Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The end of the rainbow

We frequently get beautiful rainbows here.  I think we are in a micro climate of our own where sunshine and rain often come together.  Today there was a really spectacular one even by our standards,  Unfortunately the photo does not do it justice. 

We have fenced off the dog agility training area with some poultry netting.  The worst the alpacas have done - or rather only Pedro - is to push it over and lead other herd members into the forbidden area, but we planned without the goats.   It was freezing cold and I nipped out to feed the bottle fed kid and check for chicken eggs when I noticed that one of the buck yearlings had wandered into the alpaca paddock and had managed to entangle himself in the netting.   I went to free him which in normal fencing is usually fairly straight forward but it looked as though he had done somersaults and really twisted it round his horns.  I realised this too late and did not dare to let go of him once I had begun to try and free him because he got more worried and worked up and I was scared that if I let go he would get himself into even more trouble.

I am hardly ever without my mobile phone  but too late I realised that when I "just popped out" I forgot to pick it up.  It was lunch time luckily and I knew Mike would be coming down from the roadside bank that he and Nick were clearing, so despite not having a coat and the freezing wind carrying in some really nasty heavy rain, I held on and waved frantically to Mike when I saw the tractor coming down.   He saw me and quickly realised what was going on.  He abandoned the tractor and raced to the rescue.   Between us we managed to free the buck and kindly Mike sent me indoors to defrost and prepare his lunch!!

Next job is to try and secure the bucks paddock so it cannot happen again.   Goat kids are really delightful but until they get too big they love exploring and meeting other creatures, it seems.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Marvellous Mum

We brought the female alpacas up to check their condition, prepare one we have just sold by trimming her topknot and toe nails and also took the opportunity to check the new cria.  She looks quite slim but when I laid hands on her I found her to be extremely firm and obviously very strong.  Cordelia, her Mum, was quite concerned but as it was just a quick check she soon felt reassured and gathered her precious offspring back to her protection.

Charlie, one of our young collies, was not let off so lightly.   When the alpacas went back into their paddock Charlie got a little over excited and ran up to the herd at full speed.   Most of them just looked at him in astonishment.  They are used to the dogs being around and so rarely run away.  Cordelia, however, left her cria in the middle of the herd and ran out to chase Charlie away.   She really meant it and Charlie knew he should not argue.   That will teach him!!  All we need now is for one of the older goats to butt him when he gets worked up around the kids. 

Romie already learnt the lesson when she thought she could join the does  at their feeding troughs.  A loud yelp and a swift retreat showed that she had been given a very definite message by the oldest doe.
Don't get between a goat and her food!!

The new barn is now full of the contents of the barn we are converting.   Mike needs to get some shelving up so he can put his workshop to good use.  We have cleared out the top attic in the old barn and it now only contains the stock from the shop,which is closed for the duration of the building works, and normal domestic items like Christmas decorations, suitcases, sleeping bags, and boxes and boxes of old photos, slides, Video tapes and DVDs.  There is still plenty of room for my "Studio" which is the window end of the attic and will contain my sewing machine, knitting machine, weaving loom and my projects- a dolls house which was originally made for my mother by her grandfather and after being passed down to me as a child did a tour of the family and finally returned to me.   There is also a 1950s rocking horse which belonged to my cousin.

I am sure I will still be able to find some excuses not to have piles of beautifully crafted goods and renovated toys, but at least I cannot blame the lack of a place to work.

We have had the first visit from the Building Control department and works have commenced on the base for the new house.  All the cladding has been removed which means that we are now very exposed to view from the road which can be a bit unnerving at times.    Everything is now in the hands of the various tradesmen and the company who are manufacturing the steel structure and all the insulation panels.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Escape from Alpacaland

Drake, the oldest buck in the herd has been limping badly and so we cleaned out the offending foot and sprayed it with antibiotic as well as giving him a series of antibiotic injections.   He seems to be more comfortable but we are checking the foot daily and trying to keep it free of grass and dirt.
Foot problems seem to be very common  amongst the goats whereas they are quite unusual in alpacas even if their toe nails get a bit long sometimes.

The new cria (no name as yet) seems to be doing well, although we are bit concerned about the heavy rain today and this evening. We have brought the female alpacas back up to the home paddocks after living in the winter paddocks for several months so it is easier to keep an eye on them as birthing dates approach.

We had a phone call from our neighbours who thought they had a poodle in one of their fields but it proved to be a young buck who had been a bit too adventurous.  They kindly brought him home

The buck kids  keep getting out but previously managed to stay on our property but now we will have to make sure all potential escape routes are blocked.  Having said that as soon as we brought the alpacas up from the winter paddocks I noticed an extra small horned herd member who obviously thought their grass was greener and - guess what - another escapee.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Good ole Alario

First cria of the year born to the lovely Cordelia is a beautiful baby girl by Alario, who has excelled himself as usual. 

The old barn is now  being stripped out ready for the real work to begin. We had a visit from the head of the company who are going to install the insulated panels which will form the exterior walls,the steel frame and all the internal walls and floors and possibly the windows.  The outside will then be clad with wood so that the barn looks pretty much as it did when we started, but inside, we hope, will be a great modern living space.

We are now bottle feeding one of the female kids as she just was not getting enough from her Mum even with us standing by whilst Mum was feeding so that she kept still instead of walking away as she was wont to do.  She is having two feeds a day and looking much brighter and fingers crossed will keep improving now.