Friday, July 27, 2012

Final Touches on State Fair Projects!

The battle is finally over... my state fair projects have been turned in!

I was better this year than most, I decided it was better to cut down on the number of projects that I entered rather than go overboard.  I entered 6 skeins of yarn and 4 knit projects.  My angora yarn looks rather shabby, but the other skeins look pretty good!  And I absolutely love how my knit projects turned out.
Felted llama.

Knit angel, after starching and before assembly.
Now I get to start prepping for the llama portion of the fair, and get back to knitting other stuff!  The llama show at the Indiana State Fair is next weekend, August 3-5.  We'll be there with 4 of 6 llamas!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Skin Issues

Skin issues are not uncommon with llamas and alpacas.  Over the years we've seen our share...bare noses, scrapes and small sores, bare spots on the legs, etc.  Usually they're not anything to worry about, but it is important to watch for warning signs of infection or parasitism before choosing a treatment.

This spring I noticed two of our girls with small skin issues.  Bluff has two little spots of elephant skin on the "armpits" of her front legs.  They're not red or inflamed at all, just dry.

April  has developed quite a few bald spots on the bottoms of her legs (where the hair is short).  Again there is no sign of infection or parasites, and the skin underneath looks completely normal.  I have a feeling it is just a symptom of old age (she turned 18 yrs old in April), but I decided to try and get the hair to regrow anyway.
The dark spot in the middle is Bluff's elephant skin spot.
The pink spots are bare skin on April's back legs.

Big bare spot on the bottom of April's back leg.
I did a bit of research, and came up with a few key ingredients that I wanted to put in my "skin mix".  Vitamin E oil, tea tree oil, and MTG (a commercial horse liquid skin product) made the list.  I also ended up adding in some udder balm (for cows) and natural diaper cream (for babies).  Between them, ingredients include zinc oxide, lanolin, oils, and moisturizers.  I decided to make 2 different mixes...a liquid that I could spray on April's legs, and a cream that I could rub on Bluff's "armpits".  The liquid was mostly the MTG with a bit of vitamin E and tea tree oils; the cream was mostly the udder balm and diaper cream with some vitamin E and tea tree oils.
My ingredients.
I haven't been very good about applying the products to the llamas so far, so I can't really comment on their effectiveness, but they are easy to apply!  I'm hoping to see good results by the end of the summer.  Now I need to make up more of the liquid mix...I've run out already!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Abby Update!

It's been awhile since I've talked about Abby!  She's very much enjoying being home with my parents' 4 other dogs.  She was also enjoying having a huge backyard to run around in at night and on the weekends...that is until she started eating/getting stung by bees/wasps and we found out that she's allergic!  On 2 different occasions, we looked out in the yard to see a very swollen Abby...not good!  We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic (~20 minutes away), where they gave her injectable benadryl and steroids to bring down the swelling in her face and throat.  So now Abby doesn't get to go outside in the summer unsupervised...  We've since seen her chase flies around the house, so its pretty easy to understand how she would get stung by bees!

An important note for dog owners...if your dog shows signs of an allergic reaction, you can force feed them liquid benadryl...same dose as you would for a child.  **Disclaimer: I'm not a vet!**

Abby, AFTER the benadryl and steroids!  It looked worse!  Both eyes were completely swelled shut!

I think I've mentioned this in the past, but Abby and I are taking a dog agility class this summer (along with my mom and her Australian Shepherd Kaya).  We've had 3 classes now, and Abby is doing pretty good for the youngest pup in the class!

We've been working on a lot of basics, including agility heeling (the dog should follow the handler, on either side), lining up on either side of the handler, learning to target with their nose and feet, and standing on a perch.  Heeling and lining up isn't much fun to practice, but Abby loves the perch game!  I've taught her to put just her front 2 feet on the foot stool in our living room, and also to sit completely on top of it.  Next step is to get just the back 2 feet on the stool.

"Front Feet!"

We had to start by getting Abby to completely sit on the larger foot stool, then work down to the smaller one.  Now she will completely sit on the small stool.

As far as real obstacles go, we've learned the tunnel, raised plank, a short dogwalk, and a ladder.  During the last class, we even got to do a mock course of 5 obstacles.  They went over the raised plank, over "jump bumps" (practice jumps that are on the ground, not raised), and through tunnels.  Abby did both runs off lead...the first was almost perfect but she got spooked a bit by a new tunnel the second round and it took a second try to get her through it.  But she did great!  Mom is going to borrow a few llama obstacles (the ladder and raised plank) for the dogs to practice in the back yard this summer.  We're also going to buy one of those pop-up laundry baskets (like they sell for college dorms) and cut the bottom out of it to make a tunnel!

The ladder and raised plank that we're going to borrow for the dogs to practice on.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hot, Hot, HOT!!!

It is absolutely miserable here at our farm in central Indiana.  The llamas are definitely not happy with the heat!

Bluff gets really miserable in the heat.  Its not uncommon to find her open-mouth breathing when it is over 90F, even if she's laying in front of a fan.  And it seems to be genetic...poor little Kara is not happy either.  Luckily she has developed quite a taste for electrolytes in the water!

Kara does love her water!

Getting a big drink!

Electrolyte lips have replaced milk lips!

If you've got animals, be really careful and watch them like a hawk.  We're hosing down the llamas every 2-3 hours when possible, and making sure they have tons of fresh water.  The fans are on full blast, and we put hay in the barn to keep them inside rather than grazing outside.

The main herd in the barn.  From L-R: Duque, Ralph, T, and Bluff.  (Kara's behind Bluff, April's in her own pen for a few weeks.)

Luckily no one has shown any serious symptoms of heat stress, but Bluff is showing weird symptoms due to a lack of exercise.  She's developed edema in front of her udder and between her back legs.  We opened up one of our extra pastures last night to encourage her and the rest of the herd to graze out there at night while its cool.
Bluff's edema swelling in front of her udder.

We've got 1 more day of hot weather to come (106F tomorrow!), but then it hopefully will cool down, at least to the high 80s.