Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Coming along nicely!

Well, sorry if I have kept some of you in suspense for the last three days, I have been flat out with stuff.

This morning Tsar weighed in at a massive 20.75 kilos! He is not on any medication at the moment apart from the Pro-kolin paste which we are slowly weaning him off as we keep a watchful eye on his poop. It is firm at the moment but not as 'beany' as I would like it to be.

The main thing apart from the weight gain (he is putting on about half a kilo every day at the moment) is his demeanour. He has changed quite dramatically over the past few days. He is feisty, he is energetic, he jumps! He is play fighting with Thor and holding his own, he is spitting well! He feels muscular again, he feels bloody great actually! 
I haven't got an up to date photograph of him so I have posted an old one, taken last September, before he became unwell. He is no longer the bag of bones and fluff that he was, he is definitely looking more like his old self and Sue and I are absolutely over the moon with his progress. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

N n n n n n nineteen!


Yesterday it had been decided that I would not weigh Tsar. It did seem like sound advice so to make sure that I couldn't be tempted I hid the scales. Unfortunately I hadn't hidden them very well so within minutes I had found them again. Luckily I had enough will power on-board not to weigh Tsar so I hid them again, although this time I hid them really well. Unfortunately I thought very hard for a few minutes and eventually retraced my steps until I had at last found them again. This couldn't go on though so I put them back in their box and filled my day with other stuff until it was too late to weigh him.

So this morning I was very impatient to get out there and weigh the little monkey. I was not disappointed. When I weigh Tsar I always have a little chat with him, this morning was no different and as I put him in the weighing sling I reminded him that I was expecting him to be up near the 18 kilo mark (his last weight two days ago was 17.40kg).

Once he was in the sling I picked him up with my left hand as I steadied the scales (hanging from one of the shed roof beams) with my right hand. I could immediately tell that he was heavier than the last time I had weighed him but I was not expecting what the scales read. 19.05 kilos!! That is an incredible weight gain of 1.65kg in the last 48 hours!

Now I know that he simply can not have put on that amount of weight in condition, could he? I also know that he couldn't be full of over a kilo and a half of poop. We have seen poop, so he is pooping. I have felt him this morning and he is definitely meatier, he has regained some condition, he is definitely getting better, he  is definitely improving. He is now heavier than he has been since the beginning of December.

Not only that but check out this photograph taken by Sue this morning. That is definitely a bean on top! That is the firmest poop he has had for almost two months!

And here is the little fellow this morning, looking much more like a healthy little alpaca.

Friday, 22 February 2013

A message from upon high!

And so it came to pass that an electronic mail communication arrived in the arrival lounge of the computer generated message centre belonging to the Chief Warrior of The Mighty Patou. The message had been issued by the High Priestess of the Great Inca Tribes, massed across the border in deepest darkest Dorsetshire. It had been transported across space and time via technology that is way beyond my simple understanding of life as it is known here in Patouland. Indeed every time such a message arrives it is greeted with great wonder and bewilderment as to how it has come from the fingertips of one being to the computer screen of another in the blink of an eye. It is indeed a thing of witchcraft or wizardry.

Anyway the message from The High Priestess was filled with advice based on years of experience and the structure and composition of the message had presumably been guided by the hand and mind of the master of all that is black, The Dark King himself.

In the message was a message. The message was simple and was designed to relieve the stress on the Patou tribe. In summary, once the niceties were stripped away the message was: "Stop weighing him every day you dingoes donger".

For indeed I have been weighing him every day, for I am indeed a dingoes donger. 

So, there is no news about young Tsars weight this morning, none. He is lively and he is eating well. 

Moving on now.

Two days ago I unveiled half of the Mighty Patou Futurity show team, young brown boys, Patou Taz and Patou Troy. So without further ado I will unveil the rest of the small but beautifully formed Patou Show Team. 

