Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Reorganisation of Alpacas

Nick came today and we started off by trimming the goats' nails.   They were really easy to handle (once someone took hold of the horns) although being much lower than an alpaca was a bit of a strain on the back!! 

We then condition checked the alpaca herd as we have two females going to a new home in a week or two and we felt that one of them could do with being a little fatter.   We selected half a dozen or so females including two who were still feeding cria and are going to keep them in the barn for a while.

Tanya and Pamela have stayed with their Mums for a bit longer than planned because of the bad weather.   We felt it would be too stressful to part them when the weather was so cold and snowy, but having had some days of normal weather we felt their time had come as they were "milking off the Mothers' backs"  and compromising their condition.

Having weeded out the ones who were to stay in the barn we sent the rest of the herd down to the winter paddocks and Mike took down straw and hay.   There is a big shelter down there which can be used in the event of more bad weather.  It is not big enough for the whole herd so splitting them makes it easy to accommodate them all, although it makes more work in that one of us (usually Mike) has to take the feed down which is not quite as convenient as just delivering it to the top paddocks and the barn.

We brought the weanlings up to the top catch pen and put halters on them, picking up where we left off weeks ago.   They were all very good and we left the halters on for about an hour whilst they went back to grazing.   We'll be taking every opportunity now to get them used to walking on a halter to live up to our intentions that all alpacas bred on the farm are halter trained before leaving.

At the same time we separated Tanya and Pamela from their dams and they went in with the  weanlings.   They showed very little sign of stress although I noticed this evening that they were looking over the fence -  probably missing their evening session at the milk bar.  They are both very fit so hopefully they will cope well.

Charlie, the latest dog, had his first agility lesson today.   He did very well and seemed to understand the concept of jumping away from me almost straight away.  I will have do some work on his starts so that he realises that sit means stay until told to go, instead of his present rather loose interpretation.   This can quickly escalate into a problem so he will not be doing any more agility until I have fully explained the importance of obeying the sit command against all temptations to the contrary.

As Romie is pregnant I have decided to remind the other dogs how to behave and they are all, with the exception of Maddy and Sandy who never pull anyway, walking on a lead daily.   They are also being reminded about leaving and entering the house quietly and if I can get any volunteers they will be behaving much better when visitors arrive.    This is so that the new puppies will only observe well behaved dogs and be imprinted with this behaviour rather than the tendency to hooliganism which has been allowed to appear since we have lived on the farm.  Well that's the theory anyway!!

The hens are looking awful.   They are all moulting and the hen house is constantly full of feathers.  Worse still none of them are laying any eggs. 

I think we are looking well and definitely not moulting at the moment. Mike and Nick are still busy tidying up the hedges and cutting down some trees along the front of the farm.

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