Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Well today was the day!

Quick blog tonight, just got back in from a very nice evening out with friends.

Lily gave birth this morning with very little effort or so it seemed to another large white/light fawn female, not sure what's going on this year.  Lily is dark brown, mated to Nugget who is dark fawn and she produces a very light cria,  we have had two other Nugget crias from fawn dams, one which was white and the other a fancy, white with black and brown.  Last year all his cria were fawn, we have one more to go which is Carla who is now 360 days, she normally produces darker then the sire but I am not holding my breath.  We thought we were in for a colorful field of cria but so far white 3, fancy 1, black 1.  I am just hoping that Mariettas cria will be OK  after her illness as she is mated to Inca Picasso so it should at least be dark ( I can hope anyway).

I think I may be ripping up my breeding program and starting again.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Lazy day

We have had a bit of a lazy day today, we got up late, so good to have Alpaca Cam, we can check the girls without going down to the fields.  so after a late breakfast we went and fed everyone, gave the sickly cria a bottle which she drank much better today. Then I went off to see a friend for coffee whilst Steve fed the llamas and took the two youngsters, Murphy and Merlin for a short walk down the lane.  Then we had quite a long lunch break, Steve had a snooze whilst I ironed the bedding for a changeover tomorrow.  Then we went back and poovered the girls paddock, I got the driving the tractor part of the job so that wasn't to arduous.
Grandsons and daughter arrived to give me a lift back home to get dinner whilst Steve topped one of the other paddocks.  After dinner Steve and I  went back to check all the animals and we spent a good half hour just sitting in the field watching the heavily pregnant girls grazing, just looking at their cria's moving around, Carla is now 357 days and Lily 341 both look fit to burst.  Demeter should be 345 days but the jury is out on her, she looks to slim to me and her crias are normally very active, I can't see anything move in her and she has no signs of a udder, so who knows. It's great just sitting, watching and discussing future breedings etc whilst daughter bathed the boys and got them ready for bed (much quieter in the field).  On the way home we had a wander over to our hay field just to check how the grass is doing.................. conclusion is we definitely need some rain.

Looking back at what I have just written makes me think it was me that had quite a lazy day, Steve seems to have done rather a lot today!

We have shearing on Thursday and the forecast is good, we will start this years breedings next weekend.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Tooth Ache

Haven't blogged for a while and the only excuse is that I have had raging tooth ache since coming home from the Devon County Show.  Finally got an emergency appointment on Wednesday and an xray reveled a tooth abscess. So I have antibiotics to take and the next available appointment was 29th June so I thought I was in for a long painful wait.  So an early morning call this morning took me by surprise, so I am now minus the offending tooth but still in some pain, which I am sure will pass shortly.

Anyway down to Alpacas and Llamas, still only 4 cria, 3 are growing and acting normally but little Choc Ice is not putting on weight, we are topping her up with a bottle which she takes sometimes and not at others. she sits down a lot and doesn't join in the games even when Salvador jumps on her and bits her ears.   Not sure what do do now, she has had ADE today so that may give her a boost, so any suggestions would be gratefully received.

We have two more births due, Carla who is now 358 days and Lily 337, Lily normally manages to surprise us by giving birth early usually when we are closely watching on of her field mates.  So this year I have been watching her closely for the past two weeks, she looks very uncomfortable.

Oh yes Devon County show I almost forgot, we took Atlas and Prospect, I put them in the shelter the day before the show as rain was forecast.  I took a quick look at their fleece and almost dismissed them both, they were both over fleeced and due to the damp weather things didn't look promising.  So we were very surprised when Prospect was placed 3rd in his class of junior fawns.  Atlas wasn't placed in his class but I had entered them in the Dams Progeny class where we picked up a 2nd place.  Both boys are from Marietta who has been so ill recently, not sure she understood what I was telling her when I showed her the rosette, she had produce 3 cria all males and all have been placed in shows.  She is still carrying this years cria, we are hoping that it will be OK but are just pleased that she has recovered from what ever was wrong with her.
Now Dentist told be to rest and be waited on today so I think I will try that.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

3 girls 1 boy, not bad!