Firstly, perhaps a surprise. The utterly beautiful Patou Sabrina. Sabrina is the full sister to the utterly beautiful Patou Ruby May who did so well for us a couple of years ago and has now moved on to the equally beautifully formed Artwork Alpacas. Sabrina will be in the intermediate black female class (not much competition there then!).
We haven't shown Sabrina before, she narrowly missed out on making the team last year but her fleece has come on nicely since then. We think we halter trained her last year. We do have a photograph of her standing still with a halter on so we did do some training with her. Tomorrow we will find out how much she remembers as I will be refreshing her memory.

The final spot in the show team is taken by one of our stars from last year. Patou Sherwood.
Sherwood, or Woody as he is affectionately known belongs to Angus and was shown almost exclusively by him last year.
The below photograph was taken at the Royal Bath and West Show where Angus and Woody had taken first place in the junior brown male class (we took second place too with Patou Sultan - now resident in Holland, oooh hark at me, Mr International!!!).  Woody and Sultan also took first and second place at The Devon County Show last year.
Angus is also sporting his rosette from the junior handler class and the Best of British rosette that they also won. That's the way to do it, one alpaca, one nine year old boy, three rosettes!

So there we have it, the team unveiled, no doubt to gasps and sharp intakes of breath across the UK and beyond.

And as for Tsar, well he's put on 50 grams. I'm sorry I just couldn't not weigh him!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

It's a rollercoaster

Not sure what to say this morning, there is a much better feeling here in Patouland, Tsar seems to have picked up and the little bugger has put on 300 grams of what he lost yesterday which means he now weighs in at 17.35 kilos. 

He is very bright and alert and feeding well. 

The changes we made yesterday (we had to change something) was to start him on a course of broad spectrum anti-biotics (Amoxypen) and to give him Pro-kolin three times a day to help bind him up and keep his gut healthy whilst on the anti-biotics. 

It is another bright sunny day but there is a bitterly cold wind coming in from the east. So, keen to get Tsar out onto some grass I have moved the outdoor suite to a lovely sheltered spot next to the house, I've also left his coat on just for good measure.

As if to stress to me that he is feeling better when he was attacked by his cellmate Thor he retaliated in spectacular form. The first photograph shows an ankle biting session that went on for ages.

Finally the neck wrestling began and little Tsar, who is half the weight of Thor, managed to get Thor pinned to the floor. You can't actually tell who is the victor from this picture but believe me Tsar was pinning Thor down. 

I'm afraid (Sue will tell you) that my mood is in direct correlation with Tsars state of health. Yesterday was not a good day but today things are definitely looking up!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Back in the black

I'm a bit downhearted this morning, I knew it was coming, yesterday Tsar's scouring went all watery and I just knew he would lose weight. Sure enough he was down by 550 grams this morning.

Something has changed and we suspect that he has a bacterial infection. So, change of regime required. He is now on another course of anti-biotics, still having the colostrum but now also getting pro-biotic paste which also has a 'firming' agent in it. I have also given him another shot of multi-vitamins.

Tsar himself is still lively and eating well. He is staying inside today and has a nice warm coat on for good measure.

I don't feel much like writing so that's your lot for today.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Farewell The Mighty Quin.

Ok, this blog has been taken over by my daily Tsar updates but we need to move on, other things are happening. So I will update on Tsar first and then tell you what else is going on in Patouland.

Tsar has gained 400 grams since yesterday, his biggest 24 hour gain so far. But, and this is what I find confusing and slightly distressing, his poop is back to water, nothing to it. How is that possible?

He is lively and alert and eating well. When and how is this diarrhoea going to stop!

We have stopped the yoghurt today, we have to change something.

So moving on, today one of our number moved on to pastures new. Tarquin, or The Mighty Quin as he is affectionately known has moved a few villages away to join, Rico, Fernando, Diego and Pedro in a life of luxury. He will be very well looked after and loved dearly. That is great to know. He is a lovely boy.

