Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bumblebee update

Bumblebee is coming along now.

She's plumping right up. This is easy to see now that she's naked. Personally, I think the fringe of curls around her rear-end does her no favors, but she stubbornly hangs on to them.

She's still quite small, as is Cricket. You can see just how small here. The other (so far) healthy and slightly older lambs tower over them. They're working on catching up though. 

Heads down, nose in grass. Not a moment to lose.

Bumblebee is absolutely dwarfed by Clementine. I don't think Clementine has stopped eating all summer, but this time last year, she was struggling as well. She was also weaned and sold off (to me) at 8 weeks. 

Never again.

Don't worry lady. You wait. This time next year, I'll be as big as her. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jethro still loves his mama

 Jethro, the littlest ram lamb, is about 4 months old now. 

It's hard to get good pictures of him and the other Black Welsh sheep, because, well, they're just so darn dark. 

Lately though, it's been really dry, so last night the light in the sheep barn burned bright. (Doesn't everyone have wonky barn lights like that?) 

The little guy was too exhausted to care and fell right asleep under the bright lights. Jezebel makes a soft pillow, no matter the light. 

Go away lady. I'm sleeping here. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Room to eat

I checked in on Cain and Abel yesterday. 
Cain's sling is now in place and he seemed comfortable enough. 
Abel was enjoying the luxury of eating in peace and quiet, unmolested by goats or sheep.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, two big bunk feeders were delivered. 
Here's hoping these will make feeding time a little less chaotic. 

I love this picture! 

I'll see if I can name them all from this angle. 

Starting with the white alpaca at the top left and going clockwise. Zephyr (alpaca), Rowan (alpaca), Devon (Icelandic), Emily (Icelandic), Bo Sheep (Shetland, um, mystery breed), Jethro (the littlest Black Welsh ram), Bumblebee (the naked Bluefaced Leicester), Hank (Black Welsh), Butterfly (Bluefaced Leicester), Ladybug (Bluefaced Leicester), Caterpillar (Bluefaced Leicester), Clementine (Lincoln), Grasshopper (Bluefaced Leicester), Manny (Bluefaced Leicester). 

So much fluffy goodness all in one place. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Good news for a change

After an unnecessary round of drama with a low-down, no-good an unreliable transporter who backed out at the 11th hour, I finally pulled up to the loading zone at the farm animal emergency room mid-morning yesterday in my realtor's free moving van bedded with straw carrying two precious packages -- Cain and his brother Abel.

Who says hauling an injured alpaca isn't a moving emergency?

As always, the folks at the vet school were great.

Cain was wheeled in on the equivalent of an alpaca gurney. (Um, vet folks? He'd been up and down on three legs all weekend, but ok....if you must.)

They did the requisite exam, took some blood in prep for surgery, and wheeled him down to radiology for new x-rays.

When he came out, the doctor (a new one I'd never met before) took me to a computer to show me the pics.

Well, lookie there.

The bone aligned itself over the weekend.

I was gobsmacked, as they say in England.

I really wish I had a copy of the updated x-rays to post. I hadn't thought it was possible.

Just like that, the plan shifted back to stall rest. This time though, the plan includes a) a sling - they're going to basically tie his leg to his torso, b) professional nursing - no wrestling by me to administer pain killers, and c) big gun deworming treatment for barberpole worms (ack! yes, Cain had a heavy load, though interestingly, Abel did not.)

So, Cain and Abel are going to hang out at the vet school for 1, maybe 2 weeks, until we are all comfortable with the progress being made. Then he will come home (in a luxuriously straw-bedded moving van) and continue on still more stall rest. At least a month in the sling according to the surgeon.

We were all happy to avoid the surgery and all the potential complications (and cough cough expenses) that come with it. In fact, they assured me that with the exception of horses, stall rest with or without a sling is the preferred treatment for farm animals, including cattle. They do just as well if allowed to mend on their own without intervention. Case in point, remember the poor reindeer I saw when I first took Bumblebee in for her ordeal 6 or 7 (?) weeks ago now? He's still there. They say he is finally improving after all his complications from surgery.

When Cain does come home it will be just in time for Josie, the appaloosa with the broken foot, to hand him the stall rest torch. She is very nearly well and should be allowed back out with her friends right about that time.

Like I said, good news all around.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I need some more good thoughts.

Cain, silly funny Alpaca boy, broke his leg Thursday night. More accurately probably, somebody broke it for him. Maybe a goat. Maybe an Icelandic. I didn't see it happen, but they can both be crazy and a little bit nasty at feeding time. I suspect Cain was an innocent bystander of their craziness.

Our alpaca vet came out yesterday morning and x-rayed it. It's a pretty clean splinter fracture (not sure about the correct terminology) above the elbow. The options are not good. He can stay on stall rest for 2 months and hope it heals, with a sling maybe, to help immobilize the leg a bit. Or he can go to the vet school and have surgically implanted pins. And then be on stall rest for 2 months.

Neither option has great odds -- about 50/50 in both cases. And obviously the surgery is expensive and very stressful and disruptive to him and the companion (Abel) I'd have to take with him. And remember the reindeer at the clinic when Bumbleebee was sick? He had had surgery on a broken leg. I don't know how it turned out in the end, but the last time I visited, he was still there with complications from the surgery. Complications are common.

Cain's fleece is not that great. People are dumping alpacas left and right around here. He has no monetary value at all. But I promised him a good, safe forever home when I took him in, so I need a crystal ball and a good decision here. Not sure what to do at all, but any positive thoughts are welcomed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Silver linings

Presenting the most expensive exquisite 10.5 ounces of Bluefaced Leicester lamb fleece ever. 

Thank you Bumblebee.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Return to normal

This summer has been a long haul. I'd like to make a list of all the troubles, just so I can look back in years to come and say, See, I really have gotten better at this farm gig. 

But it's embarrassing to never have anything positive to say. So here's a positive post.

After five long weeks, Bumblebee has returned to her flock.


She is skinny.

And naked.

But I knew the time had come when she kept scooting under the bottom rail of the corral pen at the pony barn to get to the better grass on the other side.

This morning I plucked the last of the loose fleece off her skinny little ribs (located just above and in front of her fat little tummy) and threw her and Cricket in the back of the car.

Though they willingly allow me to put halters on them, any request to walk pretty quickly results in dead lamb syndrome, i.e., full body flat out on the ground.

Hence, the car.

I drove them around to the sheep barn, opened up the gate, and  let them at it.

Well, coaxed them out anyhow.

Their brothers and sisters checked them out. Zephyr the alpaca checked them out. Then everybody went on their way and they spent some quality time wandering around the pasture nibbling on the grass. Eventually, I put them inside the barn to avoid a sunburn on Bumblebee's pink skin. She's got some fuzzy wool all around, but not much.

Now she just needs to be a regular lamb.

And maybe grow a little.

That would be nice.