Helen Kendall Smith
Well its been a funny old past ten days with the weather. Frost, ice, rain and then very mild again. Hay is being eaten now despite the grass thinking about replenishing itself. Lovely to see another Alpaca farm up North working with disabilities on Countryfile last Sunday.
Anyway, I finally managed to put together a few pictures of the area around us, some amazing sights and historic buildings.
South Cerney is so versatile and for a village has every amenity you could want from Dentist and Doctor to Restaurants to Entertainment, with its own Spar and Post Office.
Do sneak a peak at the link: http://www.kensmyth.com/south-cerney/ on this site.
it is on the Homepage under (would you believe) South Cerney.
I could not take photos of everything as Time and Tide wait for no man but also some lovely churches and buildings were missed out as they just had too many people in front of them when I was trying to take the photos. I did get some funny looks I can tell you.
Tourism in the Cotswolds is expanding rapidly but Agriculture is critical and coming back!
We are very proud to be the Alpaca farm on the entrance to the village.
One of the areas Iconic features to guide you to our stud is the famous Tower House with its underground living and swimming pool that cannot be seen from the road but was featured when it came on the market some years back. Simply stunning.
The old Canal Lock keepers house goes to Auction shortly and that too is an Iconic historic building of this area – Lock House.
Siddington church is simply stunning and at night is lit up – do take a look if you are in the area.
I keep saying how time flies but it really does. hectic with weather cold and transporting water always an issue with frozen pipes but the Alpaca are loving the cold.
Innovative creations for when the ground gets mucky – no need to put down stone – just move these feeders around!
sun shining brightly but week ahead parky.
Time for ADE gallops round along with toenails that just keep growing.
BAS National soon and first cria due just after, so exciting.
Well it is February tomorrow which is pretty amazing really. Icy wind, cold and typical January which is hopefully going to go out like a lamb and bring us a super Spring instead of wet, we live in hope.
Anyway, a couple of amusing situations which tickled me this last few weeks…
The first is the cria weighing … we use a large weigh scale with open ended gating and the cria love it… so much they form a queue!
the second thing that tickled me, what with all the rumours being quashed as unfounded about Dobbies closing due to Tescos stores closing (Dobbies is a large Garden Centre in Cirencester owned by Tescos) in the local papers this week
– they obviously have more pressing issues to deal with….
Too busy as usual and loads to report on but no time to do it. Alpaca Walks are booking up fast and we even have one on Valentines Day – perhaps we shall wear red for a change and be all gooey. hmmm. hope the weather is at least dry.
well the recent cold brought some lovely photos – especially when the water pipe dripped all night…
and the Alpaca decided their shelters were just close enough to the hay troughs to venture out…
but enough of that romantic stuff – remember the cold?
Well its great for killing off some of those worms but not all of them so off to the Vet last week with the second lot of herd poo samples. Trusty car mine, don’t take passengers often…
Well, silence meant only one thing – busy busy busy. This time it was weaning. The snow of the week end merely meant resolve had to be hardened and getting the job done.
It is always a tricky situation to “get it right” when the birthing window is so varied. wean too young and the cria suffer, wean too late and the mother suffers. Never let it be forgotten that the Alpaca female carries for 11.5 months plus which covers the Winter harsh months AND will have a cria at foot for 6 months of that time too. So she is feeding herself in winter, her cria at foot and the unborn… Triple care and attention for all.
Anyway, I have been doing this all my life and in the dim recesses of my brain, I just recall the “milk letting down” feeling as a Mother… so my sympathy is with the Mothers who can hear (sound carries a long way in snow) the pitiful cries of the newly weaned cria… one always has to be careful that the Mothers do not get mastitis when their cria are weaned.
Onto new green paddocks and adventures with life off they go and in this particular case, investigating a clients scarf…
As the sensible amongst us increase feed ratios by need rather than greed in Alpaca, I am often shocked at the suggestions some make as to sugar content and sizing of pellets in some of major Alpaca manufactured feeds.
So I had a look for myself and was quite shocked to see that on several bags containing high sugar content and very large variants – there was zero warning for cria feeding.
whilst many feed soaked sugar beet in winter, especially to “poor doers” or aged Alpaca, one should be aware of choking hazards.
Alpaca can easily choke if fed too large a pellet. This is Adults let alone cria. Furthermore, large grain feeding can also cause abscess where it can get stuck in teeth/against jaw linings. it sounds bizarre but can, does and will happen.
you need to be diligent when looking at the size of the feed pellets you use. check on the bag, if in doubt check with the person you bought the Alpaca from, your vet or another Alpaca breeder. Too many heads are never enough when it comes to feeding.
if in doubt – leave it out!
the small pellet shown in the top right of the photo below is the size we feed to our Alpaca – the grains and larger pelleted food is a well known mix which I would never use.
see what you think…
well where did the first week in January disappear off to?
Was it the field maintenance or the poovering? Was it the toenail cutting or the ADE? Was it the back to school haircuts and dash out for geometry sets? Was it the tidying of the house and the taking down of the small Christmas trees?… and I do mean small…
twelfth night means everything Christmassy down and gone for another year…
Unfortunately the large white lighted tree that was in the garden is currently drying out in the barn so I hope that counts as down…