then move her and Bellafina back in. I want to slowly give her time out so she doesn't overwork that leg.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Herdsire

Yesterday was the Magical Farms Auction. If you don't know Magical Farms is one of the largest farms in the US and maybe THE largest with over 1600 alpacas. They usually place first or second in all the major shows and many times come out with a color championship or reserve championship. Why wouldn't they? They have over 1600 animals and can take their best to the shows.

Anyway, I have been wanting a herdsire all year but could not find one I liked. Then, Hope was born and I spent the money for a herdsire and even future breedings on getting her well. I have been trying to figure out who to breed Crystal and Bellafina to and if we could afford it. I didn't want to put Marauder on my top female, Crystal. He is nice, but I don't want to make white out of my dark brown. I want dark brown out of my dark brown. I was figuring I would put him on Bellafina. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure who to breed to Crystal for this year.

I solved my problem yesterday. I am usually very picky about my selection for a future herdsire for the farm. I want a specific crimp style, fineness, and luster plus perfect conformation. I had my eye on two males at the magical farm auction. One of these males, dark brown, did not have a fleece sample posted on-line so I had no clue what his fleece might look like. However, he did have a color championship from MAPACA (Level 5 show) and a few first place ribbons. Obviously, a decent male. The other male, medium fawn, had a fleece picture posted. It looks nice. It is not the high frequency crimp I have been looking for in a fawn or brown, but still nice. You cannot tell fineness without a histogram or touching the alpacas (to see if you like his handle). I signed up for phone bidding on the two males. The first one to come up was the medium fawn, Microman. After that, I didn't bid on the other male. One I couldn't afford two males and two I only needed one male.

Microman is related to two of my girls. One girl, Dawn, already has a scheduled breeding next year and the other one is a white girl. I can always use Marauder on my white girl and had planned to use on that female in the future anyway. Hopefully, by the time Dawn needs a breeding either Silver Streak will be breeding, Dawn may be sold, or Microman is producing solid cria's and we can exchange breedings with someone.

I do have a fear that he isn't as nice as I would like. I would have MUCH preferred to have seen him in person and put my hands on him. However, with a 4.5 wk old baby just not possible to go to Ohio for a weekend and do an auction. We shall see what he looks like when he gets here. This male has 3 color championships, multiple first place ribbons, and two seconds. Obviously, several judges liked him. We shall see. He will be breeding just about my entire herd once he arrives here. He has already settled females at Magical Farm so he is ready to go.

I will post pictures of him once he arrives on the farm. I am waiting on a call from the auction agency to sign paperwork and arrange transport here. I just hope it was the right decision.

NJ Alpaca Classic

We had a great time at the show. Benjamin was a wonderful baby and slept most of the time. He was a bigger hit than the alpacas. Everyone wanted to see him and stopped to ask how old he was. One guy asked me if he was microchipped and what class he was in. Lol.

The first alpaca to go through the ring was Marauder. I was worried about taking a 2-year old breeding male to a show with females all around, but he did great. His class had 6 alpacas in it, but one was disqualified due to a registration error. I like Marauder because he is a big boned male, great conformation and density. In his class, he placed 3rd. Which I consider great since it was his first show and he is 2 years old. He also placed above a male we had considered buying last year so that me feel good, too.

My other alpaca to go through the ring was my medium fawn female, Cassiopeia. We absolutely LOVE Cassie's fleece. Fawn is a very hard class and is always a large class. Ribbons go from 1-6th so inevitable someone or more than one person always walks with nothing. That was the case with Cassie. We walked. It is hard to say why since the judge only comments on the ribbon winners. Cassie would not walk into the ring without some help so I am sure the first impression wasn't all that great. In his reasoning for the placements he commented on fineness and crimp. This judge liked the high frequency crimp, which I know that Cassie does not have. She has a medium frequency crimp, but it is consistent. I feel she did well for her first show, though. We need to work on her walking through the ring and being comfortable so that her conformation shows well. We will put her back into the ring in the Spring show circuit and see how she does. I am confident she will follow in her dam's footsteps and be a ribbon winner. Her dam only has 1st or 2nd place finishes in over 20 shows and one third place in a spin-off. Her dam was very consistent in the show ring for halter and fleece.

Overall, a good show. It was our first show so it was a learning experience for me. It was also a huge learning curve on what we needed to bring, setting up with a baby in tow, color checking, registration, etc. Atleast, now I am better prepared for the next show. :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NJ Alpaca Classic & Hope update

I don't want to be optimistic, but in the last few days it looks like Hope is starting to bear more weight on her leg. She still holds it up when standing, but it looks like she is using it more and putting more weight on it when she walks. The vet was out to finish my health certificates for the show this weekend and took a look at her. She said if Hope walks like she is now for the rest of her life she will be happy. Hope holds it slightly out to the side and limps around on it or uses it as a balance. Like, I said since then she seems to be using it more. My imagination or real? My vet also started her on Adequain, which is a medication to help with cartilage. She has had good luck with horses using it. I figured it can't hurt. We need to give it to her until the bottle is gone (about 5 weeks). It is only one shot per week. My only fear is injecting it into the muscle properly. Her hamstring is so tiny. We will figure it out - we always do.

This weekend is the NJ Alpaca Classic. We had planned on showing 3 alpacas, but had to pull Patriotic Star. He is just too thin and we felt he wasn't representative of our breeding program. Maybe, next spring when he bulks up some. He has had a hard time with weight since he was weaned this spring. The pulled a fecal and blood work. We are treating him based on the results so I hope it helps.

Cassiopeia is going to the show this weekend. She is a juvenile female out of our foundation female Crystal. Crystal has won over 20 ribbons in fleece and halter shows so I hope Cassie can follow in her dam's footsteps. I absolutely LOVE Cassie's fleece. I have high hopes for this girl in the show ring. My only disappointment is that we have had so much rain this year some of her leg fiber has come off so it isn't as full as it used to be. Oh well. They are farm animals. Cassie has tough competition in the show ring so we will see how she does. I know some of the girls she is against and it will be tough competition. I will be happy placing at all.

The other alpaca is our 3 year old junior herdsire, Marauder. Marauder has never been in the show ring before so I wanted to see how he would do. My only fear is that white is a tough class - period. He will be competing against accoyo bloodlines. Accoyo is usually the finest fleece. We will see how he does. We like Marauder because of his density and lineage. I am thinking of breeding him to Bellafina this year. I need to save on breeding fees and overall cost in general due to the $7200 vet bill for Hope.

I will post my impressions of the show and how my guy/girl place next week.