Tuesday 15 March 2011

A Harrowing Experience

All the paddocks have been grazed to oblivion over this long hard winter but now is the time to get them back in order.   Nick and Mike made a start today.  Mike started  harrowing whilst Nick and I dosed the herd with ADE vitamins to help them keep in good condition until the spring and summer sunshine  take over the job.

We also condition checked them all and found that the ones we knew were a little thin have improved a bit and at least there were no more herd members who were of any concern regarding condition.

The harrowing opens up the surface of the paddock to get rid of moss and oxygenate the soil so that when it is warm enough the grass will grow  back to its maximum.They managed to harrow all the empty paddocks.

The nice sunny weather brought out a few shoppers today and obviously the gardeners are getting up to speed as we also had  phone calls for alpaca manure - our polite term for poo.

In preparation for Dolly's herding lessons on Saturday I took her down to the winter paddocks where the Yurt  base provides a big circle and taught her to go round it on her own.    The hope is that she learns the commands and then transfers them to herding. I'll give it another day getting her to go clockwise (cumbye) and then the other way for "away"  for a couple of sessions.   I am just hoping that Adam on Countryfile was right when he said which command is which.  I know it does not really matter what commands you use, but at least I can  sound like a sheep dog handler.  Just hope that Dolly agrees.

The new kid seems to be holding her own, but no more births yet.  It is quite a game getting them all in at night as we separate the older kids from the pregnant mums so that there is no chance of milk bandits stealing the all important colostrum from the new mums before the new kids get their  fix to ensure maximum immunity to the environment they are born into.  The newborn and her Mum were kept indoors all day as although it was fine there was a chilling breeze.

We are topping up with fresh straw quite often to try and keep the goat house as clean as possible for the new arrivals.  Unlike alpacas they need to be kept warm as their fleece is quite thin and they do not have the extra layer of fat that lambs have to protect them against the cold.  Last year the kids were born in May so we did not have to worry so much.

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