Wednesday 21 July 2010

What defines a spit off?

We did spit offs with all the females today in anticipation of sending the girls back to Widecombe for fresh grass.
We have such a range of so called spit offs.

Firstly Lily who when she is ready to breed sits immediately so if she runs away from the male she is usually pregnant and boy did she run but no spit.
Next up Bramble who is another sitter, one spit and then looks to get out of the pen.
Phoebe who just glares at the male, which in this case was Golden Nugget and he stood with his back to her not interested.
So looks like those three are pregnant.
Next up Ella who nearly climbed over the hurdles to get away.
Cassini who runs around and looks like a scared Rabbit.
So they look promising.
But the best spit off today goes to Demeter our old girl 1996 import sold to us with the comment she has attitude.
We put her in with Caliban, she took one look at him and jumped from a standing start over the the alpaca hurdles and ran at full pelt across the field.  Would you call that a spit off?
That just leaves Midnight and Marietta.
Marietta will be going to Inca Picasso in a couple of weeks, As for Midnight, she really hasn't got a clue about spit offs, we are not sure if she is spitting off or sitting as she can do both at once.
If they all go according to plan we will be having a very busy spring next year.

Whilst we had the girls in we weighed the crias and they are all putting on weight nicely and they are full of energy.

Merlin our new llama seems to be settling down, he is not looking to get out of the field all the time now.  He will also eat food from a bucket that I am holding but still doesn't like to be touched.  He does seem interested in watching the other young boys being haltered and lead so hopefully he will look and learn.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Sad Farewell

We said goodbye to Toledo yesterday, he was our Stud male Llama and as we only have one female llama for him to breed with we decided he was wasted here.  He has gone to live in Cornwall where he will have lots of females to entertain. Having Toledo here had become difficult, we couldn’t take him on treks which meant we had to leave another llama or Alpaca with him when we went out, this obviously meant we were a llama down in the trekking team. 
In exchange we have brought home a seven month old male llama who we are hoping to train for trekking.  Once home we put the young male now named Merlin (as he comes from Cornwall) in to a paddock with last years young male Alpacas but Merlin only had one thing on his mind which was finding his mum and eventually this morning he worked out how to get through the wire of our fence.  Once he had worked out how to do it there was no keeping him in so he is now in the yard with a companion until he settles down this usually takes a couple of days.  I will try to get some pictures tomorrow, he may be calmer by then.

Now we have all the young boys together we can start to do some training with them so they to can all be taken for walks on the moors.
We will miss toledo very much as he has been part of our lives since he was 6 months old, we have his half  brother Blackjack who has been pacing the fence line today so he is missing him too.  I am sure Merlin will settle in nicely and become part of the trekking team.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Hospital visit

We took two llamas, Lenny and Polo and Logan the Alpaca to Wonford House hospital this morning.  The rain held off for most of the time we were there.  I always fine these trips amazing, just to see how within an hour the llamas can make friends with so many very nervous people.  One guy was so nervous he wouldn't even stroke Lenny on the neck, Lenny is so calm and nothing upsets him, anyway by the end of the morning the guy was leading him around the grounds of the hospital and feeding Lenny treats.
We are only there for such a short while and I come away feeliing very proud about the way the animals behave.  They really seem to have an empathy with people with special needs or disabilities.

I spent the afternoon make a couple of batches of Scones and a very yummy orange and Almond cake, did some of the holiday cottage ironing and then sorted out some fleeces to send away for carding in preparation for my weaving lessons this winter.

This evening we did another spit off with our female Llama 'Jazz' and 'Toledo' we were surprised when she gave birth this year so it would be wonderful if she could do it again next year.  We had arranged to swop Toledo for a young male that we could train up for trekking, so we wanted to breed Jazz before he left, so fingers crossed.

Our Stud males are coming back tomorrow from Lakeham Alpacas we will put all the females who had been spitting off back to the boys, just to check they are still rejecting, before sending them off to fresh grass in Widecombe where they will stay for the winter.  That will leave us with just three females to finish our breedings this year.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Not much time for blogging

Well it has been a long time since I have had time to sit down and update this blog.  Today it did rain as forecast, but not a lot.
All the Llamas and Alpacas are looking good, although the grass here is looking a bit thin, we are giving hay ad lib and the usual concentrate.
We weighed all the females and cria last weekend and the youngsters are all gaining weight.  The little Llama cria "Murphy" is great, full of energy just like a jack in a box, he charges around the field barging into the females who give him short shift.  He is very strong now and has a lot of character, thinks he's the bees knees.
It has been the usual round of work, holiday cottages, llama walks and field maintenance, Steve's three day week is working OK, so today we had a day off!!!! ---------------so after strimming around the chicken fences, cleaning out the chicken houses, putting up some bean sticks, spreading so Rooster booster, it was coffee time, then Steve took some belt things off the Flail mower which needed replacing, filled the car up with some rubbish to go to the tip, had lunch .....................then off to Newton Abbot to go to the bank via Tuckers to get some gate hinges, Mole Valley Farmers for pig food, find somewhere to buy the new belts for the mower etc etc, ................I think this is what is called a day off !!!! Oh I did get to see the Grandchildren for about half an hour.

We have had some lovely llama walks over the past couple of weeks, the weather has been perfect, we have met lots of lovely people and ate loads of lovely picnics............. so much for the diet !
Tomorrow we are taking some of the llamas to visit Wonford hospital, this is something we do regularly and is a lovely experience for the patients as well as us.