Last week, our vet, Dr. Balch, came by for what she calls, a “Farm check!” (the explanation point is required). She looked at each of our alpacas, checking their body mass indexes, their teeth, and their toenails. I think of it as alpaca maintenance.
Not surprisingly, Tulip is our thinnest alpaca. She has such a light frame, she’ll probably always be the hardest one to keep weight on. But she’s looking well, with a body score of 4.5, which is nicely midrange (between 1 and 10). To help her gain a bit of weight, we’re going to wean Tripoli. He isn’t nursing much anyway, and so long as the big boys don’t pick on him, he’ll be fine in their paddock.
Dr. Balch has to reach through all that hair to feel animal underneath, and by far her favorite fleece is Morocco. His fiber has so much crimp we are going to have to alter our washing process to keep it from felting.
In addition to the body index check, Dr. Balch filed teeth for Tripoli, Tuscany, Morocco, and Mikayla. Only two alpacas needed their toe nails trimmed. I guess the toe nails on white alpacas grow faster than all the other colors. Weird. Anyway, Merlin and Bravado (our only true whites) needed their nails trimmed.
My brother was still at the ranch, since school doesn’t start until tomorrow. He helped out by holding the alpacas as Dr. Balch worked. Everyone was fairly calm and well-behaved, even for shots! The babies (Marsy and Trip) got their second vitamin shot of the year, and the yearlings (Morocco and Tuscany) got their only shot for this year. The vitamin A, D and E shots help them develop stronger, healthier legs.
All told, it was a long but successful day. Everyone is healthy as can be! Is anyone really surprised?