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Friday 30 April 2010


The weather has been lovely , and the alpaca have been making the most of the gorgeous sunshine . Today , I did some pregnancy testing , and got a couple of surprises - Riva isn't pregnant going by the joyous greeting she gave West when she saw him . That is a shame ,but hey ho . Artemis was very keen to make friends with West ( little hussy) as was Acantha and Veronica. I wasn't expecting any of them to be pregnant , so Veronica was the first to be mated this season. Kirsty did a runner as soon as she saw West , so I didn't get a chance for a close encounter - the jury is still out on her status.Then came the surprises, Hermione is now 4 and a half , and for 3 years we have been trying to mate her with no success. Today , she went berserk and turned into the resident spit fountain , I have my fingers firmly crossed, interestingly , just before I went outside I had been reading an article on an alpaca forum in the states which was specifically saying that big boned animals ( Hermione ) and those with accoyo( Hermione) take longer to mature and may not be mate able until 3 or 4 years old ! How spooky is that. Athena was the next surprise - the jury is still out , but it looks promising - she spat at West , and after much sniffing he didn't even try mating with her , can the males tell I wonder?

The chicks were due to hatch today, and sure enough last night I saw a few piping . By this morning we had 7 chicks, 6 were bouncing and one looked distinctly dodgy , but tonight we have 14 healthy chicks including the dodgy one . I am really pleased- 5 barnevelders, 5 buff Sussex and 4 heinz 57 from my own flock. Currently they are all flaked out in the incubator like a huge chick carpet.

Saturday 24 April 2010

chickens always make me smile

Today I went to collect eggs , and just had to laugh. One of the hens had very carefully collected my lemon shaped and coloured egg timer into the nest and was contentedly sitting on it ! Moments like that are just so few and far between , but make life a little bit lighter .

Tuesday 20 April 2010

What goes around.....

What a busy weekend . No paying guests so we took the opportunity to do some gardening - well rotivating actually. We ( DH & I ) worked all weekend rotavating and stone picking an area of approx.400m2, and boy did we find plenty of stones to pick ! It is back breaking , shoulder knackering work , followed by rolling and raking . Luckily it is all now done , and fertiliser has been applied , just waiting for the weekend to grass seed the whole lot - keeping the chickens and the children off should be fun!

Along with everything else , I am now on the look out for a puppy ! 2 litters look promising , but we are on a waiting list for both, I am after a black lab bitch , and the people on the list ahead of us cannot decide between black and yellow , so we are holding our breath and praying quietly that they prefer yellow!

The days are beautifully warm and the alpacas are sunbathing a lot which is lovely - get those Vit D levels up girls- and the hens are doing fine as are all the chicks , incubator still purring away nicely -D Day is the 1st May

Monday 12 April 2010

alpaca make over

The sunny weather just keeps on coming ! A week now and the days are just lovely , the alpacas are doing some sunbathing and so are the hens. It is lovely to see everybody laid out and relaxed after a tough winter.

Yesterday I moved the mums into a new field next to the weanlings and yearlings , in order to clean their field and let it grow for the births in June , needless to say that within a couple of hours 3 alpaca had made it back in with the mums , funnily enough not the ones I would have predicted , all the boy weanlings stayed away , and since they were all mummies boys I'm quite surprised , and Brizo didn't bother either , but her older sister did! Anyway , it became clear that keeping them in separate fields was a bit of a farce , so I let them all in together , amid much excitement ( well 2 mins worth) and then it all settled down and they got on with munching and sunbathing .
Today , we rounded them up and did a bit of toe nail trimming , and a bit of facial hair trimming , Brizo and Binky have fantastic fleeces , with great crimp and lustre and it grows all over their faces , so much so that their eyes were fast disappearing , which in a huacaya is a bit disconcerting ! Anyway I trimmed and trimmed and tried not to go over board , but I fear I didn't make much difference and we may have to repeat the performance tomorrow. I also did a bit of dagging and washing of hind legs for the same two ladies who have a habit of getting their legs gummed up with any twig or bramble within a 5 mile radius and then get into a horrid mess , so a good wash was called for after the worst was cut away - we don't want fly strike , that's for sure.

The school chicks are spending their first night out in a coop without a heat lamp , the day temps have been great and they are all fully feathered so it should be fine ........

Also , I had a bit of a shopping spree and am now the proud owner of ..... 4 cream legbar chicks - all hens ( they are autosexing ) and an incubator full of eggs ! 6 Barnevelders , 6 Buff Sussex , 3 Panteg khaki and 3 dark brown eggs of the Heinz 57 variety ! Hatching date is May bank holiday so fingers crossed .

I have my sister to stay for the rest of the week , and then next week I start halter training and spit-off's for real , with a dose of mating thrown in for good measure . Watch this space !

Friday 2 April 2010

After the snow ...

came the rain , inches of it all in a very short space of time , we had over 3 inches in about 2 hours today - the fields are water logged ,the animals bedraggled and at one point the stables were flooded! Marriage to a water engineer has its benefits , but sorting out the drains around the stables is clearly not one of them!

On the positive , I have made a great start in the poly tunnel ; today I planted little gems , radishes , spring onions , carrots , rocket and mixed lettuces. So our salad intake is about to go up and our waistlines down I hope , sadly it never works that way for me , maybe I should give up the chocolate and the full fat coke as well as eating salad? No , life is too short .

The cockerel with a penchant for beating us all up has finally met his maker , today he was dispatched by my generous neighbour , he knows that I cannot quite bring myself to do it , and with DH being a veggie ( of strict proportions ) -no hope there , so he does it for me , which is very kind and very helpful too. At least now the kids ( and visitors) can walk around without fear of an attack being launched at the back of their legs - more shocking than painful , but pretty irritating .

Fingers crossed tomorrow is sunny .