ALPACAS

Call us at Heartsong Triple D Farm for beautiful registered alpacas for sale 865-475-3777 or ddtarr@usit.net

Alpacas can be trained to pull a cart.

Alpacas are one of the smallest members of the camelid family. Camels and llamas are better known members. The forerunners were vicunas and guanacos. These animals come from countries such as Chili, Peru, and Bolivia.

Alpacas are beautiful, gentle, endearing, quiet animals. Their basic sound is a soft hum. They are herd animals and are shy of people unless handled regularly from birth. Babies take about 11 months to come into the world and are called crias. There are shows across the country for this breed that feature conformation, ease of handling in public relations situations, fiber, even their agility and cooperation in going through obstacle courses.
 
Their fiber comes in a wonderful natural variety of gorgeous shades and colors and is one of the most highly desired by spinners and weavers because of its warmth and softness in finished products. Alpaca fiber is some of the finest in the world. It is as soft as cotton and as warm as wool. We sell it raw (straight off the animal) and as yarn at Heartsong Triple D Farm. We often trade with hand spinners – fiber for spinning. If interested, email us at ddtarr@usit.net.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 There are two types of alpacas in the United States today: Huacaya - which have fluffy, crimped fiber and Suri - which have silky, draped fiber. They breed in a cush (seated) position and can be transported in a regular van. These animals are registered, blood typed, and microchipped when registered with the Alpaca Registry. The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association is a very active organization which supports this breed. There are regional organizations such as The Tennessee Alpaca Association (TAA was begun in 2007) and The Southeastern Alpaca Association (SeAA). We are members of all three.
 
 

Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.  Genesis 6:20
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For more information contact:   Please let them know where you got their address!

Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association  - www.alpacaowners.com
5000 Linbar Drive, Suite 297 
Nashville, TN 37211

615-834-4195 

 

Contact ddtarr@usit.net

See photos below:  

Heartsong Triple D Farm Alpacas and Friends!  Check our FOR SALE page for available animals!



DANCY - A COMPROMISED LIFE

JOURNEY THROUGH AN ALPACA CRIA'S PLASMA TRANSFUSION

 

by Deirdre D. Tarr

 

 

The baby was due any day. A dilemma arose: go to the annual animal fiber fair over five hours away in a neighboring state or sit staring at the mother in the pasture awaiting the blessed event. A friend and I had completed plans with lodging secured and registrations in for workshops. We decided to go on Friday.

Of course, the female baby was born on Saturday morning. After the excited call from, home multiple instructions were reiterated to get Dancy off to a safe start. Iodine on the navel, make sure she is nursing, watch her bodily functions (urination and defecation) to make sure all was working well, put deep bedding in the stall and put up a heat lamp (the weather took an unseasonable plunge to 20 degrees at night). Being the main animal-tender I knew what needed to be done and how to do it, but my family was left with the actual duties. Concern arose when the cria appeared not to be energetically seeking to nurse. She had a 12 pound birth weight which would have indicated enough strength to stand and pursue her mother's essential, life-sustaining and warming colostrum.

My beyond-the-call-of-duty husband rose to the occasion. (In addition to his previous title of "goat mid-wife" he now added "cria surrogate mom"!) Since the baby was not nursing, he began an every three-hour bottle feeding routine. We had attended Equitana USA a premier equine event in Louisville, Kentucky in June and purchased some freeze-dried horse Immunoglobulin G there. I bought it as a precautionary measure because my alpaca had been grazing on fescue, which had the endophyte fungus, which prevents milk production in horses. Not knowing whether this affected alpacas or not, I thought having some on hand for the baby's birth might be a good safeguard. I hoped that horse IgG would have enough carry over to protect a cria in an emergency. (The female alpaca had been off fescue for 4 months and did indeed have good milk production.)

