Monday, 31 May 2010
We have been stewarding at the Northumberland County Show today. The alpaca entries were much smaller than in previous years so we actually managed to get alpacas into the main parade for the first time ever.
Despite it being a fantastically hot day the NEBAG stall sold plenty of our knitwear, wool and raw fleece.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Saturday, 29 May 2010
We have decided not to show there this year because of bio security issues, don't get me wrong they are doing a good job with increased bio security and spit screens, but we have made the decision not to go. Despite this we are happy to help and will be stewarding so it's still a really early start on Monday even though we don't have animals to get ready.
Friday, 28 May 2010
Despite Kate's usual unsociable behaviour she didn't seem too bothered by all the attention and as she did last year with Midnight Star, she ended up sitting down on the job.It is a healthy solid brown boy weighing in at 8.85kg, he is lovely and has his dad's facial features, I am hoping he will have his personality too. Last year Kate went a full 365 days however this year she was only 337 days which is early for us at Barnacre.
He was soon up on his feet and didn't have any problem with Kate's huge teats and is now happily running round the field.
Sorry for the poor quality of the last photo it's the only one I took that someone wasn't in front of him or he was still wet.
Hopefully Willow won't be too much longer as she is now at 353 days.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Mum and dad have arrived this evening for a few days, mum was struggling to identify many of the white girls now they have been sheared. Irraquoy was no problem though as she was having one of her mad half hours chasing a rabbit round the field - that girl is mad, she is almost 10 months pregnant but this didn't seem to bother her.
Lucia was happy to introduce herself and came bounding over with her tongue hanging out as usual. She is such a sweetie you just want to eat her.
Both Willow and Kate are still hanging on to their babies despite Kate having an udder that resembles that of a cow and Willows baby poking various limbs out of her side constantly.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Not only has the weather taken a u turn I am pleased to say that Alice has too. She now loves her baby so much she gets in a panic when he goes to far away from her and she is even talking to him now which she wouldn't do before.
When I weighed him this evening she got all possessive and came running to make sure he was ok which was great to see. He has put on a healthy 360gms today.
At the rate Lucia is putting on weigh she will be as big as last years weanlings before the end of the summer, she put on a whacking 600gms today!!!! Mary has absolutely masses of milk which is obviously doing her the world of good.
Lucia has definitely inherited the Mary mischief gene that her two previous cria, Urusla and Hortatio have. She is so friendly and constantly on the go, its amazing that she doesn't burn off all the goodness from the milk.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Having had everyone sheared just over a week ago I have been dying to get my hands on the bags, so far all we'd done was weigh it. We have slightly less fleece this year, 7kg's to be precise but that is really down to us selling 8 animals since we sheared last year and only having 5 youngsters from last year.
I record everything and like to see who's fleece weight is up and whose is down, it's all annualised too just so it is right. Our stud boy Legend of Spartacus cut the biggest weigh with Veruschka a very close second, they were actually the other way round last year. The two girls cutting the least fleece are the same as last year. I do find these sort of facts fascinating and it all helps when selecting their future matings.
Anyway, it think I have just about worked out who is being blended with who and what is being commercially processed and what I am going to spin (When I find the time is another matter entirely). Then there is those fleeces that I need to keep back for the Border Union composite show at Kelso in July not to mention any fleece shows that we are entering.
I now need to get on with skirting it all.....................................
Monday, 24 May 2010
Gabby has just ran off in search of the best shelter from the rain in their new field - they have got a field shelter in there, but it looks like she prefers the tree line as she hasn't ventured as far as the man made structure!
The babies are continuing to gain weight at a very impressive rate, in fact in three days Lucia has put on over a kilo and holds the record of biggest gain weight at day three of all of our Barnacre cria born to date!
