I realised it has been months since I last blogged, I had a sort of block, couldn't think of what to write, it was all much of the same really.........rain, mud, cold, followed by more rain, then a little snow just for a change. Life just carried on with the usual rounds of feeding, mucking out, worming, ADE, Fluke, just made more difficult than usual with all the mud.
I have kept up to date with the goings on, the comings and some goings on some of the blogs I read, most people seem to have coped with all the wet weather but there has been some very sad occasions but I still could get down to writing a blog.
The last few days here have been bright and sunny and dry and it feels as if spring is just around the corner. The daffodils are nearly in flower and the snowdrops look stunning in the sunshine.
We have spent the last couple of weeks decorating the holiday cottages and generally getting ready for the next season, they are all finished now and we have our first guests in this weekend.
All our animals have been out during the winter, they have a field shelter that they do choose to use in the worst of the weather. Overall they seem to have coped very well, they have had ADE every month and due to the warm damp weather they have had a dose of Fasinex for Fluke. We weigh the females and cria at least every month, more often in the winter and apart from one or two they have all maintained condition. Carla are one and only import (96) has lost quite a bit of weight for no apparent reason, she has been wormed and fluked and seems to be holding her own now, she is feeding a cria and is (possibly) pregnant, she is still stroppy which would suggest she is holding here pregnancy. I think we will just have to keep an eye on her for a while.
The Llamas have survived the winter very well, they don't have a shelter but their very large field has lovely hedges to shelter behind which ever way the wind is blowing. Polo has had the benefit of a pony coat which fits him well, he was shorn last summer and was lacking fleece, llamas don't seem to grow fleece as quick as Alpacas. The coat came off yesterday after several weeks wear and we took all four llamas and Logan the Alpaca for a walk, thought they may need the practice and we have a appointment at the Hospital next week. We often take them to our local hospital to meet the patients.
Today we decided would be the day to wean all of last years cria, so were over due and the last two were just 6 months. One of the youngest 'Norma' is Carla's cria and here growth rate had dropped, it looked as if Carla's milk had nearly dried up, so we thought it was time she had a rest. Usually we take the Mums away and leave the cria with the herd to reduce stress, but due to the wet conditions we hadn't moved the females around to release a paddock. So the weanlings have been given the field shelter at the top of the boys paddock with a large pen at the front, they are not happy bunnies at the moment but this didn't put them off their food. The mums on the other had don't seem bothered, most of them didn't even look up as we drove the babes out of the field and into the trailer for the short drive up the lane. Once the babes have settled down I will start halter training them before they rejoin the herd.
Last week our Holiday cottages and Llama Walks were featured in the Daily Magazine as one of the top six short breaks with a difference in the UK.
A few other exciting things have happened over the winter, some may come to fruition some may not. We had a visit from a photographer who was taking pictures for a catalogue which is being produced by a knitwear designer we have been working with for a couple of years. Tomorrow I am going to London with a friend for a private viewing of the new collection, all very exciting but it will be a long day, one of the downsides of living in the SouthWest, it takes so long to get anywhere.
We are starting to look forward to this years births and planning our breeding program, we need to decide which animals to put up for sale, always a hard decision, but one which has to be made.
What I am really looking forward to is a nice warm spring followed by a proper summer, we can but hope.