Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Odds and ends

We bought some wire mesh yesterday and Mike spent some time today making the farm yard chicken proof. When the hens tried to go behind the barn this afternoon and were frustrated in their efforts they became quite vocal, but eventually decided to wander elsewhere.

We were hoping to replace our missing chickens but Nick who supplied the original flock, has none available at the moment. We are reluctant to go elsewhere because we have confidence in the health of his hens. We will just have to make do with fewer eggs for a while.

Nick is going to come and work with Mike for a few hours a week to help him with the jobs that need a second pair of hands. Nick is also a fountain of knowledge about farming and country life in general. He always has an opinion and is happy to advise. His advice is usually pretty sound and sensible as well as helpful.

Our main concern at the moment is keeping an eye on the water troughs as in the hot weather the alpacas tend to use them as paddling pools as well as drinking vessels and they are often dirty and quite empty. One of Mike's next jobs is to make all the troughs fill up automatically. Although we will still have to keep an eye on the hygiene levels, at least there will always be water available to drink without out us having to worry.

Still training Tia. She is lovely in most respects now except that she seems to think that coming when called is an option and not a necessity. I took her in the sealed paddock again today and she just ran away when I tried to play ball with her. After ignoring her whilst I got on with some jobs, I decided to go in and play ball with Jake. Of course she then wanted to join in. Jake was not that amused as he is a ball freakhimself and was not happy about sharing his precious toy.

Anyway at least she was then prepared to ignore the alpacas, despite Alario's loud and long alarm calls, in favour of playing with me and Jake. I am a bit offended that I do not have enough carisma to attract her without his help. In the end she was quite worn out and happily came back into the garden with us.

She has definitely learned that off lead she can be in control. I think she has probably been punished when she has been called in the past. She has probably also been chased to try and catch her, which has re-inforced her enjoyment of not coming when called. I certainly cannot blame her previous owners, as she can be absolutely infuriating at times, but these habits are going to be quite hard to break, I think. O n the plus side she is much better in every other way and quick to learn. She is getting on better with the other dogs and with the exception of a long session this evening just when we were going to have half an hour sitting in the garden before dinner, she is not barking so much.

We are all up to date with the mating now and all females who were either not pregnant at the beginning of the season or who have given birth and ready for remating have been covered. Chale has at last worked out what he is supposed to do. Obviously did not get a chat from his Dad before coming over from Chile. Alario, as always, is a real ladies' man and they love him. Pedro is Jack the lad, and fancies himself, although had does not seem to cut the mustard like Alario. Bono is also much more pushy and not such a shrinking violet.

It's amazing what a difference age and practice make!! Fingers crossed we will have some lovely additions to the herd next year as a result.

No more births yet but several are due in June and loads in July.

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