Helen Kendall Smith
The HOE Show is this week end folks if you want to catch up on Alpaca latest
new website and new show format !!!
well it was also the turn of the wood this week end with a couple of little jobs needing doing to ensure safe Alpaca Events this year!
the Jetty was in a poor state after the floods and needed total refurbishment:
and as he had saw and plane in his hand, hubby finally managed to finish my Alpaca wooden head. Bless.
You may recall when a neighbouring farms tree fell in the winter storms, I spotted that the rot in the neighbours tree looked like an Alpaca… well here it is varnished!
and the after…
you can sure see it now!
well more skirting fleeces in the rainy weather.
With the farm build and move, I had to store two years fleeces and do them in one lot
– it totalled some 45 fleeces to skirt and pick and numerous to keep and store for show – including the show winning ones and cria fleeces.
I had totally lost the will to live by the end of the week end but finally got the job done between husbandry jobs and paca birth watching!
and more mating – the boys were fab – halter training early really pays off!
well wow – that was a busy day. Haylage for Alpaca – that we cut and wrapped last year –
literally flew through the door (well gate) when we advertised it for sale last week.
I was inundated with calls as small bale haylage is scarce to find these days.
We opened a few to check and off it all went.
Folk came from as far as Newbury and Reading to get it…
and the last lot we delivered ourselves.
my faithful car again!
well we couldnt have a Happy Easter without a new Egg picture could we?
This is the most massive Muscovy egg ever!
well many of you will know that the Alpaca is an induced ovulator. This means that mating has to occur before an egg can be released for fertilisation. Which means in short that there is no “season” for mating as there is in other livestock, for example horses, sheep etc. No “tupping” season. No “cycle”. This means that the boys are always ready and so are the girls so they need to be seperated at all times to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
When the time comes, the Alpaca sings or “orgles” to the female and this can take from ten minutes to 45 minutes depending on the male.
It is not a quick process and the males need time to get everything functioning properly at the start of the season after a year off!.
Rarely will a male get a female to ovulate and this then fertilise resulting in a pregnancy on the first mating of the season.
The male has to be taken back to the female after 7 days to see if she needs remating. Some females can take numerous 7 day cycles of matings and checkings (called spitting off”) before they are pregnant and even then this needs confirmation by scanning.
Getting a whole herd of some 25 plus breeding females pregnant is a lengthy task and the boys need to be fit and keen.
The bad news is that Alpaca can reabsorb at any time in the cycle in the first three months or so and you will be back to the beginning with some females and have to start all over again. in the meantime the grass grows, cria are born and hay needs making!
this is the reason why you need to start mating early and often have to mate late into the season rather than leave a valuable female (asset) empty.
The longer a female is empty – the more it can effect their chances of getting pregnant again.
An occasional year off is okay with a late birthing but two years empty is never usually a good sign.
combine this with the fact that Alpaca gestation is nearly a year (11.2 months) and that they can give birth up to 6 weeks early or late – there is no time to lose and no “birthing season” – ever!
now then – last year the heatwave caused dire issues for all matings as the sperm count was effected by the heat and the animals just do not want to mate… this includes cows etc.
Alpaca struggle to mate in the heat in full fleece and slide off in the rain so… its up with the larks when dry and cool and the sooner the better!
I am to be seen bleary eyed most mornings as the sun comes up …
leading a keen male for a mating whereby the sun rises during…
I guess its romantic for them!
Spraying is something to be done annually and is a job to keep on top of…
Last year you may recall I had some help….
this year its “shank’s pony”… between other duties and birth watch….
only another ten fields to go!
An excerpt from Practical Sheep, Goats & Alpacas Magazine Spring 2014
well we have spent the entire week end working flat out as usual.
with toenails, bodyscoring, barn clearing, spraying,
field shelter clearing, mowing the orchard (at last it was dry enough to get on it) and poovering.
I ache in parts of me I did not know even existed – must be that “over 50 feeling hahahaha”
my hands became a little green from removing the wet grass that became stuck in the shafts
BUT I have discovered the most amazing UDDER cream which fixes everything from rough hands to rough Alpaca teats!
some of you know I had a quick trip to A & E with my left hand this week so “my man poover” did some for me.
well – you didnt REALLY expect him to let me catch him on camera did you?
Second time in 6.5 years of Alpaca breeding but I was really grateful for the help and my hand is much better thanks.
soon the fields will be dry enough to top where they are being rested for cria due soon.
some lovely folk came to buy some of the Muscovy and are keen to have Alpaca – off to Hereford some went too.
Have a great week ahead in the sunshine. No more ADE for six months lets hope!
well I did say in a previous blog that it was “waste not want not recycling here” and I meant it.
It took a while and a good few bags to get all the straw from the barns bagged up and cable tied- clear for shearing.
then they were loaded onto my ever faithful 17 year old car and taken to the stables to the rescue ponies who are always deep littered.
they were very grateful and its good to see the straw being “reused” rather than rotting on a muck heap to no ones real benefit!
total cleansing and disinfecting the barns is one of the “to do” jobs.
the ducks watched from the roof finding it all rather too much for 6 am on a Saturday morning!