Today Bramble gave birth to a lovely female cria or maybe I should say Bramble was present whilst her baby arrived.  She has been looking uncomfortable for days now and this morning she was sat down, rolling and occasionally standing up, this seems to be her main problem, she spent the whole day sat down, not only that she was usually sat facing down hill .................. has nobody told her about gravity!  it was obvious she was in labour and she was quite swollen at her back end, so I left her to it for a while.  Came back she is still sat down .......... facing down hill, off I went again, came back lunchtime, exactly the same, she wasn't in much discomfort so I left again for a while thinking that by 3. O. clock even Bramble would have given birth but she wasn't even straining!
I decide that I would take a look and see if anything was happening.  Now Bramble is not the most co operative of girls at the best of times and I was on my own so wasn't to hopeful.  Bramble was still sitting down and I approached her she gave me that .............. don't you dare come near me look! , but stayed put and I managed to feel inside to see if anything was going to put in an appearance ............. there was two feet and a head but I couldn't feel the nose, a bit of gentle feeling about and I found the nose, the head was slightly back presenting the top of the head instead of the nose.  Once I got the head around the right way Bramble started to push ............... still facing down the hill so she pushed uphill, but at least she was doing something.  So at 3.45 pm a large (8.5kg) arrived, sired by Caliban and we have named her Calico, standing up and suckling with in the hour, not worst for her slightly drawn out arrival, tonight she has her coat on and is running around the field with the other three cria.

Bramble still facing down hill!
Bramble & Calico this evening

So far this year we have 3 girls one boy , we have 3 possibly 4 more births this year so it will probably even up, but a good start anyway.
I have been out with the camera today as I spent so much time in the field tried to get all three cria in one photo, this only happened when one sat down.  The little brown and white cria has been called Choc ice,  Ember still weighs less than Salvador and Choc Ice even though she is nearly two weeks older.

Embers rear end, Choc Ice sat down,
Salvador trying to play.
All I need now is for Carla gave to give birth tomorrow, she had the same due date as Bramble and has been looking fit to burst for days now.  Devon County show starts on Thursday and it would be so nice not to have to worry about births for a few days, the next two just coming into their birthing window.

We are taking two of the boys up to the show and as they are forecasting rain and mist tomorrow I have put them into the field shelter, which they are not at all please about.  The inside of the shelter is now plastered in green stuff and I am not sure if the same green stuff counts as field condition!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Alpacas like buses wait ages and two come at once!

Golden Ember age two weeks
We have had another eventful weekend, Friday saw another change over in the cottages, so a quick clean out before getting on with Alpaca things.  We had noticed some fibre loss on one of the females feet so we got them all in for their weekly check over and treatment was administered where necessary.
Ella who was by now 355 days pregnant had been looking a little uncomfortable but came in with rest of the herd so whilst checking everyone over I thought she was looking a little agitated, so I let her and a couple of others out whilst keeping Demeter in.  I am doubtful if Demeter is pregnant as she is very slim which is not like her she usually by now be a very wide load.  As we had a Stud male available we wanted to do a spit off just to see, so Humming Rolex was collected from his paddock and put into the pen with Demeter who proceeded to spit like a good un! then launched herself over the hurdles back into the field.  So that puts a new light on the matter she is either pregnant or is not going to get pregnant, she is very old and may be had enough.

Whilst this was going on Ella decided to give birth to a very large black male cria (9kg) with absolutely no fuss at all in fact I don't think she stopped grazing through out the whole process.  His father is Inca Picasso and he is a half sister to our Champion Black female so we look forward to seeing how he develops.
West Webburn Salvador meeting his Granny Lily (left dark brown)

So two down in the last two weeks, one boy one girl.

