Tuesday 13 September 2011

Making Sure

Had a really interesting weekend.   Attended a dog agility competition on Saturday and Romie and I finally achieved a clear round and she won her class in Grade 6 Jumping.   She also did a very good round in the agility but when she was heading for a tunnel I peeled off too soon and she thought I wanted her to come with me so she had a refusal which incurs 5 faults.  Charlie and Dolly my two "baby" dogs both did very well.  They are both actually running the correct course most of the time but both are having difficulty understanding that they had to do the weaves in competition as well as in training - as I am their trainer I have to take responsibility but have not hit on the answer yet.  Probably just more practice.

On Sunday we went to a self-build show to pick up some ideas for when we start converting our barn into a dwelling.  It was very interesting and very much geared towards "green" ideas.    Solar panels were highly represented, but we were quite interested in rainwater harvesting and some of the indoor finishes such as slate worktops for the kitchen.  We also looked at the various options for insulation as obviously that is a priority these days.

Yesterday we returned the buck and the young bucks to their normal paddock as they were going stir crazy in the barn.   Drake, the buck, spent lots of time looking over the gate of the barn and chewing bits of bailer twine that were holding up the hurdles.   They galloped like spring lambs when they hit the grass again.

We kept the does and female kids in the barn until today as they needed their nails clipping.  We separated the older females and put them in a paddock with buck after  fitting him with a raddle.   That is a harness with a marker crayon - a big square lump, not a pencil - so that when he mates the females we can tell that he has done his duty because the marker attached to his chest leaves a stain.

Nick and I also scanned all the female alpacas who were far enough into their pregnancies.   The results were pretty good.  Only two females scanned negative and they were two who we have had problems with for a long time.   We will probably give up on them now and sell them as non-breeding females - hopefully before the winter and expensive feeding starts.

Monday 5 September 2011

Shear Joy

On Saturday we did our usual stint at the Chardstock Street Fayre which is an annual event in the village.  Although we live in Tytherleigh, it is a bit of an add to to Chardstock and we come under the Parish of Chardstock when dealing with the authorities such as the council.

We took the same four boys who went to the Hawkchurch Fete and they were extremely laid back.   They had plenty of visitors but because they were facing the street they were not surrounded quite so much so they had more opportunity to lie down and also to munch their hay.   Sales of our products were not as good as they were at Hawkchurch but lots of people took our cards and promised to visit the farm shop when Christmas Shopping - the season for which is approaching far too rapidly.  I still have not got to grips with my second hand knitting machine which was intended to be used for making alpaca scarves for last Christmas.  I really must do something soon!!

We had the Angora Goats shorn yesterday and they are now living in the barn for a few days until some of their fleece starts to grow back.   It was very windy yesterday so we had to make up make shift covers for the pens to make sure they kept warm over night.   We did not think about taking photos until all the bigger goats had been done so this is one of the kids who decided to go all silly and floppy!!

Number 7 whose Mother only had one udder and was bottle fed for her first few months of life had oedema (swolen tissue) around her belly and down her front legs, which we discovered when she was being shorn.  I took her temperature which, if anything, seemed low rather than high, and we put her in a cria coat to keep her warm.  Cria coats are actually for baby alpacas who need extra protection if they are weak or born in exceptionally cold wheather.

She had been scouring (diarrhoea) so I had already medicated her and thought she was OK.  We cannot think of a reason why she should be suffering in this way but I have started her on a course of anti-biotics and also treated her for fluke which is a parasite that attacks the liver.   The whole herd of goats and alpacas are due to be treated routinely for this during September.

One possibility is that she has been bullied by one of the older goats as they are all in a more confined space and if she had been butted against one of the metal hurdles she may have internal bruising. 

Today she is still a bit lack lustre and does not respond to my voice which she usually does. Fingers crossed she will recover soon but in the meantime it is very worrying and mysterious