Alpaca & Muscovy

Monthly Archives: May 2024

Alpaca birthing signs and Alpaca smile at Kensmyth Alpaca, Clay Meadow

In the alpaca world a pregnant alpaca is often referred to as having a “smile”. However, this should not be mistaken for the dropped belly of a fat alpaca or one who has had many cria already.

So what to look for as the gestation lengthens? The gestation is 11.5 months but the alpaca can give birth happily 4 weeks early and two months late. So some of the signs are often missed as you never know, even if keeping records on a previous breeder, what an alpaca will do.. that is the joy of them.

The female below is at 11.1 months of gestation in this photo but has previously gone well over 12 months! However, the “smile” is distinct even now..

Have a look at the maiden non pregnant fawn in the photo above to the right and you will see the straight belly as opposed to the “smile”

other signs to look for are the elongation of the vagina and wrinkly appearance as it all starts getting ready for action – the only question is when which is why you must be on site to oversee the birth..


Finally, as well as demeanour in the female herself, you can with the aid of a trusty mobile reverse the camera and look underneath to see what the udder is doing.. clearly no action here so far! In later stages the udder will be rounded and there will be wax globules blocking the teats to stop the loss of precious colostrum for the cria.

But wait – not all alpaca show any signs or some of the signs and milk may not come in until after the birth – that is alpaca for you!





Living with Anaphylaxis at Kensmyth Alpaca in the Cotswolds

Anaphylaxis is better known to folk for the extreme reactions to nuts due to its publicity.. however if you are allergic to the sting of bees or wasps, it is fatal. Carrying Epi pens is a routine everywhere (yes difficult at times on farm) and this only buys you time until the Ambulance gets there.

Ambulances bring and carry the additional Adrenalin you cannot legally carry around with you.. with Ambulance times changing so much and especially in the holiday season and Water Parks, it really is a lottery to know if one will get to you in time.

Thanks to my neighbour and local Paramedic and Ambulance from Cirencester, this time I was lucky yet again.. for the third time and fingers crossed for next time.

Funny how I have ridden all my life and farmed for most of it but always stung in the house!


Looking death in the eye yet again does make you count your blessings!

Shearing time at Clay Meadow, Kensmyth Alpaca in the Cotswolds

Shearing time is upon us again and I dread it really – moving all the hurdles around the farm and penning each group ready for shearing so that the shearers are not held up at all. Then the putting back into respective groups as each group is shorn and then praying that it is not too cold or wet for the following week.

We once sheared at the end of April and I vowed never again as we had to buy coats for all the alpaca but this year we were lucky and it stayed warm not only for the day but for the following weeks too.

Whilst the blanket of the fleece is critical from younger alpaca, the older alpaca fleece is not so critical to be kept so carefully when the alpaca is being shorn..

Car saga continues at Kensmyth Alpaca at Clay Meadow

Well regular readers will recall that my Landcruiser of the past 20 years had died, leaving me stranded and it took a while to replace her. Opting for the latest Mitsubishi Shogun Sport as her replacement, sadly of the five weeks that I had it, it spent two in the garage!

Least said soonest mended, we parted company and I rented a Honda for a short while whilst looking for a towing vehicle for the farm that I felt best suited our needs.

Well, many of the manufacturers have stopped making what I would call “farm cars” that genuinely tow, rather most would not tow the skin off a rice pudding!

I am very happy going back to an older version of the same vehicle, a 2014 Mitsubishi Shogun itself. She may not be trendy or have any mod cons to speak of but she will pass you broken down on the motorway with her diesel engine and maybe if asked nicely, tow you off!

Whilst the Shogun is no longer made at all. let alone in the UK, it is a suitable workhorse for the farms!

May Day at Kensmyth Alpaca in the Cotswolds

What better way to celebrate the first of May than a quick pub meal by the river? The Swan at Radcot has changed rather since we were there last but the views have not! Welcome May, please bring warmer weather.

Apparently there is live music on some nights but the burgers are fab