Ideuma Creek - Our Herd Health
"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. " - Henry David Thoreau
We take caring for our herd very seriously. Alpaas are not only a huge investment, but they are also part of our family. Each one is cared for individually and given daily attention. Our herd health is something John and I are incredibly proud of. Having been raising and caring for these animals for well over a decade and having close to 150 cria born here on our farm, we've had our share of heartaches. We'd love to be able to say that we've never lost an alpaca or had something terrible happen, but the truth is whenever you raise animals, there is always going to be some loss. When it happens, it hurts us much more personally than it does financially. Here at Ideuma creek, John and I strive to give the best preventive care and have been able to keep our losses at very minimal levels.
IgG Levels - Cria are born with virually no immune system. They depend on the colostrum from tehir mom to get the antibodies they need to survive. Each and every cria born here on our farm has had their IgG level taken 24 hours after birth to determine just how much colostrum they have received. Again, we'd like to be able to report that not a single cria had a low IgG. With so many cria being born here, however, that is nearly impossible. We can proudly report, however, that it is rare - very rare indeed - that we get a low IgG report. And almost always, when we do, it is from a first time mom. First time moms just don't seem able to produce the quality and/or quantity of colostrum and sometimes are not as eager to encourage their cria to nurse. Transfusions are needed for cria whose IgG level is lower than 800. We are proud to report that the average IgG level here at our farm is well over 2000!
Dr. Camann- by far, the biggest reason for our herd being so very healthy is Dr. Christine Camann. We feel we are the luckiest alpaca farmers around. Dr. Camann lives only 15 minutes from our farm. She is considered by many to be the best camelid vet on the East Coast. She is a graduate from Cornell University and has been treating llamas and alpacas for nearly 20 years.
Herd Health Day - Like many farms, we have a herd health day each month. For us it is the first Monday of every month. We have a standing appointment with Dr. Camann and she visits us at least once a month on our herd health day. We give dectomax injections, administer routine vaccinations, give needed ultrasounds and ask tons of questions during each visit.
By having a standing appointment, we are guaranteed everything gets done. Every day life gets busy and complicated. It's easy to put off giving a dose of dectomax here and there or forgeting it's time to do a cria's monthly CDT booster. Having Dr. Camann scheduled to come the same time every month ensures that we will get everything we need to get done that month completed.
Another benefit of having Chris come each month is that she has her hands on every single alpaca that we have here on the farm. John and I touch our alpacas all the time. In fact, visitors who have come from other alpaca farms are often amazed at how friendly and human orientated our alpacas are. Again, John and I body score and "feel" the health of our alpacas all of the time. We just like the added reassurance that Dr. Camann agrees with our assessment. A big reason for the excellent health of our farm is nutrition. Although all alpacas have similar requirements, each alpaca may have different individual needs, mostly based on their current body condition. We have at least three pens for our girls here at our farm. One for skinny girls - these girls tend to be the older girls who are pregnant and nursing and need extra nutrition. They receive a different more nutrient-rich feed and are fed more often. The second pen is for the girls who are at a healthy weight. These girls receive a maintenance grain once a day. This is by far the largest group of females we have here on the farm. The third pen is, well, we sometimes refer to it as the "Jenny Craig" pen. Our "pleasing plump" girls reside there. They are given miminal grain and free choice hay and pasture. We move girls freely in and out of these three pens based on their monthly assesment that we take on herd health day with Dr. Camann
We really try to focus on prevention. Each time Dr. Camann comes, I meet her at the truck with my list of questions. I fire away my concerns as she is unpacking what she needs for the day's visit. As she is giving injections to each alpaca, I have her check this one's eye or look at the growth on this one. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We really believe in this. Being an observant alpaca owner is the key to herd health success - that and having Dr. Camann here to analyze and diagnose those observations. Alpacas are truly very easy to care for, and we rarely have had serious issues. It's just good to know Dr. Camann is just a phone call away when and if we need her.
Individual farms are just that, individuals. Each one should have their own herd health plan, their own vaccination schedule, their own way to organize records, etc. Here at Ideuma Creek, we do things the way we have found works best for us. If we can help you find a system that works for you by sharing what we do, we are more than happy to help in any way we can!
No matter why your alpaca is with us - boarding, outside breeding, or just waiting to go to your farm, please know that each alpaca here at Ideuma Creek receives the same top-notch care and love from us and the same outstanding vet care from Dr. Camann.
Dr. Christine Camann
Our Vet here at Ideuma Creek
With nearly 20 years of experience with camelids and as a graduate of Cornell University, Dr. Camann is one of the most respected camelid vets on the East Coast. And we're lucky enough to live 15 minutes away from her farm!
Dr. Camann has done several podcasts with us on everything from routine vaccinations to neo-natal care. To listen to any of these podcasts, click the link below.
Want to Learn More About Alpacas?
With more than a decade of experience of raising alpacas and having sold nearly 150 alpacas to farms all over the country, John and I are successful alpaca breeders who never tire of "talking alpaca" with anyone! We'd love to show you our farm layout, our very profitable farm store, introduce you to our herd and share with you some of the many tax advantages we've enjoyed from being a working farm. Call us or e-mail us to set up a visit. We'd love to show you around Ideuma Creek!