Talking of weight gain I thought I would just share this picture of Chiquita with you that I took the other day. She is a only a small girl and as you can see she has a very large baby bulge already. She isn't actually due until July so I hope this baby doesn't get too big. Loki has been posturing to Mr Guinea the last few days, it is really quite funny to watch, bearing in mind Loki has been a bit of a wuss up until now. He stands at the fence looking all butch with his tail up flashing his rather large assets. I was planning on putting the boys back together once Hughie had fully heeled but I'm not so sure that will be possible now.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
For the first time in I don't know how long we went out last night, hence the lack of blog. What with one thing and another I ran out of time.
Today the girls have moved on to fresh grass, it is the first time they have been in the big field next to the house so they have had a great day exploring and stuffing as much grass as they possibly can into their mouths.
The easiest way to let them in was to take a few of the fence rails off (they were screwed on rather than nailed in readiness!). Ursula watched in anticipation and you would have been able to see she was the first one through - I caught their entry on camera but I can't get the thing to upload! I'll try again tomorrow.
Following the girls move I have cleaned their old field and this evening Paul has sprayed all the docks; they were beginning to take over. Hopefully this will sort them out.
Finally a cria update, Kazuo is now feeding purely from his mum and is gaining weight nicely, at 8 days old he has put on 1.5kg, despite his not so good start. Lucia is also doing well and as with Mary's previous two cria she is very friendly, no doubt their mischievous tendencies will follow in a few days
Friday, 21 May 2010
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
This afternoon there seems to have been some improvement with Alice allowing her cria to feed a little more. They still don't talk to each other but at least he seems to be getting a bit more milk, fingers crossed we are beginning to turn the corner. I will keep them shut in for another day and see how things go.
As I mentioned at the weekend we have begun mating. We kept our three intermediate girls empty over winter despite all three being big enough and showing plenty of interest in the boys. It made more sense starting breeding them in the spring rather than towards the end of our birthing schedule.
Following the birth of Gianmarco's Masterpiece's first cria at the weekend, who even at this early stage looks to have a very impressive fleece. It is all the way up his neck with lovely tight ringlets. We had decided that Gianmarco would cover Lualeni who herself has a very impressive fleece with a micron count of 14.8(AFD) 3.1SD 20.8CV & 0.4%>30μ she did very well at the 2009 BAS National Show.
Initially Lualeni was not quite sure what she was supposed to do, but as soon as she saw her two friends sitting she was soon down and had the longest mating of the three.
Princess Mallika, despite being the youngest (22 months) was clucking away to Legend before he'd got himself in the pen. We decided that Mallika needed more density and some character in her fleece and Legend has plenty of these attributes. Having won supreme Champion at the Scottish National Fleece show last year we are hoping that Legend will pass on his fantastic credentials.
Sienna, our Brown Champion from the 2009 Yorkshire show had a date with Golden Guinea as we are hoping to produce another high quality brown to add to the herd. Guinea doesn't usually mate for as long as the white boys but he was determined to keep going so he wasn't the first man standing. His quickest mating was an outside mating and only took 6 minutes with the resultant cria due any day now.
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Needless to say she went back into the shelter this afternoon and I have seen the little man have a little drink. He has actually had two bottled from me today though and I'm off out when I've finished this to see if he wants a bedtime drink before I hit the sack. I will keep trying, Jayne has kindly offered some homeopathy remedies which might be worth a try.
The girls have been sunbathing, they were all stretched out and I noticed the Kate has a fair bit of teat development already. She is at 328 days today, she went 365 last year but I can't see that happening this year.
The stud boys have moved on to fresh grass and Gianmarco soon realised that if he went to the top of the field he could see the girls and he got all excited which soon attracted Golden Guinea's attention. Guinea then proceeded to run up and down the fence line for the next half an hour posing!
Monday, 17 May 2010
He is certainly an opportunist and very persistent, ignoring his mums kicks he has been allowed short feeds throughout the day although Alice seems to only let him feed from one side.
