Wednesday 30 June 2010

One chick or two

My parents headed home this evening after an enjoyable few days, mum got to spend a little bit of time on the bench knitting with the girls in between her jobs!

We have done some spit offs with the maidens today, all three girls flatly refused Gianmarco's advances. Star decided that she would like to be mated and sat next to the pen, Marky thought his luck was in.

She is only just 13 months old so I've told her she can wait a little while longer. We are going to mate her this year though as she is a big girl and clearly thinks she is ready. We would usually wait until about 18 months old to mate our girls, however if we have a girl who has matured and is well grown we will consider doing it earlier.

I have been playing lifesaver to one of our sparrow families today. When I first got up I noticed that a tiny bird had fallen out of it's nest onto the patio. It was still alive and I couldn't make my mind up whether I should get a ladder and put it back or try and hand rear it.

It was tiny and after giving it a couple of flies and a grub I managed to find I decided I was going to put it back in the nest. With baby safely returned to its nest I went about my normal morning chores.

The at lunchtime I noticed a slightly larger sparrow chick on the floor, again alive and in need of rescuing, there is obviously a nest malfunction going on! This time daddy sparrow sat on the wall with a beak full of grubs and watched me return his baby to the nest. Once the ladder was removed and I was at a safe distance he went into the nest with lunch and no doubt give his chick a stern talking too.

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Tea for two

We have had a visit from the vet today, we had a couple girls that needed checking. When Nefertiti was shorn it revealed a lump, it isn't bothering her and it didn't seem to be attached to anything but it needed checking.

Also our youngest cria, Casiphia has been worrying me a little. When she was born her umbilical cord seemed thicker than normal and it hasn't dried and fallen off like normal, it also feels different. I've never seem an umbilical before but I was sure it wasn't that, but I got Alan my farmer friend to look at it when she was first born and he confirmed it wasn't.

Thankfully having had a good poke and check over of Neferiti the vet was happy to leave her, he thinks the lump is a result of a knock she received some time ago.

He also agreed that Casiphia didn't have an umbilical hernia, but could feel a little hardening at the navel. She is gaining weight and doing well so he wasn't too worried about her but she's had so long lasting antibiotics and has got to have a second dose on Friday just to be on the safe side. He said that the cord will fall off eventually.

After rain this morning the sun came out this afternoon and as my parents are heading off home tomorrow mum headed off into the paddock with her camera to take some photo's; Pearson thought he would have a sup of her cup of tea whilst she was busy!
Best friends Ochre and Pearson have been wrestling again!

Monday 28 June 2010

Happy Birthdday Hughie

Everyone knows Hughie, he is a very special alpaca, the friendliest there is and today was his third birthday.

It doesn't seem three years ago that I was worried sick that this premature cria would not survive. Paul was away (as is always the case when something happens) but my parents were here when Duchess gave birth at 323 days. Hughie was very flat, had no suck reflex and the vet told me to prepare myself for the worst as he didn't think he was going to make it.

Thankfully we proved him wrong and after initially tube feeding and a week of top up bottle feeding you'd never know there had been a problem Hughie was running round the field and feeding happily from mum. He did still find balancing for a wee a problem though and used his head as a fifth leg! Life was tiring, here is a very little Oonagh staying close to her new play mate!

Three years on Hughie is a great asset to the Barnacre herd and has repaid me a thousand times over for that initial intensive care. Hughie can always be relied upon for any public appearances and loves the attention he always received.

Hughie is the only gelding in our herd, I would never part with him, he holds a very special place in my heart.

Happy birthday Hughie!

Sunday 27 June 2010

Don't panic I'm back!

I have returned safely from my trip back to Nottingham and am pleased to report that not only did Paul manage to feed himself he also managed to feed all the animals and water my tomatoes, potatoes and raspberry's.

It is his turn to be away now and as I type he is on his way to London for an early meeting tomorrow.

