Monday, 28 April 2014

Progressing Slowly

This is a very short blog, The three Alpacas we are taking to the show next monday had anther intensive halter training course this morning, lets just say they are not very quick learners!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Halter training a bit late I think!

What with the weather, car trouble and not actually knowing if we were going to get to our first show, halter training has completely gone out of the window.  I have started but it has been very stop start and I now only have a week to get three of them ready for a show.
Zebadee is the star, he is the oldest but he isn't going to the show, so poor thing has to go walking with each of the other five, one at a time as there is usually only me doing the walking.  So far out of the show team I have Zeus who is the smallest but not the youngest who did manage to walk a little this morning, then Zahara who just dug her feet firmly in the ground and refused to move and Zanti who thought that bunny hopping was the way to go.  So I apologies to the ring steward and judge of the Cornwall camelid show in advance for the expected spectacle which will be me and three little alpacas trying to go into the show ring next week.

On the car front we have managed to find a new Discovery so we can actually get to the show.  Our old one did pass it's MOT but there were problems with it overheating when towing.  So we had a shortlist of several to look at, starting with one in Exeter.  That looked lovely on the inside and the body work was in great condition but the chassis had the same problems as ours and wouldn't have passed the next MOT so that was a no no.  Then we decided to go to the furthest one which was the other side of Bristol which is about 100 miles from us.  This is the one we actually brought as it is in great condition underneath as well as on top.  Not sure if we are the only people who look under a car before we look inside it!.  As we didn't have all the money with us we had to go back a couple of days later, anyway it is hear now and Steve has gone off today with the tractor on the back to help a friend take out a hedge, hence halter training on my own.

As I hadn't driven the new car I took a friend to Exeter yesterday for a girly day out including a long lunch in our favourite italian restaurant, and some shopping.  The only problem I had with the car was it is to tall to go into my usual car park. good job I didn't just go storming in otherwise I would have lost the roof bars or converted it into a open topped discovery.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Alpacas is she, isn't she

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter, we as usual had a very busy one.  For the first time in several years both our Holiday Cottages were full although it was one booking who took both. We now have a connecting door which allows the two cottages to be used as one giving three bedrooms sleeping 8 Adults. Our Guests were from the middle East region and they absolutely loved the cottages and Dartmoor although the weather wasn't brilliant on Sunday they still went out exploring.

On Easter Monday we took some Alpacas and our Stall to Postbridge Village Market, it was freezing! and there were not a lot of Customers.  Steve thought it would be best if he went home as we didn't need both of us there, he came back and picked us up, the sun came out once we got home and it was a lovely evening.

After the Market we got on with some husbandry tasks, half the herd has now had their Lambivac Jabs, the open females have been wormed and put on clean pasture, Stud males had a pedicure as well as their Jabs.

The pregnant girls, well I should say the hopefully pregnant girls, we only have 6 this year as we had some late births last year and we have held them over till the spring before breeding them again.  Any way we have Tigerlily who is due now, showing none of the usual signs of being pregnant, she's not sitting around looking uncomfortable, she has no sign of a udder, she isn't bulging out the back, she is charging around the field like a teenager with some of last years cria, she is up grazing as normal.  So as we had the Studs on halters we took Atlas down to run the girls past,  Mica due at the end of next month is obviously pregnant so we didn't put her in, Lily is so big and you can see the cria moving around so she was left out, Hebe is just a stroppy mare when she is pregnant, we didn't need to check her.  So that left the three maidens, Tigerlily just ran around in circles so still not sure, Ivory, the same just ran away, Caramel she ran around and when she couldn't get away pushed the hurdle so hard she pushed it over getting her neck stuck between the bars.  She is fine, as soon as the hurdle was down she pulled her head out and ran off.  Atlas was then off down the paddock which has the pregnant girls and the weanlings in, he was more interested in running around with the youngsters then pursuing the girls and was quickly caught and returned to his paddock.  Upshot is I am still not sure if Tigerlily is pregnant or not, so will just have to wait.


