Monday 28 June 2010

Now that was a bit of a surprise or two

Over a week since my last blog, the hot sunny weather is still with us and this has brought out the tourists and the campers although Steve did see a little more of one camper than he really wanted.  He was driving to the fields ahead of me one morning when he caught site of a naked man diving back into his tent which for some unknown reason he had decided to pitch right next to the road, obviously been out for his morning constitutional, good job he wasn't a couple of seconds earlier he would have got a proper eye full.

With the tourists we get the usual mix of idiots that can't reverse, the ones that stop without warning to photograph a sheep but the best are the ones who seek you out to tell you that there is a cow in the road and are amazed when you tell them that they are supposed to be out loose as they are grazing on common land.  The worst kind are the ones who let their dogs off the lead, let them chase after our llamas whilst we are out on a walk and then when you ask if they can put it on the lead they tell you "it is OK their dog wouldn't chase anything".  Not sure who's fault it would be if one of the llamas kicked their dog?

Tuesday morning we got another surprise when Steve was feeding the females he discovered that Jazz had produced a cria.  Jazz one of our llamas was breed last year but had a negative scan, we introduced her to ur male earlier this year and we had a very obvious rejection, not much difference from when she was put to the male last year so we thought that she just wasn't going to breed.  A couple of weeks ago we noticed that she had a bit of an udder but still weren't sure as she didn't look any different size wise.  Any way a lovely male cria but very weak and flat and a very over protective mum, we couldn't get near without being cover with spit and she meant it.  In the end I managed to get a halter on her and Steve lead her up to the field shelter whilst I carried the baby.  
Once in we penned Jazz and I was able to milk off some colostrum which we fed to the little one, I did this a couple of times and also gave him a little glucose.  By late afternoon he was up and suckling but very wobbly so we left them in the shelter as it was very hot and they had some shade in there.  He was much stronger by the next morning so they both went back to join the herd, Jazz much calmer and cria the object of much attention from the alpacas and their cria.  He has gone from strength to strength and is now playing with the three alpaca cria although he is already much bigger than them all, he looks like a little deer when he runs around as he is brown and grey on top with his underside being white with black spots.  It has been hard thinking of a name for him, father warrior, mother jazz, grandfather Zulu - we came up with Michael  as Michael Caine was in Zulu ! Duke after Duke Ellington!, Shaka after  a Zulu king............ and then settled on Murphy!

Friday we did some spit offs with Nugget and Caliban before returning them to Lakeham Alpacas for a few weeks.  Mike and Liz had a cria from Nugget born that morning so we had a good look at her, lovely, same colour as our Nugget male cria born last weekend.  All our females are now spitting off except for Midnight and Marietta who will be mated when boys return.

We have had some lovely walks with the llamas over the last week the weather has been great lovely and warm with just enough breeze to make for comfortable walking, lovely picnics and great company, I have to remind myself that this is work!

Monday 21 June 2010

What a week that was!

The trouble with this lovely sunny weather, there is so much work to be done, not forgetting the Alpaca watching especially in the evenings.  We seem to get in later and later ......I don't seem to have much time for blogging.
The girls have spent a lot of time sun bathing flat out...... all looking like dead Alpacas...........
We did get a day off Friday and went to Exeter for a little shopping and to arrange something for later in the year (more about that later).
Saturday we gave the llamas and the Stud Males their Lambivac injections, enlarged the pig pen as the three weaners have almost doubled in size, ran the hoe over the veg garden etc. All this before taking Caliban over to Tower Park Alpacas for a return visit to one of their females (Pearl ) who adamantly spat off mainly down Steve' s shirt....... so Caliban back in the trailer ready to go back home after helping Rolly give the Lambivac injections to Willow, Pearl and Sparky.  It was such a lovely afternoon just right for sharing a bottle of wine in the garden with Rolly & Jo before checking out the new arrivals, a couple of Runner Ducks.......... I really would like some!
Hopefully their pearl will spit off again next week as Caliban and Nugget will be returning to Lakeham Alpacas for a while.
Marietta and Cria

We finally managed to get the weighing scales set up on Sunday, we got all the girls into a holding pen and one by one we weighed all the females. Whilst they were confined in the race we gave them their lambivac injections as well.  Marietta (340 days) came running in to the pen with the rest of the girls and although we didn't stress her by weighing her we did give her a jab and then let her back into the field and carried on with the rest of the girls.  I went to let the next girl out and noticed Marietta had decided to give birth and the head and the legs were already out.......... no hanging around for her then.  By the time I had weighed and jabbed the final two girls......... she had delivered a lovely brown male cria.  Marietta has been such a reliable female, her last cria Atlas was born 360 days before this one and the previous one Calypso 372 day before that.  She always lets us know when she is ready to be mated by sitting next to the pen whilst other matings are going on.  Both her last cria have been placed in the show ring and this one looks the best yet, sired by Caton Golden Nugget, his fleece looks great, he has been named Golden Prospect and we are really pleased with him.
Prospect and Stefano

Talking about females letting you know when they are ready, Lily who gave birth just over two weeks ago to Stefano, sat next to the breeding pen on Sunday so I opened the gate and in she came, sat down,  so we put Golden Nugget over her, she is not quite as reliable as Marietta but if she is ready who are we to argue!

