Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Another birth

Nick and I checked the kids' eartags this morning to make sure that none were infected as we feared might happen in the hot weather.  All were nice and loose and healthy looking.  They are all putting on weight very quickly and seem to weigh a ton and can run and jump very fast when you try to catch them.

We were planning to carry out some alpaca husbandry but rain stopped play.  We did manage to trim the toe nails of the two newcomers, Chris and Caesar, as one of them was limping.   They were very easy to handle and looked much more comfortable after their pedicure.   I have left a message for Colin the shearer asking him to come as soon as possible as they are huge with overgrown fleece.

See our Picture Gallery and Cria Gallery on the website for latest photos.

Mike is having the area at the back of the barn dug out to enable him to put in drainage to stop the winter flooding of the barn. This will make it a lot easier if we have to have the alpacas inside and save the straw from getting soggy.

Nick checked the hen who is sitting on eggs and found two dead chicks which he put down to the shells being too hard for them to escape.   He soaked the rest of the eggs in warm water to soften them and now two more chicks (alive) have emerged.   Apparently it is unlikely that the hen will continue sitting on the eggs once the chicks are up and running, so we dont know how many we will get in all yet.  We will be checking them regularly to make sure all are OK.

Whilst all this was going on, Saphire gave birth to a very pretty little female cria.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Boys, boys, boys

Ever since we started breeding alpacas we have always managed to have more female that male cria but this year we have only had two girls so far.  One of them was born to an alpaca we had just sold but which is staying here for a while!!  It is not a problem for the business because we can usually sell off young males as pets, sheep/chicken  guards, lawn mowers etc:  They are the bread and butter side of the business which cover our running costs and selling our quality breeding females is where we make most of our profit.

We were away at a dog Agility Competition at the weekend and we did not leave until about 3 p.m. after checking that none of the imminently due females looked like giving birth, but at about 7 p.m. Jose (camper) phoned to say that a cria must have been born about an hour previously as they had been out for about that time.  She said it was very pretty and seemed OK.   We phoned Nick who called in to check.  He reported that it was another boy, healthy and suckling from its Mum so all was well.

When we got home this evening we had a look at him and he is indeed a very attractive fawn.

Dolly had a lovely time playing with her brother and going for several walks a day instead of amusing herself when we are busy.  She was much admired and is now the proud bearer of a bright pink collar and lead.   Well she is a girly.

A lady in the next village has two alpacas that she needs to sell in a hurry.   We went to have a look at them as one is decended from Wiracochas Dream who was a champion alpaca in his time.  She did not want much money for them but as one is a multi we did not feel they were worth us buying them even though they were very cheap.   She phoned on Friday to say that they had been unable to sell them and that they are now free to a good home so we are going to collect them tomorrow.  They have not been shorn so that is the first thing we will have to do as they must be very hot.  More boys - let's hope we can move them all on.

We do have a possible market for quite a few young males but as it is all still in the pipeline and depends on financing, we are not counting our chickens or alpacas.  When the possibility was first mentioned we had no young males at all, but now we have quite a few coming on, so we hope that the deal goes through in which case everything will have spookily worked out well for us yet again.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Keeping things going

Our International Tractor has broken down and Mike has not had time to fix it yet so he is busy keeping the Fergie going.   He likes using this one but it is only suitable for the flatter paddocks.

Our Ride on Lawn Mower is doing a sterling job with the Agility training area and our campers have been a great help for the last couple of days.   They are having a break from the painting work whilst other trades take over and so are helping us on the farm.

We have plenty of white clover growing which apparently is a good sign and puts nitrates back into the soil Which is good I think.

No more births to report but several of the girls are looking fit to bust.

The kids are lively as ever and seem to have forgotten about their big ear tags.

We caught up with the spit offs and matings this afternoon with three of the four stud males having a good time.  One more female, Bourree, will be covered tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Well we're back after a long lapse once again.  Must do better!!

Today we ear tagged the kids according to Defra's new regulations.   They have to have two identical tags - one in each ear if they are not electronically identified (chipped).   We knew they would not like it and they are vocal at the best of times, but the volume of protest for each ear was heart rending.   Within seconds of being released, however, they were up to their usual mischief.    We have had to block even the smallest gaps in the fencing with logs and put a plank under the gate to prevent their escapades.   They are quite sensible  it seems because when their Mums call they can find their own way back into the right paddock.  We are hoping they won't have to again.   They are growing so rapidly that soon they will be too big to squeeze under the fences.  See more photos on the phot gallery of our website.

Alpaca matings are well under way although we are a bit behind with the spit offs to check whether the females are actually pregnant.    We have had seven births so far.  Two belong to the new owner of the mums and out of the ones which are left only one is female.  Still we have been very lucky in past years when the balance has been towards girls.   It seems that the pregnant females we sold have mostly given birth to girls and we have kept the ones producing boys.  See pictures on our website Cria photo gallery.

Bono and Luciana seem to be retaining their good health and fingers crossed their problems will not return.

The grass is looking quite green now but is not growing nearly fast enough.

Today Nick did some weed spraying and Mike topped one of the winter paddocks.   Topping and spraying have already been done to the home paddocks which are being grazed again.

We now have a ride on lawn mower to mow the "picnic area" and our dog agility area.

Today we bought a new van.    Last week we went to a dog show at Newbury Showground and the old van over heated and we had to borrow a vehicle from the garage (at Wilton).  Mike went to a big auction in Wales yesterday but was disappointed at the quality of the vehicles being offered and we ended up going to a small car sales site in Bridport which unbeknown to us is owned by someone who lives in Chardstock - about half a mile away from us.

The Tytherleigh Arms which is the pub over the road from us is up for sale.   We are hoping that it will not change too much with the new owners as they provide good quality food at reasonable prices and of course they are in walking distance.

We have some campers on the farm at the moment.   They are working locally on a building project and combining it with walking and exploring.

Romie won Grade 5 Jumping at Golden Valley Dog show which we went to last weekend. 

Dolly, the new puppy, is growing up fast and is going through a lanky phase at the moment.  She is great fun and I cannot imagine what life was like before she arrived!!

Our neighbour, Rodney, who runs a specialist nursery next door (he is an expert in helebores) brought round a huge basket of delicious strawberries today.   I absolutely adore them, but Mike insisted on having a few too.  

More news soon. (maybe)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Bono Chance

Had the vet out to check the weanling with the abcess and Bono with the digestion problems.   Great news!"! Bono's stomach is turning over once a minute as opposed to 2 or 3 times and is expected to return to normal in about another week.  He will need to be reintroduced to grass very slowly.  Luciana who has the abcess is also signed off subject to strict surveillance to make sure the lump continues to disperse!!

Goats and kids doing well.   They are a great attraction for all visitors.  All looking good.