Thursday, October 7, 2010

Anterior Uveitis, Turkeys, Elk Festival


Of the eye. Inflammation of the iris and ciliary body. Causes are infections, trauma, organophosphate poisoning. I rule out trauma in my alpacas case, since it affected both eyes to some degree. And I don't think that she had any kind of brain injury.
Yep, Sara Lee has it. It was very rapid onset starting in the left eye, which turned all blue, and she was totally blind in that eye, and then it started in the right eye. The vet said that he has never seen this in alpacas, but has seen it in horses, and it is called "moon eye". The treatment that we started was IV steroids, SQ antibiotic, along with steroid eye drops and antibiotic eye ointment ever 2, yes, every 2 hours. I did this for 4 days, before I saw any improvement. Now a 8 days later, there is blueness in the top 10 percent of each eye. I have titrated down on the frequency of eye meds and will keep an eye on here. Hopefully this will not return. She has her vision in each eye now, so I am happy about that. Camelids are very sensitive to steroid use, but I opted to have an alpaca that can see, not a blind one. The vet also commented that the good thing about "moon eyes" is that it is not painful. I was relieved about that, but boy did she look like something out of a horror film for the first 4 days. This is the normal eye color of an alpaca, and Sara Lees eyes look like this now.

The turkeys are always displaying their tail feathers when the are first let out in the AM. I caught some exceptionally good photos of their displaying ritual. They also make a puffing sound, Dennis can't hear that however. Here is a picture of 5 of the 6 males displaying to a female walking in front of them.
Note their blue heads!

Some turkey facts that I read in a recent Outdoor Life magazine, and on line sources. Juvenile hen turkeys are called Jennies. An old Master hen is usually the leader of a flock of mothers and young turkeys. They stay separate from the males, or Jakes which are 3-6 month old males. The males make a lot of noise with their gobbles and fighting to establish pecking order, so they attract predators, hence the females stay away from them. The females I have observed to make a twittering sound, kind of like the Predator movies, the sound the alien makes. Only the males gobble, and it can sometimes be heard a mile away. They can run 25 miles per hour, and fly 55 miles per hour. They have between 3,000-5,000 feathers. The males have a worm like thingy on top of their nose called a snood. They also have a wattle on their chin. Both of these turn bright red with courtship or excitement or anger. The snood can be very long, but also can be retracted to an inch. Turkeys almost disappeared in the early 1900's when their #'s dropped down to the 30,000, now they # in the millions. They can see movement 100 yards away, but have poor night vision. Just some interesting facts on turkeys, not to mention their popularity at Thanksgiving time.


We went to the elk fest in Estes Park Co last weekend. The most captivating part for me was the bugling contest. These folks grow up hearing these majestic elk every fall doing their calls. They had cow/calf calling along with bull elk calls. The youngest caller appeared to be around 3 years old and was oh so cute, and good at making the calls. At the end they had professional callers. The commentator said in the years past, they have sometimes had a bull elk run into their midst, all sweating and snorting ready to take on the challenging male. but that did not occur this year, however there were some calls made that were not on the program.
We were entertained by a Lakota Sioux Indian, who played this stick type instrument, It sounded woeful,lonely and mystical at the same time, like the sound of a Loon on a Minnesota Lake amidst the early morning fog.
We took a bus tour and viewed elk herds at rest, on the golf course, and a school football field.

You can see about 5-6 bull elk on the outskirts of the large golf course herd, waiting for dusk no doubt to start challenging the herd bull.
On our bus tour we drove by the Stanley Hotel, where the movie "The Shining" was filmed. Awesome. I am definitely going to tour that some day. It was gated, and you have to make reservations at least a day in advance. I wonder how many saw Jack Nicolson peering through the half closed doorway with his maniacal grin saying "heres Johnny?"
Ryan, Julie, Lili and I, enjoying a sandwich to the sounds of the babbling creek. Dennis was the camera man.
Here is little Lili enjoying all the festivities at the festival. A real people watcher at this stage of her life.

It is in the 50's here today, the wind is howling from the north, it is a grey, dreary day. There is snow in the mountains. I bet it will not be too long before our prairie will be blanketed in snow. Best put my winter survival gear back in the vehicle. We still have not turned on our furnace, but no longer sleep with the windows open. The time is nearing..........
More later................

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