After all this excitement we had to take Midnight up to Blacklands Alpacas for a mating with Inca Picasso, she is our champion black girls .......a maiden who has taken a bit of time to work out what it was all about..........I think she got it this time as Picasso certainly took his time.  That means we only have Marietta left to bred for next year and I am sure she won't want to hang around!

Sunday 13 June 2010

We've had a great weekend as well!

We have had a great weekend here in sunny Devon, starting with a lovely walk on Friday with the llamas. We had a friend come to see us on Friday to go out for a llama walk so we decided to go to Hammeldown which is just above Widecombe in the moor and the views from there are spectacular, it is a great walk as it is mostly flat or gentle slopes, easy walking with views to either side of the ridge. We packed up a ploughmans lunch, some tea or coffee and homemade cake and off we went, lovely sunny day, bit of a breeze .....what could be better! It was so good we were over an hour late getting back and we had arranged to go up to Dorset for a charity event as it was we arrived just to hear the last five minutes of the talk which was followed by a "ploughmans" supper and some very nice Dorset Apple cake.
Saturday was another lovely day, quite hot in the afternoon so after turning one of the holiday cottages around ready for the next guests I went to see Tania at Caton Alpacas to do a bit of fleece skirting. I am going to enter some of our fleeces into the North Devon show, this will be the first time and although I have do some fleece judging and scoring on Alpaca assessment courses, I had never prepared a fleece for a show. We did two of my fleeces and two of Tania's and I think we may do a few more next week. All I need to do now is actually remember to send the entry form off !
Last night I had a very strange experience, I went to a school reunion, it was for my year at secondary school who have or will be having a rather large birthday in this school year. Well I hardly recognized anyone but by the end of the evening I had managed to work out who most of them were or at least recognized their names.
Today, yet another warm and sunny day we had the grandsons helping with the morning feeding, so that took twice as long as usual. Charlie wants to help with everything and Josh wants to sleep with the pigs! not sure why.
This afternoon we had a booking for a cream tea walk, so we took Lenny, Polo and Logan out and we had a great walk, lovely people, good conversation. We went to our favorite place for a cream tea on Yar Tor which sits above Dartmeet, it is so quiet up there, the view is great and the skylarks were singing away, what could be better, I really must remember to take the camera with me next time. After the walk we all went back to the Alpaca field to see the little cria born last week which has now been named Stephano, his sire is Langaton Caliban so we have followed on the 'The Tempest' theme! , we are still waiting for Marietta to give birth she is now 333 days and is looking very heavy, spending a lot of time sitting down.

Friday 4 June 2010

Cria's Cria's everywhere!

From reading fellow bloggers there are lots of cria's arriving now all very exciting!. I have tried to get some decent pictures of Lily's little cria but I either get Mica in the way or cut some ones head off but here is my attempt, Lily (or half of her anyway) with her cria closely followed by Mica.

We haven't decided on a name as yet but the little chap weighed in at 8.4kg and he is a very light fawn with a slightly darker tail, we weren't sure what to expect, Lily is a dark brown with what you might call "colour contamination" or she could just be going grey, father Langaton Caliban is white, you could call it an experiment, we were hoping for a darker colour but ha ho he is cute and will make a lovely pet or he could come trekking with the Llamas.

We are now waiting for Carla and Marietta to produce both mated to Catons Golden Nugget.
Tomorrow we will do the spit offs with the other girls if they are all going according to plan we will have early birthing season next year.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Piggies and a little surprise

On Monday we collected our three little pigs, they are Berkshires and we have two boys and a girl. We drove up to Honiton to collect them from Smallicombe Farm and once the paperwork was completed we loaded them into the trailer, they seem pretty laid back about the whole process and when we arrived home and opened up the trailer they were all snuggled up together asleep.
They soon settled into their new home.
They are quite cute really, don't think I will be naming them as they are destined for the freezer.

Like Peas in a pod!

And the little surprise!
As I said our girls are just coming up to their due period, Carla and Marietta first the I thought. Lily is alway a little difficult she never gives clear spit offs, she was mated several times last year and I am sure she sat in late July ............. at least my records show this. So it was a bit surprising when I got back to the fields this afternoon to find a cluster of females, I thought Marietta had given birth but then I saw a head hanging from Lily.........head..... no legs! as I was there on my own I had no chance of examining Lily to see what the position was.......... Then a really strange think happened, Lily walk right up to me, sniffed around my head and hands, Lily is usually the most flighty of all our girls and would never come anywhere near. A quick call to Richard our Vet and he was on his way, just as Steve pulled up in the landrover, so with an extra pair of hands I was able to check where the legs were and managed to ease them out. Finally a large male cria was delivered, very strong and sitting up within minutes. So another call to the Vet to stop him turning up!
We had planned a picnic tea in the field with the grandchildren this evening so we spent time with them and watching the cria at the same time, the little chap was up on his feet and suckling within an hour, in fact once he was on his feet his mum took him on a tour of the field examining the rolling spots, the gateways, every corner and finally the drinking trough all this with one of lily's daughter, grandaughter and a couple of other interested females in tow (why don't I have a camera when needed) . He is the first cria we have had from our Stud male Langaton Caliban so we are very excited to see what he is like, he certainly seems to have inherited his fathers head shape and there is loads of fleece around his face. I really need to take the camera with me in the morning.

Hopefully Carla and Marietta with follow Lily's lead and give birth quite soon!