Blueridge Farm Summer Newsletter
Blueridge Farm Alpacas
Summer Newsletter 2017
It is wonderful to see the weather warming up and shearing complete.
The alpacas sure do appreciate their fleeces off!
Recently we attended both the Hawke’s Bay and Waikato A& P Shows with our four young boys. All were placed in their individual classes at each show. Icon, our mid fawn boy was awarded Reserve Junior Male in Show at Hawke’s Bay out of a very large entry.
Nestle, our little light brown boy, won the Reserve Intermediate Male in Show at the Waikato A & P Show only days after turning 12 months old and going up to the Intermediate class.
These pleasing results bode well for the future of these boys as stud males.
Jobs around the farm continue to change with the seasons.
We have had our first cut of baled silage and hope to get a second cut in before Christmas. Weeds are always just as prevalent as the fast growing grass at this time of year and this is a perfect time for spot spraying them.
We have had a lot of creeping buttercup in the paddocks and have had great success spraying them with Harmony which is selective and doesn’t kill the other grasses. It is also good on dock. We have quite a bit of dock as our property was originally used for horses which are notorious for spreading it…ask any farmer!
Towards the end of December we start spraying our paddocks with a fungicide called Goldizim to prevent the facial eczema spores developing. This is an alternative method to prevent FE which we do in addition to feeding zinc nuts. The paddocks need to be sprayed before the fungus produces spores. The fungicide only kills the fungus preventing the spores development but not actually removing the spores already present. Over the whole FE season the paddocks are sprayed 2 - 3 times depending on the weather.
As the fungus develops in the leave debris at the base of the grass it is better not to top paddocks during this time as the cut grass provides the perfect place for the spores to develop. Cold weather, less than 10 degrees Celsius, destroys spores as does heavy rainfall. Wind also makes the ground less suitable for spore production.
Check with your local vet clinic when conditions in your area historically cause rises in spore counts and then start feeding zinc nuts to your alpacas about a fortnight beforehand to allow them to build up the zinc levels in their bodies.
Zinc nuts should be fed at the rate indicated on the back of the bag of nuts usually about a cup of nuts per animal per day. The zinc nuts can only be fed for approximately 90 days to prevent the increase in zinc from affecting copper levels in the alpacas. We work on about one bag of nuts per animal per season.
The other ailment that you can see at this time of the year is ryegrass staggers. This only affects some animals and they can grow out of it in time.
The first thing you will notice is the tremor in the head and neck of the animal which will continue to worsen until the animal becomes uncoordinated, stumbling and shaking. The best case scenario is to catch it early and immediately take the animal off grass and feed hay or chaff that doesn’t contain ryegrass. It can take a few days for the toxins from the ryegrass to pass out of the animals system and if caught early should not produce any long term issues.
Over the summer you may find your alpacas enjoy a spray with the hose. Ours line up for a splash or alternatively we put a sprinkler out for them to play in the water. It is usually very entertaining to watch them.
I would like to say “Hi” to our new alpaca owners:
Marlene Sentance and her daughter Racquel from Onewhero
John & Belinda MacDonald and their family in Cambridge
Alan & Nicola Houghton from Keri Keri
We hope you will / are enjoying your new alpacas.
For those who have cria on the way, please do send us some photos when your little ones are born and don’t forget that alpacas do tend to run over time in the summer with their births. I think they just like to keep us on tenterhooks!
On the birthing subject. It is very important that the cria drinks from Mum within the first 24 hour window. After that period the density of the cria’s intestine walls increase so that the essential antibodies in the mothers colostrum milk can no longer be absorbed by the cria.
This prevents the cria from gaining that vital protection for the first weeks of its life
Unpacking is a very family affair and all the Aunties can’t wait to check out the newest member of the herd.
We do hope that you and your families enjoy a very happy festive season and all the very best for 2018.
Kerri & Neil Campbell