Snake bite on the farm

It has been one traumatic week and we are glad its over. One of our girls was bitten by a red belly black. This has never happened before and we usually encounter snakes all year round. It was just one of those ‘things’ that happened as our girl must have accidentally stepped on it.

Having never encountered an alpaca in so much pain, falling over, not walking, shaking, crying in pain, not eating or drinking, we kept her in our quarantine pen in the shade with a companion. First thing we did was process of elimination and ran down every list of what it could be;

  • Worm burden. Usually after a long dry period and then rain. Did the worm count and it was very low. The rest of the herd had no symptoms so we crossed that off our list

  • Grass poisoning or staggers. Usually after a long dry period and then after the rain comes fresh green shoots but really did not have much change to our paddocks.

  • Ticks but could not find anything. Plus back legs are the first to be paralysed is one of the first tick symptoms.

  • Snake bite. We had seen them close to the girls paddocks the last 2-3 weeks.

  • We did our ADE, 5:1 and worming as a back up. We ran a worm burden test and blood test. The most important thing we did was Vitamin C in liquid form and then the vet gave her a high dosage. Our girl struggled for a couple of days and I have to say, she really struggled, but once it passed it passed. She is now up and walking normally, eating and doing all the things that she should be doing.

    She is just a couple of months pregnant so we are not sure if this event will affect the pregnancy or the cria but I guess time will tell.

    We are keeping a close eye on Suki and very grateful that she is back with the herd. Let’s hope it never happens again.

Breeding Alpaca's

Autumn is here and so its finally time to join our stud alpaca with our girls. We have changed our mating dates in the last couple of years due to the scorching heatwaves and to make it a more pleasant experience for our alpaca mum’s and cria’s.

We now prefer our births from March to June as the weather is cooler and we have plenty of enclosures to keep the cria and mum warm and out of the rain for the first couple of weeks. Rain, wind and the cold can kill a cria so make sure you have fully-enclosed shelters/pens that will accommodate mum, cria and a companion alpaca in the shed when the weather is not so nice.

What we do:

  1. Summer in the Hunter Valley can reach over 43+ degrees with several days in a row at this unpleasant temperature. So please ensure you have adequate shelter (deep shade) in each paddock. If its hot for you its hot for the alpacas.

  2. Make sure all your alpacas are shorn every year. We shear every October when the sun is not burning hot as we have witnessed sunburn on alpacas shorn December and January when the sun is at it hottest.

  3. Ensure your alpacas have deep shade as well as a large shed as a backup. They do prefer to sit under tree’s but will definitely use the shed when hail or heavy rain appears.

  4. Make sure all your water troughs are placed in a shaded area and not sitting out under the sun. Change the water daily to keep it fresh and cool and use an auto-filler trough. Some days we place ice cubes / bags / bottles inside the trough to keep it chilled.

  5. Shower the alpacas under their bellies on hot days and wet their legs where their sweat glands are. Give them the dam but please ensure they do not get their long skinny legs stuck in the mud and drown.

  6. Summer time is tick time and your young alpacas are more susceptible to ticks. We have found the older alpacas seem to fight it off. So make sure you shear October when the ticks are out and check them all the way until Autumn. Its easier to find a tick on an alpaca once they have been shorn. We have guinea fowl that roam the paddocks looking for ticks also.

  7. For cria’s born in the wind and rain make sure you have a alpaca jacket (dog jacket) for them to wear. Keep the jacket dry at all times and depending on the weather place the jacket on late afternoon and then secure in a fully enclosed pen with mum. Remove jacket early morning.

  8. Make sure your trim your alpaca’s nails every three months. Don't let them get to long and out of shape as they will never be comfortable, look good or be easy to trim again. So trim regularly and it will make the whole process a whole lot easier for you. Hint also trim after the rain as the nails are lovely and soft to cut.

  9. Lucern hay for mum and cria in the pens and some hay for cria to sit on and keep itself warm.

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Extreme heat in NSW - taking care of your alpacas

We are all feeling the mercury rise, and this week extreme heat is emerging as an issue around the country.

Managing animals in high temperatures requires good forward planning. Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts, and developing a plan for days of high to extreme temperature is essential in ensuring that your animals will have sufficient shade and water on those very hot days.

Extreme heat causes significant stress for alpacas. There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to reduce the impacts of high temperatures on animals.

  • The provision of a plentiful supply of clean, cool water and shade is essential.

  • Water troughs or containers should be large enough and designed in such a way that all animals have easy access. The number of watering points and/or water flow should be increased if a large number of animals are kept together. Troughs or containers should be firmly fixed so they cannot overturn. They should be kept clean and should be designed and maintained to prevent injuries.

  • Animals need to be provided with shelter during extended periods of extreme temperatures. Shelter is especially important for very young or old animals or animals that are in poor condition or birthing.

  • It is recommended not to handle animals in extreme heat unless absolutely necessary. If necessary, make sure it is done as early or late in the day as possible when temperatures are lower.

Animals at high risk of heat stress include young animals and dark coloured animals These animals should be watched more closely for signs of heat stress during days of high temperature. Remember that alpacas are more prone to heat stress than sheep and goats. There are many signs of heat stress that you can look for in your animals. Some general signs of heat stress include:

  • panting

  • increased respiration rate

  • increased water intake

  • loss of appetite

  • listless/lethargy

  • increased salivation

  • in severe cases may become unconscious.

 

Remember: The most important things you can do for your animals in hot weather is to provide them with rest and shade in the hottest parts of the day, and plenty of clean cool water.

You have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of animals under your care. Animal Welfare - it's your duty to care.

