Alpaca & Muscovy

Alpaca nursery

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

Alpaca 30 degrees UK!!

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.

Alpaca Fathers Day

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!!!

Alpaca Blog update

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.

Bath & West show this week

wow – the rain is taking its toll on the ground and several of the field shelter polytunnel type are flooded inside.

We use solid wooden ones with rubber matting in too but nevertheless there are several groups being barned each night at the moment to give the Alpacas feet a chance to dry out and prevent the “top down cold up” from the elements.

Bath and West show starts this week, usually a good Alpaca turn out and fund day to be had in half term.

funny to think that after GCSE’s the boys have finished until September!

South Cerney Duck Race today!!!

so much to catch up on, with the wet weather its been barning at night for a long time now with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees at night – no good for newly shorn Alpaca herds at all!

one of my friends had a serious heart issue and time stood still for a while but she is much better now thank goodness.

meantime, in a mixed day today – the boys have ventured out to support the Village Duck Race.

We have purchased tickets and some very very pink Fudge!

is it me or can one not get onto the BAS site today?


and an appropriate day for our ducklings to hatch is it not?

Many of you have read the article I have written in Smallholder this month and know that Muscovy are amazing broodies.

Nevertheless they are also very protective. go near if you dare…

If you know the duck, she may let you have a peek by raising a wing – trusty cameraman ready

… how new can this photo be!!

just hatched and already booked- bless!!!!

Alpaca shorn

wow – I cannot believe its been so long and so much has happened in such a short space of time.

We have newly shorn mascots now!

who are out walking the town hence the signs…

and we have been busy mating which since shearing has brought out the um, more creative positions!

and the good news is that 3 out of 5 mated earlier are spitting off still.

Alpaca simply gorgeous

well I promised you a photo of the simply gorgeous cria and here it is…

with the majority of the herd “soaking up the rays” –

it is the lull before the storm of the next birthings….


Alpaca overdue birth 2014!!!

just a quick blog as reallly tired after shearing Monday.

early hours of Monday – the lilting Titanic gave birth to a lovely fawn cria. the first of 2014 and only 4 plus weeks late – mother forgiven – its a girl!

obviously iphone photos so apologies for that but it was in the early hours and obviously barning all Alpaca with the cold nights as just shorn.

naturally Mum jumped the shearing queue and out she went whilst it was dry!

back soonest – hot weather coming!

Alpaca muck magnets

wow – what happened to the weather?

one minute torrential – the next T shirt basking.

The alpaca have been in and out and up and down the lanes …

more than a lift in the Eiffel Tower (no Joan Collins jokes here please its before the watershed)

sooo – with shearing looming next week, 90% of the Alpaca are now in the barns until THE day.

Few realise how THE day becomes the focus… the shearers are um, shall we say busy to say the least.

Well the ones I have met so far. Everything has to be ready,

Alpacas in, Alpacas dry, shearing pens ready,

holding pens ready, moving pens ready, fleece bags ready, labels ready,

help ready, tea and coffee ready, lunch ready… are you getting the gist?

this year we are doing things very differently and hopefully it will be “alright on the night”

few realise that shearing does not “just happen” but is a military operation!!

as for getting the Alpacas in for keeping them dry – well the haystacks I just monitored on the CCTV at 9pm –

um well least said soonest mended!

at least when the fleece is not wet you can pick out the straw and hay…

so to a Man Thing. do men listen? is it me?

i asked for two hooped hurdles,

he brought one.

I asked for the trogs to go down to the manure heap,

he took one and left the other.

I asked him to pop out for a HAM because i did not have time to defrost a gammon, soak it then cook it this week end.

In the full knowledge I have 5 in the freezer, what did he buy?

you guessed it … a gammon.

Is it me?

with GCSE’s started and the testosterone running riot – i do wonder!!

still, at least he tries and i am always grateful for any help at this time of year!

onwards and upwards…

and no, the Titanic is still lilting folks!!!!!