Blueridge Farm Winter Newsletter 2018
Blueridge Farm Winter 2018
We have had a few absolutely spectacular days over the recently. Chilly but not a cloud in the sky and no wind which makes it pretty perfect in my eyes. Helps to make me overlook those wet, cold and windy ones. The days are getting shorter and the Feildays are just a few days away so I guess winter is on its way.
The alpacas now need to have their mid - year vaccinations (Ultravac 5 in 1)
this is a 1 ml dose given by injection under the skin. This is a booster shot that
protects the alpaca from Tetanus, Black Leg, Black’s Disease, Malignant Oedema & Pulpy Kidney.
The animals also need an injection of Vitamin D (Hideject AD& E). There has been an increase in the recommended dosage after studies done by Australian Vet Alpaca Specialist, Jane Vaughan and is now 1ml for adults and 0.5 ml for cria.
Alpacas need vitamin D supplementation due to the shorter daylight hours in winter and the development of animals with denser fleece that prevents sunlight from reaching the skin. Lack of vitamin D causes rickets in growing alpacas. Animals under 3 years of age need an injection of vitamin D in late Autumn and 8 weekly in Winter and Spring.
If you approach your local vet they will usually draw up the required dose for you from their supplies so you don’t have the expense of buying whole bottles of Hideject and Ultravac for just a few animals.
There is a very good clip on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bArZQbMC4Rc&sns=fb which shows how to give these injections to alpacas or you can ask your vet to administer them if you don’t feel confident in doing them yourself.
While the animals are penned for their vaccinations it is a good time to also clip their toenails so they are all shipshape for the winter.
Over winter it is very important to regularly get your alpacas in and body score them. It is very easy just to look out on the paddock and see big fluffy animals and presume that they are well covered. Unfortunately that same fluffy exterior can hide a thin hungry alpaca. Body scoring is done by feeling the animals backbone behind the ribs and in front of the hips.
During April, the North Island Colourbration Show was held at Claudelands and we were delighted to have Nico awarded Supreme Brown Huacaya Alpaca.
He is a lovely male and he will be certified this year to commence his work as a stud male.
This month we have added some beautiful breeding females to our herd and have several young ones romping around the paddocks. The cria are such a delight and feeding out always takes a while as I get side tracked watching their antics. For those who have cria make sure that they get their vaccination (Ultravac 5 in 1) at two months old and a booster shot a month later.
Dianne and Ross Appleton of Rangiriri have recently become alpaca owners with their new animals Sahara, Tequila and Nosey so we look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
As the ground temperature drops so our grass growth declines. During the winter the alpacas will appreciate some hay. Fibre is vital to their digestion system as it provides a slowly available source of carbohydrates as a constant feed supply to the microbes in the gut, even if the animal is not eating.
The alpaca’s fleeces provide warmth during the cold days and it is amazing to see them with frost covering their backs oblivious to the cold.
Worms are always something to keep in mind when considering your animals health. Any thin animal or animal with loose faeces should be investigated for worms. You can collect a sample of the animals faeces and take it in to your vet to have a faecal egg count done. From this your vet will be able to advise you whether the animal requires drenching and what type of drench to use.
The other thing to check whenever you handle your animals is the colour of their gums or eye lids. A healthy animal has dark pink around its eye lids and gums. If they are light pink or worse white they are anaemic and need immediate attention. This can be caused by the Barbers Pole worm and can result in rapid death if there is no intervention.
On a more cheerful note, if you have any little ones around of the two legged variety, check out this gorgeous book ...Macca the Alpaca by Matt Cosgrove.. it is really delightful.
The Feildays start soon and this is the first time for five years that the Alpacas won’t be represented, which is a real shame.
Unfortunately increased costs proved prohibitive this year. Hopefully next year may see their return.
The Alpaca Association New Zealand is the breed organisation that supports and promotes breeders and owners of alpacas. They have a very good website with information on alpacas. They also run the International Alpaca Registry which holds information on all registered alpaca. Anyone can access the information on the Registry whether or not you are a member of the organisation. This is available through the website www.alpaca.org. You can also join the AANZ as a Northern Region member through this website.The Northern region covers the North Island down as far as Taupo and across to Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki.
The Northern Region of the AANZ is holding several workshops this year specially aimed at new members so if you are interested let me know and I can send you more details.
Do call in if you should be passing by this way. Neil and I would be very interested to hear how things are going in your neck of the woods.
Stay warm & take care.
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