Monday, 29 April 2013

Exciting arrivals

Today has been a great day for special arrivals, this morning, shortly before 5am my first Shetland gave birth to a lovely pair of dark brown twin girls, they are the cuties things ever.  Sadly one of them didn't make it but the other is a lovely healthy little girl with a huge pair of lungs.

Then this afternoon we had another very special delivery, which came in the biggest waggon ever to make it up our little track! 

 When I saw the size of it I did phone down to say there was nowhere to turn round and there were a couple of sharp bends, but Bruce was confident he could make it safely, and so he did!

Inside were our two grey girls that we bought whilst at the Futurity, Elysian and Strawberry Hill.  They are fab and soon settled in to watching the numerous chickens who came to introduce themselves.
Both girls are from Nyetimber, who I see did very well at the Heart of England last weekend.  We are very excited about them and what they will produce for us, and I'm sure our Champion Grey Sunburst will be equally as excited when he casts his eyes on them!
Oh and I nearly forgot, happy birthday Paul!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Like buses & meet Jedward

I really really wanted to blog last night but it was one of those days, which turned into one of those evenings.

Mid morning when mum and I popped in for a cup of tea, having checked the goats on the way in, mum went out to tea dad I'd made him a coffee then came banging and shouting at the window 'she's had twins'! 

I went flying out the house, bare foot and ran across the yard.  In all the excitement it took me a couple of minutes to realise it wasn't actually Nutmeg it was Wren (who was about a third the size of Nutmeg) that has actually given birth.

Meet Wren, April (left) and Angel (right).

These girls are showing all the signs of prematurity and to be honest I was very worried about them, but after a phone call to the vets and lots of advice for fellow goatie people on Twitter the girls are getting stronger.
Angel who resembled splat the cat sprawled out is getting stronger and can get about a bit, she now only has one very weak leg so I'm hopeful we'll get there with her.
I soon realised that Whisper was also showing signs of labour and mid afternoon after a lot of noise out popped a billy kid.  He is much stronger and bigger than the girls and I've named him Ardent.

Then on my last sheep round before picking Paul up from the airport there was a ewe out in the field lambing with a very stuck lamb.  After trying to catch her single handed I called mum for back up; safely caught and lamb delivered she was back to the shed for the night to make sure she bonded with her huge tup lamb.  Only to find Mia, my pet sheep had escaped and was helping herself to the haylage!
Eventually I got away (rather late) to pick Paul up and left my poor mum with a rather long job list which she was still working her way through on our return.
Today was another big day, we were delivering Seymour, Leonidas and Olly-Impic to their new home with Pat & Eric, who were obviously very excited.
After a bit of gentle persuasion the boys were soon off exploring.

And came across Jedward!!!

I did manage to say bye, and didn't let anyone see the tear (I said bye to them alone yesterday), but they'll be back for shearing next month and they aren't far away so I'll be visiting; visitation rights are a must!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

One out, all out

No I'm not talking goats, there is no change in that department.  At this rate Nutmegs milk will have gone off by the time she births!

With the temperatures warming and the grass starting to turn green if nothing else, I've finally decided that the girls should stay out over night.  I've been a real softie with them and kept putting it off and letting them come into the barn at night as they've been queuing up at the gate.

Last night they weren't so bothered so I thought unless it was raining tonight they would stay out, so they've all stayed out and seemed fine when I went out to check them with my torch!!

I thought after yesterdays shot from the sheep field you might like to get some idea of scale of the place, this photo was taken at the weekend from the Elsdon hill.

 The alpacas have one half of the bottom 100 acres and the sheep the other and the sheep get the top too.  If you click it should enlarge!  Here's a close up of the alpaca section.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Firstly a goat update - nothing!!  Absolutely nothing from Nutmeg yet, I've decided goats are as bad as alpacas for keeping their legs crossed.  How on earth Nutmeg is keeping things in is beyond me, things are so loose at the back end and her teats are so full of milk you'd think things would be falling out from both places!

Lambing is continuing to be slow, this morning we had a pair of tup lambs born, thankfully I was on hand to see as the second lamb was breach.  Had I not have been there I very much doubt he would have made it.

As it is both boys are up and about and exploring with mum, this ewe likes her food so the boys had to run to keep up at tea time.

The ewe lamb born on Friday is growing well, she's enjoying having a run and jump now and seems pleased to have a few playmates.

Whilst I was watching the twins being born earlier I took a long range shot of the weanlings field, I wonder if any of the new owners can spot their boys or girls?!