Saturday we should have been going on a llama walk but the weather was not suitable which was a shame as two of the people on the walk had to be canceled earlier in the year for the same reason.  They under stood and were quite happy to come and see the two youngsters.  We will reschedule and hope for better weather next time.

Sunday arrived and we still had to do a llama walk for two customers who were staying in the cottages so we were all prepared for that when we notice that Cassini was looking very restless, she is a maiden so we decided to watch for a while to see if she was in labour or not, she is 348 days. it soon became obvious that this cria wasn't going to wait for much longer and the legs and head were soon visible.  we went up to the top paddock to collect the llamas and bring them down to the Cottage field ready for the walk.  By the time we got back about 20 mins later another very large cria was on the ground in a cush position,  the sire is Golden Nugget who is dark fawn, his mother is a mid fawn and this is what we got.
No name as yet (suggestions on a postcard or e.mail will do!)
we have never had a fancy before but we have to admit she is very pretty, she weighed in at 8.5kg.
Once we had dealt with navel, admiring the cria and watching the rest of the herd come over and say hello to the new arrival we went on out llama walk which was very pleasant if not a bit windy.

Tonight we have been watching all three cria racing around the field on Alpaca Cam and I am sure they are entertaining the customers staying in the cottages.

and finally and update on Marietta, she has continued to improve and can now get up and down on her own, she is steadier on her legs and has spent most of the day grazing, she is still not right and has lost a lot of muscle condition but we are optimistic she will make a full recovery, we will just have to wait and see about her cria.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A little bit of good news

This morning we were doing some Physio with Marrietta who was complaining loudly every time we lifted her.  We lift her five or six times and make her stand for a few seconds until she flops back to the ground, this morning she was particularly reluctant to stand.  As we were walking back up the field discussing what to do next etc etc, we got back to the field shelter put away the buckets and feed bag.  Steve looked back at the Alpacas, Marietta was up or was it one of the other fawn girls standing in front of her, no it was definitely Marietta standing on her own.  She stood for about five minutes before trying to walk, which she did rather unsteadily for several meters across the field and then started to graze before eventually collapsing back to the ground.
We were amazed, it will be two weeks tomorrow since she went down and we were beginning to wonder if she would ever get up again.  We have been back to the field several times during the day and she has been moving about a bit, she is still very shaky getting back down but it is a big improvement.
The only trouble is we still don't know what it was that caused the problem in the first place or which of the treatments have made her improve, but I am so please she is.

On the pregnancy front we are still waiting for our next cria to be born, Ella is now 252 days, Cassini 245, Bramble and Carla are both 328 just got a feeling they may all be waiting for Devon County show week!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Finally we have a name.

Our first cria of the year is now over a week old and doing well, I am giving her two bottles a day which she takes easily.  She now has a name after a lot of deliberation  We try to use some of the sires name so as I can remember who the sire was, So as Golden Nugget is the sire it was decide it would be West Webburn Golden Ember.
An update on Marietta ........... she is no worse but not much better either, she is bright in herself, eating drinking but not able to get up by herself.  We lift her several times a day and she can now stand for a few seconds on her own, very shaky legs but at least it is an improvement.  Her blood tests suggested she was low in Selenium so we have given her a drench but it is difficult to know how much to give,  Vet says the injection has now been withdraw.  We don't want to give her to much as this can be bad as well,  so if anyone has any experience of drenching with Cobalt, Selenium Drench please let us know.

We went to the Collabear Auction on Saturday, very interesting to see and get our hands on so many animals.  Good to see so many other breeders there, also surprising to see the coloured animals fetching higher prices than most of the whites.  We came away with a young brown female and a part share in a grey stud male, very striking looking animal with a fine, soft handling fleece for a older male.  We especially wanted a grey male to use over a couple of females this year and Lakeham Alpacas also wanted the same so it made sense to try to buy a male between us.

We have had several enquires for boys over the last few days, why didn't we buy some whethers!