It has been a busy time with our vets since shearing, whole herd Enferplex test, Plasma for birthing and Castrations.
Two days after shearing 125 alpacas willingly came back into the barn to have bloods taken by our efficient vets from Westpoint Farm Vets. The idea was to do a whole herd Enferplex test to register with the Sure Farm bTB herd surveillance scheme and then take blood for plasma on the same day. Seemed like a good idea when we arranged it all a few months ago but turned out to be quite exhausting when the bloods and plasma were done two days after shearing. We had two vets to take the blood and a list of all our alpacas printed out in order from our herd management software AlpacaEase (we could not manage without it). Each blood tube had a number and my job was to record each number on the printout so the vets could send off the bloods straight away to Sure Farm. Sounds easy, but soon became a fast and furious process as the vets got into their stride and we moved the alpacas through quickly. Phew, 125 alpacas sampled in about 90 minutes sheets numbered and samples ready to be sent off. I was so pleased that all was done quickly and stress free making me realise how important it was to have everything prepared with good handlers and efficient vets. With the results all back we can breath a sigh of relief with all alpacas negative. We will now put the Sure Farm herd surveillance logo on our website.
Next then right after taking the blood samples for Enferplex the vets took 500ml of blood from each of four alpacas to be processed into plasma in case it is needed during our birthing season. Ron chukkered (restraint using a soft rope tied around the animals’ waist in the cush position) each wether in turn so they were peacefully restrained while the blood was taken. The vets had the collection kit provided by Claire Whitehead and laid the collection bag on digital scales so they could accurately measure the 500ml of blood taken from each animal. Again a very efficient process with the alpacas, handlers and vets not stressed and the blood sent off to Claire for processing at her lab to remove the red blood cells and make plasma in a centrifuge. The four wethers then went back into their fields and starting munching grass as if nothing had happened. We now have eight 170ml bags of blood plasma in our freezer all tested with IgG levels at about 1400 which is perfect if we need to do any transfusions because the cria have not had enough colostrum.
Yesterday our vet Keith Baxter was back to castrate 6 two year old alpacas who are shortly to go off to new homes. It was a quick simple and efficient process. Ron and I held the boys while Keith injected a local anaesthetic and some antibiotics, we slid a bale of shavings under them in case they decided to cush and Keith removed their testicles, tied off the tubes and sprayed the wound. Very quick, very clean, very efficient. The boys showed no distress and went straight back into a field to eat grass. We will monitor them over the next few days to make sure all is well and that flies are not a problem.
Such a relief that all went well and everything was done smoothly and efficiently. Now we are ready for birthing with 34 due it will be a busy time. Is there EVER a quiet time for Alpaca breeders!