Sheltered from the bitterly cold Northeasterly wind and in the sunshine we organised the 21 weanlings so that they came into the pen 3 at a time. Because of my dodgy back I had to kneel on one knee to put the chips in, plus it makes it much easier to get the angle of the needle right. Lucy was holding them still and Rebecca was in charge of recording the numbers and working the gates. Thankfully it all worked like clockwork and didn't take long at all.
For those of you who haven't come across microchips before they are about the size of a grain of rice and they are implanted under the skin just below the left ear using a scarily large needle. Each has a unique number and can be read with a scanner to verify the identity of the animal against their registration document on the British Alpaca Society register. This doesn't seem to hurt them, though it took me a while to pluck up the courage to do it when we first started breeding, and I still dislike doing the first one of the season.
Having implanted the chips they have to be read with a scanner to make sure they tally with the numbers on the label and that they are actually in the animal and not still in the syringe or needle.
Later on today the numbers were recorded, along with their names, parentage, colour, sex and DOB onto the BAS Registry - much easier now that we can do this electronically. I also keep my own records of all that on a simple spreadsheet and on a herd software program.
One little chap had to have a name change, as he didn't quite live up to "Brilliance" after all and is now "Bono". Had to begin with a B - I was tempted with Bloody Disappointing!
Anyway, job done and now I can get on with entering some for the shows... that's if I can make up my mind who's good enough, they seem to change as often as the weather.
|You don't want to slip with that needle and get yourself or your handler!|
|Push the plunger and the chip goes in|
|Waiting their turn|