If I had been there I could have milked the colostrum and fed it to the baby. My husband tried but was unable to get any to flow. He reconstituted the equine IgG with 250 mg of saline solution (from a local pharmacy) and mixed that with evaporated goat's milk (from Wal-Mart). Dancy took over 4 ounces at the first feeding. He continued to place the baby under the mother in the hope that she would nurse on her own. When I arrived home the next day, I cleaned the mother's teats with a warm wet cloth, lubricated my fingers with cooking oil to cause less discomfort as I milked her, and proceeded to milk the colostrum out and feed it to the baby. Each time Dancy was fed I smeared colostrum on the mother's teats and guided her mouth to them to encourage her to nurse. Before the day was over she had begun to nurse on her own. That was an answer to prayer that made everyone happy.

I felt that Dancy's life had been compromised because she had not gotten the colostrum within the first crucial 24 hour period when the cria's digestive system can absorb the mother's first milk transferring lifesaving antibodies from the mother to the baby. After consulting with my vet, I took her to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine about 25 miles from our farm for a plasma transfusion. We were met there with courtesy, cooperation, and skill.

After explaining the situation, we were taken to an examination area in the large animal clinic where her vital signs and basic condition were checked. (It was rather humorous to see tiny Dancy on a table just a few yards away from a 1000 pound plus cow!) The silky cinnamon colored fiber from Dancy's neck was clipped so that the jugular vein would be easily visible. A catheter was inserted into the vein, which would be used for several purposes. First, blood was drawn before the transfusion to check the IgG level she had on entering. After the count was processed 24 hours later, it read 170 milligrams per deciliter. (She was very low, but the equine IgG may have added enough antibodies to get her through the first two days. Being born on Saturday we were unable to have her treated at the vet school until Monday.) A second vial of blood was taken to check her white cell count to see if any infection was adding additional stress to her body. (The normal count should have been anywhere from 8,000 to 25,000. Since hers was 2,000 she was put on a .5 cc dose of Naxcel twice a day for five days as a preventative measure.)

After a cleansing flush of the needle and tube, Dancy was hooked up to the previously defrosted and warmed llama plasma which is the non-cellular portion of the blood containing the immunoglobuline needed to help the immune system fight off disease. Plasma is collected by taking whole blood from an animal in a special plastic bag, which contains an anticoagulant to prevent clotting. The blood is centrifuged (spun rapidly) to separate the white and red blood cells from the fluid part of the blood, the plasma. This top layer of plasma is siphoned off to be used immediately or stored at -20 degrees to -40 degrees Centigrade until needed.

With Vet Wrap securing the catheter, the tiny cria was carried to a stall area to be held and kept quiet for the 30-45 minute process of the plasma flowing into her body. I might add that she was a trooper throughout the process hardly protesting during any of the procedures. When the Vet Wrap was applied to hold the needle and tubing in place, she stretched her long neck out and laid her chin on the table. The technicians joked that she had sudden neck fatigue because of the lightweight wrap.

Dancy was cradled to keep her from moving and inadvertently dislodging the IV. She shivered periodically so a towel was placed over her. When the transfusion was completed more blood was taken before removing the needle to check her post transfusion IgG level. (After the 24 hour processing period it was reported to be 1,202 milligrams of IgG per deciliter, a great improvement!) There is some variation in veterinary circles about the level at which a transfusion is necessary. Some say a transfusion should be done if the IgG count when the baby is 24 hours old registers under 400. Others state that anything under 800 indicates a need for plasma. The best approach is to check with your own veterinarian. The needle was removed, a sterile bandage placed on her neck, and Dancy headed home for a much desired afternoon "milk shake" a la mom.

We continued to bundle her up in a special cria pajama outfit at night and take the pajamas off for her to exercise outside and become acclimated to the temperature during the day for the next week. We weighed her daily to make sure that she gained weight, which she did.

This procedure, a plasma transfusion, can make the difference in a cria living or dying. If you find yourself in this situation, the $199.00 cost and 3 hour process may well be worth pursuing. The playful jumps and darting runs, the bold fake spitting when she was introduced to her three-month-old pinto cria playmate a few days later, even the quick kick when she was touched on her back legs were a delight to see considering all she and we had been through!

Deirdre D. Tarr




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