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Wednesday 29 September 2010

Did I say autumn?

I meant winter ! We have a couple of mornings of hard frost and I mean completely white fields , alpacas huddled round hay feeders and chickens who won't come out - eerily reminiscent of last year , please not as bad again!

Conversely the days have been warm and sunny , is the grass still growing ? should we start Vit A D & E injections now or wait a month ? so many things to think about . Everyone is looking very well , and I am pleased with the overall herd health going into the winter . We have 3 pregnancies , and lots of girls who are desperate to be mated , as DH will testify , but I am holding off until the spring , to allow some a break , but mainly to align our breeding programme and get us back on track for spring cria in 2012 , it is just too cold up here on the hills to contemplate cria later than August at the very outside .

Soap box over !

Amazingly I lost 2 chickens on Sat , and neither to a fox - the trap continues to catch lots of things , mainly the dog and a few chickens , but no foxes - anyway , one died of old age , fair enough , the second was taken by a bird of prey ! I saw it happen and I was gobbsmacked!

Seriously thinking of buying more chickens , mainly because my egg customers are beginning to complain that my supply is not ample enough, I can see us being overrun soon.

Friday 24 September 2010

Autumn is definitely on its way

The mornings are getting darker and the air is certainly cooler , and we have rain - autumn is here.

The alpaca have started cuing up at the gate in the morning to get their hard food ration , so the grass is obviously not as good as it was . In the summer they really couldn't care about hard feed and sometimes didn't bother to eat it , but now they are beginning to pow-wow around the hay feeders and wait for their morning rations! The cria are looking very good and growing well , Cressida's fleece is amazing and Calpurnia is also showing a great deal of promise , I cant wait for shearing next year - cos it will hopefully be hot again - how quickly the memories of summer fade .

Riva shows no more signs of delivering a cria , so I think we can conclude that she is not pregnant , another week and she will be sold I hope - unless she comes up with another spanner in the works - maybe she just doesn't want to leave us?

Last weekend was spent trimming trees and trying to get some of the garden hedges back under control .Some of them have not been touched for years , maybe even decades , but the time has come to get some light into parts of the garden that have become dark and a bit dank . DH has broken his chainsaw , so proceedings were slow and much sorer the next morning! but we do have a bit of light and firewood .

The tiny chicks are growing well , the adults have nearly finished moulting and I am waiting avidly for my cream legbars to start laying .

Thursday 16 September 2010

The sun is shinning.....

the grass is still growing and everybody is pretty chilled .

We have completed a 5 day course of worming with the alpaca, this was a drench and its fair to say that DH and I are now fully wormed as well , so much came back at us one way or another! DH got a severe headbutt , and in a man sort of way insisted his jaw was broken - but it hasn't stopped him talking ( read complaining) so it can't be so bad. Every evening of the worming bought new amusement ( for me) , a different member of the herd played up each day , either sitting and then standing suddenly , or screaming and head jerking. The only member of the team who was consistent was Artemis , she spent all her time after her worming leaning against DH , sometimes this was a help , but mainly it was a hindrance .Artemis is desperate to be mated , and she has decided that DH is the man for the job!! Now that they are all wormed they have been moved to clean fresh pasture , and the summer fileds are going to be left until the spring , to make sure that the frost gets to them and cleans it all up . I am desperate to get out and top off , harrow and generally get ready for winter , but until today the weather has been very wet.

Riva continues to keep us guessing , but I really cannot believe that she is pregnant , she would be close to 12 months and 1 week , not impossible I know , but pretty unlikely. She has until the end of the month , and then she goes to her original purchaser , who has waited very patiently to see what is what. The only thing confusing me still is the inflated udder, it doesn't look as full as it did , but is still more than before . Any ideas anyone ?

The baby chicks are now outside in a coop full time , and are being allowed to range freely with the rest of the flock , they look so sweet.

This weekend sees a clear out of the polytunnel , time allowing , and some new winter cabbages and sprouting broccoli and parsnips to go in , maybe some onions!

Sunday 5 September 2010


My posting has been a bit sporadic recently , and that is because it all feels a bit flat!

Currently , we have no great dramas( done it now!) and everything is plodding on nicely . Life is full of minor frustrations - Riva has still not produced , and I am beginning to think she has had a phantom pregnancy, I am struggling to find a buyer for bulk alpaca fleece , it's raining !

On the bright side , we have started a worming programme prior to putting the girls on their winter pasture , the hay is in and stored and we have plenty, the fox is not calling anymore - think it was run over! so nothing major , but just plodding . i could do with a lift- it all seems very dreary going into winter , and if we could at least determine Riva's status we could finalise a sale and put some money in the ' alpaca bank'.
Oh , and the cria are beautiful ! The two girls are showing great promise , with very highly crimped fleeces with fab lustre , Cassius is great too , but experience has taught me to wait for the first shearing before getting my hopes up too high ! as Bilbo has shown , he had a fab first fleece , but the second fleece is growing back with a distinct roan look to it , which is interesting but not quite what I was hoping for from a mid brown boy.

Sorry this is dreary , I will try to do better :)