Monday, September 6, 2010

Growing and Dying

It's been a hot, humid spring and summer here - my first in Texas.  After living 9 years in Tucson with little to no humidity for 10 months out of the year, I've been extremely uncomfortable since around May.  It's only started to let up in the last few days and actually been nice to be outside.

The alpacas had been enduring the heat as well.  They got their bellies squirted every afternoon and played in the sprinkler in the pasture.  Their fleece actually acts as an insulator from the extreme heat, but they enjoy the coolness of the water on their bare undersides.

Two of the boys we got from the LSU vet school in March, Excalibur and Durango, were extremely thin and never gained much weight over the summer.  These guys were part of a research study looking at the effects of anesthesia on alpacas.  They were put under anesthesia every couple days for about 6 months.  They were kept in stalls and not allowed to graze at all.  I'm sure the stress level was pretty high.  We lost them both in the last 2 days.  Durango was our oldest boy - 12 years old - and a real sweetie.  He loved to eat and wasn't shy about trying to get whatever you had in your hand.  He was a fun personality.  Excalibur was a little more shy.  He never really warmed up to us, but would take food if you offered it.  He was 5 years old and a cute little boy.


We're not certain what caused both of these boys to die within a day of each other, but we're keeping a close eye on the rest of the herd.  All the others are a much better weight and aren't showing any signs of illness. 

We only lost one chicken this summer, but the heat has caused them all to slow down on the egg production.  We're trying again to hatch some eggs, but this time in an incubator.  Our last couple attempts using the broody hen didn't go well.  We're hoping to have some nice young laying hens for the winter.

Chet's garden grew really well this year.  We're getting peppers galore right now and beans are starting to come up again.  The surprise crop of the year is cotton.  Chet planted it for fun to see what would happen and he got a bumper crop.  He's been picking it and pulling out the seeds so I can prep it to spin.  Spinning cotton is pretty tricky, I guess, so I'll be learning something new.


  1. So sorry to hear about Durango and Excalibur. I hate animal experiments, that's why I try not to buy any P&G.

    You sound like you have a wonderful life in Texas.