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Friday 29 October 2010

Thursday 28 October 2010


Having thought long and hard I have decided that the BAS board and I would not make comfortable bed fellows . Whilst the board works for alpaca owners , their ethos is a long way down the scale from mine , and I don't think that any of us would have enjoyed the experience!! Frankly , I have more positive things to put my energy into than fighting with a board who don't really want my opinions , and who I do not consider pro active enough in certain areas . Enough said .

Yesterday was a lovely day , beautiful sunshine and crisp and cool , perfect winter weather , so we took the boys out for the day to West Midland Safari park - fantastic , they provide free kennels so that you can take your dog ( just not round the safari) and a great fun fair , some rides made me so ill I had to stop going on them , but the boys loved it . Who needs disney when you have WMS?

The alpaca are happy with 'crisp and cool' , the grass is still holding out well , no wet muddy patches yet , and all quite happy. I must arrange for the vet to come and micro-chip this years cria - I just don't quite have the nerve to do it myself, and they need ear tagging as well. I ear tag the pigs quite happily by myself , but pacas are a different kettle of fish and I need to watch the experts before I try it myself . God knows what Cerys will make of ear tagging !

Monday 25 October 2010

Be careful what you wish for...

Having openly - to their faces - criticised the BAS board for their recent ( lack ) of handling of proposed new legislation to be brought in to Wales , and yes England too ( see the BAS website today) they have decided to invite me to join the board ! A case of keep your friends close..... We shall see how that will pan out , but the title refers to the board not me! :) I look forward to a long and productive time ahead , you have been warned!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

bTB and our community

As you are all aware bTB is a problem that the alpaca community is facing , largely for the first time , and we are all scared about the possibilities . Imagine my surprise then , to discover that some areas of the country are not offering support and camaraderie to the whole community - one of the things that I prize in the alpaca industry above other agricultural industries is the 'family feeling' , we all support and work together - but sadly I am wrong! I received a call to let me know that in the north it is being strongly suggested at group meetings , that purchasing alpacas from Wales and the South West is a very dangerous thing to do and should be avoided at all costs if at all possible ! the reason is that sadly all our animals are riddled with TB and the North does not want them . WELL , I have news for you , there is very little TB in Wales and the South West , we are just as conscientious as the north about bio-security , in fact maybe more so , because we do have the misfortune to live in an area of bTB - but the hot spots are defined by DEFRA relating to COWS not alpaca.

Lets start at the top :-

Many of us live in areas where cattle are tested at 12 monthly intervals - their TB status is very accurate , 48 mth testing leaves room for all sorts of things to be going on ( think about it if you live on the edge of a hot spot, but your cattle are only tested at 48 mth intervals!)
Our vets are very alert to TB - they test for it almost daily and see the symptoms regularly - who is better placed to spot it ?
We practice high levels of bio-security - no nose-to-nose contact with other animals , badger fencing, secure feed areas , quarantine areas for animals that are moved on to the farm etc etc . the list is long and arduous.
We run a higher number of closed herds .
The farms that have been under restriction in the last couple of years are wide spread in the UK , from Sussex to Wales , Cornwall to the north.

My point is this - it is a terrible disease and God knows that we do not want it , but we are all at risk , sensible precautions are just that , but they will not prevent the spread , and scare mongering is not only inaccurate but prevents people from doing the right thing if they have suspicions about their own animals . Whispering at meetings , encouraging people not to deal with us does nothing but spread lies and fear. It damages our businesses , and the whole alpaca community is lessened by such slurs.

What we need is education , which the Welsh Assembly Gov is taking seriously . Enlighten guidelines and restrictions , which the Welsh Assembly Gov. are assessing for use from Nov - watch out England , you will be next - read the information and the proposed restrictions and make positive changes , it may start in Wales but it will affect the whole country sure as eggs is eggs .

Finally , rant over , alpaca breeders should stick together - do not throw stones at those who have the horror of this disease to deal with, do not make it something to be ashamed of, treat others as you wish to be treated . And be warned in the North , one day it could be you, and you will want the best information and support around - that may come from Wales and the South West where we have had the misfortune to have had to deal with it first - we carve the way , support us don't ostracise us , cos' one day you 'll wish you hadn't

Monday 18 October 2010


to Lois , ,who has given me my first ever blog award , I feel really proud and a bit emotional! In the true spirit of blogging I will pass it on to blogs I read regularly and hope that they will do the same .