I am still watching Jazz and her floppy ears, she is bright and up grazing but when she runs her ears still flop about, strange but she seems fine in herself.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Floppy Ears

I am a bit concerned about Jazz! She is a old (not sure how Old) female llama.  We had a llama walk booked for Monday and decide to take Jazz along with Logan, Polo and Midnight.  once we got started it was obvious to me that Jazz was not happy, she was shaking her head a lot and generally not looking as if she was enjoying herself, which is unusual, she didn't want to walk, kept hanging her head, so decided she needed to go home.  Once back in the field she seemed better, looked bright and was tucking into the hay.
Over the next few days I just get this feeling she is not right and the only thing I can say is different is her ears!  when she runs her ears flop about and one seems to hang down more than the other.  When we feed up in the mornings they all come running and none of the others ears seem to flop about.  Apart from that I can't say there is anything else which causes concern, but sometimes you just know they are just not right.

Once Steve had taken Jazz back to the field the other three were really upset, quite vocal and kept looking back towards the carpark, it took them quite awhile to settle back down.  Monday was a great day for the walk, sun shining and quite warm.  We had a Cream Tea sat at the top of Yar Tor which overlooks Dartmeet and the East and West Dart Valleys, the view is amazing.

We are eagerly waiting for Tigerlily to give birth, she's 335 days tomorrow and showing not signs that she is even pregnant whilst Mica who isn't due till the end of next month is bulging at the back and has a large udder already, who knows.

Our cottages are full for the weekend so for the first time since November we can't do any work down there, so maybe we will have a day off tomorrow, but probably will have a Alpaca and llama husbandry day.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

News from deepest Dartmoor

Its along time since my last blog, I think it was the day of that last horrible storm, we had our drive washed out again but the water didn't' get into any property which was lucky.  We were lucky compared to a lot of people.

The bad weather has really hit our holiday cottage bookings as I think most of the country thought that the South West was flooded or had fallen into the sea. In truth Devon and especially Dartmoor has been Open for Business and we have had a campaign to try to get this out to the rest of the country.  Strangely the bookings for our Llama walks has been very brisk with several bookings for large groups including a Hen Party in July for 15 girls, don't think Steve is too keen to come on that one!

We have been working hard on the Holiday Cottages to get them ready for this season, as many of you know we extended and refurbished them over this last winter.  Robin Cottage has been let a few times since Christmas but Wren has only just been finished and the first guests are coming in on Friday.  We have taken photos of the build and if any one is interested they can be found on our Facebook page It would be good if anyone could like this page as well, apparently this social media is the way to go for getting more interest in our website.

The Alpacas and Llamas seem to have survived the wet winter very well, in fact the llamas have managed to put weight on dispute having their rations cut down drastically in the last few weeks.  The Alpaca have been out all winter with access to shelter if they wish, which obviously they didn't wish as they have hardly used it.!  Tigerlily is due to give us our first cria or at least is 11 months on the 20th so we are watching closely, at the moment she seems to be grazing and sitting around a lot , could be any time then!

We have had one cria born this year though, one of the females we sold last year pregnant was due at the beginning of march (11 months) which at this time of the year you would expect to go nearer 12 months, but she gave birth at 329 days to a very strong dark brown boy with a little white mark around his mouth which looks just like he has a milky mouth.  Funnily enough she gave birth on the first day of spring like weather, text book birth and he is growing away nicely.

Tigerlily looking perfectly normal.
I managed to register last years cria and actually enter three of them into Devon County Show, I have also entered them into the Cornwall Camelid show on 5th May.  I am hoping we will be able to get there as the Landrover is having a few problems and over heats when towing.  I may have to just take the stall and leave the Alpacas at home, that way I can use the car.  Just hope we can sort it out before Devon County.

 Finally to finish, the view from the seating area outside Wren Cottage on today, great to sit and have your early morning coffee watching the Alpacas in the field next door.