The Mighty Quin.

We have entered a small show team for The Futurity. Obviously, Tsar will not be going, he is the pick of the bunch by a long way and hopefully he will grace a ring somewhere later in the year but without Tsar in the line-up we needed someone else to fill the 'Junior brown male' role in the team. 
Well we have two contenders, both Qjori boys (as is Tsar), Patou Taz is a real bruiser, the biggest weanling, strong, feisty (halter training is proving challenging!) and a beautiful rich brown colour, Taz will be attending next month.

Patou Taz 

Secondly we have Patou Troy, small, neat compact and son of Patou Penny, Queen of the hair-trigger spit monsters. Troy has been a delight (very surprising) to halter train and is also going next month.
He is pictured below standing in front of Truffle. Now I know what you are thinking; he's not brown, he's fawn. Well as I have said before, we don't breed fawns, we don't have any, underneath the bleached exterior is a lovely brown fleece. I believe it is just brown enough to be brown and not fawn. We will see!

 Patou Troy and Patou Truffle

Monday, 18 February 2013


After yesterdays excitement at the sight of thick gravy and the possible sighting of an alpaca 'bean' I am disappointed to report that we are back to a thinner variety of gravy again this morning.

He has put on another 100 grams, that's six days of consecutive weight gains so I mustn't grumble but I am concerned that the diarrhoea isn't easing, we are now into week 5 of squitsville.

I am loathe to change his regime at the moment as I don't want anything interfering with the Bovine Colostrum, I am sure that it is helping him and I want to make sure that he is getting the full benefit of it. 

I have had many suggestions of what to treat him for (which I am very grateful for) so to keep you all better informed he has been treated as follows:

Born 11th July 2012.
27th July - Lambivac (1) and wormed (Panomec)
27th August - Lambivac (2)
20th September - wormed (Panomec), monthly ADE injections started
2nd October - Baycox Bovis (Coccidia)
17th November - 5ml of Fasinex (Liver Fluke) condition scored as 4 on the 1-5 scale
30th November - Blood taken for Enferplex TB test - very skinny! Fecal sample submitted - Nematodirus found - treated with Panacur and Zolvix wormers. Treated with Baycox as a precaution.
Weaned and housed in the shed. Weight fluctuates between 15 and 18 kilos.
19th January - Diarrhoea started. Baycox given.
21st January - 3 day course of anti-biotics (Baytril) Pro-rumen and Kaogel started three times a day.
31st January - Baycox (second dose)
1st February - Further fecal sample shows presence of Giardia. 5 day course of Panacur drench prescribed.
9th February - Transfaunation from an adult female.
10th February - Start twice daily doses of Bovine Colostrum (1ml per kilo of body weight)
12th February - Multi-vitamin injections started.
13th February - Starts to gain weight but diarrhoea still present.
14th February - Twice daily doses of Goats whole milk yoghurt started.

So there you have it, you now have the full picture.

This morning he was play fighting with his 'cell-mate' Thor, I am not sure Tsar wanted to play but he got stuck in nevertheless.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Gravy and the number 17.

This morning Tsar has gained another 180 grams which now means he weighs 17.10 kilos. Hopefully we can forget about weights starting with 16 from now on. He has now put on weight for the last 5 days in a row, the whiteboard in the kitchen has a very nice red element to it now!

Poop. I am going to talk poop and I have a photograph of some poop to show you. Firstly though Sue and I cleaned up Tsars rear end this morning (several weeks of squitting means regular rear end clean ups). Whilst doing it today I am sure that I found an alpaca bean amongst the, the um, the other stuff. A bean! 

Yesterday I reported that we had progressed from Coca-cola to thin gravy, well this morning we are definitely in thick gravy territory! As demonstrated in the below photograph. Sorry if it is a step too far visually but one man's thick gravy may not be the same as another's! Thor very thoughtfully trod in it shortly after it was deposited.

