Thursday, March 25, 2010

Busy Times!

Wow, Spring is such a hectic and productive time on the farm! We have 6 alpaca crias due in the next month, a show/auction in Oklahoma City, Spring Break, another hat felting class, llamas to train, word to get out about our llama treks starting up, shearing, breeding, and more!

Wanna keep up with us? I promise not to inundate you with reports on "poop patrol", pasture growth, or to let you know that Fluffy spit off Michelangelo! But, I'll let you know of our events and highlights in a colorful and concise way if you become a fan of Seldom Scene Farm on Facebook!

Become a fan by April 10th (Shearing Day), and you'll be entered in a drawing for a Free Llama Trek for 4 with deluxe lunch!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More felting and learning

We had another great class here on Sunday, with several coming from near and far to learn the basics of felting.Christina brought her college daughter and her roommate, and they were very enthusiastic learners. I think it was a neat way for them to spend time together on spring break!
We did a little bit of wet felting...And needle felting.....It's been fun to watch people discover felting for the first time, especially if they are unable to do other fiber arts due to arthritis or simply not having success with needle crafts.
I am truly enjoying being back in teaching mode, especially when it's something I am so passionate about, felting! The next class will be held on Sunday, April 25th from 1-5. It's a Hat Felting Class- the cost is $70 and includes all materials, snack, and a reusable hat form that you get to keep! If you're interested, contact me at as the class is already filling up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stuff Happens.....

(Tube-feeding a cria- the mustard bottle is good for solo tube-feeding, I learned this from a Twitter friend!)

.... and sometimes it all turns out okay!

We had a cria crisis on Saturday when Mirian discovered a 2 day old cria in a violent seizure. I had checked on that group twice already that day, and he was as bouncy and normal as could be just two hours earlier. When I arrived at the barn, the cria was still convulsing and his temperature was 106.9 degrees! Vets couldn't be reached, wouldn't you know it was right before the start of the UK game and after regular Saturday hours?

We had a similar situation a few years ago, and short of a vet of putting in an IV catheter, I did everything I could remember to try. We wetted the cria down to help bring down his near-fatal temperature, I gave him some banamine to reduce inflammation, and he got a shot of Naxcel in case he had infection going on. After what seemed like forever (but was probably about 10 more minutes) the seizure subsided and his temperature then plummeted to 97. In fact we had to warm him back up with a blow dryer and cria coat in the warm stall!

The cria appeared to regain strength fairly quickly, but it was immediately apparent that he was now blind. I gave him a shot of thiamine, put a bit of karo syrup on his gums for energy, and left him to rest for a bit. Two of the three vets eventually returned my calls, and both confirmed that we had done everything correctly and to continue to provide supportive care including feeding (Thank you, Dr. Evans and Dr. Lipp's partner who was on call, the third vet never did return my call, and is getting very little of my business any more!)

We began the tedious regimen of milking out the dam (who wasn't exactly crazy about the idea- we had to lay her down each time) and tube-feeding the cria every 2-4 hours... night and day. We gave him as much of the dam's milk as we could get, and supplemented with Vit D milk as well, as we always use.

By the next day, he was much more bright, but still completely blind as we continued with the Naxcel and banamine for 3 days which the vets advised. By yesterday, it was clear that his vision was returning as he ran around the pen and turned as needed. Last night, we encouraged him to nurse and he just about hooked up- bless her heart, the dam was practically shoving him up under her (she'd MUCH rather he take the milk himself rather than us two-leggeds wrestling her for it!). We tubed him a little less than usual one more time and skipped the middle-of-the-night feedings. Hallelujah, this morning he's nursing!
So, what caused this? Dr. Evan's Field Manual says that it could have been caused by an electrolyte imbalance or infection, and isn't all that uncommon in 1-3 day old crias. He also said that if the seizure didn't recur pretty quickly, it will probably never happen again. The cria didn't have the tell-tale signs of septicemia (such as reddened membranes), and his temperature stayed stable once the seizure ended, so it wasn't likely an infection. So, we'll never really know. We will of course monitor the little guy even more carefully than usual, weighing him daily, etc.

I guess when you've had enough crias (we figure over 400 born on the farm over 18 years!), you'll see just about everything at least once. We are so thankful that this one turned out okay, and are grateful that we had the experience to know what to do this time, with some phone help from our vets. (The other cria that had the seizure a few years ago was fine as well).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Southern Select Success for Seldom Scene!

It was really good to get back to Shelbyville, TN this past weekend after missing the Southern Select last year, and as always our southern friends made us feel kindly welcome. The glorious weather was a big bonus, too!

We hadn't shown since last spring at Nationals, so I was looking forward to testing a mostly-new show string of young alpacas. My expectations were high, but even after over 15 years of showing, I still have to remind myself not to be "barn blind." Our animals didn't disappoint, and we had one of our very best showings EVER!
With 6 animals showing (plus production classes), we earned:
Fawn Male Color Champion- SSF Peruvian Jolly Mon (above, just sold to Craig and Michelle Embry of Rolling Ridge Alpacas, so glad Craig could be there to see Jolly's big win under judge Amanda VandenBosch)

Brown Female Color Champion- Xxxtremely Sweet- her 3rd championship!
Reserve Light Color Champion- SSF Serendipitous (above)- I have SUCH high hopes for this gorgeous male, and he's off to a super start!
1st Place Brown Female- SSF Rachel Alexandra (above, with our farm manager, Sue, who did an excellent job handling at her first show).
3rd Place Black Female- SSF Happy Hour (above)

3rd Place Beige Male- SSF Hopalong (placed behind the champion and reserve!)
And, the best part of all! We did great in the production/group classes, which are the true indication of the quality of a farm's breeding program:
1st Place Get of Sire- Accoyo America Sinbad (6 entries in class)

1st Place Produce of Dam- Snowmass Sweet Serenity

2nd Place Breeder's Best Group of 3- Jolly Mon, Serendipitous, Rachel Alexandra

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Llama Love

We had two new llamas arrive last week to start our pack string for Seldom Scene Llama Treks, with 3 experienced trekkers coming in April from Montana's mountains (we'd prefer to have them here sooner, but transporters aren't too thrilled about trailering in that area this time of year!). I'd love to find two more to round out our group.It turned out that the llamas belonged to a friend of a friend, and I couldn't be more pleased with them, what a find! Phoenix is sooooo sweet and constantly gives kisses to whomever is nearby.
Leopold is a bit more shy, but he's cute as can be and is really cooperative on the lead.
Mirian and a friend took them for a hike yesterday, and I took some photos to put together our promotional materials. They had a lot of fun.... and the kids enjoyed it, too!