Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The chores of a big herd - part 1

Alpacas have toenails, of a sort. Sometimes those toenails need to be trimmed. Of course, convincing the animal that what you're doing is best for them is a lot like trying to convince my five year old son that eating his vegetables is in his best interest. The big difference is that while you can't force-feed a five year old his vegetables, you can strong-arm an alpaca into letting you trim the toenails. It just takes practice.

Each visit, Wayne and I catch at least one animal in his herd of 70. We look over the animal's basic condition, weigh it, review the shots records, look at the teeth, and check the toenails. I should note that each and every animal get the same mini-exam during shearing days. We do this with just a few animals each visit to help me 'learn the ropes'. I've watched enough toe-checking and trimming now that I felt comfortable trying it out on my own. We caught Aurora, an older female with a very sweet disposition. Here's me trimming a back foot as Eileen holds Aurora's head.

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