It is a difficult call, I don't want to feed him as I want them to bond and him associate his mum with milk but on the other hand I need to make sure he is getting enough. He hasn't wanted a bottle all day but I have just been out to make sure he is ok and offer him some before I go to bed and he has taken 75ml so he was obviously a little hungry.
We weighed him again this evening and his weight is the same as yesterday so still up on his birth weight.
I am giving Alice Finadyne to assist with any discomfort following a difficult birth so I am hoping that this will help. I have used it in the past with good results although not following a difficult birth, thankfully I've not had one quite this bad before.
All the other expectant mum are looking good, I thought Molly may have been thinking about producing this morning as she'd been on her own and was getting very annoyed if anyone went near her. But by lunchtime she was back with the herd and seemed to have changed her mind!
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Unfortunately Alice is continuing to neglect her mothering duties, despite spending the night shut in the shelter with her new son. Which is the first Gianmarco's Masterpiece cria Rob, we are very pleased with him even at this early stage.
Whilst Paul has been here today we have been restraining Alice and I've been keeping hold of her legs so the cria can latch on. He is an opportunist with a great suck reflex, whilst I was distracting Alice early putting a head collar on, he managed to nip in and get a suck before she realised and sent him packing.
I will try using a towel tomorrow Jayne and see if that helps. She is still shut in with him in the hope that they bond. If anyone has any other suggestions please send them over! I am hoping that when the next girl gives birth Alice will see how it is supposed to be done.
We have yet to name the little chap, who was 9kg born and has miraculously managed to gain a little weight today and is now 9.1kg.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
We were supposed to be shearing this morning but with the rain shower yesterday and the damp night I did wander if the herd would be dry enough.
I was up at 5am and let the littlies out of their shelter to get a bit of breeze going through their fleeces after I had towelled them all slightly. I managed to delay James Dixon, our shearer, for an hour so they could dry out a little more.
The weanlings and the boys weren't too bad and by the time we were all set up they were dry, and once it was the turn of the girls they were fine too; with the exception of Irraquoy. As she does every year she managed to wee all over her fleece, despite us having the towel ready. In fact she went one better this year and did a number two as well.
About an hour after we had sheared Alice she showed signs of going in to labour and soon after there was a little nose poking out. Unfortunately the cria was stuck with one leg fully extended and the other only just poking out. Thankfully I attended claire Whiteheads birthing practical at the Futurity this year so I had a little more confidence at trying to correct things.
It was so tight and her contractions were so strong and close I struggled and came very close to calling the vet. I had to push the cria back in slightly to get enough room to get things into position, but I managed it in the end and he slid out nicely once I had corrected things.
Alice loves her baby dearly and is very protective of him, however, we seem to have an issue over feeding him - she won't let him do it. This has led to me having to milk Alice and give the poor little chap a bottle as she tries to kick him off when I try latching him on.
Here is a quick picture of Alice and her new son, who has yet to be named. I will give you more details tomorrow as I really do need to hit the sack, and there is still more to tell you.
We have also done a spot of mating, but again I will give you all the details tomorrow.
Friday, 14 May 2010
We are supposed to be shearing tomorrow however everyone is rather wet! It absolutely threw it down this evening and could I get everyone in on my own, could I heck as like.
The weanlings are now shut in and I have towelled them dry but the girls are out in the hope that they dry off a bit. If I shut them in their shelter there will be hell on, as a number of the heavily pregnant girls are extremely grumpy and hate anyone being in close proximity.
I can see it could be a very early morning with the hair drier out.
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Why does the grass always grow in the wrong place. Now the girls have moved up into their birthing paddocks the grass down the road has shot up and that behind the house is almost gone!
We have just cut one of the girls winter resting paddocks down the road so the youngsters can go on it once they have been sheared. I think the three trouble causing adolescent girls may join them for a little while to.
