Thursday 31 July 2008

Ovulation spit offs

This morning began with ovulation spit offs for Imala and Blossom, both girls were mated last week. So it was a little tease for poor Inca, I was slightly concerned that Imala was going to sit as she has been spending more time than I would have liked near Inca's fence. But nothing to worry about there, she wasn't happy with him in the pen and tried to escape, Blossom didn't even let me get within a few feet of her with him when she filled her cheeks with something very unpleasant!

Chiquita, our little dormouse was hanging round very hopefully. She still needs to double in size before any action in that department, although it doesn't stop her really trying and this morning she got poor Inca so excited he was making a bit of a fool of himself. In the end I had to drag (as she wouldn't move!) Chiquita away from him.

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Feeding lessons

My parents have come up to stay for a few days today which is nice, they'd not seen Princess Mallika yet so mum was armed with her camera. Which Imala enjoyed poking her nose into - she loves to check out cameras.

I have been giving mum lessons on how to feed Gaussian this afternoon. As I've said before he's hardly very cooperative! He must have known she was a novice because he feed quite well (for him) today. I'm trying to encourage him to eat supplement at the minute but he's not showing any interest.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Don't count your chickens

It started off very grey and misty this morning but once the mist lifted we had a glorious afternoon which the alpacas enjoyed sunbathing in whilst I cleared out their shelter. I had the usual helpers, Ursula and Horatio - Mary certainly produces very nosey mischievous offspring!

Gaussian's lunchtime feed went very well and he actually drank standing up with minimum restraint. I got all excited in the hope that we had turned the corner, but alas it was back to the wrestling again tonight. I really don't know what else to try with him. He is such a little monkey, a lovable one mind you.

At the rate of progress Princess Mallika will overtake him in the weight stakes by the end of the week as she is piling on the grams with Duchess's huge bag of milk. I wish I'd taken my camera out with me tonight because she was sharing kisses with her mum, it was so cute.

Monday 28 July 2008

Normal service returns

With Paul back at his paid work today it was back to doing things on my own again, which included trying to give Gaussian his bottle. Not an easy job when the little man thinks that he doesn't need it. I only managed a measly 40ml this morning and I think most of that went down me or the outside of Gaussians neck. By the time Paul got home I had managed to get a total of 105ml down him in some way, shape or form - not accounting for the covering I'd had!!

As I expected when I weighted him he had lost weight since yesterday. He is a nightmare to feed, pesky little chap. With Paul back this evening he was back to sitting on Pauls knee and being held and eventually took 245ml, thank goodness. I really don't know what to try with him next.

Aodhfin is also walking a bit stiffly on his back legs this evening, not sure what is going on there so I will have to keep an eye on him. He spends a lot of time chasing and play fighting with Barnaby so I'm not sure if he's pulls something. He has a great love of doing star jumps and twisting in the air.

Sunday 27 July 2008

Show sucess

Firstly let me apologise for the lack of blog last night. After a number of very early mornings, I was far too tired to turn on the computer, despite knowing (well hoping) that some of you would be wanting to know how we got on at the Border Union show at Kelso, in bonny Scotland.

Well, all went very well and the whole team came back the proud owners of ribbons, Loki managed two, he came first in his class and then went on to win Black Champion, so got to take part in the champions parade in the main arena with the other champions - see animals and owners alike looking very proud below!

My very special friend, and Loki's paddock mate, Hughie got third in his class and the girls did equally as well. Chiquita was awarded first place in her class, Oonagh second in hers and Ursula third in hers. A job well done team!!
Today has been spent catching up on some of the jobs that have been neglected over the past few days. There are just never enough hours in the day.
Paul is back to his paid job tomorrow, so it's back to being me doing all the alpaca jobs - poor Paul missing out on so much during the week.

Friday 25 July 2008

Guess how many hay bales are in the garage

It's quiz night (blame Paul), as those of you who read last nights will know, we have collected our first batch of Alan's hay. All you have to do now is guess the number of bales in garage. I will help by saying they are 2 foot wide, 20 inches high and 3 foot long. We are still able to get to the door at the back leading to the workshop, fit in the quad, a bale of straw, the usual paraphernalia required for alpaca farming and general garage 'junk'!
I had an exceptionally early start today as we were heading off up to Kelso for the Border Union show. I was one of the fleece stewards so had to be there for 8am, so a 4am start for me as I had a few things that needed to be done before we left, including trying to convince Gaussian that his bottle really was nice!
I found the fleece judging fascinating, and learn an awful lot - next time I will have a much better idea of what I should be looking to remove. It's another early start tomorrow because it's animal judging and it takes longer towing than in my little MG.

