Monday 30 November 2009

There's something strange in the sky

Yesterday we had moved the females in Widecombe into a new field and at the same time decided to wean two more Cria, so we brought them back home along with Carla one of our older females (AKA Spitty) She seems to feel the cold more than the others and had been shivering, so she is looking after the youngsters and has the opportunity to use the field shelter.

I woke up this morning with a migraine, such a shame as there was something strange happening on Dartmoor. I think it is called "Sunshine" it is something we haven't seen here for about a month and something else had happened it had stopped raining. I am assured by the Met office that this "Sunshine" will not be here for long as tomorrow the rain shall return.
I quickly took some tablets to get rid of the migraine and went up to the fields to feed up. all the animals were looking happier in the sun, all dried out and looking gorgeous. After they had their food it was time to check over the cria we brought back yesterday and to give them a short training session. I always start halter training as soon as we have weaned them, just a few minutes each day, first I introduce a lead rope and just lay it over their back and say "stand" just doing that two or three times on the first day. Then I put a halter on Titan (the older cria) and Sparky (trained Alpaca) then for a short walk up and down the lane. So much nicer in the sun, Titan has really taken to his halter and seems to enjoy going for a walk, this is only the fourth time he has had the halter on. I have also been training Titan to lift his feet when asked, this makes cutting toe nails so much easier. Hopefully the two little ones will be just as easy to train as Titan has been.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Cold & Wet again!!

Spent the day at Widecombe village market which is held in the ancient Church house owned by the National trust, consequently it has stone floors and no heating, thank goodness for Alpaca socks !. Customers were very few and far between and who can blame them, it was dull, cold & wet more importantly there was rugby on TV. The brave soles that did brave the weather did buy some socks and wool so not a total loss. I got talking to some people interested in keeping Alpacas so they may come back to see some animals once the weather improves, you never know what will come from just being there!.
I then dashed home to get a meal ready for guests which I stupidly arranged to come for dinner this evening. Not that I mind having people around but I like to have time to cook and try new things and I didn't have that today. The meal was a great success and all home grown including the pork which is really satisfying. Any way guests have just left, dishes in the dishwasher, wine to finished off and we are now going to watch the Rugby that we recorded earlier.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Day off!

Why when I have to go to Widecombe Village Market on Saturday and I have to get ready for that did I decide to invite people for Dinner on Saturday night!!! must be mad. So today I am going to prepare as much as possible for the dinner, tidy up the house as well as cleaning the chickens out, feeding up as usual, go to a customer and help give their alpacas a dose of Fluke treatment, and if I get time go to the holiday cottages to get them ready for a booking next week. Friday is my day off!

Yesterday I went into Newton Abbot to pick up the samples of the logos for our Llama Walking coats and fleeces so we should have them next week. The weather has been so wet recently we decided to buy good waterproof clothing, fleeces etc. So the weather should be improving from next Thursday.

Alpacas and Llamas were looking much fluffier yesterday and the youngsters were having a great game running up into the hedge where there is a large chunk of granite for them to leap off, great to watch but there fun will be short lived as we will be wean one of them this weekend, he will join his older chum who has been wean for about a month now and is being halter trained.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Socks & more socks

Well if you are going to give socks for Christmas they really should be Alpaca socks! Today I went up to Coldharbour Mill to collect an order of socks & yarn from UK Alpaca. We are going to Widecombe Farmers market on Saturday so hopefully there will be lots of people doing their Christmas shopping and they will all want to buy socks. The A38 was horrendous as usual not only road works with 50 mile hour average speed limit but two breakdowns one in each lane, not helpful, at least it had stopped raining for a while.

Had to go into Exeter for a visit to the Apple shop genius bar to sort out a little problem with my website, they are great in there so helpful. I called in to see Lakeham Alpacas on the way home and to leave some socks with them as they are going to have a stall at Winchester School this weekend, so I should think that there will be a lot of people having socks for Christmas up there too.

All the Alpacas & Llamas are looking a little happier today as they have dried out, I nearly got mugged for the bale of hay this morning. Little do they know that if it stays dry tomorrow they will be getting their routine injections!!! Looking at the weather forecast it may not happen.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Wet Alpacas, Wet llamas wet, wet, wet everything


Change of venue for my diary, hopefully this will work better than my last attempt, you can still see what we have been upto in the past on this link

24th November 09

I shouldn't be moaning we are a lot better of then the poor people of Cumbria but I am so fed up with this weather it is either raining , just stopped raining or just about to rain. The animals look sodden, although they seem happy enough and it is surprising how quick they dry out between showers.
I went over to our fields in Widecombe this morning with a bale of hay for the females, I nearly lost most of it just getting to the hayrack the wind was that strong. I am waiting around until they have all finished eating so as to turn over all the buckets and troughs, this hopefully will prevent any badgers getting into the feeding troughs.

Following the meeting of SWAG last Saturday it is becoming more apparent that we need to up our bio security with respect of TB. Not only on farm but with outside breedings and shows. We have had many discussions as to whether we should be showing next year or not. If we don't we lose the opportunity to meet prospective customers, keeping in touch with other breeders apart from enjoying the whole show scene. Obviously if everyone decided not to show it would be really bad for the whole Alpaca industry and that would not be good for any of us.

We have decided that we will probably show next year but the animals that go to shows will be kept completely separate from the rest of the herd, probably on a different farm. Whether we all have to go down the route of testing is a whole other matter and one that will be the source of much discussion over the next few months.

This still leaves the question of outside matings, we have our own males but would have probably sent a couple of our black females out to stud, we will have to think about this over the winter.