The rules that come with this award are:

Right click and grab the award for your site. Then post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers. Then contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen. So here goes , in no particular order.

Trauma Queen

Maggies Farm

Faites simple

Debbies alpaca blog

Westhill alpacas

Patou alpacas

Whispering acres

Coire alpacas

Thats my lot so far. Thank you all for your great blogs , full of laughter and tears and sometimes just quite ridiculous , keep blogging and pass it on !

Sunday 10 October 2010

Mixed emotions

Today I sold my first alpaca to somebody else!
I sold one of my suri girls - Bozedown Riva - and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the sale . On one hand I'm glad to have some cash coming in , on the other I love all my alpacas ( except Kirtsy at the moment) and it was a bit of a wrench to see her go . I'm sure that she will be loved and cared for , just not by me and that feels a bit odd . What will it be like when the children leave home ?

Saturday 9 October 2010

Diatomaceous earth

I think this stuff is great ! Recommended to me by another breeder , its uses seem to be wide and fantastic.

So far I use it in the alpaca hard feed and it seems to be keeping them all worm free according to the latest lab results - no chemicals , no resistance , a perfectly natural remedy .

Its second use for me is even more impressive - I use it in the chicken houses and it keeps the dreaded red mite at bay. We have fought long and hard to keep the mite away , and it has been a case of keeping it under manageable numbers rather than gone for good , but 3 weeks after putting diatomaceous earth in with their bedding there is not a mite to be found - fantastic!

It is fine like talcum powder , but made of fine crushed diatoms, which apparently have razor sharp edges for the mites and worms etc. which causes then to be sliced open and die - think thats right - but any way it works and it works very well - fab !

Friday 8 October 2010


That would be me then! For the first time ever , I was attacked by one of my alpacas today , and boy was it scary and I am now pretty shaken!

A kind lady who visits the herd regularly knocked on the door today and said she thought that there was something wrong with the alpacas, that one had something stuck round its neck . Sure enough Brizo had stuck her head through the arm of a garden chair ( don't ask how or where she got it from 'cos I don't know) but sure enough head through chair , and her mum was going berserk . Kirsty is not the calmest of animals at the best of times and is very cautious of human contact, but she was screaming at the chair and spitting , trying to trample it , and in the process freaking everyone else completely . Course of action was clear , but how to achieve it was not!

Kirsty managed to panic Brizo into putting first one leg and then the other through the chair so that she fell to the floor and couldn't get up . Cue me , who ran into the fray and tried to grab the chair , only to be spat at ( expected) , bitten and trampled myself . I know she was in a panic to protect her 1yr old daughter , but she was truly frightening . I have a huge bruise on my elbow where she bit me as I tried to defend myself , a hoof mark on my ribs where she jumped on me and I promise I won't be doing that again in a hurry.

In a nut shell , despite the onslaught , the chair was removed , Brizo has no broken bones and neither do I , but its safe to say we are all a bit shaken!

Thursday 7 October 2010


The alpacas are all well , and looking good for the winter . Of course the weather has been grim and they have got quite wet , but their fleeces are growing well , which is just as well since I hear whisperings that this winter could be just as tough as the last .....

But the excitement............ finally my fox trap has worked ! This morning we had a fox in the trap , not a puppy or a chicken , but a real live ( not any more) fox. The kids were slightly worrying thou - 2 wanted souvenirs to take into school , tails , paws etc , and the other 2 wanted to tame it as a chicken guard ! Surely they have been paying attention as to who has been killing our chickens ?! The alpacas showed a reasonable amount of interest , and the puppy was kept indoors until the fox could be removed - thanks Steve- but the chickens will be a little bit safer tonight , until the next time . But since we know it now works the trap has been reset and we are ready .

I have just added 4 more to my flock , a couple of warrens and a couple of bluebells , so egg production will increase hopefully .

ps. just looked out and the trap is working really well - just caught 2 chickens this time !