Saturday 20 March 2010

Farm News

We have started to take the pups into the garden every time we notice that they have woken up or seem restless and failing that every hour and a half to two hours.  We did not do it before as we were worried about the potential for them getting themselves in a difficult position such as underneath the cabin which is built on block pillarsor under the lorry unit which we use for storage and as a dog kennel.  Mike has blocked as many potential traps as possible with old bricks or wood of various types and so we feel more confident to let them out.  They love it and usually start to pee or poo immediately they get to the grass.   Apart from boding well for future house training it also saves a lot of work inside.   They get very excited when they first get into the garden and soon separate to investigate different areas.   Dolly comes to her name and the others bounce over to the call of pup, pup, puppies.

The main problem arises when trying to put them indoors  again.   One goes in and another comes out.  It is OK if Mike is around but it is a nightmare if I am on my own.

The new cria continues to prosper   She is due for her first vaccination next Thursday.nd

Today has been really horrible and all the routine jobs seem really hard when carried out against cold Easterly winds and driving rain.  Probably the reason we are both a bit dopy this evening.  I am sure it is nothing to do with the Brut Cava we just  downed with our dinner

We were worried when we nearly ran out of hay as it has been in short supply due to the long winter but we managed to source some today and Mike went off with the trailer to collect it.  We have almost decided that we with buy in 200 - 250 bales of hay for next year and prepare a hard standing area to store it on pallets covered in tarpaulin.

We will be glad when spring comes and the alpacas and goats just feed on grass most of the time so we dont have to go round topping up hay every day. We needed some rain but now we have had enough!!

Thursday 18 March 2010

Chickens Galore

The long awaited chicken launch has arrived.   We have 7 of our originals, including the cockrell, I bought another 8 Silver Links ( a hybrid renowned for their egg production) and David gave me 9 Free Range chickens from a large farm of 30,000.  They were due for the chop but slipped through the net to arrive at Laurel Farm.   This gave Mike a bit of a tight schedule to get the new chicken shed up and running but we made it and they all seem to be getting along quite well together.   We now have a glut of eggs so we hope that the word gets around soon so that we can become egg millionaires!!

The shop is doing very well now that it is on the ground floor and the builders have nearly finished lining and insulating the upstairs of the barn so that next winter I will have a cosy office and a room where I can use my sewing machine and knitting machine.   I always used to be quite good at making things by hand so hope to get back to a bit of sewing but I have yet to get to grips with the knitting machine.  I keep telling Mike that he is an engineer and ought to be able to help me work out how to do it!!

After not getting around to doing anything about it I decided finally to take my dolls house (a family heirloom) to the professionals.  The shop in Shaftesbury has closed down and so now I am starting the long search to try and find someone else who can do it.

The pups are going great guns.  They are on 4 meals a day and very lively.   As the weather has been good recently they have spent most of the day in their playpen in the garden.  Sadly rain is forecast for the rest of the week so they will have to spend more time indoors.  This also means a lot more clearing up of pees and poos for me, althoug Romie does help!!! Yuk!!!

Sunday 14 March 2010

Puppy News

The puppies have had lots of visitors this weekend.   Paul and Kate came to chose their puppies on Friday and spent a long time playing with them and taking photos and so on.   Chris came with her two girls to play with them and today one of my dog training friends, Rowena called in on the offchance and was very impressed with Romie and her babies.   Some potential alpaca clients called in by appointment and their two little boys enjoyed cuddling and playing with them and finally Nicky who has six alpacas at livery with us called in with her youngest daughter Sophia as well as her older sister.  They loved the puppies and the new baby alpaca.   So it was a busy time for the babies but they coped well and seemed to enjoy the visits very much.  Romie was a model mum and happily allowed the visitors to handle the puppies and her only intervention was to get a bit of attention herself when she felt the youngsters were getting too much.

Friday 12 March 2010

A better picture

That's better.   She seems to be doing very well and is often seen going to Mum's milk bar.  She also has a little gallop round the paddock from time to time.  

Thursday 11 March 2010

It's a Girl

Well she couldn't help being born in the barn!!  This is our first birth this year and it's a lovely dark brown girl by Alario out of Lady Charmain.  She is absolutely gorgeous.

She was born just before Tessa, the vet, arrived to check on three alpacas who are going to their new home later this month.   We decided to have a pre-movement TB test done on them.  We expected the test to be negative as we practice pretty good bio-security and as far as we are aware we have not badgers on the land.   We also beat the bounds every day with the dogs and hopefully they leave their scent around the place, but you never know.    The results were negative so we can breath again.   Apparently a positive result is always true but alpacas are prone to false negatives, so the test is not fool proof by any means, but at least we have tried to do the honourable thing given the options that are available to us.  

The puppies are growing rapidly and have a constant stream of visitors which is very good for their socialising.   Chris who lives along the road brought her two daughters in to play with them this afternoon.  Both the puppies and the children enjoyed it very much.   We have them in the kitchen instead of in their little enclosure so much of my time was spent running around with a wet cloth clearing up the puddles.  Romie is very good at letting people handle the pups and is quite relaxed with the other dogs now.

Chris has a horse and two ponies, one for each daughter and yesterday I went out for a hack with her.  She rode one of her daughter's pony and I rode the 15.2 gelding.    I have not ridden for a number of years and even then did not have much experience, but I really enjoyed it.   The weather was great - brilliant sunshine and no wind for once and we went on routes that I had not seen before including some woodland rides and across Burridge Common.     Apparently I did not do too badly as she has invited me again in a week or so.  I am having a little difficulty in walking today, but it was well worth it.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Puppy Mayhem

Well the puppies are really lively and noisy now.   I went indoors to make tea for Mike and Nick and by the time I had come back from delivering it one of the pups has escaped from their box.   She must have scaled a puppy bundle.   She was not particularly worried and was busy exploring the kitchen.  Sandy looked on in amazement or fear, I am not sure which.   I quickly returned her to her brothers and sisters and removed the mesh guard now afraid that if they are capable of getting out of the box they could get stuck in the mesh.  It will only be a few more days before their heads are too big, I expect.   I put them all in the puppy pen in the sunshine this morning whilst I was cleaning out their box, so that is another thing to ad to their CV.  Romie was a bit worried but soon settled down to feeding them all when they returned to their nice clean bed.

Mike and Nick are still hedge laying and this afternoon Mike got the JCB running and shifted part of a pile of scalpings we bought.   He is gradually making the catch pens less muddy by making a hard surface.  This will be very welcome, especially if we get any more of the severe weather we have experienced this winter.   The weather is really lovely at the moment and according to the forecast set to last for a while.

I did some halter training and nearly all the weanlings are walking quite respectably now.  One let me down.  I must have tied her up insecurely and she ran off with her leading rope flying behind her.  I had to get Mike to help me catch her.  She settle down and was quite good once she realised she had been caught again.  I will have to be more careful next time.

We now have the shed which is to be the new chicken house.   Mike has just got to get some wood to repair the floor.    The owner of the chickens I have ordered phoned yesterday to find out why we had not collected them.  I had already explained we did not have their house ready, but I don't think he has anyone else interested in them so I expect they will be there when we want them.

We have run out of hay and it is short supply this year.   We have managed to reserve 20 bales but that won't go very far.