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Monday, 29 June 2009

Camping ??!

Yes , it's true I have been camping ! I know how hard it is to believe that , but I have . We ( en famillie) went camping with 2 other families to a great place near hundred house , the site itself was good and had nice ( is there really such a thing ) showers etc . and a stream for the kids and best of all .... a lake! Now I am not really that keen on the great outdoors and would prefer my creature comforts but I do like messing about on the water ( as the song says ) . Luckily , we had great weather and Hugh bought his Canadian canoe and a kayak , so we spent most of Sat pm boating and the children swam alot , so Wendy and Hugh swam alot too as the life guards , and I paddled up and down the lake ferrying a plethora of kids backwards and forwards , some helped with the paddling ( quite alot hindered) but we all had a great time and a touch of sunburn at the end - Wendy do you have a picture I can put up ? Thanks Hugh for a fab idea !

Alpaca shower

The alpaca are loving the hot weather - except for my remaining pregnant 2 , who are finding it tough I think , thank goodness they have been sheared . Yesterday I gave them all a shower and they loved it , first Veronica came over and stood whilst I sprayed her with the shower attachment of the hose , she didn't like the water on her face but reveled in being sprayed all over . Gradually all the others came over , some lay in the jets of water until thoroughly wet and others danced in and out . The cria were mystified initially , but soon got the hang of it and I think they enjoyed it since they haven't been sheared .
Today we had a repeat performance and I just loved watching them , they were so funny , I shall try and get a photo .

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The wanderer returns

I have been away for a few days in London . This was my old stamping ground before we moved to the country and I have to admit , that despite all the beauty surrounding us , I do sometimes crave the bright lights and hustle and bustle of the city. So 3 clear days steaming up and down the Kings Road , meeting old friends and being indulged was bliss . I met some really interesting and high powered people( luckily they were both or it would have been a tad dull ) and living the life of a ' lady who lunches ' - facials in Peter Jones , sushi , dinners out and general high living , how lucky can you be ?!

Well , now I am home again , and I am stunned to see how much has changed in 4 days - the cria are bigger and livelier , the grass is looking lush , the boys are relaxed ( alpaca boys ) and my family are all alive ( pretty much !) . But most astounding of all is the poly tunnel - we had our first feast of purple french beans tonight and it was fantastic , we also had lettuce leaves which DH liked so much he had a lettuce sandwich to go with his lettuce leaves! Everything has shot up , rows of glossy lettuce and courgettes which are flowering madly , purple beetroot peeping through - it is truly awe inspiring . I am so proud .
Tomorrow I finish poo picking the birthing field , to give it a good rest before a couple of later due mums are ensconced , Oh , the roof is very nearly on the house , slates and all !

Ah ! such contentment . The calm before the ( school fair ) storm !

Saturday, 20 June 2009

what a busy week !!

Our cria are all doing well , thank god ! and everybody is looking well .

On Tuesday I got the chance to go and see 'Take That ' in concert on Wednesday night - never really been much of a fan ( Thought that Ronan Keating was in the band) , but I have to say it was a stunning show - slightly ridiculous to be watching grown men in silver jumpsuits , but still a fab show and a very late night .
Wednesday saw Teifi Magic out on the road for some mobile mating - not a great success , he was so stressed by being in new surroundings he was barely able to perform , so I ended up bringing 2 girls back for mating here . On his home turf it was a different story - keen as mustard . One girl was equally keen - fingers crossed - and the other wouldn't sit for very long - who knows ! All in all a very time consuming adventure , but soon I am off to London for a few days R&R with my oldest ( longest standing ) friend - hurray

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I think...

I saw the new cria feed this afternoon ! I am trying not to think about it too much , but I have decided to weigh him each morning to check his weight gain - Bijou's udder did not feel so full this morning which I hope is a good sign . When I looked out of the window today I think he was feeding , but he stopped almost as soon as I looked !
Otherwise , all doing well , I think they are pleased not to have their heavy fleeces on since the weather has been very warm for the last few days .

Monday, 15 June 2009

textbook baby?

Why don't I ever get the textbook baby?
Does anyone ?
The latest baby is giving me a small cause for concern - logic tells me that all must be OK , but I have only seen him feed twice , on both occasions with a bit of prompting from me - but he must be feeding , he runs around like a mad thing and would surely have run out of energy by now , but I would just like to see him feed !
He was up and looking for food really soon after birth , and I have seen him nosing around the milk bar , and he shows no signs of being hungry ...... he must just feed when I'm not looking . I want the textbook one who feeds whenever I look out of the window and gives me peace of mind !!!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Shearing and much more..

