Saturday, August 16, 2008

Giving Shots using Camelidynamics

Today while my husband was out picking up hay and I was alone at the barn, I decided to try my new technique that I learned from Marty for giving shots. (By the way, I use Ivermectin for Meningial worm prevention at the dose of 1 cc per 50 pounds).

First a little history. When we started 6 years ago, we would chase the animal, my husband would grab and hold and I would give them the shot, albeit clumsily. After reading Marty's book, about 3-4 years ago, I developed a new technique in which I would try to give the shot be myself standing in front of the animal, putting my left arm around their neck and giving the shot with my right hand. That worked on most of the animals, and was clearly better than the chase, but still did not make the animals happy. I blocked their escape route and some of the larger alpacas had a definate advantage over me. My llamas had no issue with shots and I did not need to employ any technique except to ask them to stand and perhaps bribe them with grain.

After my advanced clinic with Marty, she showed us her technique for giving shots. . . far superior than what I had been trying on my own. In a pen (10x10 at the largest, smaller is better), bring in animals enough that there is not a great amount of room for them to run and they feel more comfortable with many friends. For my big boys (200 lbs), this amounts to about 6 animals. I get all my needles drawn up for an individual pen, pick an animal (in my head) and then lean over the animal from the side and give the shot in the opposite side then the one I am standing on. I allow them to walk if they want, never block their escape route and do not hold onto them. I don't need to chase or grab at all. I approach from the side behind their eye.

I was able to give all my boys shots this way today, except for one. They seemed much happier for several reasons. The first I think is because I walked into the pens properly with my shoulders opened in a non-agressive posture, I never blocked their escape route and I thnk the fact that I went into the pens alone without my husband made them feel more confident and trusting that no one was going to grab and hold.

Overall it was a tremendously successful day. So what about the one boy that did not want to work with me and my new technique? Sunny is his name and is one of my top studs (a Bueno son) and wellover 200 pounds. He is usually VERY cooperative and easy to catch. I usually only need to use the midline catch and halter him for breeding and he never once struggled. I thought about what made today different? I know he doesn't like my husband and I usually can give him shots without issue. I stopped for a second and thought . . . ahhhh - I put a new boy in the field last week . . . Sunny is the king of that field and perhaps he did not want to "give in" to the 2 legger with the new younger male watching? I used the wand and the catch rope, put it high on his neck and waiting until he felt balanced. Once he relaxed, I kept contact on the rope and administered the shot. When it was over, I removed the rope and he just stood there as if to say "Oh, that is all you wanted to do?". He did not run or move away from me.

All in all a wonderful day. No muss, no fuss! I think the animals enjoyed the experience and are happy I made the trip to Oregon!

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