This information taken from the Australian Alpaca Association. Visit their website for more information on caring and health of Alpacas. https://www.alpaca.asn.au

 

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Registered Alpaca Breeder in Wollombi Valley

Little Valley Farm is a member of the Australian Alpaca Association. That mean’s we have a registry of our alpaca’s and their birth lines. It also means for new alpaca owners, when you purchase an alpaca from us, you know what you will get - a happy, healthy, friendly alpaca.

Little Valley Farm also runs alpaca working shops and training days. Follow our facebook page for our 2019 event listings.

Alpaca fleece buyers day happens Nov - Dec - Jan every year where you get to purchase our beautiful fleece in white, fawn and chocolate brown.

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Alpaca supplies

Alpaca shearing season has started so make sure you have your vaccinations, worming, vitamins ready.  If you are low on supplies we have supplies available to purchase. Simply email us what you need and we can arrange pick up at Laguna. Please note, we don’t post as most of the supplies requires proper refrigeration.

Ivomec Injectable

Cydectin Injectable  

UltraVac 5:1 Injectable 

Propaca vitamins  (powder) 

ADE supplement Injectable  

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You can ask your your local vet to run a fecal worm count before worming so you don’t run the risk of over or under worming. We can supply the supplements in 1, 2 or 5 ml syringes so you don’t need to buy in bulk if you only have a couple of alpacas.

The day after shearing

The day after shearing. We are exhausted. Now it can rain! The alpacas are a little naked but happy. We are now ready for the hot summer days.

A very big thank you to our shearing team. The Cole family, Kierran, Socie, Frank, Frances and Drew Shearman Our favourite shearer who is gentle and kind with our alpacas. It’s a long exhausting day in the shed with a touch of spit-dodging.

The fleece is drying and our ‘fleece buyers day’ will be happening some time in November.

#littlevalleyfarm #alpacafarm #alpacabreeder #shearing #alpacagleece#alpacas  #lagunaNSW #wollombi #visitwollombi#touristdrive33 Daniela Riccio Drew Shearman Thank you!

I will do nothing today! Thank you, Daniela


Our dear sweet Lilly.

Our dear sweet Lilly.

PIC - do you have one?

When buying an alpaca or three, make sure you have a PIC for you property.  You will need a PIC (Property Identification Code) if you keep alpacas even as a hobby?

A PIC is an eight-character code allocated by the state department of agriculture (or an equivalent authority in each state or territory) to identify a livestock-producing property. The PIC forms the basis of Australia’s food safety and traceability programs and is used in cases of disease outbreaks, bushfires and animal emergencies.

Individuals must, under law, have a PIC if you own or keep 1 or more cows, sheep, goats, pigs,  deer, alpacas, llamas, horses, ponies, donkeys, or more than 100 poultry (i.e. domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail or pheasants) or 10 emus or ostriches.

In NSW all livestock owners and occupiers of land that carries livestock must have a PIC, regardless of whether the livestock are moved or not. This is a requirement under the Biosecurity (NLIS) Regulation 2017 and Biosecurity Act 2015.  Contact your Local Land Service to obtain your PIC today.   Click here on how to apply.

Watch the LLS video on PIC’s here.

When purchasing an alpaca from Little Valley Farm please ensure you have your PIC code ready and can be easily obtained from your Local Land Services. Refer to the link above to obtain yours. We will now include your PIC number on our invoice for traceability.  Image above courtesy of Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm.

When purchasing an alpaca from Little Valley Farm please ensure you have your PIC code ready and can be easily obtained from your Local Land Services. Refer to the link above to obtain yours. We will now include your PIC number on our invoice for traceability.

Image above courtesy of Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm.

Alpaca Health Winter 2018

Most farms would have enjoyed an extended period, where drenching has been unnecessary, due to dry conditions.

It would be advisable to faecal test, following rain or for those that primarily drench when they consider it necessary, to consider drenching now that the ground is moist.

Most areas have enjoyed some rain lately, drenching for Barbers Pole after a few wet days following an extended dry period may save a stressful and urgent situation, that comes with Barbers Pole burden.

Fluke is hard to diagnose and requires a specific drench, if animals are in very wet paddocks or paddocks that may be affected by swollen creeks or flowing water, then you need to keep this parasite on the radar.

Tape worm can also be an issue following extended dry conditions, in drought there is an increase in wildlife sharing our paddocks looking for food and water, they are renown for bring tape worm with them, please keep this in mind. Keeping a check on dung piles, for tape segments, is the undisputed evidence of tape presence, please check drenches are adequate to treat the parasite you are targeting..

Thank you to Deb Trostian, Animal Health and Welfare.  AAA NSW Region of the Australian Alpaca Association.   Click here to find out more about the AAA. 

Photo courtesy by Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm

Photo courtesy by Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm

Small Business Rebate 2018

Last year we applied for the Small Business Rebate for our alpaca farm.  It helped us set up some safety guide lines and have on-stock some PPE (Protective personal equipment), which we should have had from day one. 

Anyways, the rebate had us thinking about the alpaca pens set-up especially at shearing time when there are over 20+ alpacas lined up to be sheared, can be slightly chaotic especially for the couple of alpacas that are slightly nervous and flighty and the 5-6 people that are on-deck helping us out. 

We created five pens to sort and shuffle the alpacas in and out of the shearing bay. The rebate, had us thinking about the safety elements including gates and pens. 

I know its only a $500 rebate but it certainly helped out in the cost of the pens and gates.  

If you have an ABN you can apply for the $500 rebate back to small business owners who buy and install eligible safety items to address a safety problem in their workplace.

You can find out more on how to what to do to apply for Safe work NSW. Click here