Today was shearing day - weather perfect ! First time we have ever sheared with the sun and not rain , in fact , despite shearing inside , we were a bit hot on occasion and the alpaca were definitely sweaty !
Last night we bought all the boys in from the back field , which was an operation in itself - 3 are halter trained , 3 may not / are not ! eventually I walked the halter boys round to the stables and then went and picked the rest up in the trailer - relatively straight forward . Today , bright and early , we got all the girls into close fields so that we could move everyone around with ease . I was so busy getting ready for the shearers to come that I forgot to check Bijou as I went to get fresh bread , and I forgot to check on the way home as well - my children will tell you that I ALWAYS stop for a couple of minutes at a certain spot on the drive up and check all the girls , not today ! Guess.... Bijou had her cria an hour before the shearers arrived ! We were all home and none of us saw it happen , I looked out of the bathroom window and saw a cria sitting by the fence , did a quick head count and realised it was new .
Rushed out and lo and behold a beautiful chocolate brown boy with dark points - spitting image of Cerys ' cria ! Actually , he is a shade darker but soooo similar it is going to make life tricky. Mum and baby doing fine , as always I stress about feeding , but luckily the shearers arrived and I was busy for the next 3 hours and had to leave everyone to their own devices . Shearing itself went very well , we managed to move all the animals around at lightening speed and even the shearers said it was one of the smoothest operations they had seen so far this year ! We had the usual screamers and spitters , but everybody is now in their summer outfits and boy, do they look different . Cria are slightly confused at the change in mum , but they are all with the right mum , so ...
DH marvelled at the work involved - he has never seen shearing before , was very impressed with the angle grinder used to trim teeth ( now wishes he'd asked to have a go ) and helped move animals and pull ropes . DS#4 held bags open for fleeces to go into and kept up a non-stop line of inane chatter , interspersed with trips to climb a tree , no time for trips to casualty so we all just let him get on with it .

After the shearing team had departed , we did a couple of spit-offs and a mating ( everyone was here so it seemed sensible ), put them all back in the right fields and finally painted the chicken house blue - I have no idea why , but it seemed like a good idea at the time , all this and the shearing didn't start until after midday! Frankly , pooped now and off to bed !

this is the latest cria
and here is Bilbo , actually the picture below on the previous blog is better show of his true colour , they are very similar indeed

Friday, 12 June 2009

By George , she's got it !

At last , Cerys ' maternal instinct has surfaced and she is proving to be the good mum I knew she could be . A couple of days in a stable with her cria and the bond is cemented , this morning I let the pair of them out to graze with the others , I separated off the bulk of the herd and just let Kirsty and Brizo for them to play with and so far Cerys is being the ideal mum . She is clucking to her cria and was very concerned when he fell over after a very fast circuit of the field which saw him trip- she ran straight over to check . I have seen him feeding loads , and I think we might re-name him, he is so pretty that I think he might be Beau instead . I am inspired by my friend Sue , whose alpacas all have fantastic names , she says they name themselves ... I think I might try that !

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The boys are here

Very exciting - all the new boys who I am borrowing or partly own have arrived today - well actually I collected them . I had a great trip down to collect them , and was there by 10.15 , I had a couple of minor panics when I thought I must be lost ( having decided not to take a map - I know the way !!) and a stop at the Co-op for sweets , muffins and crisps - no road trip is complete without snacks . Anyway , a welcome cuppa awaited me and I had a chance to catch up on alpaca news before loading Teifi Magic , Teifi Dreamcatcher and Teifi Mischief and heading home . We made good time , despite me having to contend with putting the car in and out of 4 wheel drive ( how confusing ) and got back in time for me to put the boys into the field ( a masterpiece of trailer reversing if ever I saw one , and with the army watching ) and off to collect the kids from school .

The boys seemed delighted to be in the field and set to straight away rolling and stuffing their faces - our boys , Bozedown West , Boz Flag and Boz Bajaja spotted them and came over to say 'howdy' , all went pretty well - lots of sniffing and a bit of spitting when the sniffing got too invasive, but now they are all companionably munching - successful day in my book !

Hens can count !

I know this because my broody hen , who I turf off eggs every day , always goes back to sit on the nest with the most eggs in , even if I move the eggs around ! She is obviously very clever - I know 3 yr old humans who cannot count to 6 , what more can I say ?!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Maternal instinct ?

Bilbo seems to be doing well. Mid-morning the weather was beautiful and so I let Cerys and Bilbo out to join the rest of the expectant mums and new cria . Cerys was clearly delighted to be let out , so much so that she paid little heed to her son , who was engulfed by the herd and sniffed from head to toe . Bilbo took it in good spirit , Woden got very excited - leaping about and showing off . Cerys rolled in the dust bath , stretched in the sun and got on with some fresh grass - no concern for her son . By now I was concerned , I know that as a first time mum she may take a while to get into it , but I have never had a mum be this relaxed with a new born cria . Kirsty is a holy terror and will not let her baby more than 2 feet from her , and let anyone sniff - forget it ! She has relaxed a bit , now that Brizo is 3 weeks old .

