Tuesday 26 February 2013

Feeling off colour

It is still bitter cold here, the forecast said max temp 7 deg but it has only just got to 3 deg here,  we are at over 900 ft up on Dartmoor so it be expected really.

The females were all wormed with Zolvic on Sunday, yesterday most of them spent the day sitting around which is unusual as they had fresh grass and today one or two still look a little lethargic.  I was wondering if this could be due to the wormer having never used it before.  we have not had any reaction to any of the previous wormers we have used so I was really expecting them to have any problems.  If anyone has any suggestions it would be much appreciated as I was going to worm the weanlings next week.

The three males are still behaving themselves although I think they may have had a bit of a rumpus as there was a lump on fawn fleece on Calibans (white) back this afternoon.

Oh well better get the accounts done, VAT qtr ends this week, at least it is warm in here.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Basil has finally got it!

Brrrrrrr its b...y cold out there this morning, good job we had plenty to keep us busy.  First we fed the weanlings and moved there pen onto some fresh grass, Basil who had been feeding out of my had and then out of the scoop finally leant to put his head in to a bucket, all be it a very shallow bucket.  He ran off when he first felt me loosen my hold on him but soon when back to finish off the hard feed  left in the bucket, so hopefully tonight he won't need much encouragement.

Once the feed round was complete it was on to the females who had to be weighed and because we have had some dramatic weigh losses in the past few weeks which was worrying they have been wormed with the new wormer Zolvic.  Then it was on to the big move around, the girls were going up the lane in to our large lower paddock still out of sight of the weanlings but first we had to move the three Adult boys, Atlas and Prospect who are brothers live together over the track from Caliban our white Stud Male who really doesn't like Atlas & Prospect and has almost pushed the fence over before in his quest to get at them.
The plan was to move all three down the lane to a new paddock and put them together and let them sort out there differences.  So Caliban was loaded into the trailer first with the partition in followed by the other two.  Atlas & Prospect were released in to the field and did the usual inspection, then we put Caliban in, at this point I was expecting fire works but no, Prospect ran over to Caliban for a sniff and then walked off and we left all three exploring with no sign of any aggressive behaviour.  We spent the next hour or so moving respective hay racks, feeders etc just keeping an eye on the boys, still behaving even sharing a bucket when we fed them.  When we left they were all grazing peacefully, but I am keeping an eye on them with the camera while keeping the other eye on the Rugby.

So now we can rest the paddock we will use for birthing this year, get it cleaned up and chain harrowed when the time is right. Just need some dry sunny, warm weather please!

Saturday 23 February 2013


Today has been frantic, our own fault really, we have been decorating the holiday cottages and had nearly finished the second one but had ground to a halt with lack of enthusiasm.  Today was D day as we had guests arriving this afternoon and the hall way in the last cottage needed paint on the walls.  So an early start was called for, steve painted and I cleaned the kitchen,, bathroom, bedroom, made up the beds and put the cream tea and fresh eggs in the fridge.  Three hours and we were done, all the decorating equipment was out the door and the cottage was finished.  Once we had packed away ladders, paint etc it was home for a well deserved cup of coffee.

We have had a house full for the last couple of days as it was eldest Grandsons birthday yesterday.  After the excitement of opening presents we all went off to feed the Alpacas and Llamas.  The weanlings have settled down, still a little humming when we arrive but I think thats for our benefit, just to make us feel sorry for them really.  Once the chores were done we all went off for a day at the Zoo, it was bitter cold but the boys were running about so didn't feel the cold like the oldies.  A lovely day was had by all but it was a welcome sight to see the woodburner still alight when we got back in.  A lovely cup of tea and a slice of birthday cake just to finish the day off nicely.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Exciting Day

In my mission to be a more regular blogger I thought I may share are exciting day in London Yesterday.

Myself and Liz (Lakeham Alpacas) had been invited to a private viewing of a fashion collection by a knitwear designer we have been supplying fleece and yarn to for a couple of years.  After much deliberations we decided that we really should go and see what is happening to our yarn as most of the garments end up in Japan.

So bearing in mind we don't see a bus up hear from one week to the next the thought of negotiating the undergound was very daunting!  Liz does live a bit near civilisation (she has a bus stop outside her gate).  We got the train from Exeter to Paddington with a change in Bristol as I couldn't get an advance ticket on the direct route. Once we had arrived it was lunchtime so Oxford street seemed like the best place and of course we could go to john Lewis, nothing like playing safe!.  We had a very long lunch in fact it was nearly tea time by the time we left the store, well you have to browse don't you!
We had to be in hampstead by 7pm so we planed our route to get us there via St Pancas Station since it had been do up, last time I saw it there was scaffolding everywhere.

