Friday, July 22, 2011

American Veterinary Medical Conference in STL

It was Monday -- it was Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO -- it was 103 real temp -- with heat indices of over 110 degrees.

Denise and I took ten llamas and alpacas to be ultrasounded by a group of veterinarians.

There were some "heavy hitters" in the camelid reproductive world there. Dr. Ahmed Tibary of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He graduated from vet school in Morrocco and has been researching Camelid reproduction since 1980.

Dr. Toni Cotton is one of this country's leading camelid veterinarians. Her practice is limited to camelids and her main interests are camelid reproduction and neonatal care. She recently published a book on Camelid Reproduction with Dr. David Anderson and Dr. Clair Whithead. She is also co-owner of "Suris of the Western Slope" in Ridgeway, CO.

I'm thinking the St. Louis heat was a shock to everyone. There were vets from North Dakota -- Wisconsin -- Kansas -- MO -- NY -- and many "northern states" that were taken aback by the tremendous heat. They were learning how to ultrasound camelids to look for "ripe follicles" on their ovaries -- look at the kidneys, liver, compartmented stomachs and check for pregnancies.

I have to say that our llamas and alpacas did well. I took Goodness and her cria, Zapato; Pebbles, Miss Ivory; Brook. Denise brought Avalanche and Cheyenne; Eagle Eye, Platinum and Valentina.

It was a long, hot day outside. Thanks to Betty from Purina Farms for her help during the seminar.

It's just too hot to work outside with animals in the St. Louis summer. At least THIS summer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Amanda -- In memoriam

The list is long. The list of the the accomplishments of one "Pale Moon's Amanda" both on and off of our farm.

There isn't much this girl hasn't accomplished. She's been to schools and nursing homes. She's proudly marched in parades. She won awards and certificates from the International Lama Registry for her "public relations" work. She was the llama that the man who wrote, "I Don't Want to Kiss a Llama" -- actually kissed.

She has been a treasure on our farm for all of the 15 plus years that we owned her. She was our most expensive llama purchase. And worth every cent.

There will never be another like her. Never.

She crossed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday at age 21 years old.

The unabashed wailing (from me) in the barn when I discovered her lying peacefully in front of a fan, shocked even the boy herd. It echoed from metal wall to ceiling and back around again -- as I stood in the middle of the barn and sobbed mournfully, cried, yelled at the heavens. I knew it was coming. I knew she was on her way to the Rainbow Bridge. I sensed it.

I can only hope for the joyful reunion between she and I when I enter the Pearly gates. My heaven must have llamas.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The smell of fresh-cut hay

Ahhhhh. You can take a deep breath when you enter the barn. There's nothing quite like the smell of freshly-cut hay. Especially if it has a touch of alfalfa in it. Oh my. What a wonderful aroma.

On one of the hottest days of the year (of course) - Ben and I drove to Bob's to load some hay right out of the field. The price is better for that hay - and the laughing of farm friends adds to the fun.

When we got home after dark, it was time to unload. The hay fills the barn with the most delicious aura. My animals smell the trailer as it comes down the driveway.

Summer hay harvest is like no other. Whatever is the hottest day of the summer -- THAT'S the day the hay is cut. You can count on it.

I guess it doesn't make any sense to "normal" people -- to non-farm people -- that someone could get so excited about the smell of newly-harvested hay.

I totally get it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Breakout

Yesterday started out okay -- but ended up in the "not so much" category.

I had a wonderful crew of volunteers come to the farm on Tuesday. The list of things we accomplished included:

1. Shearing 3 animals.

2. Drawing blood for DNA card on one.

3. Cleaning the girls' side of the barn.

4. Feeding hay/grain.

5. Skirting 2 fleeces.

6. Halter training some of the babies.

7. Putting to rest a young male that I lost that day.

8. Treating 3 animals with eye pokes (possible infections?).

9. Deworming several animals.

10. Catching/haltering a variety of animals.

11. Examining fleece/roving and such.
12. Doing an internet search for registry info.

So you can see we were swamped. The bad news? One of us left a green corral panel open and yesterday my boys spent the day fighting/spitting/screeching inside the barn -- with a half dozen males breaking into the "girl herd" and "having their way" with my open females.

My granddaughter was "Keeper for a Day" at the St. Louis Zoo yesterday. I got up at 6:30 to take her over to the zoo -- went to work on getting my mother's house ready for sale (50 miles in the opposite direction) - then back to the zoo to pick her up. My two little granddaughters came over and then all four of us headed to the barn (at 4:30) to feed hay and grain.

It was quite the shock to see the boys running around chasing three females inside the area between the stalls. It actually made my stomach drop.

So -- one year from yesterday (counting back two weeks) -- we'll see if any babies result. Whatcha' gonna do?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Crazy heat

Okay. I know it's the 4th of July soon -- but does it ALWAYS have to be scorching hot in the Lou?

My alpacas and llamas are very, very sick of the high temps and high humidity. It makes them lethargic -- and they move like molasses.

The babies still manage to leap and zip through the pastures -- but their mamas just meander.

Shearing is a must in our neck of the woods -- and then, of course, misters, sprinklers, hosing off, fans -- all of it.

Over the years I've never lost a llama or alpaca due to the winter's cold. You can blanket them, if necessary, put warm hot water bottles around them -- even close them inside. But there's no getting away from the intense heat.

I thought you might like to see some pix of my guys and the ways they stay cool.

Hopefully this latest heat wave won't last. In fact, I hear that we might be in the 80s by Monday. Works for me.