I have had an update on my latest batch of yarn which is being processed at Farlacey, it should be back in a couple of weeks which is good. I can't wait to see Chiquita's yarn in particular. Chiquita has an extremely fine bright fleece which is a lovely golden colour.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
The heavily pregnant girls continue to spend a lot of time sat down, Molly looks most uncomfortable when she is sat choosing to sit on her toes and hang her belly on the floor. She is now at 351 days and is actually much wider than she looks in this photo.
The adolescent girls, in particular Sienna and Mallika have been getting on everyone elses nerves again today chasing each other. It usually ends up in them barging into somebody. I was out with the camera this evening when they were at it again.
On your marks...................
Whose got who?!
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
The girls continue to hang on with legs crossed, no signs of any babies just yet. They are obviously waiting for the weather to warm back up again; so it could be some time!
Hughie was much happier this morning and has rejoined Loki. I have separated these two off for a little while as Hughie and Golden Guinea sometimes have a bit of argy bargey and I don't want his to damage his stitches, it all needs to be heeled before the flies arrive.
I have been doing a spot of spinning this afternoon, I started knitting a hat and once again have run out of spun yarn. I really must start and gauge this a bit better.
Monday, 10 May 2010
I walked him up from the field this morning and being the very friendly chap that he is the thought he was off to meet his public; he associates the head collar and halter with going out for the day!
My usual vet is off at the minute recovering from surgery so it was John Prescott senior who was doing the deed. I've got to admit I was nervous, Hughie is extra special, even more so having been told at birth that he was very unlikely to survive.
Anyway eventually he was sleepy and we were able to get him down, he was really fighting the drugs and ended up having to have a little more sedation. All went according to plan and it was over much quicker than I thought and he was soon up on his feet albeit looking rather drunk.
Here he is nursing his sore bits.
I will leave him next to the house until the morning just so I can keep a close eye on him then all being well he will be reunited with his mate Loki tomorrow.
Willow and Mary have reached the 11 month mark today of their pregnancies. Both girls are very large and waddling along slowly. At this rate they will beat Alice and Molly to birthing.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Still no sign of any babies, Alice is spending so much time sat down now she hardly moves other than to get to a fresh grass patch or the feed troughs.
The girls have been enjoying munching on the grass down the side of the house today, Alice managed to walk to a nice spot and sat down to graze. There has been a dandelion explosion down there so now they have chomped round them I should hopefully be able to dig them out a little easier tomorrow, however I expect the ground is like concrete.
We have been out with Alan (our farming friend) and his wife this afternoon and then stopped off on the was back for a lovely pub tea. Things took slightly longer than we'd anticipated so I ended up having to feed the lambs by torch light. Not that this bothered them in the slightest.
Saturday, 8 May 2010
It has been another lovely day here, pity it hasn't been so good down at the National Show at Newark and Notts showground. Despite us not showing this year my parents till went along to the show.
As one would expect entries were well down, but I think my parents enjoyed it none the less. They also picked me up a programme so I can see who had entered.
Paul & I have been busy getting on with outside jobs. all the fields have been cleaned and Paul has readied the new improvised gate for when the girls move into the next field. It means they wont have to go out onto our little lane now.
I was hoping that the girls would last out in their current field until they have been sheared but that is looking rather unlikely as they are polishing off their grass at a rapid rate. Give it a few more weeks and I'll be complaining because I've got to cut some grass!
Friday, 7 May 2010
Both girls are showing signs of late pregnancy, Alice is keeping herself to herself whilst Molly is paying regular trips to the poo pile - there obviously isn't much room in there!
The youngsters have been charging round tonight having a ball, it was getting the boys, who are in the field next door but one, excited too. Loki in particular wanted to play.
Just a quick lamb update, my two little orphans, Bertie and Basset as Becky christened them last weekend are doing well. The oldest lamb, Bruiser has lost the end of his tail this afternoon and the two girls look like theirs wont be hanging on for much longer.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
The grass has been crying out for some rain, hopefully it will now get a well needed growth spurt.