We spent some time having a coffee and people watching before having some Dinner and getting to the venue in Hampstead.  What an amazing place, not sure what is was but now it is used as a shared workspace, our knitwear designer, a weaver, printer and several more.
We saw all our yarns made up and the photos which had been taken last month which despite the weather were really good.  Bit the best bit was talking to so many people, designers, knitters, the agents from Japan and just people who wanted to know about the Alpacas.  apparently they are all coming to stay in the cottages and meet the Alpacas in person.
Thank fully there was someone there who was also going back to Paddington at the same time as us and knew the quickest route back, for which we were really grateful as we were to catch the last train back to Exeter.
It was a very tiring day but very much worth the effort, it is so good to know that the yarns we produce are so much appreciated by the people who use them as well as their customers who are the end user.

We saw a lot of London Tube Stations, saw loads of London Buses mostly at a standstill due to traffic, but it was a relief when we finally got back on that train and could sit back and relax.

This morning is bright and sunny, the weanlings are still humming a bit, Basil is still not eating concentrate but the rest are, this afternoon I am going to start halter training, do I think we miss out on anything living in such a remote wild place, you have got to be joking, give me Dartmoor any day of the week, the John Lewis's was much better than ours in Exeter though!!!

Sunday 17 February 2013

It' s been a long time

I realised it has been months since I last blogged, I had a sort of block, couldn't think of what to write, it was all much of the same really.........rain, mud, cold, followed by more rain, then a little snow just for a change.  Life just carried on with the usual rounds of feeding, mucking out, worming, ADE, Fluke, just made more difficult than usual with all the mud.
I have kept up to date with the goings on, the comings and some goings  on some of the blogs I read, most people seem to have coped with all the wet weather but there has been some very sad occasions but I still could get down to writing a blog.

The last few days here have been bright and sunny and dry and it feels as if spring is just around the corner.  The daffodils are nearly in flower and the snowdrops look stunning in the sunshine.

We have spent the last couple of weeks decorating the holiday cottages and generally getting ready for the next season, they are all finished now and we have our first guests in this weekend.

All our animals have been out during the winter, they have a field shelter that they do choose to use in the worst of the weather.  Overall they seem to have coped very well, they have had ADE every month and due to the warm damp weather they have had a dose of Fasinex for Fluke.  We weigh the females and cria at least every month, more often in the winter and apart from one or two they have all maintained condition.  Carla are one and only import (96) has lost quite a bit of weight for no apparent reason, she has been wormed and fluked and seems to be holding her own now, she is feeding a cria and is (possibly)  pregnant, she is still stroppy which would suggest she is holding here pregnancy.  I think we will just have to keep an eye on her for a while.

The Llamas have survived the winter very well, they don't have a shelter but their very large field has lovely hedges to shelter behind which ever way the wind is blowing.  Polo has had the benefit of a pony coat which fits him well, he was shorn last summer and was lacking fleece, llamas don't seem to grow fleece as quick as Alpacas.  The coat came off yesterday after several weeks wear and we took all four llamas and Logan the Alpaca for a walk, thought they may need the practice and we have a appointment at the Hospital next week.  We often take them to our local hospital to meet the patients.

Today we decided would be the day to wean all of last years cria, so were over due and the last two were just 6 months.  One of the youngest 'Norma' is Carla's cria and here growth rate had dropped, it looked as if Carla's milk had nearly dried up, so we thought it was time she had a rest.  Usually we take the Mums away and leave the cria with the herd to reduce stress, but due to the wet conditions we hadn't moved the females around to release a paddock.  So the weanlings have been given the field shelter at the top of the boys paddock with a large pen at the front, they are not happy bunnies at the moment but this didn't put them off their food.  The mums on the other had don't seem bothered, most of them didn't even look up as we drove the babes out of the field and into the trailer for the short drive up the lane.  Once the babes have settled down I will start halter training them before they rejoin the herd.

Last week our Holiday cottages and Llama Walks were featured in the Daily Magazine as one of the top six short breaks with a difference in the UK.

A few other exciting things have happened over the winter, some may come to fruition some may not.  We had a visit from a photographer who was taking pictures for a catalogue which is being produced by a knitwear designer we have been working with for a couple of years.  Tomorrow I am going to London with a friend for a private viewing of the new collection, all very exciting but it will be a long day, one of the downsides of living in the SouthWest, it takes so long to get anywhere.

We are starting to look forward to this years births and planning our breeding program, we need to decide which animals to put up for sale, always a hard decision, but one which has to be made.

What I am really looking forward to is a nice warm spring followed by a proper summer, we can but hope.