Whilst I was away, Paul received a call from a very pleased Juliet at Lavender Bee Alpacas to say that Aria had given birth to a lovely solid brown girl from Golden Guinea. Doesn't she look lovely, well done Aria and Guinea. It sounds like she is like our other Guinea cria and very friendly already which is always nice.
Talking of Mr Guinea, he had a job to do today here. We are so pleased with Meketaten, our Nefertiti and Guinea cria we have repeated the mating agaain this year. Before Guinea got to do the nice bit though he had some sit off's to do on the girls we mated last week. Fabulous news all four spat, or in Willow's case whimpered and panicked which means get him away from me quick!
Alice also spat off which is three weeks on the trot now so fingers crossed she is pregnant to Legend of Spartacus with a cria at foot from Gianmarco's Masterpiece. She would be a fabulous addition for someone looking to top quality alpacas. I really don't want to part with her, if only I'd sold my house and had more land!

Saturday 26 June 2010

Worry ye not - in Paul's safe hands

Yep, I've been left home alone to fend for myself while Debbie has gone to Nottingham for a couple of days. And you know what that means - the blog is mine so stand by your cholesterol! I know you all get worried when Debbie doesn't blog and I've had an email from Carol (super-knitter) checking up on me already...

What can possibly go wrong? I have my list of jobs to do: feed the chickens - done (there was some blueberry and strawberry plants that seem to have magically grown in pots outside the back door, the chickens really liked them).

What next, oh yes one of my favourite jobs - breakfast!

"You know where the Special K and Fruit 'n' Fibre is Paul for your breakfast?"

"Yes Dear, in the cupboard" - and that's exactly where it's going to stay!

So to all the hungry folks out there, I'd like you to be safe in the knowledge that I am (just) able to feed myself. Voila, the scene is set:

and there's more. Could this mere morsel sustain a high octane man? I think not. The pierce de resistance and proof of male skill and dexterity is yet to follow:now we're cooking on gas - well electric actually, but you follow me right?

Enter stage right the main event...

But wait, what is that noise I hear? Could it be the patter of 'tiny' feet and the sound of engines starting to rev and sat navs being programmed for Barnacre Alpacas in Northumberland?

Those sounds must stop now. Messrs Patou-man, Bearman and Rawlins - turn those engines off now and go back to your weekend duties and be happy and content in the knowledge that...............................
You're too late and I'm full. Take care all and enjoy the sunshine!


Thursday 24 June 2010

All ship shape

I'm not quite sure where today has gone, I've just noticed the time!!!

As well as all the usual jobs we had someone coming to look at the house this evening so I had to make sure that was ship shape too, and get ready for a couple of days away - yes I'm leaving Paul in charge whilst I go home to Nottingham for my niece's 2nd birthday.

You'd laugh, I moved the trailer down the road before the viewing and Golden Guinea got very excited he obviously thought there were ladies in there coming to see him as he came charging down to the gate strutting his stuff. He really does know how to pose. He's passed the pose thing on to his youngest son, Pearson who stands just like his dad.

I have spent a lot of time today trying to drum up entries for the Border Union Show at Kelso at the end of July. The biosecurity requirements are very strict which is great news but it does mean that entries are proving hard to get, but there is one thing for sure it will be a very safe show - or we would not be there, it's the only one we are going to this year.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Providing neighbour entertainment

It is usually the alpacas providing the entertainment not me, but I have been busy making 'bricks' today much to the amusement of one of my neighbours - that's the downside of the field that the girls are enjoying at the minute, anyone walking up the lane can see me collecting poo! It's one thing doing it with the machine but another crouching down putting it in a mould. With all this hot weather they shouldn't take too long to dry out.

Ochre, our first Golden Guinea cria was offering assistance. He is almost a month old now and thankfully has inherited his dads pleasant character. His mum Kate (our grey) has a very large chip on her shoulder!!

All seven cria are doing well and gaining weight nicely, the oldest Kazuo (five and a half weeks) weighed in this evening at 19.1kg, at this rate everyone should be weaned early this year. We usually have one that gains slower than the others but thankfully so far they are all gaining plenty of weight. Hopefully it will stay this way.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Wide load

It has been another glorious day here today so I managed to find an hour to sit on the bench knitting with the girls; don't tell Paul though!!

I could feel myself cooking whilst I was out with the muck truck in the girls field, I was that engrossed I didn't see Carol stood at the gate trying to get in! It was only when Ursula went wandering over to show off how much Pearson had grown since they round him in the field for me on Friday evening, that I realised she was there.

Every time Carol comes she has more knitting, she's like super woman with the knitting needles. In a week she has knitting a hat, pair of fingerless mittens, a big long scarf and some baby socks. Dave has also done me some more carding of Mary's fleece - I'd best get spinning it and quick!

