Sunday, 3 July 2016

Weather Blues

The grass and weeds are loving this damp, warm weather and with the best will in the world we cannot keep up with topping it and our smaller herd is not up to eating it all!!

We are hoping for a spell of dry weather soon so that we can get to grips with it all.  It is no good tring to cut wet grass as it just clogs up the cutters.

It is nice that it is warm for the new cria, although with some of the new borns we have shut them in with their mothers if really heavy raid is forecast over night.  Luckily that has not happened often.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Another New Arrival

Another new arrival yesterday.  He chose a miserable wet day and we were very concerned that he had not suckled after quite a long time.  I checked his Mum's teats and they were still plugged so we obviously had not missed him suckling.  I unblocked them and gave him some colostrumpaste  hoping to keep him going until we could get him to suckle.

We put Mum and cria in a shelter to try and keep them warm and dry.  He had lots of attempts but could not seem to gt the hang of feeding.   I tried helping but in the end gave up as I felt it was upsetting them both and not getting a result.

Finally he seemed to get the idea and fingers crossed he will be OK.  It is a worry as if he did not get him Mum's protection early enough he might pick up an infection or Clostridial disease which is caused by bacteria that occurs widely in soil. Death is  sudden and animals are usually found dead without any visable signs.  The mother passes on immunity to  through her colostrum which the cria needs as soon after birth as possible.

He is looking quite bright and normal today, so fingers crossed.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Moving On

Our smaller herd is about to increase as we have several cri due.  We mated all the eligible females but because we are not taking it too seriously these days, we have just left it to nature to decide whether babies are certain.  Before we would have tested and remated to ensure the maximum crop.  This year we only tested once and are now crossing fingers.  Most are looking chubby enough!!

We have moved the farm shop from the shed near the road to the barn.  The extra room makes it easier for both customers and us.  We are now selling pet products, the most popular being dog beds and vet bedding cut to order.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Making progress

Now that we have fewer alpacas we are finding more time for domestic improvements.   The back garden is well under way and the paddock behind the house doubles as a back garden for the dogs and grazing for alpacas that we need to separate for any reason.  At the moment we have two females expecting cria soon and two older females to keep them company.

We plan to tile the patio area and gravel most of the rest with a large (shrubbery) area to take up the rest of the space.  Time will tell.

The dogs are safe in the paddock and love a game of ball fetching or just running around.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

New Arrival

Our first alpaca birth of 2016 this morning.  Nina gave birth to a lovely dark brown male, grandson of Pedro who was a prize winning alpaca bred on the farm and recently sold as a pet after siring many lovley cria over the last few years.

He is called Mani (Inca for peanut) and has an impressive fleece and solid brown colour like Grandad.  He is pictured (wet) as a new born and later after drying out and running around a bit - needing a rest.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Gardening (not our fvourite) has been the order of the day this weekend.  Preparing for new paths and a patio as well as moving what few plants we already have (less those that Romie, the dog, dug up for fun).  The builder is booked for this week in Devon time so we need to be prepared.

The alpacas are spending long periods playing dead in the sunshine and rolling in their dust bath from time to time.

Sunday, 29 May 2016


We are finally getting to grips with the sunken garden behind the house which has beem delayed partially because of Mike's ill health (now almost back to normal) and of course, the speed that weeds and grass take over on the rest of the small holding - especially now that we have fewer grazing animals.  The garden is going to be really great when finished.  Even in its rough state we are starting use it more because it is so peaceful and sheltered.

Some of the farm jobs have to be completed before the end of March by law to allow for birds and other crteatures to build their nests undisturbed.  Since then we have been dogged by rain plus lots of unexpected minor repairs and jobs taking up valuable time.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Pet Sale

A really lovely lady came to visit us yesterday and is going to buy Perdita - a very pretty young female who really will be an asset to any breeding programme.

I think she is going to be more of a pet alpaca than farm livestock, which is really great.  Alpacas are so adaptable and even though we do not make pets of ours - we just love seeing them behave as normal alpacas - sometimes running around together, sometimes sunbathing or queuing up to cool themselves off in the water trough or dust baths that we make available to them.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Shop in the Barn

Our shop in the barn is going really well.   There is more space to display our hand knits, yarn and socks and the pet stuff is starting to get local interest.

The alpacas are not really enjoying the rainy weather today.   They still have little fleece after shearing and so can be seen running to shelter when the heavy showers start.

With fewer alpacas the grass is not being grazed so heavily which is good in that they always have fresh grass, but means that in order to fight the buttercups and other unwanted weeds we have to top the fields from time to time.  Not possible in the rain!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Back to Normal at Laurel Farm

Well it is ages since I have blogged but Mike is now pretty much back to his old self and the skies are blue and the sun is out.

We have simplified the farm by removing and not replacing a lot of rotting fences and as we have downsized the herd it all looks a lot more open.

Although we only have twenty alpacas now, we are expecting five cria between now and July.  We will be selling off some more of the older alpacas in an effort to keep the numbers down but still have a good quality young herd.

We have moved the farm shop into the barn as we no longer need it for animals and it is much more spacious and welcoming for visitors.  We can still use it for storing hay and straw and of course the alpaca fleeces after shearing.

Colin, the shearer, came last Saturday and I now have about twenty bags of fleece to sort and grade ready to send to the mill for spinning.   We now sell into a co-operative and buy back what yarn we want for our hand knits or to yarn.

Charlie and Dolly, the dogs that I still compete with in agility are doing well.   Dolly had a win at her last show and so has gone up a grade.

Mike is enjoying the company of fellow enthusiasts in a local club that he has joined.  Now that he is in good health again he is feeling much more like getting out and about.