Friday 27 April 2012

Investigations completed,

After our terrible discovery yesterday we got all the females into the catch pen to examine them all, it was very quickly obviously who's cria it was.  What was even more disturbing for us was the female in question was not suppose to be due until end of July.  She had a large udder with plenty of milk, and looking at her rear end she looked softer as they do once they have given birth.  We brought her as an Open female, to be mated to the owners Male and confirmed pregnant by spit off before we collected her. having examined the cria which was a lovely solid black girl, the teeth were erupted, ears nice and straight and it weighed 9kgs,  just what we ordered, so obviously not 3 months premature.
So I am really upset as it looks like the cria died of hypothermia which had we know that she was due she would have been in the birthing paddock, with a camera to check on her for at least a month before her due date.  Had we known we could have moved mum and cria into the barn as the weather was really's all if's and buts and I know we can't change the outcome.

i really don't know what we should do now, obviously we could ask for a re mating, but that means loading her up and trundling off up the motorway, something we really haven't got time for, also we have lost a female, may get a male next time and more annoying puts a year behind.

Any advise of what our options are would be much appreciated. At the moment the breeder in question has not answered our messages!

Anyway all the late pregnant females have been moved to the biting paddock, the first due late May.  The show team have had to go up to our top fields, we will need to move them before Devon County show if the weather stays wet and they will be filthy up there.  The rest of the females have stayed in the big paddock near the show team.  All this we were going to do this weekend anyway, just wish we had done it earlier.

and I have been to check them 3 times this morning already!

Thursday 26 April 2012

Really fed up now!

I have been meaning to update for a few days but have been so busy and this wet weather is really beginning to get on my nerves now.
We have had a busy March with the Llama walks, the Futurity as well as everyday stuff.  April has been such a wet month but we have managed to harrow and roll the fields, move the Alpacas onto fresh Grass after they had been wormed and fluked,  so it is not that bad.

We had a couple of days at Alpaca 2012 AKA Swag Show and very enjoyable it was too, having the Alpacas in the main building was much better then last year.  We spent more time watching the judging then we did at the Futurity.  We had five animals in our Show team, mainly because we couldn't leave a single animal in the paddock at home.  Any way the competition was tough with some very big breeders from the other side of the country entering.  First up was Caramel she was in a very tough class of 12 with 3 entries from one very big breeder, we were the only small breeder in that class so I was absolutely amazed to get a 5th place ribbon, now usually I would have been very disappointed with this but it was pointed out that I needed to look at who we had beaten to realise that we had done very well.  Caramel is out of our oldest Female, a 96 import and her sire is Catons Golden Nugget, she is the image of her dad.

I am afraid that the rest crashed and burned but I did come away laughing at the judges comment when he judge Ivory who is just 12months old and huge, we were 4th in the line up of four when the Judge came to summing up he said that "This Alpaca has never missed a meal" it made me and everyone else laugh, ironic really as Ivory very rarely eats concentrate and was over 50 kgs when she was weaned ! he also commended her for the amount of fleece she had and the length of the staple.  so not all bad.
To sum it up we had a great weekend, we had one result and we had a laugh, I would much sooner come 5th in a class of 12 then 4th out of 4th.

On a sadder note, we went to feed up this morning and found a cria dead in the field,  we are not sure who's it is year as we have nothing due for another month and those three suspects still look OK, we brought a couple of females last year which due dates later this summer but we can't be sure it wasn't one of them as when I looked at one she looks like she has a udder.  We will get them in tonight and check them all over, none of them seemed distressed and the cria looks full term, it was a huge black girl, such a shame and we would have been moving the females back to the birthing paddocks this weekend and we would have had the camera on them there.  So disappointing but there is nothing we can do about it now.

I am determined to finish on a happier note Congratulations to Andy and Sue at Pippin Alpacas on their first cria, so glad everything went well, good to talk to you this morning.

Saturday 7 April 2012

Plan B or C now

We'll the weather forecast is still saying it is going to be wet on Monday but now they have added a gale just to make things even more difficult for the Open Day.  So now we are on plan B or maybe C I can't remember.

I think we can get most it under cover, luckily both of our Holiday Cottages will be empty on Monday, both sets of guests will have left by then.  So with a bit of furniture re arranging we can use one for refreshments and one for our Alpaca knitwear, yarns etc.  The llamas can go in the Big Barn which we rent from next door and the Alpacas can be in the field shelter and yard which means they will all be in the yard and getting soggy.  I don't expect many people will venture out but we will be prepared for the ones that do.  Any way there will be plenty of tea and cake.

So today Steve has tidied all his stuff away and we have made a big pen in the Barn.  We had a bonfire to get rid of lots of hedge trimmings which were sat on the Veg garden, I can't see anyone venturing up there but at least it is done.  I have spent most of the evening printing out signs and laminating them ready to put up tomorrow.

So we are as organised as we are going to be so far.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Open day plans

The planning stages for our open day now seem to be agreed, helpers briefed, car parking sorted, tables , cups & saucers and gazebos borrowed.  Everything was looking good then we heard the Weather Forecast.............. Sunday drizzle, turning into heavy rain, Monday, torrential rain, we can only hope they are late to cancel and anyway if we did you can guarantee it would be bright and sunny.
Anyway a fews days to go before the day, things could change.

We had a llama walk today, we loaded up got onto the moor, it was freezing, blowing a gale and then it rained.  We agreed to postpone until tomorrow. So hopefully it will be better, can't believe it was warm and sunny last weekend, sat on the moors in a tee shirt.

I have finally sorted animal cover for the following weekend when we are going to the Spring show at Bristol, I had postponed booking the hotel until everything was sorted, tied to book it today and they are fully booked so back to the holiday village again, very comfortable but I was looking forward to a bit of luxury.  We have just collected the new sign for the back of the trailer, hopefully it will be fixed before we leave.
The show team are already to go, actually look fairly clean.  Training has gone well, they all walk nicely, standing still is still a little bit of a mystery to them so we will see how they behave on the day.

Planning something

Right better go and make a batch of scones.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Prehistoric Llama

Well we are already into April, Spring has come and probably gone looking at the black clouds building up tonight and it is cold, the wood burner has been lit.
We have had a busy time doing jobs around the farm, the female Alpacas were moved from they paddocks onto fresh grass and these have now been hoovered and Steve has used the topper to remove the dead stalks of the Chicory which is abundant amongst the grasses in these fields. They were reseeded a couple of years ago with a special grass mix made up at our local seed merchants, the mix contains lots of grasses and herbs which are deep routed and draw up the minerals.  We were hoping to get them harrowed and rolled as well.
The show team have continued their training, the grandchildren have been helping!

We have also been very busy with our Llama Walks, the weather has been great and we have done some lovely walks and eaten lunches and cream teas on the tops of tors, not something we usually do much of in March.
Polo & Murphy
Prehistoric Llama
We couldn't resist taking a picture of Murphy sitting down chewing the cud at lunchtime on one of our walks, he looks a bit of a dinosaur
At the moment I am beginning to panic, we decided to hold a small open day and the date was set for Easter Monday, at the time it seemed a long way off, then all of a sudden it's next Monday.  We need a Plan!  and quick.  So I have done the adverts, made the signs, baked some cakes, sorted out the raffle,  still to do - decide where everything is going, organise some helpers, check out the parking is available.  We have decide to keep it small as I like to be able to spend time with people instead of running round like a headless chicken.
After the Open day we only have a few days before we are attending the Spring Show at the Hand Equestrian Centre.  Oh no I still haven't booked the Hotel, best get on with it.