Friday, 30 May 2014

Angelina is an amazingly bright white cria who was born on the 21st May.   She is quickly catching up with Annie our first born cria of 2014 and they are often seen running around together, although sometimes the younger adult females try to join in and it puts them off a bit, which is a shame.

Her fleece is exceptionally soft but does not have as much crimp as I would like, whereas Annie's definitely has the wow factor.

 The photos were taken soon after she was born.  She has fitted in well and is very self confident.

The hens are laying 18 eggs per day now and they are in great demand.   It is tempting to get more hens but I do not want to have to get involved in the regulations which govern bigger flocks. It is also quite nice to know my customers, whom I often run into when they are raiding the egg box at the roadside.

Earlier this year I experimented with field matings.  That is, I put a male in with a harem of females that I wanted him to mate.   After a couple of weeks, I took the males away.  Today we did some spit-offs - that is where a stud male meets a supposedly pregnant female.  If he shows an interest and she is pregnant she will run away, spit at him, and maybe kick him.   (a good trick to remember if you are in a nightclub and want to ward off unwanted advances!!).  If she is not pregnant, she will lie down so that he can mate her.

Sad to say 50% of the females involved did not reject the male and so will be covered again so that they will give birth next spring. This time we will put one male  with one female so that we have more control.  It is a shame really, as I thought they would prefer a more natural environment.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Baby pictures

Annie is so lovely, I could not resist taking some more snaps.  Every evening she pronks (alpaca canter) up and down the paddock with her mum and the other females looking on.   It is a bit like alpaca Wimbledon the way they turn their heads as she runs up and down.  She will soon be joined by more cria, even though with last year's downsizing there will not be as many as usual this year.

And the following is an Annie's eye view of her Aunties.

We have made our first alpaca sales of the year.  A little later than usual, but still much appreciated. Two males are going as chicken guards and one pregnant female is also leaving us for new pastures.

Friday, 9 May 2014 uk
Annie is the first cria to be born this year.   Citrine, her mum, was sheared only two days ago and I was concerned because she was so obviously pregnant.  Colin and Seb, who came to shear our herd took extra care with her and obviously she has come through very well.

I had been keeping a close eye on Citrine for several days and was concerned yesterday when she spent most of the day lying down (although she was munching all the time).  I think now that we have a smaller herd I notice more detail about each alpaca and consequently, worry more.  Having checked her at regular intervals this morning with no sign of her being ready to deliver, I went out after lunch to glance at her in the paddock, only to find that the new cria was already latched on and feeding strongly.  Old Citrine (ten and a half years old) certainly knows her stuff.

She was not very happy when I went to check the cria and spray her  naval but she did not make too much fuss when Mike held her and Annie quickly went in for a booster drink straight away afterwards.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Fox's revenge

The Ultimate Recall Course which we hosted, went well despite the weather.   All the participants seemed to find it really useful  and also had the benefit of John Rogerson informative behavioural advice in other areas as well as recall.

The last photo is a great demonstration of a dog anxious to return to his mistress who is hiding in another field.  He covered the ground at a great rate of knots.

Mike was watching TV this evening when he shouted that there was a fox in the yard with a chicken.  Unfortunately by the time we unlocked the french doors and rushed out with the dogs it had already disappeared leaving behind a pile of silky brown and white feathers.

Although it was locking the stable door too late, I went out and shut all the other hens in early and we vowed to keep an eye open for the fox in future and not to leave the hens out unless one or all of the dogs are out too.   Mike is going to try and find the hole in the fence where he went out so he can block it off.   It is such a shame because we have a lovely flock of plump healthy hens who are all laying well.  The only slight bit of good news is that he only took one!!