As to the little fellow himself, he seems a bit unsteady on his feet this morning but is bright alert and eating like a very hungry little alpaca!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Onwards and upwards

Just a quick one today as I am flat out all morning with chores,  halter training and wood chopping etc and then off to work for ten hours.

Tsar update:

Squit consistency - still thin gravy (better than the coca cola that it was!)

Weight - up another 170 grams.

Demeanour - Lively and alert.

Location - in the shed, soon to be out in the sun.

Mood in the house - positive but would like to see the end of this diarrhoea!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Now it's getting interesting!

I am not going to babble on and inject any sort of suspense at all this morning in fact I'm going to come straight out with it. Three hundred grams, that's 300 grams! Little Tsar has put on 300 grams in the last 24 hours!

Now on Wednesday he had put on 50 grams which is really neither here nor there, yesterday he had put on 150 grams which was encouraging but 300 grams in the last 24 hours! That makes exactly half a kilo in 72 hours!

How? How is he doing it? He is still squitting through the eye of a needle so how is he doing it?

Well he is spending most of his day doing this for starters!

The other reason, and I am utterly convinced about this; cow colostrum. That lovely yellow creamy stuff made by that beautiful dairy cow in the Woodford Valley. Two days after we started giving Tsar cow colostrum he started gaining weight. Co-incidence? I don't think so.

I have been thinking about it a lot this morning. He was losing weight steadily despite eating all day before the colostrum. His scouring is the same, which is a worry, but I just have a hunch that is going to clear up soon.

If he is putting on weight his stomach lining must be absorbing nutrition from the food he is eating, it simply must be? He only gets about 40ml of colostrum and 50-60ml of goat yoghurt from us every day, so 100 grams in total, yet he has put on half a kilo in three days. His stomach must be working?

The sun is even shining today and there was lots of interest when Tsar and Thor moved to their outside pen this morning, even Kira decided to sit and carry out a little vigil.

I know there is a lot of heartache amongst fellow bloggers at the moment and I hope in some way Tsars little story is helping in a small way.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

In the red zone.

Every morning when I go out to weigh Tsar and feed the rest of the herd I watch the gate to the shed that Tsar and Thor (God of Thunder) are housed in. I suppose there is always a feeling of dread as when they hear the gate to the field open the two boys look out to see who it is, I am waiting to see both of them.

Thor is always first to stick his head through the bars of the gate and peer round to see who is coming. There is always a split second where I am holding my breath before Tsar then sticks his head through the gate, one rung lower. I then relax as I know he is up and about. This is the view of the gate this morning, a wonderful sight.

Again Tsar was bright and alert. Weighing in commenced and I was very excited to see that the little bugger has put on another 150 grams!

We only made one change to his regime yesterday, after several readers suggested it we have now started giving Tsar pro-biotic whole goats milk yoghurt. We have also stopped the Pro-rumen.

Now, hopefully, early days I know but fingers crossed. we are living in the 'red zone'.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Something happened this morning which hasn't happened for a week. When I weighed Tsar (I dread weighing in) for the first time in seven days he had gained weight. Now it was only 50 grams, and as I said yesterday when he lost 50 grams it was only the equivalent of a quick wee. 

I think about Tsar all the time. When I close my eyes in Bedfordshire every night I am thinking of him and he is the first thing on my mind when I wake up. 50 grams is a very small amount. Maybe he's had a big wee by now and weighs less than that?

I am trying to stay realistic, trying not to get carried away. He could be dead tomorrow I know that, he only weighs 16.30kg and he is seven months old. He is hanging on a very thin thread. But......... on the wihiteboard in the kitchen the numbers have changed from black (weight loss) to red (weight gain).

He still has the squits big time, it's still pouring out of him but is Gelda's colostrum starting to take affect? 

Here is little Tsar at feeding time saying hello to all the other weaners this morning. 
Come on son hang in there, we can do it!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Daily Tsar update.

