From album cover shots to health checks our alpacas have had a busy week.
This week our alpacas had their annual health check with our fantastic vet from Scarsdale Farm Vets. We are very lucky to have a vet who specialises with alpacas since they are slightly odd animals - related to camels, but with characteristics closer to a horse and a lot of medication overlapping with sheep.
All our alpacas were put into their pens (we will show you how we catch them one day) and given a little feed to help them settle, then it was time for a check over. I held each alpaca one at a time, while our vet checked their weight by body condition scoring (BCS) and had a listen to their hearts.
What is BCS? Unfortunately we don’t have any scales here for our alpacas so we need a different way to keep an eye on their weights. Additionally by using the BCS method it avoids mis-reading due to a change in fleece weights. For example, we collected 4 kg of fleece from Sam this year. BCS enables you you get a hands on estimation for their condition, regardless of the amount of fleece they have. We follow the 1 - 10 guide created by Claire Whitehead and she has a great explanation of the scores and how to measure on her website Camelid Veterinary Services.
Amelia is doing great. Her fleece is huge and shiny, her heart is healthy and her weight is good.
Ambition is going to have a little more food, since Amelia is still feeding from mum and we are hopeful that we have there is a little one on the way we need to make sure she has plenty of condition before winter.
Mary and Cangaroo are... chunky. Cangaroo will now officially be doing every walk we do to try and lose a few pounds.
Curly Wurly, Clooney, Sam and Pippin are spot on. All healthy and growing well.
Little Merry also had a check over. You might have noticed from our video that he is a lot smaller than Pippin (they are the same age), has patchy fleece on his legs and occasionally falls over. The condition of his fleece has improved since we have been feeding him Camelibra and he has gained weight. The pink alpaca clay is also helping with his itchy legs, although he isn’t always convinced about having pink legs... We are hoping to get him x-rayed in the near future so we can have a better idea what is happening with his back and hips, and see what is causing him to be unstable. But at the moment he is happy, cheeky and loves a cuddle.
Thursday was our weekly Instagram live. You can watch the replay here on our YouTube channel Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss out!
When we feed, we normally use troughs hooked onto the hurdles for our boys, but since we need to adjust their feed (stop Cangaroo eating everything!) I have treated them to a lovely rainbow set of feed buckets. So far so good, although I’m not sure Amelia was a fan...
We finally have our shiny new labels from Acres Signs and Graphics for our honey so we will be able to start and sell that now. All our honey is small batch produced this year, on site from our four hives. Local honey is great for hay fever since the bees fly up to 5 miles collecting pollen so keep your eye out for our sales.
Having taken some of the honey in the summer, we did leave them with a small amount, along with pollen stores to help them through the winter but since the weather has been so up and down we are now feeding them sugar syrup to help top them up.
It is as simple as mixing sugar and water together and putting in a feeder in the hive. they will take as much as they need to top up their "store cupboard" for the winter.
Since there is less activity in the hive we are also reducing our check to once every two weeks instead of weekly now.
This weekend we had a visit from our of our lovely wedding couples who are booked for 2020 and their children. Amelia was very curious about their children, trying to work out if you can play with "smaller people" and we took Curly Wurly, Cangaroo and Clooney a walk. It was great to meet them and we have everything crossed that their plans will go ahead the way they want!
Every couple that books with us for their event will get the chance to come over and get to know our alpacas before their big day, to make sure you are comfortable around them and see if you have any favourites. If you want to find our more about alpacas at your wedding you can see our packages here or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat.
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