Monday, 22 April 2013

It's a girl thing

I'm in trouble again from Paul for not blogging for almost a week, he thinks I spend all day sat on my deckchair and all night on the phone to my mum.  I'm saying nothing!

Despite planning to get the goat kidding underway before lambing started the goats have other ideas, Nutmeg, who has been the size of a house for two weeks now still has her legs crossed.
And when a girl has an itch nothing is going to get in her way....

Spring arrived along with the swallows at the weekend, but it's back to cold and damp today!

We have now started lambing and so far it's been girls all round, hopefully the goats and alpacas will carry on in the same way, well sex wise anyway.  I'm hoping the circumstances will be different as there have been issues with all three births. 
This morning ewe and her ewe lamb are in the shed, mum has hardly any milk, the lamb is tiny and has a very weak knee joint (which in now in a splint).


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A wee bit windy!

The wind has been absolutely horrendous today, so much so when the girls went out this morning they ran about 50 yards up the track and turned back round and ran back on mass - they didn't fancy a windy day on the hill then!
I can't say as I blame them to be honest it was so bluster the hens were being blown all over the place and little Azrael was being pushed off course on his was to the field.  At least the littlies made it (Azrael is at the back with the coat on).
These three fluff balls, Plato, Palace & James were enjoying a good run round in the wind.

On my sheep rounds I was hanging on to the quad for dear life for fear of being blown off.  Thankfully no one decided it would be a good idea to lamb early and Nutmeg (goat) still has her legs crossed.  In fact I'm going to put my reputation on the line here and say I think Mia, my pet sheep will beat her and lamb first; so watch this space!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Do baby goats like sunshine? (Paul)

If so then we will all have a few more days to wait before our Angora goat kids arrive!

Nutmeg continues to look huge (sorry Nutmeg) and 2013 is not yet registering very well on the sunny scale.  Regular readers know we have a 9.6kw solar array on the alpaca building roof (enough to power 7 houses in full sunshine) and here's how the 2013 sunshine is looking against 2012 so far:

come on Mr Sunshine, show yourself!!!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Busy but no babies

I know I've been useless at trying to find the time to blog lately, but better late than never!

As always things have been busy here, Thursday we had visitors, Jan and April from Castleside Alpacas came so say hello and April wanted to meet the goats.  Unfortunately Nutmeg didn't, and still hasn't had her kids yet so there were no kids to see.  It's got to be next week; surely.

Lily was grateful of visitors, she always manages to steal the show, this time she managed to get April to feed her nice warm speedibeet from the bucket rather than having to share the troughs!

Saturday we had more visitors, Pat and Eric who take delivery of three boys very shortly wanted to come and learn how to give injections as we had some lambivac injections to give some of the pregnant girls and some boosters for others.
Eric got the stabbing jobs and Pat kept him right with the dose and clean needles.  Thanks for your help both of you and your boys say hello.
Saturday afternoon we were fencing ready for the arrival of the new grey girls, we run a strict quarantine regime here so we wanted another couple of paddocks ready.
Whilst Paul was doing a spot of harrowing I've been stapling the netting on.  Umm I get the manual jobs whilst Paul drives round on the quad!!
Then after the football, which I'm sure Jan and Phil would rather forget we went over to show them how to microchip and we were treated to a yummy quiche for tea.  Thank you!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Grey day

It was back to dull and damp again today so there wasn't much interest in going out this morning, I'm talking alpacas here not me!  I don't have much choice.
There has been no development on the goat front, Nutmeg is still looking fit to burst and very uncomfortable, but no kids yet.  We have visitors tomorrow hoping to see goat kids but I'm  not sure that Nutmeg is going to deliver!
On the subject of delivering, we had a delivery of feed this morning, and Lily was doing lots of posing.  She was gaining lots of admirers at the show at the weekend (where she won her class), here we are in the ring.  Thanks to Rebecca Kingwell at Anzac for the photo, Lily is looking much better than me it has to be said!
The greys are always the first ones to catch peoples eyes, both in the field and with our knitwear.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Goats are getting close.

After two sunny days and the hope that Spring was finally on the way I woke to a covering of snow this morning - not amused.

I can't believe how cold it is again, at the rate we are going it is going to be some time before there is any grass growing here.  The animals could really do with some nice Spring grass in their bellies.

Whilst on the subject of bellies I snapped a picture of Nutmeg, one of our angora goats today.  She is heavily pregnant and looking rather huge!!

