We’ve got cases of flystrike in our herd for the first time. Bertie is suffering from it, and yesterday we detected that Mellie the alapca is affected too, fortunately to a lesser extent.

Bertie's haircut in progress

Flystrike, myiasis, is unpleasant but sadly quite common in hairier animals. Attracted by a warm, damp environment – the dampness due to sweat or urine – greenbottles (Lucilia sericata) lay their eggs and maggots quickly hatch out. These can start to nibble on the animals skin which irritates it and they also release toxins into the host’s bloodstream which can cause shock and may even be fatal. Once the skin becomes raw, this attracts more flies, and so the vicious cycle propagates.

Mellie after her haircut

Prevention is better than cure and is achieved through using insecticides in areas likely to get affected. But if a case is detected, you need to shave the affected area, kill and remove all the maggots, clean and treat the sore skin and administer antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.  The ongoing treatment can last for quite a while to ensure it doesn’t reoccur.

So we have a way to go still with Bertie and Mellie. Fingers crossed.

STOP PRESS (4pm 9th August)!

Wiggo has just arrived. Ciara the Suri alpaca quietly gave birth to him a few feet away from where Caiti was sitting in her hanging chair reading on her Kindle. She never heard or saw a thing! And just yesterday we had Ciara in a headlock as we extracted some wire from her coat. Goodness knows where she’d picked that up from.

Wiggo and Ciara


Why are we calling him Wiggo? That’s the French nickname for Bradley Wiggins, victor of this year’s Tour de France and Olympic gold medallist. You might have noticed we’re rather fond of cycling in this household. Had Wiggo been a little girl, the name would have been Anna Versary since it’s Chris’s and my 26th wedding anniversary today.