Alpaca & Muscovy

Monthly Archives: January 2018

January 2018 leaving us like a lions roar, Kensmyth, Clay Meadow

I have to say that January intends leaving the UK like a Lions roar leaves its mark – the weather is challenging to say the least.

There is a song “if I knew you were coming I would have baked a cake” well, I don’t bake cakes, friends bring them round instead but I did find time to do one of my Farmers All pies recently.

You simply make short crust pastry and throw everything in that is warming when its cold!

Meantime with the gales having brought trees down, we have been busy as well as the all herd husbandry toenails and essential Vitamin ADE injections.

one supplier of ADE in the UK for livestock has ceased supplying to you have to order in advance. no problem with our Vets – George Vets at Malmesbury as they got them in for us in November 2017!

that’s reliability and organisation for you!



One Show introduce Llama and Alpaca together – well done

Congratulations to the One Show who introduced their Walking program by concluding the show with the appearance of an Alpaca and a Llama together. Looked like Vicki and Chris to me but did not hear an introduction so well done to them too. That is the names of the humans by the way.

This should also dispel the crazy theories about Llama being “hard nosed” and Alpaca softer – see the joke below – they are both equably calm and sensible characters with the right handling!

Kensmyth have been members of the British Llama Society for many years now and we love a Llama too!

How far we have come Kenmsyth, Clay Meadow, Cirencester

We have been looking back at some of the “best photos” that demonstrate issues you can have with Alpaca even when you think everything is all right… have a look at these and see if you can spot what is required?

  photo 1 – Show Alpaca requires Eyes trimming so she can see!

  photo 2 – barned cria due to premature birth needed carrying to field

photo 3 very premature cria needed coat and bottle feeding

How did you do?

Gloucestershire Police, Rural Crime Awareness Day, Cotswold Machinery, Jan 2018

It was with sadness we learnt of the inhumane killing of pregnant and new born Alpaca this week by human hand. One wonders what kind of mentality the person (s) who did it has. However, it is a well known national fact that at a different level – Rural Crime is on the increase.

Congratulations, thank you and well done to our Gloucestershire Police who had long ago teamed up with Countryside Groups and organised a Rural Crime Awareness Day for Gloucestershire area. Kensmyth, supporting their Force and keeping abreast of what is going on in the Countryside as well as innovative security ideas, attended. It was by invitation only to Gloucestershire Farmers and those living in Rural areas; as well as those involved (as we are) in Neighbourhood watch schemes helping others.

It was a challenging drive in the Snow to the location but my 22 year old 4 x 4 found her way through for me! It was extremely busy and with our Alpaca tucked up in Barns for what I think was the worst Sunday weather I have seen for ages, I popped out to bring myself up to speed on the “latest” in our County. I did not stay long but spoke to each stall holder individually and caught up with many Farming friends too  – here is what was on offer:

Rural crime awareness day, order of speakers.

09:40 Police Inspector for the Cotswolds, Karen Ellis.

09:50 PC Ashley Weller, Rural, Environmental and Wildlife Crime Officer.

10:00 Roshan Patel, Community Alert. A new police information sharing platform.

10:10 National Farmers Union.

10:30 British Deer Society, H.A.D, Humane Animal Dispatch and Firearms licensing.

10:50 NGO, National Game Keepers organisation.

11:10 Jackson’s Fencing, specialists in farm barriers and gates.

11:20 Lighthouse Security. Security products for remote locations, farm buildings and the use of drones.

11:35 Datatag, Cesar, agricultural machinery security specialist.

12:00 Cantrack, machinery and vehicle tracking.

12:20 Environment Agency. Fish poaching.

12:35 Barn Owl Trust and Raptors.

12:50 Night vision and thermal optics, display video and products on sale.

13:05 BASC, British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

13:25 Forestry Commission, Wild Boar issues, prevention and dealing with them.

13:30 PC Ashley Weller, rural crime update.

Consistent fleece & genetics – not so consistent weather, Clay Meadow

this past week and this week end has been challenging weather for any farmer – as the Cotswolds saw rain, snow and sunshine once again…

One of the wonders of Alpaca is that if you do the research at the outset, you can produce the results in your breeding – consistently. We aim for large, quality fleece producing Alpaca that are true to type. We are a closed herd, a closed farm open only by appointment to visitors and our Biosecurity is also consistent.

One thing that is often said is quite simply “superb healthy Alpaca, clean paddocks, excellent fencing” and I think this is best shown in our choice of genetics at the outset and staying with them – if it aint broke – why fix it!

