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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Your California Accoyo Suri Connection

It's been a great year here at Alpacas of El Dorado. We have been blessed with many sales and have added some very fine genetics to our huacaya and suri herd. But what we are most pleased about is going into some very fine partnerships. We have partnered with Dale and Jan Davis and Derwydd Alpacas on 2 of the best suri males in California. Derwydd Accoyo Ch'aska, a Bruxo son who is fawn. And Derwydd Tagi's Phawchi, one sexy 1/2 accoyo male ! We have also partnered with Super Suris and Derwydd Alpacas in owning DDF Accoyo Armani. One of the most preponent full accoyo suri's in the United States. We have also formed a partnership with Green Valley Alpacas to bring to you some of the best suri genetics we think are out there.

Stay tuned for updated sales lists of some of the best suri's we have to offer. We believe in playing our good fortune forward to our clients and friends and hope you will take a look at what we are going to offer.

We at Alpacas of El Dorado are also about to embark on a new partnership with one of the most discerning alpaca breeders in the United States and abroad. We can't wait to be able to provide our clients and friends with what we think is a superb genetically balanced suri herd.

We will have many females to choose from bred to some of the best Suri genetics in the US. Scott and I are building a foundation of Accoyo Suri's which we believe will be the next generation in fiber with robust rock solid genetics to back them up. Please check in with us often as we will be updating our websites soon.

Thank you to our many clients and friends who are going on this journey with us. Scott and I believe in chosing the road less traveled and with it enjoying the rewards and lifestyle it has brought us.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Please Back Up Your Computer

So, I haven't been on the blog for quite some time. I have been writing stories and saving them to my documents in our computer. Much to my dismay, about a month ago our computer started making clicking noises. It didn't want to boot up and I started getting scared that I might lose all of our "Alpaca Ease" files. These are the day to day files you keep on every one of your alpacas. I have three years of accumulated information on this. Doseages, treatments, birthing histories, everything you can imagine. I've been good and backed up everything. Not daily, but at least I had something to fall back on. The day the computer started making noises I backed up "Alpaca Ease" on a disc right away. The computer made one fatal noise and crashed. We had to get a new hard drive and reinstall it. Once that was done, we put in our "Alpaca Ease" back up disc and clicked it open. Can you guess? We had not been backing up properly and nothing was there. Not one little thing. Needless to say......check your backed up work to make sure it indeed is backed up. We have since sent our hard drive to a retrieval company in hopes they can find some of our work. I am trying not to think about it too much. It is just very depressing. But stay tuned for new stories on the blog! We have many to talk about.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's a Cryin Shame

It's weaning time here at the ranch and we like it to be as stress free as possible for both dams and cria. This year we have a group of six candidates to be weaned. We like to wean them in groups which ease the stress of not having mom for a day. The other idea we have found to be a great help is to put dams in one pasture and cria in a pasture right next to them. This way, they see each other all day and can touch each other through the fence but just can't nurse. All weanlings are checked all through out the day to make sure they are drinking water, eating, pooping and peeing and not climbing on the fence to try and get to mom. Prior to day weaning every morning when I feed I have been separating the dams from the cria to eat. This has been going on for about two months. It gets the cria and the dams used to being separated and give them a routine. Then on day one of weaning I just put the cria in one pasture and dams in the other right after they have eaten. They really don't even realize what is going on. But......sometimes there might be one who paces up and down the fence line. If I see that the cria is not hanging with his buddies or not drinking water and just pacing and crying it might just not be the right time for weaning for this particular cria. We can try again with the cria in a week or two and continue to separate them in the morning when we feed and build up confidence in the cria. But almost always, if you can wean in a group this will not happen. And it seems to go much more smoothly if dams and cria are just a fence line away. We day wean for about a week and then move the cria to their permanent pasture. By this time they have all bonded with each other and don't miss mom one bit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Plasma Transfers can work wonders

Let me just say first, I don't claim to know everything and rely on my vets, mentors, and the internet for a lot of guidance. But I can give you a few pointers on what to look for on a failing cria. Just this year after 4 years of really not having any birthing problems we have had two recent situations. First a stillborn from a dam that has had many healthy crias and second a cria that looked to start out right and start to backslide within 24 hours after birth. We are awaiting the final results on the stillborn's necropsy, but the preliminary findings show nothing apparently wrong. Possibly an umbilicus wrapped around the cria's neck in the womb is what we have so far.