Thank you all so much for your comments, e-mails and telephone calls. Sue and I are digesting all of the advice that has been passed to us and are treating Tsar as best as we can.

As there is so much interest I will try and keep up a daily blog of how he progresses.

He is still bright and alert this morning and tucking into food. We have introduced micronised peas and alfalfa into his feed and he has access to some lovely soft hay. I have also given him a large dose of multi-vitamins this morning.

He lost more weight overnight but dramatically less than the past few days, in fact he only lost 50 grams which I guess is about the equivalent of a quick wee!

We have got into a regime now, he has had his first daily dose of Colostrum and his Pro-rumen. I have also given him 200ml of water with glucose and electrolytes in it. As soon as I did that he wandered off and had a very long drink from his bucket!

We have stopped the Kaogel. The reasoning behind this is that a) it wasn't making a huge difference, and b) we think it may affect the absorption of the Colostrum.

As it isn't raining or snowing Tsar is now outside for the day with his 'room-mate' Thor (God of Thunder).
I don't think Thor is talking to Tsar today though as it appears that Tsar squitted all over his back overnight. Ooops!

So, here in Patouland we are still positive!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Last chance saloon

I reported in my last blog that little Tsar was improving, he was. Unfortunately it was short lived and the little chap has gone down hill.

To recap; 2 months ago he was stripped of condition by a bad case of worm infestation, Nematodirus. After fecal samples were examined the worm was knocked on the head. We had weaned him as his mother's milk was disappearing and she wasn't showing any interest in him. He was put in a warm dry shed with another weanling and he quickly got stuck into the hard feed and the hay. He put on weight.

About a month ago he started scouring and still is. More samples were examined and  Giardia was detected. This has been treated with a five day course of Panacur. He also had a three day course of Baytril, a strong antibiotic. We have been treating him with Kaogel and Pro-rumen three times a day ever since and occasionally his poop firms up a bit. This morning it is like very thick gravy.

He is eating well and drinking water but it all seems to go straight through him and he is slowly losing weight. he is now down to 16.30kg, about half what he should be.

The vets seem to have just given up and I am no longer speaking to them.

Two days ago we did some transfaunation. Bobby, one of our hair trigger spit monsters was caught, a plastic  bag was put over her muzzle and I 'tickled her' until we had enough of the green stuff. This was then drenched into Tsar.

The theory is that his gut lining was damaged so much by the initial worm infestation that he simply cannot absorb enough to keep him alive.

Luckily I work in a beautifully rural area and am in contact with a lot of farmers. I sent out an appeal for some cows colostrum. An article in the October SWAG newsletter documented several cases in New Zealand where cow colostrum had been used to repair damaged gut linings in weanlings and adult alpacas following weight loss from severe parasite infestations.

I spoke to the vet, who asked what the scientific background was to it. When I could offer nothing scientific to back it up it was dismissed summarily, that is why we are no longer talking. How closed minded some people can be! I wanted to argue the point but it would have been brick wall time and then I would have stopped being polite, not worth it. New vet required!

One very special dairy farmer, with four dairy cows on a private estate owned by a rock legend, came to my assistance and yesterday I collected a litre of the finest organic disease free cow colostrum.

The regime suggested by the breeders in NZ is to administer 1ml per kilo of body weight twice a day for two weeks. Tsar had his first dose last night and his second one this morning. He seems to like it, it is like orange double cream, might have a dribble myself!

This morning he was still bright, alert and tucking into the food.

So at the moment our hopes are resting on the healing powers of the colostrum made by a beautiful Swiss dairy cow called Gelda.

