Time to get the fans out, cleaned up, and ready to use on that first hot, humid day of summer.WEIGHT GAINS -
For older thin animals with some winter weight loss, try Pounds Plus, a supplement available from KV Vet Supply.ANNUAL VACCINATIONS -
Is it time to vaccinate and de-worm on your farm before the weather gets hot?FEEDING TROUGHS -
Need a new project? Feeding llamas in long shallow troughs instead of individual feeding dishes will simplify the dinner hour. Foremost, it will reduce the chance of choking since the food is spread out and they can not gulp such huge mouthfuls. Choking can be as much a management problem as it is the type of food problem. Build shallow troughs out of wood and mount them along all the walls of the barn. Guttering can also be mounted as a feeding trough. Or cut PVC pipe in half and mount them as a feeding trough. Once established, this method of feeding also eliminates some of the disputes.
For weight gain, try adding 2-4 ozs. of yogurt to Ensure Plus, a high calorie nutritional supplement found in drug stores. A teaspoon of Lixotinic may also be added to one bottle per day.MOM ACCEPTING HER CRIA -
Rub the new cria with a placenta that you have previously saved in the freezer. It is said that the scent will help the mom accept the baby.WEANING -
When it's time to wean the cria, move the mom instead of the cria into the new area. Leaving the baby in familiar surroundings with the majority of the herd will be much less stressful. Wean before the hot weather.NEW MOM -
Hold a warm, wet towel on the udder to help bring down the milk for the first nursing. More comfortable for mom when the cria does start nursing.NURSING -
When you check the new mom's teats for milk, smear it around the udder so the cria will get the scent. It has also been suggested to rub a little honey on the teat. When the cria gets that first sweet taste, it is drawn to the teats to nurse.BOTTLE FEEDING -
Apply a little honey or molasses to the nipple to encourage the cria to take a bottle if necessary.
Use Ag Lime in the walkways and gate areas that tend to get muddy. Sand has also been recommended for those muddy gate areas.STAKING OUT -
Animals can become dangerously tangled in the rope when staked out. Be sure they are capable of untangling themselves without panic. To prevent a possible tragedy, you can thread the rope through plastic tubing and the plastic tube keeps the rope from tightening around a leg.SKIN PROBLEMS -
This product has been recommended by some llama owners as helping some of those mysterious fiberless patches which may be caused by elephant skin, a fungus, or alopecia. Available from Jeffer's Livestock Catalog, check out their website at Eqyss for Micro Tek Spray & Mega Tek Cell Rebuilder.
Freezing and thawing during the winter seems to bring possible hazzards from previous eras to the surface. Walk the pastures looking for baleing twine, pieces of plastic, wire, or metal. All these items have been ingested by animals and can cause severe blockages - sometimes resulting in death.
Use the large magnet from big stero speakers, to drag though areas to look for hidden nails or other sharp metal objects. No matter how careful you think you have looked, you'll probably find a few left-overs.
If burning brush piles within your pastures for spring clean-up, never leave the fire un-attended with your animals around. They don't seem to be afraid of fire and have been known to roll in the burn piles - especially in the hot coals left from burning - and actually catch themselves on fire. Keep animals away from fire!SKUNKED -
Hopefully, you will never need these suggestions.
1. A mixture of one quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap (liquid soap). Spray it on the victim.
2. White vinegar and water added to regular pet shampoo. Wash victim well.
3. Tomato Juice Bath
Use a blower before shearing. Then brush to get most of the debris out. Fiber will be easier to process if the debris is removed before shearing. Also, the dirt and debris in the fleece will dull your shears quickly.FIBER WASHING -
Getting blisters on your hands when shearing. Just wrap a small piece of vet wrap around your finger where the blister is most likely to start. The vet wrap sticks to itself and is easy to apply.
Prevent tendonitis and blisters! When doing alot of brushing and grooming, the brush may be more comfortable and prevent blisters if you just slide a bicycle handle over the brush handle.
Wash fleeces in your washing machine.PROCESSING FIBER -
Woolite is generally not recommended by fiber people for washing wool. The following soaps have been recommended by fiber artists:
1. Fill machine with desired level of warm water and dissolve soap. Turn off washer.
- Orvus Paste (available from feed stores in a one gallon container. It is a Proctor & Gamble product and does not contain many additives.
- Ivory Liquid (not many additives)
- Liquid Tide (for really dirty fleeces)
- Dawn (contains more grease removers than Ivory)
2. Add fiber.
3. Soak for approximately 30 minutes. Do not Agitate!
4. Set on final spin cycle and spin until the fiber seem dry.
5. Remove fiber.
6. Fill washer with same temperature water again. Do not add soap. Turn washer off.
7. Add fiber. Soak for 30 minutes or so. Do Not Agitate!
8. Repeat steps 5 & 6.
9. Repeat the rinse cycle as needed. You may add about 1/2 Cup vinegar to the last rinse to cut any soap residue.
10. Dry on a drying screen made of hardware cloth or any non rusting screen. On a sunny day, the fiber will be dry in a few hours.
Fiber may be sent away to be processed into clean roving or batts.PREPARING FIBER FOR THE FIBER CLASS -
Highly recommended is Ohio Valley Natural Fibers, (513) 446-3045. Free brochure available.
Or see Fleece Carding Companies
Remove all the debris, preferably before shearing. To wash llama fiber: fill the washer with warm water and soap (Dawn, Liquid Tide, Era), then add the fiber and soak for approximately 30 minutes. Do not let agitate! Set the washer on the spin cycle and spin the dirty water out. Remove the fiber from the washer, refill the washer with warm water and soap again if necessary, or just refill with plain warm water. Add the fiber after the washer is filled. Do not run the water on the fiber and do not let the washer agitate. Another suggestion is to put the fiber into a mesh bag before putting it into the washing machine.