Where did today go?

Wow it's been a busy day. First job of the day is checking over everyone and the feed run. This morning poor little Princess Mallika had sore eyes that had stuck firmly shut so we had to bath them. She was being bothered by the flies yesterday and they obviously irritated her or she's got a bit of an infection, we'll keep a close eye on her.

Then this afternoon we were off up to our good friends Jenny & Graham at Fowberry Alpacas with three girls and their respective cria in the trailer for appointments with three very fine studs. Everyone seemed pleased with their respective partners and hopefully they will all hold their pregnancies. Geena and Imala quite clearly remembered Fowberry, Imala so much so she wasn't keen to get back into the trailer to come home!

This evening we went to raid Alan's hay field, not literally, we had been told we could go and collect our ordered bales as baling had begun in earnest. More on this tomorrow night as it's getting late and we're off up to Kelso in the morning for the Border Union show - got to be their for 8am!

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Barnacre Princess Mallika

First things first, we have finished phase one fencing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Duchess's little girl now has a name, Princess Mallika. She is so sweet and really stands out with most of this years cria being white, although she does have a good habit of hiding in the long grass which causes Duchess great panic. This afternoon we were sat on the rocks having a well earned cup of tea watching and poor Duchess couldn't find her baby and was running round in a panic until Geena pointed out her where abouts in a patch of tall grass. Duchess was checking all the other cria (who are completely different colours to her baby) to make sure they weren't hers.

Gaussian is also putting on wieght nicely now which is good, lthough he will only feed if he's sat on your knee and being held. He refuses to put the bottle in his mouth if he is standing.

Monday 21 July 2008

Paul's pontificaiton and sweet tasting humble pie

It's not very often I do the blog, but today I make an unreserved apology to Duchess. Last year when I thought (give me a break, the vet scan agreed) she was not pregnant I regulary 'reminded' her she was using up valuable grass and pushed her away when she was taking more than her 'fair' share of food (calculated on a non-pregnant female basis). As Debbie's hunch (and a later ultrasound scan) proved positive, it was with great relief, excitement and (for afters) a huge slice of humble pie that Duchess produced a perfect brown girl (top of my wish list) with a text book birth at 9am this morning. Here they both are at noon looking great. Sorry Duchess - and thanks very much!

Sunday 20 July 2008

Otterburn Festival part 2

This morning we loaded up the boys and headed off up to Otterburn for the second day of the festival. Hughie and Loki obviously enjoyed their day yesterday because they were both happy to oblige when it came to halters and getting in the trailer this morning. Hughie gets so excited he runs into the trailer in the hope that his public will be waiting at the other end!
By the end of the day they had both had enough mind you and had begun their play fighting and neck wrestling, which in a confined space is quite difficult. It proved quite entertaining for the visitors though.
Both boys are now back in their field enjoying home grown grass, until next weekend when they head up over the border into Scotland for the Scottish National show at Kelso - oh to be in demand!
Duchess is still being a good girl and hanging onto her cria, she's not actually due for another couple of weeks so maybe, just maybe she may hang on for some time yet.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Otterburn Festival

Today was another early start as we were off the the Otterburn Festival, an annual event which raises funds for the Northumberland Air Ambulance. Hughie and Loki were one of the 'crowd pullers' and got plenty of visitors. Hughie loves to meet 'the public' and had to say hello to everyone that came anywhere near there pen - he got slightly offended by anyone who just walked straight pasted! Loki also honored a few people and let them touch him (he's much shyer than Hughie with strangers).
Before we headed off we had to feed everyone including Gaussian, who typically decided that this morning, because we were on a tight schedule, he did not want his bottle.
Thankfully Duchess also held on to her cria, hopefully she will do the same tomorrow and wait to give birth until we are around to keep an eye on her. We've got the neighbours on watch whilst we are at the show.

Friday 18 July 2008

It's all go - excpet for Mia.

