Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bits and pieces

We have six new visitors on the farm.   A lovely lady in the village "rescued" them from a farmer who wanted to get rid of them.  Unfortunately their grazing ran out  at home and because of the unusually bad weather the entrance and feeding area of the field they were borrowing also became mud bound so  we are looking after them here indefinitely at the moment.

On Friday they asked Tessa, the vet, to visit their field and assure them that the alpacas were in good health, and on the same afternoon we took our horsebox along to collect them.   Tessa   confirmed my assessment that they were all fine and being well cared for and the main problems were cosmetic, in that the paddock looked very sad and muddy.  She was a good sport and stayed on to help us load them.

It was quite a comedy with the entrance to the field being mud bound.  I lost a welly at one point and then nearly fell backwards into the mud whilst trying to balance.  Mike managed to get a bloody ear from a branch but although it bled a bit it was a very minor injury. The alpacas were reluctant to leave and we could hardly stand up whilst we were loading them.   The main problem was that we had to concentrate more on keeping upright than moving the alpacas.  Eventually with 4 of us herding them and Nicki (their owner) in the trailer with food, we managed to get one of them in and the rest followed like lambs. 

We have been trying to find a stock trailer which is in good condition to replace our horsebox.   When we are at home it is fine because we can just back into a catch pen to load, but at shows or as in the above situation a stock box would be a lot better as they have side rails on the loading ramp and the interior can usually be divided to allow animals to be loaded in installments and contained whilst the next batch is loaded.
I think in the end we might have to buy a new one as second hand ones are in short supply.

Shortly after we had settled the Chardstock 6, as we call them, we had a visitor to the farm shop.   She lives in Ilminster and whilst chatting mentioned that there was a farm there which had some alpacas.  From her description I realised that they were the very same boys that we had just collected.

The next day we had a visit from a couple who had acquired two alpacas and were having some handling problems with them.    They sound like a couple of rather large wethers (geldings).   We introduced them to our stud males and hopefully gave them a few helpful tips.  During our conversation they mentioned the herd name and they turn out to be from the same  breeder as the Chardstock 6.   Another co-incidence.

On Sunday we went to Bath to visit some clients who had some alpacas from us back in October.  The three boys they bought from us needed their vaccinations and they wanted us to reassure them that they were in good condition. They have a really lovely cottage with beautiful views and the boys are doing very well.  On the way home we stopped for Sunday lunch at a pub, so no cooking for me!!

The lone cockrell is getting a hard time with the hens.   I think he might be pestering them and they are telling him to go away, but not politely.  Two of them are looking really awful.   They are in full moult and it is not a pretty sight.   Mike is hoping to collect the new chicken shed tomorrow and then we can get on and order some more chickens for the spring.

Romie now weighs 17.5kg - she is usually about 16kg - and is looking quite plump.   She also looks a bit uncomfortable at times and stands looking at me with a forlorn, puzzled expression.   I have ordered a whelping box online as well as a puppy feeding bowl so that the pups can feed without too much competition.  I was going to use an old drawer, but in the end could not resist the posh option. I am, as I do, starting to feel quite anxious that everything will be OK for my little Yummy Mummy and that all the puppies will find lovely homes.

Charlie is still a little angel, and has started to do a bit of agility.  I think he is one of those dogs that likes to get thing right and so takes a while to be confident in what he is asked to do.  He certainly enjoys his life on the farm, though.

The cat rules OK but has decided that jumping on the cupboard in the bathroom to play with my feathery plant is her latest game so if she is in the house we have to dash into the bathroom and shut the door quickly before she notices.  She also tries to eat it, which is probably not a good thing.

Goats are doing well and we are going to arrange for them to be sheared.  It seems harsh to take their nice warm fleece off at this time of year but I suppose as they should be done twice a year there is no option.

The main herd is now back down in the winter paddocks and we have just kept a few in the barn for various remedial reasons. 

Bono is still very thin but seems to be behaving quite normally otherwise.  We are going to separate him out from the other boys every day to give hime some extra feed.   We cannot feed him in with the others as they are all very well covered. We don't think he is being bullied off his food because we when we take their hay or haylage into the shelter we usually stay around for a while to clean the shelter and he seems to hold his own quite well against the others. Fingers crossed he will be fully fit by the spring.

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