On the second failing cria, all started out well. Dam was in labor at 9:30am and gave birth without event at 10:00am. She passed her placenta within a half hour of giving birth and it was complete. I did my usual of washing her teats and pulling the plugs. She had milk and was ready to nurse her cria. The cria did not make an attempt to stand within one hour but did kush. I thought that was a little strange, as usually the newborn are making an attempt to stand within a half hour but I chalked it up to it being very cold that day and me doing a lot of drying and keeping the cria warm. I assisted in getting her standing and she wanted to nurse. I made sure she latched on and watched her suckle and swallow. Terrific, I thought, no problem here, she's got it. I continued to dip the navel, check her out and weigh her. She weighed 14.5 at that time. Then I let dam and cria bond. I kept getting the cria up and getting her to nurse throughout the day. In the evening I really didn't notice any change in the cria. After she would nurse she would immediately kush. No running around, just as if she were trying to keep warm. Her temp. was 100.2 so I thought that odd that she seemed so cold? I had her in a box stall, under a heat lamp, on straw with two cria coats. Every hour Scott and I took turns getting the cria up and making her nurse. On Friday morning she was nursing by herself. But still seemed cold to me. I kept taking her temp throughout the day, but still it was normal. We thought we would give her another 24 hours and see if she would pick up some weight and go from there. She was nursing on her own now and we would keep a very close eye on her. On Saturday morning it was a different story. Still no temp. but her eyes were weeping. Also I did not like the color of the skin around her mouth and nose. Very dark red and her nostrils were flaring a bit when she got up to nurse. But&still nursing on her own. But no weight change. We started her on antibiotics right away. Within four to five hours her eyes looked much better. She seemed to be a little brighter in the evening but I still did not like the way her color looked or the fact that she was not gaining weight. I called Dr. Michele Ing and let her know what was going on. Dr. Ing was out of town for the weekend but contacted my by email. Boost up the antibiotic dosage and if we could keep her stable, we could schedule a plasma transfer on Monday. That is exactly what we did and on Monday headed to Dr. Ing's with dam and cria for a plasma transfer. When we got to Dr. Ing's there was another ranch ahead of us for the same reason. A cria born three weeks premature gets a plasma transfer. Our little cria was so active I am sure they wondered why we were there. But once Dr. Ing looked at her she said the same thing, I don't like the coloring on her muzzle and the flaring of her nostrils, let's go ahead and do the plasma transfer. For whatever reason, she did not get the antibodies she needed and an infection has set in. After the plasma transfer was complete, and the cria was given more vitamins and antibiotics she was free to go home with her dam. Now our little cria is six days old and running and jumping like a typical cria. My advice to anyone having a newborn this year is to keep a close eye on the pregnant dams. There may be a trend from any cria born to dams that were exposed to the snots. There seems to be a lot of premature cria and stillborns this year. Coincidence, possibly and we will never know for sure. Still be very watchful of your cria. Look for signs of struggling to breath. Not gasping as you would know that is a problem, but dark color around the nose and mouth and flaring of the nose. Also any mucus coming from the eyes. And of course little or no weight gain within forty-eight hours. If you are able to, have antibiotics on hand. We keep Naxcell and Exenel on hand just in case we have a problem we can at least get the cria stable before transporting it to the vet. Always make sure you have a clean dry area for birthing. These cria are susceptible to infection as soon as they hit the ground. If they don't get their antibodies they will certainly get a bacterial infection as our cria did. Lastly, it is amazing what a plasma transfer can do. I have witnessed many cria that looked like rag dolls when they were taken to the vet turn around on a dime with plasma transfer and support care. They are truly amazing creatures.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Alpaca Van

It is amazing how your priorities change when you get into this business. We have a great truck and trailer set up that we had customized to meet our "alpaca traveling" needs. But we kept thinking about what would we do if we were off the ranch with our "rig" and an animal needed to be transported to the vet. Or how nice it would be if we had a small van for everyday use instead of having to take out the large "rig". Mostly I was thinking how nice it would be if I didn't have to depend on using the "rig" and could use a smaller van. Did I mention that I am not comfortable driving the "rig"? Scott started looking at the great place in Half Moon Bay, Princeton really called "Smith's Trucks". This guy gets used fleet trucks from companies, goes through them and puts on new tires, brakes, whatever is needed. Then he paints them white or yellow and sells them at very good prices. Scott found exactly what we needed. A 1990 Ford Econoline van. White with air and windows and plenty of room for animals. What a relief, I can now take one or two animals to the vet, or meet up with a transporter and not have to rely on driving the "rig". I'll save that for Scott.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Halter Training 101

We like to make halter training as pleasant of an experience as possible. Saying that, it seems everyone has had different experiences with halter training and I am always asking questions from people that have well mannered animals in the show ring. Getting them started young seems to work best for me. As soon as I could fit their tiny heads into halters we started working with them. Since all seven of our cria are about the same age, this made things easy. At about 2 months I started separating cria from moms at breakfast time. All cria in one pen and moms right next to them in another pen. I put halters on the cria and put their morning food out for them. Once they get used to the idea of eating with their halters on, they dont pay much attention to them anymore. I snap on a key tag to each halter with the crias name on it so each animal has a properly fitted halter on its head. Also, they get used to me handling their legs, under their tale and their ears at this time. We also practice showing their teeth. I make a habit of saying out loud teeth when I am showing teeth and foot when I am handling their legs. This way the animal knows what it coming. We also say, halter on when putting on the halter and, halter off when taking the halter off. After a few weeks of this I start snapping on the lead and getting them used to it. Lots of ranches use different types of systems to teach them to stand tied to a fence; this is great, especially if you have several alpacas at a time you need to work on. We have been snubbing them with a soft rope tied high to a fence post. This way if we need to get a quick release we just have to pull the one side of the rope and they are free. Getting crias to walk on a lead is a whole different ball game. Some do, some dont, some will, some wont. Everyone is different. I have learned it is all about, breathing, balance, and relax, watching their feet and trust. Of course you must fit the halter correctly on the alpaca head. I remember being shamed by the judge in my first show because my alpacas halter was not fitted to her head correctly. She calmed right down, once her halter was fitted properly. Remember, halter training doesnt have to be a scary thing for you or your alpacas. This is a learning process for both of you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ear Flushes that Work

Today I noticed that two of our three studs that are in the same pen were shaking their heads and sneezing. It has been my experience that there is usually a tick or some other small irritant down in one of their ears. I have a great solution for this brought to me by Dr. Rob Pollard. He has put together an ear flush that actually works. It comes in an 8 ounce bottle and for mites or ticks you add 2ccs of ivermectin directly into the 8 ounce bottle. You then shake it up and draw up in a syringe enough for 3ccs per ear for each animal. We squirt the liquid into each ear and they shake like crazy. But in about ½ hour you will see total improvement. No head shaking, no sneezing, you're done. Your animals will thank you. Use gloves and cover your eyes; this stuff can cause a reaction if it gets in your eyes.