Helen Kendall Smith
well we have been busy with birthing and various husbandry issues and grass care but our Alpaca Walking has really taken off this year.
Mum wanted to see some of our first born Clay Meadow cria doing their jobs (ie yearling males) and so here we have a glimpse of the pleasure of Alpaca Walking at Kensmyth!!
I promised to come back to you on the Alpaca stand we took to the VWH event which was fab as usual. So lovely to be invited to display our lovely Alpaca stand and products. I even managed to catch up with my old Blacksmith… well he’s not old actually but its nearly 7 years we have been breeding Alpaca not horses now! Great fun had by all!
exhibiting in a stable was a first but the manger rings came in handy…
and Mitchell came too whilst hubby and Ollie looked after the pacas…
Mitchells Duck book display was fab… and the burgers were excellent – great turn out!
It is raining as I type which is really rather odd as it is 9 pm, pitch black and no rain forecast. zip in fact for tonight.
Nights are still warm and plenty of sunshine hopefully ahead for the rest of August. Would we be lucky enough to get an Indian Summer after the heatwave of this one I wonder?
In a previous blog, I mentioned that the true colour of an Alpaca is at the skin. I was quizzed on this lately by someone who did not know anything about Alpaca and I realised that it is quite difficult to explain “tipping” to someone not even remotely “farmy”.. so here goes.
When an Alpaca is born, it is released from the amniotic fluid which has surrounded it as it grew inside its Mother. This stains the outside of what then becomes the Alpaca Cria (baby) fleece.
This can be a totally different colour once the fleece is opened and therefore the colour first seen by the eyes may not necessarily be the colour underneath which is its “true” colour.
Soooo, in the Alpaca world, we open the fleece up to skin level and take the colour of the fleece inside at the skin to be the Alpaca colour.
Hopefully the following photograph clearly demonstrates that the colour brown at the tip of this fleece belies the fact that the Alpaca is Black.
The super Alpaca this came from is solid black and this was the cria fleece.
Well it has been a challenging week end for sure! Newborn cria requiring barning due to wet this time and somebody was Sweet Sixteen too!
I managed to sneak a few hours out with hubby in total control of the quadrupeds to attend an event with our Kensmyth Stand but more on that later.
Meantime we have taken the plunge to be Silver Sponsors for the British Alpaca Society National Show 2015. We have so much else afoot that we nearly didn’t but decided, as last year, it is such a worthy promotional event for the breed society it is a must!
well we have been a bit busy have we not? I cannot believe it is already August 2014!!
Bang on schedule our new website was launched and it really is different is it not!?
Mitchell has been working away on the videos after his daytime job with me, after farming late into the nights to get it all done and it was only three weeks late in the end!
I have to say in the rain and birthing lately as an Alpaca farmer, my “entrepreneurial” side seems a lifetime away… but we have TEN – yes TEN lovely healthy girls so far and TWO boys so far which is a fantastic result. As always, there were some that simply did not hold over the winter and some that are struggling to get pregnant in the weather conditions but that’s Alpaca for you. Many before dawn matings in this heat and I joke not!
There is not one single Alpaca farmer I have spoken to this year who has not had issues as a result of the weather – either pregnancy losses or mortality rates post birthing and of course grass conditions at the moment in the heat wave are dire.
Shearers have been challenging for some – we have always been lucky so far with extremely reliable shearers but then we do shear early here because we have always had barns since 2008 in case of inclement weather.
Anyway, much needed rain falling as I type and the cria when I finally remembered to take a camera out were less than obliging as you will see…thank goodness in this heatwave we left half of each field untopped this year!
only one poser…
one secret squirrel…
one Grand National entrant…
one shady lady…
finally turning their backs…
and one at this point yet to make an entrance!
30 degree hot scorching weather, Pimms and a beach? nope, burnt grass patches and much water lugging afoot methinks!
We planned for the future when planting trees here at Clay Meadow and as the climate changes our livestock will be glad of the 1900 Hawthorn and Blackthorn growing, the 80 Field Maple trees, the 40 Willow and the 20 Scots pine for the shade and shielding of their fields and barns when they all grow!
Meantime, the orchard planted is growing nicely – just 90 fruit trees and some Walnut trees too…
view down the hill towards our entrance
view of the sign going up the hill towards the farmstead that we brought from the old farm…
and how the apples are growing just now…
and the plums too …
no walnuts yet though… will take a few years for those!
I see BAS are introducing a range of greys now as new colours but still no Appaloosa!
Many folk own Appaloosas but few would know unless it is inserted into the Registration name because it is not a recognised colour yet – keep smiling Appy breeders.
Now then… what four colours might these be?
well now that is a Rose Grey, a fawn, a brown and…
the spot might give it away?!!!
dont forget it is the colour at the skin not the outside that dictates your real Alpaca colour!
Hot Fuzz Village moment again!
wow we have been so busy and had so many cria born, I cannot believe it has been so long since my last blog.
To finish that story off, well we never did find out what it was about …
but the very next day I passed through it again and there were more… they were breeding!
inspirational or freaky – you choose. back shortly with cria news.