Alpaca & Muscovy

Helen Kendall Smith

wet, wet, wet at Kensmyth Alpaca, Clay Meadow

well it has been wet lately and the “Clay” of Clay Meadow gives a clue as to our ground make up LOL. Being on a hill helps a little but it doesn’t stop the Farmer getting wet… such a great look isn’t it?

but hubby always comes up with the goods – bless – warming food pre Valentines to share!

Wonky carrots – such a missed trick for the supermarkets

well after the phone calls re the castration photos I have been asked if they are for sale a zillion times and the answer is still “jurys out” they are undergoing halter retraining whilst convalescing but as one cuts over 3.5 kg and the other 4kg and both are white, I really would prefer they join the Walking Team and I get to keep their fleeces for our products – best bloodlines produce best fleeces and castrates produce superb fleeces.

meantime (sorry Mum) Ollie and I found these amongst the carrot bags and it started me off again on the fact that the Supermarkets are missing such a marketing bonanza by not using genuinely wonky carrots – you couldn’t make these up if you tried LOL…


WARNING – Graphic Castration photos follow, Kensmyth Alpaca, Clay Meadow

WARNING – Graphic Castration photos follow – you have been warned 

Well for those of you who think of Alpaca and farming them as “cute and fluffy” creatures, this year I will enlighten you as to the hard life farming Alpaca (any livestock) is and the amount of dedication required.

Harsh weather is one thing but soon goes and you are left with mud and gloop in our clay pastures unless carefully maintained (as we do) … this means any livestock operated on needs barning to prevent infection. Tekplas partitions in our barns are moved around and are used continually here as easy wipe down.

The following photographs show different Alpaca being castrated in order to demonstrate how it is done and how they are not “lamb ringed” at birth, requiring an operation and sensitive care and handling by experienced owners at all times. afterwards the genital area will swell often giving the impression that the testicles are still in there but this swelling soon abates. what to watch for closely are signs of temperature, anaemia, not eating etc when antibiotics might then be needed – rear view of swelling shown below not graphic…

as photographer on standby on this occasion – my personal thanks to my son Ollie for holding the “cut standing” Alpaca and to Vets Chris Warren and Jonathan Cranston for a superb clean castration of these Alpaca.

WARNING – Graphic Castration photos follow  

Please note Kensmyth do not and will not castrate under 2 years old as this can prevent growth and maturity of Alpaca including bone development – so do not expect tiny testicles when you get to that part.

Cut standing:

the first incision is made carefully to remove the first testicle…

which is then dropped out in order to be cut off with clamping to prevent blood flow… then the second testicle is removed…

then the Alpaca is stitched up (the observant amongst you will notice different Alpaca each photo!)

and then the finished article – job done!


perfectly matched testicles taken from adult males.


Now if you want to see the difference between “cut standing” where the Alpaca is sedated with local anaesthetic and “dropped” see below. The cost is higher for “dropped” and as always a slight risk to the Alpaca for being “put under” so it is a matter of preference and facilities available really as the risk is so minimal. There can be complications in each case and recovery and aftercare to avoid infection is exactly the same “cut standing” or “dropped”

two Vets attend on each occasion and sterile conditions are required.



Jasmine Thompson – Like I’m gonna lose you Kensmyth, Cirencester

Due to the snow my husband was stuck away and couldn’t get back last week end but enjoyed minus 5 degrees where he was. During the week end I spoke to many clients, family and friends and I realised that whilst mine was safe where he was, for many their “special person” was never going to be with them again – so many accidents

with Sundown tonight I realised yet again that losing someone can be partners, lovers, friends, anyone, anytime, anyplace and as I weaned yet more livestock taking them from their Mothers today unforewarned I felt for them too remember Tomorrow is never promised – not for anyone.

I have a favourite, beautiful and haunting song by Jasmine Thompson called “Like I’m gonna lose you” – read the words and try to follow it every day and you wont go far wrong…

I found myself dreaming in silver and gold
Like a scene from a movie
That every broken heart knows
We were walking on moonlight
When you pulled me close
Split second and you disappeared
And I was all alone
I woke up in tears
With you by my side
A breath of relief
And I realized
No, we’re not promised tomorrow

So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna hold you
Like I’m saying goodbye
Wherever we’re standing
I won’t take you for granted
Cause we’ll never know when
When we’ll run out of time
So I’m gonna love you

[Verse 2]
In the blink of an eye
Just a whisper of smoke
You could lose everything
The truth is, you never know
So I’ll kiss you longer, baby
Any chance that I get

I’ll make the most of the minutes
And love with no regret
Let’s take our time to say what we want
Use what we got before it’s all gone
No, we’re not promised tomorrow


So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna hold you
Like I’m saying goodbye
Wherever we’re standing
I won’t take you for granted
Cause we’ll never know when
When we’ll run out of time
So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna love you
Like we’re saying goodbye
So I’m gonna love you
Like I’m gonna lose you
I’m gonna hold you
Like I’m saying goodbye
Wherever we’re standing
I won’t take you for granted
Cause we’ll never know when
When we’ll run out of time
So I’m gonna love you




too low for zero -5 at Kensmyth Alpaca, Clay Meadow

once again a big thank you to clients and friends (and mum) who called to check we were ok today – yup we hit the big freeze and the place is like a skating rink however beautiful it may be. if you are sitting drinking a cuppa in bed on a Sunday morning thinking you might fancy having a smallholding – the reality might hit you today of how you MUST love being outside in ALL weathers and ALL the time – mmm we’re loving it here though…

a reminder to all that Alpaca (and sheep and horses) need hay carrying out to them ALL the time…

and access to fresh water ALL the time…

even in conditions like this…

BUT here at Kensmyth we are ALL totally dedicated to the livestock… not the cuppa in bed!!

Snow February welcome at Kensmyth Alpaca, Clay Meadow

Well I just came in from the blizzard for a coffee to post this! hi to Irene, Mum and all the clients who have called to check how we are – many recalled we lost all water last year in the Beast from the East.

Schools cancelled? why? we used to walk… we were out from 5.30 am in the dark this morning and just come in!

Well the snow started last night and has carried on going on our Cotswolds hill – what better photos than the Blue Dawn skies and fields of bone dry Alpaca barned overnight – welcome February 2019 to real all weather folk!

X Rays quicker for horses than humans at Kensmyth, Clay Meadow

those of you who know how big 17.2 hh in a draught horse is especially when in foal, will know it simply isn’t funny when they slip in the field.

Many thanks to Alice my Vet from the George who rushed out to check that nothing disastrous had happened to our beloved mare due to the ice… on 3 legs – luckily it hadn’t !

amazing how I have to wait a week for X rays on my leg but I could see it immediately in less than a minute on her laptop with Alice on screen here!

what a marvellous Vet Alice is, thank you!

sweet things at Kensmyth, Clay Meadow

A visitor to Kensmyth recently gave me a little pot of something she thought I would like! Some of my readers know im not a chocolate lover but I do like Parma Violet creams – reminiscent of childhood parma violets – you know the ones you used to get in the little twisted plastic cylindrical twists like fizzlers and Love Hearts!

Well, imagine my surprise to receive this – thank you so much – they will last forever Fortnum and Mason no less!

so pleased you loved your visit to the Alpacas!