Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Busy lives has made writing a blog post difficult lately. I decided to take this afternoon off from work and do a few things for me, including writing an update on Webb Acres for all interested.
Yesterday, Jim Bob vaccinated Zeus with CDT, to keep the cria safe from Clostidium perfringens types C & D, common livestock illnesses, and tetanus. Initially, the stinker played ring a round the round pen with me while the other alpacas
ate. Then, he and Jim Bob had a stand off. Eventually, we were able to catch him and, just like any baby, he tried to squirm and whine until I released him from his torture. He is one silly baby.
The baby chicks are growing up fast too. They love their swing and perches so much that Jim Bob is trying to figure out how to add the equipment in the hen house he’s building.
They need to hurry up and start laying as it appears one of our hens is done with egg production.
Speaking of hens, we had a couple of stale rolls and one of our girls flew up and snatched pieces from my hand. I know, stupid livestock tricks but they had fun too.
The labs are happy, happy, happy. In fact, they’ve been having so much fun, our dirty dogs will all be getting baths this weekend.
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At 3 1/2 weeks, Zeus is a curious little guy as well as more skittish He has not figured out the chickens and it’s too funny to see him look at one, begin to walk towards her then run away when she moves. He is also trying to figure out his humans. Zeus sniffs my breath, hair and clothes. He knows I smell different from his herd yet I’m familiar.
Wait until we give you your next vaccine in a couple weeks, Zeus. You’ll run away from us like Moose did after we took her to the vet then came home and tried to give her medication.
Moose is doing great. Giving her and the rest of the herd some alfalfa each morning did the trick. She stubbornly refused to let us near her to give her the medication prescribed. We could have fought her and won but there was no point. Moose recovered to her old self with the addition of alfalfa to her diet.
The little chicks are growing as well. It’s hard to believe I brought them home only a month ago. The pullets outgrew their space quickly and their permanent residence isn’t ready yet. Today we moved them into a makeshift rental property in a livestock trailer. The nuts didn’t know what to do with all the space.
Life is blossoming on Webb Acres.
Arriving home from work Friday, I noticed Moose at the dung pile. Ten minutes later, she was still pushing and moving uncomfortably from one pile to another. I called Granbury Animal clinic and scheduled an appointment for Saturday morning with Dr. Naylor.
Moose was aptly named for her stubborn personality. If I touched her lightly, Moose kicked and scurried away. She is the largest alpaca in our herd and the first to vocalize warnings if she senses a threat. Now, our big girl allows me to stroke her side and tickle her chin. She takes the halter and is led without difficulty. Moose is a beauty with quality fiber, grace, and a big personality.
One of the challenges of obtaining alpacas with no history is not knowing the animals’ health status. We didn’t know if Moose had a fetus blocking her intestine, worms, or was simply constipated.
Calmly cushing (resting on her haunches) in the round pen after morning chow, Jim Bob haltered and easily led her into the trailer. Stopping once during the one hour drive to check on Moose in the trailer, Jim Bob said she was relaxed and checking out the view.
Granbury Animal Clinic is an impressive facility. The lobby is large and clean with friendly staff. The back contains all kinds of apparatus for managing sick livestock. Waiting in a back room, Moose was nervous but calm. Barking dogs, technicians walking in and out, and the increasing heat and humidity would have unnerved most animals. But Moose was a trooper.
In a word, Dr. Naylor is awesome. We met him last February at the Alpaca Extravaganza in Ft. Worth where he taught a class on the dangers of worms in alpacas. He is the only vet anywhere close to us with knowledge and experience of camelids. Dr. Naylor is also a really nice guy. After a thorough exam, Dr. Naylor determined Moose is likely not pregnant. The little bit of poop the tech was able to collect showed no parasites and or worms. He believed she may have an irritation or stomach ulcer.
Dr. Naylor left to get medication for her ulcer and Moose began pushing and struggling
again. When he returned, the good vet put on a glove, reached in her anus and pulled out a large clump. After that, Moose once again expelled healthy beans. Phew.
The solution – Moose needs more fiber in her diet. We will still give her the medication and add alfalfa to the herd’s diet.
Moose is home and happy. Enjoying the alfalfa with her herd mates, I feel relief that Moose had an easy fix. Of course, it may take another six months before I’m deemed trustworthy again. Moose refuses to enter the round pen to eat if I’m inside. But that’s okay. I’m just relieved she is healthy.
Even though this is a post on gardening, I couldn’t resist a photo of our aptly named baby, Zeus.
We’ve been so busy on Webb Acres with fast growing chicks, alpacas, and full-time jobs that one area suffering is the garden. I love gardening but admit that Texas presents different challenges than gardening in Cleveland where I grew up and lived on and off for many years. In Cleveland, I never worried about droughts, grasshoppers that destroy a vegetable garden in a day, or fire ants creating farms under newly tilled ground.
Last year, we tried hay bale gardening. Overall, it was very successful though there weren’t nearly enough bales and the chickens thoroughly enjoyed the groceries . This year, I wanted a plot.
When our pasture fence was put up, posts were placed around the intended area. After installing fencing and a gate with a nifty life handle, Jim Bob borrowed a friend’s tractor to till the plot. Weather and more pressing activities allowed the plot to be overwhelmed with weeds. In the meantime, seeds that I planted indoors either died or needed to get planted.
I bought a tiller a couple of years ago and after testing it briefly after purchase, it sat in the garage. Finally ready to turn the soil again, Jim Bob took out the tiller and discovered that the engine seized making it useless.
Now, I am slowly hoeing, weeding, fertilizing with alpaca beans, and sowing seeds into the ground. It may take all summer, but I hold out hope for a bounty of at least some homegrown vegetables.
If nothing else, I anticipate plenty of tomatoes this year. In addition to planted seedlings, we found dozens of volunteers from last year’s crop. We stopped counting at 30 and began pulling the rest. Lettuce, corn, and radish seeds are in the ground so far. I’m almost afraid to look and see if anything is sprouting yet besides tomatoes and weeds.