Now I know that title sounds bad but really it isn't too bad. The first one was from one of the guests in our Holiday Cottages who complained that I hadn't updated my blog or twittered since April - can it really be that long! Then the second complaint came from our Friend Ricky with whom we had lunch with today and who's first words to me were 'What's happened to your blog you haven't updated for ages" ..................... Yes I know since April!
So hear goes, whats been happing in the wilds of Dartmoor.
Well the weather improved for a short while, it has returned to unsettled and wet again now though!
Our alpacas were shorn at the beginning of June, it was a lovely dry day, Colin stopped off to shear the three boys we had sold to a neighbour before coming on to do our herd. I met him at our customers as this was the first time they had experienced anything like this, but Colin in his usual calm fashion soon had the fleeces of the young boys,reassuring everyone as he went about his work. The boys did look very small and fragile after their fleeces had been removed. These three young boys have gone to a very loving home and they were tucked up in the stable for several nights after shearing day as it was a little cold overnight still.
Then on to our herd, I love to see the Alpacas without their fleece, they look so elegant and clean at least until they find the rolling pit anyway.
With no fleece it is easy to see the baby bulge on the females, we had two who were very late pregnant at the time. Hebe who was eleven months on 24th May and Mica 8th June so we kept an extra special eye on them both after shearing.
Both females were looking very heavy and bulging at the back end for days and I spent hours just watching and waiting. Holiday makers spent hours watching and waiting, one family who saw one birth last year were hoping to see another this year, went home disappointed.
Last Sunday we had been asked along to a Open Farm Sunday event so packed up early, checked the animals who as usual looked perfectly normal, off we went to Buckfastleigh which is about 6 miles way. We set up the stall settled the Llamas into the their pen, sat down with a cup of Coffee and checked the camera which is on the field. There in the middle of the field was a huddle of Alpacas, which could only mean on thing............ a Cria!
Steve jumped back into the car and went home leaving me to man the stall, he was expecting Hebe to have given birth as she was 351 days but there in the middle of the huddle was little white cria! and Mica who was only 336 days so that was a bit unexpected. It was all text book stuff really, afterbirth had been delivered and the cria was up and looking for the milk bar, he now named Prospero weighed in at 8.5kg and is full of energy, sired by Langaton Caliban. Steve moved mum and babe into the next paddock so they could bond and we could see them easily on the camera and then returned to help me on the stall.
On closer inspection we think he is fawn rather then white, there is definite fawn on his ears and tail.
Hebe was still not in any hurry to give her Cria up and I was really looking forward to this one, Hebe is a Jack of Spades girl and she had been bred to Mariah Hill Mambo of Wessex. Last year she lost a lovely Black female, so we were hoping for the same.
Friday I had to stay in as my Passport was being delivered (thats another long story) so I didn't see the animals as Steve did the morning feed rounds and as the weather forecast was bad the females were in the barn. I went up at Lunchtime to let them out into the field and as I arrived spotted a cria sat up amongst the females. The only thing was it was a fawn cria and our first fawn female wasn't due until July! The cria was in a cush position but still wet and the afterbirth was also there along with Hebe clucking lovingly over her fawn male cria! ............. I did have words with her about it but not much we can do now is there. He is very pretty, too pretty for a male, he weighed in at 9kgs. I had a bit of a problem getting them all out on my own as I picked up the cria and tried to lead Hebe across the yard and down the track to the field, she kept running back to the barn and then the rest of them followed her back, chaos but I got them there in the end.
Hebe - Black bred to Mambo - Black produced fawn male
next we have Cassini who is fawn bred to a fawn so I am expecting a black female OK!
There you are Ricky I will try to be more regular with the blog, so pleased you enjoyed your nookie sorry Gnocchi