This morning was another early start, after the usual routine of checking everybody and feeding we had a pregnancy spit off to do with one of our girls Imala. I had a feeling that she would sit as she has been watching Inca far too much for my liking, and she did. So she has a return visit to the stud booked for next week.
Then it was off to Hexham to pick up some alpaca hurdles we'd purchased a few weeks ago. They are much better than the standard sheep hurdles because they are taller and longer. They will be put to good use at the weekend because we are off the the Otterburn Festival with the two boys. I even made the two local papers last night, and that's before we've even get there, autographs will be provided upon request!!!!
After lunch we set back to the fencing job, the lambs are no longer free ranging (she says hopefully), they are well and truly contained, much to Mia disgust. She has been walking the fence line ever since I shut her in, her army of followers are in close pursuit!

Thursday 17 July 2008

At last a break through

Today, at last, we have had a break through with Gaussian, our nine day old cria who is requiring milk top ups from a bottle. He actually suckled a whole 180ml in one sitting from the bottle which is a great improvement, we had been lucky to get 100ml into him without a fight. He still has to be restrained but it is becoming less of a fight. He also put on the most weight to date today so I'm hopeful we've now turned the corner. The hard work is paying off.
Oonagh (Blossoms daughter from last year) has really had the mischiefs on her today, running and skipping round the paddock annoying people. At feed time she jumped on her mum and nearly knocked her through the fence. She then thought it would be funny to try and jump on Paul as he was putting their feed out. I think she was showing off to Inca, the Fowerry stud we have here on loan at present. She is certainly flirting with him now, letting us know she thinks she is ready for mating!
We managed to get some fertilizer onto the resting paddock this morning, just in time for the monsoon style rain that arrived this afternoon and evening. All traces of it had vanished within a couple of hours. Hopefully the grass will be nice and lush green again very soon.

Wednesday 16 July 2008


Today has been another busy day fencing, it's coming along quite nicely even if we do say so ourselves! Hopefully the alpacas will appreciate all our hard work.
Gausian has been taking his milk a bit better today, there seems to be a slight improvement on a daily basis now, so hopefully we will get there eventually and feed time wont involve a wrestling match and everyone in the vicinity getting covered in milk. I was obviously very lucky with Hughie last year when he took to the bottle straight away - he was just as laid back as his mum as happy to go with the flow!

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Busy day with the new toy

Today has been non stop, we moved the girls and their cria onto fresh grass today and as usual they loved it and spent ages running and jumping round. Most of the cria had not actually been in this paddock, they'd only seen it over the fence so they were charging round exploring.
So once the well munched paddock had been vacated I got the muck truck out whilst Paul did a spot of strimming and cutting of the stalky grass, then he got to try out the new toy! Paul and his much more mechanically minded brother Dean (check out the photo!), cut down and adapted the chain harrow kindly donated by Alan our friendly farmer neighbour at the weekend so we tested it out. Hopefully it help to get the grass growing ready for the girls to go back on it in a few weeks time - time will tell.
Moving on to Gaussian, I think there has been a bit of a break through today and the feeding as not been quite so much of a battle. He also put on a decent amount of weight today too. Well done little man!!!

Monday 14 July 2008

Job list........

Paul has today begun annual leave from his 'day job' so we have a long list of jobs that we want to work our way through whilst he's off. Today we finished hanging all the gates in the rented paddock that we've been dividing so we now need to do the wire, then that'll be phase one complete.
We have been giving Gaussian his regular milk top ups in the hope that he will take to the bottle but just as you think things are getting better he refuses point blank to swallow. At least he put weight on today so yesterday when he lost again was just a blip - phew! He is happily playing with the other cria so I'm sure he can't be going hungry.
I also had to bathe little Aodhfin's feet this morning, one had gotten quite sore. His fleece goes right down to the floor over his little toes and I think with the ground being quite wet last week the mud had rubbed now the flies were trying to get in there. After a foot soak, some spray and fly cream hopefully they will be as good as new in a day or two. Bless him, he happily let me poke about this morning without a care in the world, he definitely takes after his mum.

Thursday 10 July 2008


Today I have been persevering with bottle feeding Gaussian, who's mum Geena doesn't have enough milk. He isn't keen on the idea and spends most of the time trying to get away, and I got a thick lip and nose bleed for my troubles!!
It is paying off though, because for the first time he put on a little weight today, and his bedtime feed was slightly less of a battle. I just wish he would realise that I'm trying to help.
Hopefully tomorrow will be less painful for all concerned.

Broken blog

Thanks web site host :-(

Our popular blog has been wiped out so here's version 2 - enjoy regular readers....
Oh yes, and here's Chiquita to offer her considered view of events...

Paul & Debbie