Alpaca & Muscovy

Helen Kendall Smith

Kensmyth Muscovy free range

Wow, September is almost gone. This week was manic following Newbury with two events on, scanning and an Event today at a Private School – more on that another day.

Meantime I have received a moan about the lack of Muscovy photos on the blog!

Here are some of the Muscovy enjoying the freedom of the grass in the orchard as usual but….

ducks on grass 1

hidden out of sight on the above photo – is their trusty guardian Spirit!

ducks on grass 2

Newbury Show 2014 exciting unique Kensmyth Stud new product launch

Well we have been busy here at Kensmyth in the dark and wee hours of the night busy creating our new unique product

– with hubby and son here to look after the Alpaca at home…

NEWBURY SHOW 2014 was the venue for the exciting product launch.

The product utilises the natural Alpaca Fleece and although easily copied, Kensmyth are the first Alpaca Stud to launch a complete kit like this using Natural Alpaca Fibre.

You can make “your own Alpaca picture” or your own Alpaca natural fleece necklace.

They flew off the stand!


kensmyth stand newbury 2014 activity pack 1 web


activity pack 2 web

We even had Help for Heroes visit the stand… not to mention  LLama lovely Judge Vicky. Fantastic!


help for heroes newbury stand 2014 web

vickki on stand

well we did say we had some exciting new products to launch and there is more and more to come!!

somethings going on around here…

Another blog without pictures, apologies but they will be worth waiting for.

our new product was launched today and met with great success I am happy to say.

very busy week end and week ahead with scanning – fingers crossed always but such a relief to be able to do it yourself on site.

pictures soon – promise!

meantime – can someone help the weathermen out? Apparently they all have access to the same satellite information.

just take a look at …

16th september 2014 b

versus and see what you think!!

16th september 2014 a


perhaps someone should tell them????


Carl Bard and September sunshine

Well where did that week go? We have been doing Alpaca husbandry, field topping, lambivac, chasing our tails and keeping on top of general maintenance and September is galloping by. We have so many events ahead and some exciting product launches too!

We have had some fantastic visitors and I have two offers on the one boy cria I do not want to sell – but he is something else and brave as a lion!


meantime I have been driving a loan car as mine is pretty sick… well she is 18 after all and done rather a lot of hard farm work. Here she is on the ramp having all the good bits done to go again for me!


and this week end brought thankfulness for foresight from Carl Bard – more next time on that…


and yes we have picked loads of blackberries this year too!

Alpaca cushion covers fly out of the door at first release!

well we have been really busy with visitors and selling Alpaca product since my last blog.

We released the cushion covers at an open day here and they literally flew out of the door bought in moments and one set for a special birthday!

See what you think and I shall be back soon with tales of my poorly Farm Car!






September scorcher

Well I don’t know about anyone else in the country but our little hill hit a whopping 27 degrees today.

Not bad for 9th September.

9th September?

Happy Birthday – you know who you are!


South Cerney Garden party September 6th 2014

Well time passes and folk think there is something wrong when one does not blog every day but when you work alone pretty much all of the time, it is not the first item on the list – sorry. I have a very long list and livestock always have first dibs! However, to catch up in reverse blogging since last time, no I did not go to the Alpaca Classic as we had been invited to attend the South Cerney Garden Party and what an event that was too. Thank you to Anne and David and all involved, I managed to catch up with most folk, we sold lots and loads of enquiries for Events and Alpaca Walking too. I even won some fab glasses and an hours Polo lesson in the Raffle – not sure when I will find time to take it up though…

The Alpaca stand looked great and the sun shone!

stand 1

First of all the Alpaca products and folk visiting…


whizzy photos from Mitchell much better than my iphone…


and the products…


and don’t forget the Muscovy…


I hope the South Cerney Playgroup enjoy the books…


lovely display Mitch – so Arty!









Early Acorn drop – poisonous to Alpaca and can choke cria – beware

I do not often blog without a photo but I have had quite a few emails in the last few days about folk experiencing  early Acorn falls.

Generally speaking Acorns fall late September through to November but as with many other things, its all happening early this year due to the warm weather. Folk are experiencing Acorns on the ground now and it is new acorns that are most toxic to all livestock, as they dry out and often burst, tannins are released and they are less toxic. Still a danger but less so as they are older and often removed by squirrels/mice by this time.

Whilst in a perfect world we do not really want Oak trees in livestock fields, they have many advantages in providing shelter from the elements too. We would always protect a tree rather than fell it and there are many ways of protecting livestock from access to eating acorns.

First of all, you can remove livestock from the field during this period and use it as a time to “rotate” your paddocks which is good pasture management ie rest that field. You can do this in a big field by erecting posts and a temporary fence between which is removed at a later time, when the acorns have been removed.

Alternatively, you can lay debris netting under the branches – obviously only viable in a small oak and not one of substantial size! – which collects the acorns which can be disposed of safely. not forgetting that they provide essential nutrients for other wildlife they could be “released” elsewhere away from your livestock for wildlife eg squirrels to eat.

alternatively you can use a paddock hoover to collect the acorns on a daily basis if the area is accessible.

If the oak belongs to someone else and it is only branches overhanging, then you can talk to the owner about cutting the branches down to remove the threat to your livestock which should not affect the tree if done when the sap is no longer rising. unfortunately this is after the acorn drop so if you haven’t thought about this yet – it is too late now to cut branches down this year.

of course there will be those amongst you who have Oak trees in their fields who have never experienced a problem and/or some Alpaca will eat a few to no effect. However, leaving them where Alpaca can access is not a sensible route as it is the “unknowledgeable cria” who usually fall victim by either eating young acorns when small or physically choking on them.

It is true that often older Alpaca will leave them alone but only if there is plenty of feed/grass/hay/other to eat and it is not a risk we would ever take or recommend.

Of course this is only my opinion and advice offered herein with best intentions.

I know many herds with Acorn trees in their fields who have never had a problem – they usually poover them up or keep the Alpaca out – but as always – prevention and being proactive is best!



September 1st 2014 Indian Summer ahead?


Well it is the first of September today and wow what a difference. yesterday was fantastic sunshine and today is drizzly rain. it is warm though and with the weathermen (what do they know) predicting and Indian Summer the log cabin will be super new ready for the winter. Farming is not just about the livestock – field maintenance, fencing maintenance and “house” maintenance too! Hubby donned some very attractive overalls and got on with it – no posh contractors here – just us!

see the before and after clearly… what a difference but pity about the smell!