Anyway , I left them alone for an hour or so , and Bilbo was clearly confused as to which black alpaca was mum , so i moved Cerys , Bilbo and Bijou into a side paddock ,adjacent to the main herd but so that they could only look over the fence , in the hopes that with fewer to choose from mother and son would bond a bit more . Whilst I didn't sit and watch for hours , I did keep sticking my head out of the window , and I never saw Bilbo feed . Cerys was much closer to him and he seemed quite content , not panicky or hungry at all , but still I was a bit concerned . So after 4 hours in the sun , it was back to the stables for mother and son - probably me being a bit neurotic , each birth I promise that I will trust to nature and leave well alone , but it is really hard not to try and make it all perfect ! Back in the stable I have seen him feeding , so I am happier .
One other small cause for concern is the fact that his front legs are a bit knock kneed, I am trusting that with a bit of excercise and some sun for Vit D they will straighten , but I shall keep an eye on him.

Tomorrow I am off to my dear friend Susan ,Alpacas of Wales , to collecet Teifi Magic , Teifi Dreamcatcher and Teifi Mischief , who will be staying over the summer - how exciting , just pray that Bijou doesn't choose tomorrow to deliver !

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Introducing Bilbo

Here he is at 6 hours old - what a beauty!
After a degree of indifference from his mother , Cerys , things are going well . Bilbo has been outside bumbling around in the sunshine , and after a long period when his mother wouldn't let him feed , things are now going well in that department too. Cerys was a bit surprised to find she had a cria , I think , and looked at him with that detached view you take to nieces and nephews , who however gorgeous can be handed back when the going gets tough !
Tonight , mother and son will spend inn the stable to try and cement the bond forming , and tomorrow they will be out in the field with the other s, it will be interesting to see Brizo's reaction to a new playmate .
p.s just realised how like his daddy , Bozedown West , he is !

First Panteg boy !

Hot off the press ! Well I guess the title is slightly misleading since we do have 4 of our own , but this morning at 8.50am Cerys delivered the first boy that Panteg alpacas has so far produced ( we have been lucky with girls so far) - he is a fab chocolate colour which is becoming lighter as he dries , but I am confident that he will be a mid or dark brown .

As I drove up the drive to take the kids to school I stopped in my usual spot at the gate just to check , and lo and behold Cerys was half way through delivering her first cria! Head and legs were clearly visible , so the kids went back into the house and I dashed for towels and other birthing bits and waited , Cerys looked slightly distressed so I had a closer inspection and he was a big cria ( as you would expect for 361days ) so I gave a gentle tug and nothing moved . Slight panic from me - I decided to call the vet ! By the time I had got the phone from the house and charged back up to the field things had moved on and suddenly - whoosh , there he was ! Beautiful ! Cerys was completely disinterested and looked slightly shocked - this is her first cria , so I think she was a bit surprised. She let me go up to her and stroke her chin , which is not something I am allowed to do very often , so with the help of the boys ( who were well and truly late for school by now ) we herded everyone down to the corral and separated Cerys off , letting the rest back up to the field, and leaving mother and baby to get to know each other . Once the placenta was delivered Cerys started to show a bit more interest - fingers crossed - her mum , Bijou , is excellent , so lets hope she will be the same , she has plenty of milk ....

Thursday, 4 June 2009


Just wanted to let you know how much I adore Athena . She is such a fab alpaca . Of the whole herd she is the one who will always come over to me and nuzzle my face , always 'clucking' at me , always pleased to see me - she is a joy. And the funny thing is , that of all the alpaca we have bred ourselves , she has had the least intervention Cerys was premature and I nursed her for 3 days getting up every 3 hours day and night to milk her mum and feed her until she was strong enough to stand and feed for herself - whilst quite friendly , she will sit next to me in the field , she will as soon kick me if she is in a bad mood = ingrate ! Artemis was fed by bottle after her mum had little milk , for 6 months I fed her 3 or 4 times a day rain or shine , now she skips around me but will never let me touch her- ingrate . I could go on , but you get the picture , Athena is just a very friendly and affectionate alpaca , and with a new half brother / sister due any day , and a new niece/nephew due any day I hope that they inherit some of her friendliness.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

missing eggs

Yesterday I was a little confused ( doesn't take much these days ) ! I had been watching one of my hens' who had been laying in the hedge , and gradually others had been following over a number of days . I knew where the nest was , and every couple of days I collected all the eggs - so far so good , until yesterday . I went to collect the eggs , there should have been 8 or so , but instead there was 1. I looked around , but could find no trace , so I concluded that a magpie or crow had also found the nest .

Today , I went to the nest and caught the culprit in the act - one of my warrens was chomping her way through the eggs !! Now I have a problem - once an egg eater always an egg eater , I shall have to confine everyone to barracks until I solve the problem!