Whilst I was out in the field I took a couple of photo's to share with you. This is Casiphia, our Legend and Veruschka baby born on Saturday. We chose the name as it means gleaming silvery white and she is, well was before she acquainted herself with the mole hills! She has a stunning fleece already so we have high hopes for this little (or not so little) lady.
Next up is a photo of Gabby (right) and Imala (left) on a mission. As you can see Gabby is huge, despite still having three weeks to go, if she sticks to her usual time lines. Imala on the other hand always hides her pregnancies quite well. She was scanned empty by the vet however I think he is wrong - maybe it's just wishful thinking but I think she's pregnant. Time will tell as she will be due the day before Gabby of she is.

Monday 21 June 2010

A afternoon on the deck chair

I've been a bit miffed today, I won't bore you with the details so I decided to get on with the essential jobs then spend a bit of time in the field with the girls and their babies - that always put a smile on your face and lifts the spirits.

One of said essential jobs was to take Paul to the train station for a meeting, with him out the way there was no need to worry about food for this evening. I thought I could do some knitting in the field. That way I don't feel so guilty, I have a number of events coming up so the stock will be handy. Well Paul always says I spend all day on my deckchair.

It was lovely sat on the bench with my knitting, not that much got done as I kept getting distracted and I'm not a clever as my mum and Carol who seem to be able to knit without looking at what they are doing!

Kazuo and Lucia were regular visitors to the bench and Chiquita came to inspect the scarf I am knitting in her hand spun fleece. I also had Meketaten sat at my feet for quite a while until Layla decided it was time for her to play.

As it has been so hot most of the girls have been laid round the water trough, it is a favourite spot when it's really hot. You'd think they would prefer the shade but the side of the trough must be cool.

Today is Golden Guinea's 5th birthday so he got some birthday carrot which went down well this morning. We now have three cria from him on farm, two browns one boy and one girl and a light fawn boy. All three are growing at a rapid rate which is good, in fact chunky Ochre has put on 8.75kg in 21 days.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Loki is a man

Our first job of the day was some matings and a spit off, Alice spat which is good news; well for us not so nice for Marky. However we had another girl requiring his services so all was not lost!

We have been trying to get Loki interested in the ladies for some time now to no avail, so this morning I decided that I would let him say hello to Willow as she always drops like a stone for the boys. I wasn't going to let him mate her just get the idea that he was supposed to get the girl to sit.

However before I'd even shut him in the pen he was orgling and Kate was ready for him in the next pen so we bypassed Willow and went straight to Mrs attitude. He was straight on as if he'd been doing it for months and 33 minutes later he decided he'd had enough of Kate and wanted to see Mary who was in the queue!
We had multiple mating going on, as you can see Molly decided that she needed to sit as close as possible to Loki & Kate, she seemed to prefer the look of Loki to Gianmarco - not that Marky gave her much choice about the matter.
Willow also got to see Legend at the same time, despite Loki being the new kid on the stud block he lasted the longest.
This evening Loki also got to see Mary, Mary is very picky about who she allows to mate her and when so as she was so keen this morning we thought we'd better not miss the opportunity. This year it's only a month since she gave birth, she usually isn't interested in the boys for about six weeks, compared to Willow's 6 hours! Don't worry I don't let Willow mate that quickly.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Legend is a daddy!!!!!!

Another busy day the plan was to quickly go through the house again before our viewing this afternoon, however it was evident at breakfast that Veruschka had other idea's, despite the cold wind and the intermittent drizzle. As you can see Paul thought it was winter!

Veruschka didn't hang around and shortly after her first contraction things were on the move and the head and neck were out, one more push and the shoulders were out then Veruschka decided to lay down to finish off, she did the same thing with Tenzing last year.

This is Legend of Spartacus's first cria and wow is she; yes it's a girl, fabulous. Even before she was fully dried the quality was clear to see even for the untrained eye. Not only is she stunning she is the biggest cria we have ever had born here at 9.56kg!

We have now had cria from all three of our stud boys and we are very pleased with their results, it is great to see that you made the right decisions with your breeding program. I now can't wait to get our boys over the girls from our boys! I think I'm wishing my life away here.

I thought I would also share with you a photo of a fully dried Pearson, born yesterday evening, he is a lovely light fawn.

Friday 18 June 2010

Turn your back for five minutes..........

