Thursday, 31 January 2008

New stock just arrived.

I was worried to see Castel, one of our cria limping this morning. We caught him and I had a good look at his front right leg which he was carrying. I could see nothing in the way of thorns or cuts, although I did think that there was a little extra heat in his joint which could denote some inflammation. I'll check him over again in the morning and decide whether to let nature take its course or whether a visit from the vet is needed.

My son, David, is coming down tomorrow. We are going to spit off the females whose scan was inconclusive. This is where the female is introduced to the male who is immediately in the mood for love. An empty (i.e. not pregnant) female will lie down and invite his attentions, but a pregnant female will spit, run away, kick him, and generally make it clear that he is not wanted!!

Although Colin is coming back to scan again, it will be reassuring if the girls make it clear that yes, they are definitely pregnant.

Frustratingly for the male, even if the females are receptive they will not be allowed to mate as:
1. We reserve specific males for particular females as part of our breeding programme.
2. If they mate in January it means the cria would be born in December or early January next year. Not a good time to be born when you live outdoors all the time. We do bring females and their cria in to the barn if they are born in bad weather, but it is not ideal for the animals and makes a lot of hard work for us as they have to be kept clean and fed and cannot rome as they like to. Daily mucking out as well as the cost of heat lamps for warmth is certainly not a joyous prospect for any breeder.

We have just sold Blizzard, one of white whethers (gelded males). He has lived here with his friend, Ben, for over a year now, so I expect they will both miss each other briefly. Alpacas are very adaptable and I am sure they will both settle down in their new circumstances very happily. Ben lives with six other males (five when Blizzard goes) so he will still have plenty of company.

Excitingly, we have just received delivery of a parcel of scarves, pashminas and squares from Chile. We went to Chile on an Alpaca buying trip in 2005 and met up with the Aymara Indians who tend herds of Alpacas on the altiplano high up in the mountains. One of the farmers we met, Santos, sold us some souvenirs - hand woven scarves and shawls made by his wife.

I later ordered a parcel of them to sell in our farm shop alongside our own hand made products. They are beautifullys soft and each one is finished in an individual pattern. After Easter we find that holiday makers tend to visit the farm and I hope they will appreciate the new craft items which we have for sale.

No comments: