Monday, 10 August 2009

Getting ready

We are going away for a couple of weeks soon and leaving the farm in the hands of our trusty farm sitters, so we are trying to make things as easy as possible for them by getting most of the jobs done and leaving them information to make their stay as easy as possible. Far from being empty there will be more people on site than usual, which is reassuring for us.

David and Jane are going to trim toe nails for us which will be a major job out of the way. Jane is very good with the alpacas and David has his own flock of sheep so those sort of things are just routine for him. We usually do it ourselves of course, but when someone volunteers we cannot disappoint them by refusing!!

Only two more cria due and we are not convinced that one of the Mums is still pregnant. She is showing some signs of discomfort which might mean that she is thinking of giving birth but she does not look as wide as she normally does when pregnant. We are hoping they will both oblige within the next day or so.

At the moment we have 7 female cria and 5 males left after one male and one female cria were sold with their mothers. It would be great to finish the year with two more girls but we'll be pleased with whatever we have as long as they are healthy.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Summer's Day

At last some dry weather. The ground is starting to dry out and we can think about topping the paddocks and catching up with jobs that need to be done in the dry.

Mike's sister and her husband are staying for the weekend and have been helping a lot. The drive is looking very neat after being strimmed and the garden is back to its former self.

The alpacas all look nice and fluffy after being damp for days. The grass is much greener after the rain and the warmth of the sun. Let's hope it lasts for a while.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Busy day

Yesterday we went to the Honiton show as planned. The weather forecast was good and although we had two females ready to pop we felt that we could leave them in the care of our neighbour Pam. She was to phone us if either of the two females gave birth and one of us would return home.
In the event the 4 x 4 decided that its drive shaft would start to play up (Mike is an engineer so he knows about these things) but as we were nearly at the show we decided to carry on.
We arrived with little time to spare because the schedule said judging would probably start at 10 a.m. and the show rules said that livestock should arrive an hour before judging. They actually decided to start judging at 9 a.m. so we only had a few minutes to book in before the judge's briefing. Ian Waldron from Langaton Alpacas was the judge.
The weather held for a while - in time for us to show our two females - one won Junior Fawn Female and the other was second in the Intermediate Brown Female class. Then the rain started and all the competitors and the judge took shelter in the tent which was being used as a collecting ring. At about the same time Pam phoned to say that a white cria had been born and that it was tipping down with rain on the farm. The cria was already suckling when Pam arrived so we did not have any immediate concerns. In fact if the weather had lived up to expectations we would have just let nature take its course and dealt with the cria on our return after the show.
Because of the rain we felt that we should return home and make sure all was well but of course with a dodgy car we could not risk a double journey so we had to pack up our alpacas and go home without showing our boys. The showground arranged an escort to lead us out as there were lots of members of the public walking around and we arrived back at Laurel Farm in pouring rain.
The cria was looking quite strong and healthy but had not had the opportunity to get dry so we took her and her mother and the other pregnant females into the barn and put the heat lamp on to get the cria dry. We kept them in overnight and today they have all been released into the wild again to continue normal alpaca life.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Just a quickie

Finally a fine day. This morning I took Jake and Romie training at Tollard Royal where strangely the weather was still foul.

At home it was lovely and we took the opportunity to test our females to make sure they are pregnant. So far so good.

We then selected the alpacas we are taking to the Honiton Show tomorrow. Only two females because the other young ones we might have shown are all pregnant now. Only two males because we did not have many males in 2008 and most have been sold. We checked them over and decided that we ought to spruce them up a bit so we cut their toe nails and trimmed their top knots.

We let the girls wander around in the farm yard until about 7.30 p.m. when we put the chickens to bed and then put them in the barn just in case the weather forecast is wrong and rain comes in. Our two females are very pretty although only one has a fleece which I think might catch the judge's eye.

It should be nice and relaxing apart from the actual showing which can be a bit time consuming.

Pam - our lovely neighbour who helps clean the paddocks twice a week - is going to keep any eye on things (especially the pregnant soon-to-be Mums) and give us a ring if any of the remaining two pregnant females for 2009 give birth.