As is always the case this time of year I have been watching the girls constantly all day and hadn't ventured out. Ursula had been acting a little odd and been particularly interested in the babies - but she is a bit of a playful mischief so hanging round with the babies is not really out of character.

Anyway, we had a meeting at the solicitors this evening so I had to pick Paul up from work and drive to Newcastle before heading off to a NEBAG fleece skirting event. So having checked the girls and spoke to Ursula to make sure she wasn't planning on birthing I left at just after 3.30pm.

Traffic was horrendous, I think the whole world and his dog were leaving work early to get home for the football! Whilst we were in the meeting with our solicitor my phone rang with a mobile number I didn't recognise, but I decided to excuse myself and answer it.

It's a good job I did it was Carol (knitting friend) on Dave's (button maker & chief carder) Mobile to tell me there was a wobbly baby in the field!!!!!! Ursula had given birth!

Thankfully Carol and Dave are great and offered to stay and watch to make sure all was ok until we got back. The baby had only just been born and wasn't up on it's feet at this point.

When I rang for a progress report Carol said the baby looked white, Ursula is brown and so is Guinea so I than began to worry and thought it may have been Veruschka's, who is white and mated to a white, and Ursula had just claimed it because she always like to inspect the new babies.

I am pleased to say the cria is Ursula's, a light fawn boy weighing a healthy 7.2kg, which is actually our lightest baby this year.

Just before Carol and Dave headed off to watch the football, Carol advised me that she thought there was a law stating that if you were first to spot a baby in the field it should be yours. Sorry Carol I won't be parting with the little man just yet, but instead and as a bit of a thank you we have decided to name him after you. The latest addition to the herd is Barnacre Pearson.

Dave even managed to have his camera with him.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Boys will be boys

It has been another lovely sunny day today, too hot for most of the girls to do much other than sunbath then meander off for a bit of shelter.

The boys however are another story, here are Kazuo and Ochre doing what boys do and sitting on each others heads!

Then this afternoon I got a call from my neighbour concerned about some 'very loud noise' coming from the bottom fields. So I quickly put my boots on and ran off to investigate, as soon as I opened the back door I could hear the boys squealing - there was obviously a disagreement going on. I could tell one of them was Legend by the screech!
As I approached the three big boys, Golden Guinea, Legend and Gianmarco's Masterpiece were chasing each other round the field all squealing at each other. As soon as they spotted me they stopped and acted as if nothing was going on. Three very droopy lips told a very different story.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

No hose pipe ban here!

It has been a glorious day today and the girls were desperately trying to climb into their water trough this morning so I decided to treat them to the sprinkler.
The sprinkler always goes down well here and there are usually all sorts of crazy jumps and leaps to get the best spray. I had the camera at the ready for a change, but still managed to miss the best leap ever when Imala got the spray up her bum!
It was obviously very relaxing!
Whilst I had the camera handy I took a nice dry photo of Nefertiti's baby. We have decided to call her Meketaten. She was the second daughter of the great Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, and as this is our Nefertiti's second daughter we thought it quite apt. Queen Nefertiti had six daughters so hopefully ours will follow in her namesakes footsteps!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Golden Guinea has a daughter

This morning Nefertiti produced a lovely brown female cria from our brown herdsire Golden Guinea. It took her ten minutes from the first push to popping her out, I couldn't believe how quick she was.

The little girl, who has yet to be named was soon up and on her feet, in fact she was soon off running with poor Nefertiti running behind calling like mad. At one point she was trying to pass the afterbirth which was dangling between her legs and chasing after her new baby which was causing the afterbirth to swing and hit her legs which made her think she was being chased!

I am keeping a close eye on Nefertiti's teats at they are huge and I mean huge so I need to make sure the baby can manage to latch on.
Kate had the same issue as she had when Layla was born, she thought the baby was hers. All these brown babies are obviously confusing.

Monday 14 June 2010

Friendly cria photo shoot

I thought I would share some photo's with you all this evening of our cria, the only problem is they are very friendly!

Here we have Kazuo, who is a month old tomorrow and weighs a very healthy 17kgs. As you can see he is a friendly chap.Next up we have Lucia, just like her siblings Ursula and Horatio she is really friendly and loves to come and have a nibble of you. Lucia has already doubled her birth weight!The third to be born was Ochre, our first Golden Guinea cria. Luckily for us he seems to have inherited his dads personality rather than his mums! Apologies to Ochre this is not a very flattering shot.