I am always open to any other suggestions though!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Winning the battle

I haven't posted for several weeks, I am not quite sure why. Have I been miserable? No more than usual. Grumpy? I'm always grumpy. Suffering from some weird and painful disease which only affects the tips of my fingers thus making typing impossible? No. Lack of interest in alpacas and spreading the good word from Patouland? No, of course not, I will, and do, talk for hours about the Mighty herd and alpacas in general. In fact at work wherever I go with a colleague they are always waiting to see when and how I will turn the conversation from burglary or violence around to discussing the merits of owning alpacas. I bore everyone I meet with talk about alpacas and fecal samples and fleece results and breeding decisions and unless they change the subject to something more interesting I just carry on. It's funny watching their faces. Completely transfixed initially (mainly through politeness I think) followed by a slow dawning that the conversation has now entered a depth that is proving difficult to understand, then the eyes start to shift rapidly looking for a way out before finally bolting for the nearest door (not easy with me clamped to them like a koala bear up a gum tree!). Oh what fun we have.

So, anyway, enough wittering on about why I haven't blogged, for here I am blogging again. So much to talk about but I will restrict this posting to two subjects. Tsar, our little Qjori boy and his progress from deaths door and a cracking weekend last week.

Firstly, to last weekend. Sue and I were very fortunate to be invited to a meeting of great alpaca minds. Matt and Cathy Lloyd had included us in a gathering of such power and import in the alpaca world that we knew our heads were going to be spinning with excited delirium. Heavy snow the week before had meant a one week postponement.

 Alpacas and some snow in Patouland.

Not only had we the pleasure of the company of the Chiefs of the truly Mighty EPC but we had the presence of the Mighty Inca tribe who had left the massed black ranks in Dorset and ventured North East to Baydon. Not only that but we had the cream of the North attending too. The Mighty Fowberry and the Mighty Beck Brow ventured south (chased by the snow) to form an awesome alpaca gathering.

The hospitality was excellent and the company was terrific. On Saturday the menfolk went off armed to the teeth to frighten some pheasants. I like to think that as we are all essentially animal lovers that subconsciously many birds were spared. Sadly the reality is that we were all trying to kill as many as possible. Perhaps at this point I should speak only for my own efforts. There was definitely something wrong with my gun.
However, there was a decent amount of birds to carry home and at the end of the day, walking around in beautiful countryside with the sun beaming down with a group of good people surrounded by alpacas was a pretty good way to spend the day.

The evening was equally splendid with a magnificent curry provided by Cathy and plenty of wine (just!) to ensure that my memory of leaving is slightly blurry. Matt and Cathy, if you read this drivel, thank you very much! I have no photos of the weekend, too drunk to think about it is my excuse.

Anyway to my second subject, Tsar (pictured below right with his chum Todd).

To recap, after a lightly shaky start involving being bottle fed for a while Tsar was doing fine until he was about 5 months old when he was stripped of all condition by a parasite. I don't think he was far away from deaths door. A fecal sample showed a nasty little worm called Nematodirus which once identified was knocked on the head with Panacur and Zolvix. He started putting weight back on and we thought that was that. He had been brought into the shed and was given plenty of TLC. He had also had blood tests which revealed that everything appeared normal.

Two weeks ago he was rocked with violent diarrhoea and he dropped to just over 15 kilos (6 months old remember). Having consulted with old twinkletoes we went into overdrive and treated him with Kaogel and  Pro-rumen three times a day and a course of powerful anti-biotics (baytril). We also added Effadryl to his water and slowly but surely he started to recover. Sue stayed at home last Saturday until he had his three doses and then joined the throng at Baydon. Upon returning last Sunday Tsar weighed in at 18 kilos and yesterday he was a mighty improved 18.80kg.

A further fecal sample was submitted for more in depth testing at the VLA and I have just got off the phone with  the vet who reports the presence of a nasty little squit inducing protozoa called Giardia.

We will treat him for that which is a 5 day dose of oral Panacur. However this morning I was very excited to find two little pellets hanging from his bottom! We know that we are not out of the woods yet but we can see the sunshine on the other side of the trees and I am wielding a mighty tree felling axe!