Healthy Herd

This week I'm gearing up for our first "Herd Health Day" on Saturday when we will halter the sheep and alpacas, weigh them and trim their toenails. I've never done this all in one fell swoop before. I've just done the alpacas' nails when they looked bad, and then sheep nails when they were sheared. But I got my new handy-dandy livestock scale and I really want to get baseline weights on all the guys, and why not do it all at the same time?

This will help me (if done regularly) keep an eye on any significant changes in weight due to parasites or a change in their feeding regimen. Last year the alpacas got a bit thin because I had fiddled with their feed, but couldn't see the results through all that fluffy fiber. I've also learned a lot about "body scoring," which is a way to feel areas on their body and judge how much flesh is covering the bones. But, I like the objective measure of a scale until I get really good at the subjective measure of body scoring. And honestly, those sheep are so fluffy, I'm not sure a reliable body score can be judged through all that wool!

And it's all good halter practice for everyone, which we really need.

If you're interested in coming to be with us for Herd Health Day, please send me an e-mail ( and let me know how many are coming. And let me know if you would like to be on the e-mail newsletter list, because there I'll be outlining some of the "rules" for visitors on the farm. There's a waiver form to sign too, says my insurance lady.

I think it will be fun - this first time we're inventing the wheel, so please be patient with me as I work out all the logistics. Check back here, too, to get all the details about the time we'll start on Saturday.

Thanks to Laurie who took some really wonderful shots of the alpacas this past Saturday! Above is her portrait of Gideon and Solomon, who, as low men in the pecking order, have become fast friends.


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