Our four cria to be born is little Layla, she looks tiny in comparison to the other three. I did almost manage to get a proper photo of her whilst she was trying to get mum to stop eating her tea so she could have her milk.

Just to prove they are all more than just a nose I did get these too. Eagled eyed followers might notice there is two of Ochre and none of Layla - she wouldn't play ball!

Sunday 13 June 2010

Legs crossed

The weather has been a bit miserable here today so no chance for Paul to practice his washing pegging out! After yesterdays appalling attempt he definitely needs to try again.

Nefertiti (at 349 days) is still not wanting to part with her baby despite usually preferring a shorter gestation period. She is the mum of Sienna, our Brown Champion female from the Yorkshire Show last year, who is mated to Golden Guinea so we are really keen to see what she produces for us this year.

Veruschka who is carrying our first Legend of Spartacus baby is also on 349 days but the past two years she has gone over a year so I doubt this year will be any different, although she is starting to bag up.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Give a man a pink job

Well spotted, after many hours of discussions and a lot of lost sleep we have put our house up for sale, I am both sad and excited by the prospect. So anyone interested in a lovely five bedroomed four bathroomed barn conversion with some land in a fabulous location get in touch!!

We currently rent the bulk of our land and we have decided that in order to progress our business in the way we want, and need, we really do need to move and find more land - not an easy task without a large lottery win.
After a busy morning with a photographer from the local paper we decided to give Loki a birthday treat, he is 3 today and we were hoping that he would be interested in mating either Mary or Kate.
Mary made it clear in no uncertain terms that she was not ready to be remated yet. In the past she has wanted a six week break so this didn't come as a surprise, Lucia is only three weeks old. Kate on the other hand was flirting away tail up cluck at Loki who was only interested in eating the girls grass!
Hopefully he will get the hang of things when he watches the other boys on the job, however he watched last year and it didn't seem to help, so time will tell.
I treated myself to a couple of hours off this afternoon and took my niece swimming with Sarah, my sister in law. We had a lovely time, but as I went out I asked Paul to peg the washing out. This is what I returned to.............

Friday 11 June 2010

Spot the surprise

I will start with the photo I promised last night; can you spot the surprise we had when we got home?!The sun has been out today but Nefertiti seems to have forgotten that she was thinking about giving birth. Either that or she is waiting for an audience as my brother, his wife and my niece have arrived this afternoon.

Ursula is also now getting milk, so hopefully she won't be too long. Both girls are pregnant to Golden Guinea so we are hoping for some nice coloured cria from them.
At tea time Faith and Sarah came to help feed the boys, young girls and the sheep. Faith was even brave enough to feed the pet lambs their milk, she even tried it to make sure it was ok!! She didn't quite have the confidence to let them eat their pellets from her hand but I'm sure we will get there by the end of the weekend.

Thursday 10 June 2010

One of the sales girls off to pastures new

We have had another busy day today, another man round this morning, that's three this week and then this afternoon we have been out with the trailer.

You may recall me telling you on Sunday that we had had a visit from a lovely couple looking to add a top quality female to their herd. They made a very wise choice and bought one of the elite Aussie girls scanned pregnant to our Supreme Champion stud Legend of Spartacus.

Well today was the day we delivered Cambridge Angelus, who is sired by Jolimont Gianmarco to Wheelhouse Alpacas in North Yorkshire, I will miss her as she's a real character. Her cria which is due later in the summer should be a fantastic addition for her new owners, with genetics including Jolimont Gianmarco, Peruvian Spartacus and Jolimont Commisario.

Angelus was straight out of the trailer to check out her new surroundings, she was so quick out of the trailer Paul almost missed it!

She was soon happy to go and introduce herself to her new friends, then it was on to important business; eating the grass!

We returned home to a surprise which we weren't expecting until the weekend. I'll take a photo for you in the morning.................

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Anyone for rabbit?

As I am sat typing this my eyes keep getting drawn out of the window at the alpacas. Kazuo is chasing rabbits which in turn has caused half the herd to join in the pursuit.

I think everyone is pleased that it has finally stopped raining as the boys and the youngsters where skipping about when we went down to them this evening. My little lambs were also jumping about as though they had a flea in there ear!