Alice continues to act a little restless, she is hiding her pregnancy very well but she is obviously uncomfortable. She hasn't bagged up yet so she will be little while before she births.
We have had a couple of important meetings today which I will share with you in due course. Just to say we are deep in thought here at the minute..................
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
They certainly came running as soon as they saw the water turn on. Geena loves to sit on the sprinkler and hog all the spray so I decided to put the spray on the end of the hose instead.
Geena was at the front of the queue and was loving the cool spray, Molly got her legs wet and then splashed about in the water before sitting in it all! Irraquoy and Oonagh were also sat in it.
Within minutes all the usual suspects were enjoying themselves, Geena, Irraquoy, Ursula, Molly, Alice, Angelus, Oonagh, Nefertiti, Mary and Veruschka. Unfortunately Molly followed her shower by a dust bath so is now brown!!
Alice has been showing signs of getting closer to birthing today, she has been very grumpy if anyone has got too close to her and she has been sitting most of the day and rolling a fair bit. She is at 347 days now, with Molly not far behind at 344.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Guinea did have a bit of a grunt at Legend of Spartacus at one point but that was it. Legend is very muscular to say the least and I'm sure he could pack a real punch if he wanted to, he is a powerhouse!
I have spent most of the day decorating, it takes so long when you have to work round the numerous alpaca checks and lamb bottle feeds. I have painted the utility which was showing all the signs of the visiting lambs during lambing.
It is once again fresh and clean and looks so much better, the thing is once you start one room the others look like they need doing too.
Paul and I were enjoying watching the lambs this evening playing on the stone wall in there paddock. They look like a real little brat pack with Ebony's huge tup lamb looking like a right little thug! I do enjoy to see their evening play.
Hopefully it won't be too long and I will have alpaca cria to watch too.
Monday, 3 May 2010
We have had a lovely weekend catching up and chatting over loads of idea's. I think Paul and Pete get worried when Becky and I get together; we can get a little carried away; I like to call it enthusiastic.
I have sent Becky home with some raw fleece, felt and a long list to work her way through. Hopefully I will have lots of new lines in the shop before too long.
After our visitors were safely on their way home, having seen no babies born this year, Paul and I cleaned the youngsters and the boys fields and then they were both moved on to fresh grass which went down very well indeed.
The boys however have been rather naughty, mainly Hughie and Guinea but even Loki has been getting involved. They are doing a bit too much fighting for my liking, usually over who gets the best spot in the fence line, Guinea is barging the others out of the way which ends up in a wrestling match.
I am keeping a close eye on things, I think I may end up separating Hughie and Guinea before things get too rough.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
The plan was to try and jump start it today however that didn't work either. So we now have the battery on charge overnight to see if that helps. If not it will be plan B, find a man that can!! Pete!!
Thankfully Becky & Pete are happy to get their hands dirty and have been helping around the place again today, feeding, raking and some fab ideas for something rather exciting we're working on.
I thought I would give them the evening off, however after a few glasses of wine ..........................
We are now making some felt balls, I've not managed to get Paul to give it a go but the rest of us are rolling.
I'm pleased to say that Peppers two lambs are doing just fine on their bottles, I actually let them back out into the field yesterday with their little play mates. The black one is crafty and has been steeling milk from Mia, she's very good and has let him too.
Mia has bags of milk so her lambs won't suffer. I'm hoping the white one will be able to pinch some too as he's the smallest of all the lambs. Becky is enjoying feeding the lambs, but for some reason isn't so keen to offer to do the 5am feed!
The alpaca girls moved onto fresh grass yesterday which went down a treat, so much so hardly anyone was interested in coming for any tea. Becky I and left Paul and Pete on the quad and lawn mower cleaning and cutting the old field whilst we went to help Alan with some lambs and a poor little calf which is being tube fed.
Last night we were out for a well earned meal and a pint, however by the time we got out of the restaurant it was already last orders so we came straight home and had a drink instead.