well we have been a bit busy have we not? I cannot believe it is already August 2014!!
Bang on schedule our new website was launched and it really is different is it not!?
Mitchell has been working away on the videos after his daytime job with me, after farming late into the nights to get it all done and it was only three weeks late in the end!
I have to say in the rain and birthing lately as an Alpaca farmer, my “entrepreneurial” side seems a lifetime away… but we have TEN – yes TEN lovely healthy girls so far and TWO boys so far which is a fantastic result. As always, there were some that simply did not hold over the winter and some that are struggling to get pregnant in the weather conditions but that’s Alpaca for you. Many before dawn matings in this heat and I joke not!
There is not one single Alpaca farmer I have spoken to this year who has not had issues as a result of the weather – either pregnancy losses or mortality rates post birthing and of course grass conditions at the moment in the heat wave are dire.
Shearers have been challenging for some – we have always been lucky so far with extremely reliable shearers but then we do shear early here because we have always had barns since 2008 in case of inclement weather.
Anyway, much needed rain falling as I type and the cria when I finally remembered to take a camera out were less than obliging as you will see…thank goodness in this heatwave we left half of each field untopped this year!
only one poser…
one secret squirrel…
one Grand National entrant…
one shady lady…
finally turning their backs…
and one at this point yet to make an entrance!
30 degree hot scorching weather, Pimms and a beach? nope, burnt grass patches and much water lugging afoot methinks!
We planned for the future when planting trees here at Clay Meadow and as the climate changes our livestock will be glad of the 1900 Hawthorn and Blackthorn growing, the 80 Field Maple trees, the 40 Willow and the 20 Scots pine for the shade and shielding of their fields and barns when they all grow!
Meantime, the orchard planted is growing nicely – just 90 fruit trees and some Walnut trees too…
view down the hill towards our entrance
view of the sign going up the hill towards the farmstead that we brought from the old farm…
and how the apples are growing just now…
and the plums too …
no walnuts yet though… will take a few years for those!
I see BAS are introducing a range of greys now as new colours but still no Appaloosa!
Many folk own Appaloosas but few would know unless it is inserted into the Registration name because it is not a recognised colour yet – keep smiling Appy breeders.
Now then… what four colours might these be?
well now that is a Rose Grey, a fawn, a brown and…
the spot might give it away?!!!
dont forget it is the colour at the skin not the outside that dictates your real Alpaca colour!
Hot Fuzz Village moment again!
wow we have been so busy and had so many cria born, I cannot believe it has been so long since my last blog.
To finish that story off, well we never did find out what it was about …
but the very next day I passed through it again and there were more… they were breeding!
inspirational or freaky – you choose. back shortly with cria news.
well with Mitchell a budding Film Director and me an improvised Production Manager
if only in name (read taxi and sandwich maker) he had to be out early to start filming…
we drove through a village I have not been through in many years indeed and it was quite a shock I can tell you.
It is a little village with a road narrowing and without warning we were suddenly passing these…
and we could see no explanation whatsoever for them… now take a closer look …
I am sure it is some wonderful village competition but it was quite “scary” for scarecrows!!
In our last blog – sorry for the gaps but the Alpaca SCBU has been pretty active I said ” and watch this space for a photo of the first cria from our stunning Kensmyth Legend who is the son of a daughter of Peruvian Caesar …”
well here he is and I quote…
“one instinctively knows when something is right….”
our first cria from Legend…
wow – this is just a quickie as the nursery of premmie cria is filling rather rapidly.
We had two born last monday and two more premmies yesterday – one at 310 days.
Again Emily was on hand to assist through it all, we nearly lost the mother to a long drawn out birth in the heat but I managed to save both for the time being.
not out of the woods by a long chalk on the smallest born monday and time will tell on yesterdays… but fingers crossed and this one who is simply gorgeous!
this is the first cria born to Kensmyth Bequest who is sired by EPC Cambridge Navigator, who sold for some mere £75,000.00.
This is a strong healthy boy with a fleece that is out of this world. Destined for a superb stud male.
“Navigator was the undefeated supreme champion of the UK 2009 show season winning Nationals,Royal Bath and West and the biggest show that year the SWAG show.
Navigators sire is EP Cambridge Spartacus, one of our most decorated Australian stud sires who’s progeny have dominated at shows through out the world including a number of National Australian Champions.” Cathy Lloyd, EPC
Kensmyth Bequest mated our girls last year and so far born – conformation, temperament and fleeces to match. wow!
the others are doing well but for those who understand Alpaca premmies, there’s bottle feeding, coating, uncoating, weather watching, milking the mother and a whole host of baby care additional tasks in just keeping them alive.
so sad to read on other Alpaca blogs of deaths of premmies –
the changing climate seems to be bringing more and more premature cria and dysmature cria as the months pass.
one has to look at the warm wet weather and flushes of spring grass that might encourage the females to birth early – only for the weather to change for the worse…
or the numerous other influences of climate change.
i have yet to speak to a single Alpaca stud who has not had a premature cria so far this year, if not several.
fingers crossed for them all
and watch this space for a photo of the first cria from our stunning Kensmyth Legend who is the son of a daughter of Peruvian Caesar
well I seem to be averaging 5-10 days between blogs due to being so frenetically busy!
The boys have finished GCSE’s now – phew – so just the interminable wait for the results in August.
It always seems nearly as bad as waiting on a cria.
we have been delighted with our results so far in two girls and two boys.
The two girls born some weeks ago now and doing well, the two boys both premature (very) and born yesterday.
the hot weather, despite field shelters, shade and water, takes its toll very quickly on newborns/young cria and with temperatures soaring to 30 degrees yesterday, we brought the mothers with cria into the barns to ensure no “baked babies.”
to help matters later, we had a downpour too.
yesterday we had a lovely girl from the village called Emily come to be introduced to Alpaca Farming and to help with the fleeces.
She had an absolute babtism of fire as we nearly lost one of the cria born yesterday and she was an absolute star. Well done Emily!
photos to follow once we are sure the cria are out of the woods but as for fleeces from our Stud boys – looking fab so far.
Happy Fathers Day to one and all.
well its the longest time I have not blogged for but boy have we been busy.
There is no point talking endlessly about Alpaca husbandry or waiting on late births because thats day to day !
So how about visitors to the farm falling in love with the Alpaca?
or a reminder that cria need water too…
or a warning sign on your gate…
or an American day for visitors where the whackiest was eaten…
or even whackier…
or best of all…
another beautiful black female arrival!!!
Wow – that is a long gap between blogs
We have been sooo busy with the weather throwing everything at us.
It is hammering it down as we speak and lucky we have Field Shelters in every field with hedges growing as quickly as they can!
when shorn some of the Alpaca look so different – this one almost looks like the rare vicuna…
Mucking out the field shelters and barns, topping fields, looking after machinery, sanding down and repainting on this topper!
Cria weighing, worming, you name it!
The little late cria has now been named… We usually have a “theme” each year for names, last year being the “Eighties” which included “Lickety Split, Hot Gossip, Talk of the Town, Tonka Toy you name it!
This year again we have a theme The luxury highly calorific cream pudding if you have not heard of it. Perfect and growing like mad, reaching 11kg within a week.
Meantime, what else have we done?
Oh, I managed a day off with hubby and sons in control and zoomed to see some friends in Cornwall; several weeks ago now.
Being that far down, it was a delight to shoot in to see Gary and Felicia at Popham.
Just in time to see one of their Appaloosa Alpacas being shorn. So cute.
Oh and the ducklings all hatched – least said soonest mended.
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