Alpacas – sickness and shearing

Today I sit in 23 degree sun, sweating slightly, sneezing and coughing because of hay fever. I am worrying about the animals having enough shade and water – and putting cream on Aplaca Lilys nose.

Well the last week was pretty terrible. We had booked the shearer to come in February, thinking not unreasonably that by the end of May the weather would be warm and dry – and the Alpacas would welcome being shorn.

However last week it was still cold and raining. We put the Alpacas in on Monday, as the rain was scheduled to come in that night. We can shear in the barn, so even if wet we can still go ahead. However we didn’t expect the temperature to drop to 6 degrees with a cold wind, and heavy heavy rain. I can’t express how rubbish the weather was – and the chickens just wanted to die I think (they are now happily, safely, chirping away whilst foraging for food outside my window)

We kept the girls and boys in shelter, and ended up keeping them there until Friday – when the weather had dried up and warmed up a little – we let them out Friday. During shearing we had noticed that Spud Girl was a lot thinner then she ought to have been (a condition check a month ago had found her fine – she is usually a chunkier one). When we let them out – she only went to a field corner, cushed and shivered. We called the vet – had to carry her into the shelter and she was given electrolytes and antibiotics. It looked bad and we thought we would lose her.

She wasn’t eating, and was so cold we covered her in blankets and mounded straw up around her – we even got the goslings heat lamp over her. We kept her hydrated with electrolytes every couple of hours. Blood tests came back – no parasites or worms – but a bad infection that had weakened her kidney function, and obviously put her off food.

By Saturday night we gave her some more antibiotics and it was still looking not good. Sunday morning however she got up and started to eat some grass we had cut. She also had a poo and wee – good signs. We kept her hydrated and get tempting her to eat, but she was still shivering.

By Sunday she was a little better – eating more, shivering less, drinking more.

By Monday, with some more antibiotics and electrolytes we let her out with her girls – she was a bit shaky on her feet – but began eating the grass. Obviously a lot less stressed being with the girls.

Today, its 23 degrees, dry and sunny, and she is sitting with the others, and stayed out all night. She eats a bit of the supplement we give them, but not really seen her eat a lot of grass or the old swallow it down watch it come up trick – so I think her indigestion is still not right. As she is very thin – she essentially didn’t eat for 3 days – this is a worry.

Yearly vaccinations are booked on Thursday, so the vet is going to carry out a follow-up on her to check if it’s all going in the right direction – perhaps help her gain weight.

All very traumatic – our theory is that she got an infection through a previous tooth infection she had, but we will see what the vets theory is.

Heres some pics



This is her with her mother Lilly, and some of the boys in the background. You can see how thin she is. Lilly has a genetic skin condition so her nose will need sun cream, and her body a skin shampoo, now that she has been shorn. If Spud Girl is past the worst we need to concentrate on building her back up – feeding her exclusively.


These are the girls before shearing – all looks good doesn’t it!!


This is Glad and Maddy, today, a week after shearing


Glad checking on Spud Girl


And the boys, or at least Vectra, glad his favourite girl is back.


And Healey and Spud Boy……..


And Sminty, we had his top cut more than usual because it grows so fast and gets in his eyes.

So there we have it – a bad week and an Alpaca that isn’t out of the woods yet – but perhaps getting there.

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