Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Goat Mountain

This is the oldest goat and her kids learning mountain climbing on our special goat mountain.  Today we tagged the kids so that they can be identified easily.  I think Defra should come and do them.  Poor little things have to have one in each ear and you should hear them scream.  Still it is over quickly and they scream just as loudly when they see me coming with the bucket.

Number 12 and number 7 are still a concern but they have been promoted from a bottle to a bucket.  We make up some Lamblac and put it in a bucket which has teats on it.   The bucket is suspended on a partition Mike made in the goathouse and the theory is that they can get the milk ad lib when they cannot get it from their Mums.  At the moment we still have to guide them on to the teat but once on they stay and suckle until full.  They have been shut in most of the day because it has been very cold and wet, but they usually love frolicking in the sun.

I took some of our young alpacas to a show at the weekend.   There was lots of competition and the bigger breeders brought along multiple entries  for most of the classes.   We only achieved a  fourth and a sixth but I was not displeased as both were in quite big classes.

The event was held at the Hand Equestrian Centre at Clevedon which has been revamped since I last went there to a dog show.  It now has quite a smart cafeteria, bar, good quality stables and an excellent arena.

There was a really good atmosphere and although it was quite hard work because, being on the committee, I was involved in setting up and breaking down as well as showing our own animals.

My friend Pauline came along and luckily was able to show one of the boys as two were in the same class.  She stayed for quite a while and we were pleased to be able to spend some time together as we don't see as much of each other now we have moved to Devon.  On the Sunday my client/friend Anita came along and was interested to see the show alpacas.  She commented that compared with showing other animals (she has bred cattle and dogs at least in the past) alpacas and their owners do not present themselves very well.   She thinks we should learn some ringcraft!!  I agree with her actually, but I am one of the worst offenders for lolling around whilst the judge goes backwards and forwards trying to decide the winners.

Another alpaca friend has a really good alpaca and he quite rightly won the Supreme Champion.   She has just gained planning permission to put a house on their property - so it is obviously it is her year.

We are now catching up on our matings and Emilia, a really good alpaca who has rejected all male attentions up until now suddenly decided when we were spitting off some alpacas (testing them for pregnancy by letting a male near them) suddenly decided to sit and allow herself to be mated.   There is no guarantee that she will be pregnant but at least now she is acting normally.

I have suspected that the Blue Tongue vaccination has effected fertility and behaviour amongst our girls and had already decided not to use it this year.   As it happens there have been no reports of Blue Tongue in the UK so far this year.  It might be just coincidence but I don't believe that.

Last year  and the year beforewe had one or two females who were young and healthy but they did not become pregnant and we have never had problems before.   Anyway we shall see how it goes this year.

The alpacas who were shown are being kept in quarantine at the moment and will not be allowed back into the herd until the end of the showing that we intend to do.   That will be about June.  They are happy enough as there are five males and a couple of females so they are not alone.


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