Here is one of our stud boys in a field of others, looking at his son across in another paddock – Two peas in a Pod!

which is more than can be said for the weather!


Tekplas Barn partitions at Kensmyth, Clay Meadow come in handy again!

Many of our avid followers will recall that I designed some Barn partitions working with Tekplas which at readily moveable and can be shortened and lengthened easily as well as lowered or heightened – marvellous

They came in really handy this week with the changing weather and we were able to segregate the Alpaca for much needed dry nights.

and somebody I know decided when they should all be let out…

Clay Meadow means Clay ground at Kensmyth – mild January 2018

I always laugh inside when people, who have my address, ask what our ground is like. Meaning, is it Clay, Chalk, whatever – many do not realise that Clay Meadow the name is Clay by nature!

Much of the UK is Clay ground or a mix, only a few have free draining chalk but in reality, Clay ground is easy to work with so long as you understand how to manage and when to put in gate posts. Clay shrinks in summer when it dries out in hot weather and expands in winter when very wet.

It is that simple really, many get confused between the odd dip in the ground with a small puddle in very wet weather and “flooding.”

Clay drains as readily as the next “soil” type but more importantly does not erode. So it is far preferable for livestock such as Alpaca who do not poach the ground anyway due to their padded feet. We had Clay at our old farm and I would always choose something I know how to work with, given that we have farmed on Clay with Alpaca into our eleventh year and previously with horses also on Clay for decades previously!

Here at Kensmyth we are always doing Alpaca husbandry but also machinery work- in preparation  for the drier weather to come when we will be harrowing, natural fertilising and preparing the fields to produce their best for our livestock.

Rotational grazing is critical for Alpaca (and other livestock) and kempt topped fields with controlled buttercups/weeds that are well drained and aerated are key to their wellbeing. Alpaca “mothers to be” ie pregnant benefit greatly from good pasture in order to produce a higher milk yield for their cria (offspring). No grass – no milk, more bottle feeding.

Alpaca should, of course, have access to Hay all year round as well so keeping mould free, non damp hay is also essential. Fresh water access is key to milk production so troughs should be kept free flowing and clean at all times – winter freezes mean you have to lug the buckets daily!

Meantime – Barn stored over Winter, valuable machinery must have a Service and good greasing in preparation – in wet weather stay off the ground!


Social butterflies in Farming life, Kensmyth, Clay Meadow

I bumped into an old friend who I had not seen for some 15 years the other day and invited her back for a coffee to “my place”

We sat in discussion as old friends do (they do not hold back either) and she commented on my appearance as follows:

 Helen, you used to have such lovely long hair when you rode and bred ponies – why do you have it so short now?

Alpaca have peripheral vision, they see sideways, I replied, so long swinging ponytails of hair with coloured bands often can frighten them when handling if they swing or flick round.

 Helen, you used to have such lovely long fingernails when you rode and bred ponies – I was always amazed at how you never broke them – why are they so short now?

 So that I do not lacerate a uterus when assisting birthing I replied.

 But why do you not wear gloves, she asked?

 Because it is difficult to feel for a knee or a nose, when a leg is back with gloves on, I replied.

 Helen, you used to wear perfume and smell so lovely, now you, um smell different – why do you not wear perfume anymore?

 Alpaca get used to your smell, your natural smell. A different smell often makes them suspicious, for example a mother with a new born cria might spit at you if you wore perfume and smelt differently on that day and she would be being protective of anything new.  A male Alpaca might find the perfume smell exciting … Alpaca are very sensitive to smell.

 I am sure that many Hobby farmers find time for manicures, pedicures, hairdressers and Spas, I replied, but we are a full on working livestock farm with no time for such things – but I still scrub up well! She laughed.

 Helen, what did you do on Christmas Day, it was raining heavily most of that time, she asked.

 I did everything as usual, I replied, I got soaked about 3 – 4 times per day checking my livestock, putting out hay and feeding, I replied.

 Helen, I have just got back from my holiday, yours is 24/7 – my life is so different she said, struggling to find words.

 Let me show you my life in pictures and you can meet the Alpaca to help you out, I said…

 Here is your office                                                             Here is mine


Here is an example of your holiday – travel, packing, chaos, lost luggage, aircraft delays, language barriers, expensive … at the end of it you need to recover from the stress of it all.

 Here is mine


 My water sports…                                                            my ski-ing



You making new friends…

Me making new friends…


sometimes words are not enough…