It was raining this morning so Nick spent an hour in the kitchen drinking tea and discussing the way forward with the farm. We are thinking of diversifying into Angora Goats who are reknowned for their beautiful fleece (Mohair) which would fit in well with the alpacas. We are also going to extend the free range chickens by another 30 hens. This will enable us to make a reasonable income from them. We have already discovered that they are fun to have and are easy to maintain. We might also consider breeding chickens for sale once we have got into the swing of things.
We checked all the weaned cria this morning and they are all in excellent condition. Even the latest weanlings have resigned themselves to leaving their Mums and getting down to the serious business of eating themselves silly.
Nick was telling us that he had a conversation with a vet recently and she was saying that there is growing concern about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases because the alpaca stud males cover such a wide area of the country and go from herd to herd very quickly. I asked what happens in the sheep world and he said that normally you would buy a ram to cover the herd and replace him. This is more or less what we do - and we now have 4 working males on the farm with another one from this year's breeding coming through and we are hoping to sell one or two of them to finance the purchase of a new male.
Up to now we have tried to go outside our own herd for one or two matings a yeat to bring in outside blood, and otherwise kept our matings within the herd.