The goats are due to start kidding any time after the 18th but looking at Nutmeg she'll be lucky to hang on that long.  I've never had goats before so this is a new experience for me, but I'm expecting that they'll be like the sheep.

Nutmeg already had a bag of milk and can't be bothered to do much, not that any of the goats have been venturing far lately, the slightest sign of wet weather and they'd rather share an inch square than go outside!!

If you look closely in the neighbouring pen you will see our little Shetland tup Galaxy, he has a fantastically fine fleece and has babies due from the end of next week also - busy, or should I say even busier times ahead!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

NWAG show

Yesterday was a very long day, we were over at Carlisle for the first ever NWAG show and we needed to be there before 8.  Before I could leave the farm I had all the animals to check, feed and water.  Anyone who knows Paul will know he's not a morning person so there was no point expecting or even hoping for any help from him when my alarm went off at 3.55am.  Thankfully mum was here so got up with me.
We had a lovely day catching up with friends and showing 4 of our female alpacas.  The show was well organised and the NWAG team should be very proud of their achievements, having organised shows in the past I know how much hard work goes in to making a show happen.
Three of our girls were juniors, (from the back) Gypsy, Lily and Ankhesenamun.  Lily was our first to go into the ring, she was a little star and certainly caught the eye of the judge Tim Hey.  She won 1st place, unfortunately there wasn't a grey female championship sash so she didn't get the opportunity to be a grey champion, but we'll happily take the 1st place for now!
Next up was the brown girls, Gypsy and Ankha.  Now Gypsy  has been a bit of a nightmare to halter train, in fact she has been on intensive twice daily training for well over a week to try and sort her out. I was rather worried about her making a show of herself, but seeing as both brown girls were in the same class I opted to take Ankha and let Paul have Gypsy.
Now at this point I will let Stuart (who incidentally was complaining earlier that I went to bed without blogging last night) take over the blog...

Two more rosette's, a second and a third; well done girls.

Our fourth and final entry was Meketaten, Ankha's full sister.  She's a pro in the show ring so just strut her stuff round the ring looking like she owned it!  Meketaten was awarded second place brown adult female.  Tim said it was hard to split one and two and it came down to fleece length, not that there was much in that either.  As the girl who came first was only just an adult on her second fleece and Meketaten is on her third it wasn't really a surprise.
All in all, four entries and four rosettes in a show with over 170 entries we're not complaining.
Finally I'd just like to than Jennifer at the Border Mill for the photo's and Stuart at Velvet Hall Alpacas for the photos and captions and I'm now off to bed! 

Monday, 1 April 2013

Roller coaster week

To say I've had a bad week would be an understand, following the passing of poor Smudge things just continued on a downward spiral.

I went into the shed one day to find poor Piccolina dead, she was fine 4 hours previously.  Piccolina was Chiquita's daughter and the finest of our 2011 cria measuring a fantastic 16 microns.  I was devastated, the postmortem showed she died of a perforated stomach ulcer.

Then on Good Friday morning I got up to find a very unhappy goat, Nettle (the leader of the gang).  She was in the corner with her head down and looking rather sorry for herself.  She had just under three weeks to go before her kids were due and she had milk coming, but didn't appear to be in labour.

She wasn't interested in breakfast, not even carrot.  Then one of the others (Juan, one of the young bucks) decided to knock her about a bit so I separated her off into her own pen.  She was straining but wasn't dilated; time to call the vet.

Out she came, she agreed she wasn't in labour.  Her gut wasn't working very well and she had bellyache.  After a muscle relaxant, some pain killers and antibiotics, after crying very loudly (!!) she seemed to pick up a bit and had some hay.

By tea time she seemed happier and we went out for a family meal with my parents, brother sister-in-law and niece Faith.

When I went out early Saturday morning she had managed to escape out of her pen but was slumped in a heap next to the bales of hay.  She wouldn't stand and was clearly in a lot of pain so we rushed her to the vets.  Sadly despite surgery we lost both Nettle and her two unborn kids three hours later.

I thought that was my three things and everything would improve.  How wrong was I.

This morning my neighbour who was either driving too fast or not paying attention when driving up our track managed to not only hit Morecombe, my pet lamb from last year, but drive over him with his horsebox.  Morecombe was the most friendly Blackie, who we'd only agreed this morning despite being a boy could live on the hill rather that going to the nasty place that the boys were destined for.

Things can only improve surely!

Not wanting to end on a sad note I thought I'd share some photo's taken today.

There's a couple of girls in this shot that some people will be interested in - Barbilla (brown top right) and Iolani (rolling around in the mud).