It is bound to brighten up next week as Paul is back at work. He always managed to pick the bad weather for a week off. It's a good job there is a large indoor job list too, I'd hate him to get bored.

I have been doing a spot of spinning again today, it seems to be going far too slowly, but I think that's because I know what I want to knit and can't get it done quick enough. I have had an update from Carol, they are still enjoying carding and there have been no stabbing incidents.

My spinning did get interrupted by some essential paperwork but more on that tomorrow; promise.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Coming ready or not

We had a trip out planned this morning, more on that some other time though, but I thought Nefertiti was going to throw a spanner in the works.

She is actually due today, based on her previous cria (343 days) and she has milk, in fact her teats seemed to have swollen over night and she was hanging round the poo pile for ages passing the odd 'current' here and there.

Anyway after some time of observation she seemed to decide that the weather just wasn't right and she had gone back to pottering about munching. I think the first nice day and she will maybe think about it again. Looking at the forecast she could have a little wait!

Layla (Willow's baby) has been playing with the other three cria tonight chasing round. It was really funny, she kept up with them no problem but was clearly worn out after a number of laps of the field and just flopped down on the floor, much to Willow's horror. She obviously thought something was wrong with her as she shot over screeching, Layla jumped up and took advantage of her mum walking over and had a drink!

Monday 7 June 2010

A new job, but who's doing it?!

I suppose I could have predicted the weather this week, Paul is off work so it's raining!!

Layla has had her coat on all day, in fact we have been playing coat swapsies as I have changed it three times for a dry one each time it stopped raining.

The wet weather isn't bothering anyone, except me. When I did my early morning check, I won't say the time as Mark already thinks I'm mad , a wet Kazuo had been rolling in the dust bath, needless to say he was absolutely filthy so no photo's today Rosemary! My gorgeous white baby is now a rather dirty off white. Maybe he just felt a little left out as his three playmates are dark.

This afternoon we nipped over to Carol and Dave's, regular readers will know Carol as my knitting friend and Dave as the manure collecting button making man! Well Dave now has a new job, head carder; that is if Carol hasn't taken it off him because he's not doing it to her satisfaction.

After a quick demonstration we left them 'debating' who was best and quickest, at one point things were getting slightly dangerous with the awl (big spike for removing the rovings). Hopefully no-one has been impaled as I'm not sure my insurance will cover such incidents!!

I best get back to spinning Chiquita's fleece as once Carol and Dave set on with something I can't keep up.

Sunday 6 June 2010

More visitors and a down pour

We have had more visitors today, a very nice couple looking to expand their herd with a top quality fleeced animal and boy did they look at the right one!

Having had our animals sheared the confirmation is easy to see and all the fleeces are bagged up and labeled so you can clearly see the quality of our sales girls. I was also able to show them the two white stud boy fleeces, not to mention Kazuo, Gianmarco's Masterpiece's first cria who is stunning even if I do say so myself.

I didn't ask permission so I won't say much more than that, other than watch this space later in the week.

Shortly after lunch we got the rain that seems to have been down south, the ground was crying our for it although I'm not so sure the alpacas were so keen. It is the first time the cria have seen heavy rain. Layla has had her coat on all afternoon to help keep her dry. The slightly old three don't seem to have noticed the rain and have been running round, Kazuo and Lucia have mastered pronking so they have been showing off, Ochre hasn't quite worked it out yet and jumps after them.

Saturday 5 June 2010

Visitors and swapsies

We had a visit from a lovely couple Phil & Wendy this morning who were wanting to see the alpacas, they actually thought we had a shop and cafe - maybe one day! So they were a bit surprised when they drove down our dead end lane and only came across me cleaning the fields.

Any excuse to talk alpaca, I invited them in to see the girls and their babies and I showed them some of our produce.

They went home with some of our knitwear they purchased and lots more knowledge of alpacas. Phil & Wendy are hoping to move to Scotland in the near future and maybe have some alpacas, so good luck with the house sale guys.

Since then I have finished cleaning the boys fields and they have moved onto fresh grass which went down well. Their old fields have been harrowed and one had the buttercups massacred so if the rain we have forecast for tomorrow arrives they should shoot up again.

Following the recent birth of Kazuo we have mated his mum Alice, we have put her to Legend of Spartacus this year so we can compare against her Gianmarco's Masterpiece cria from this year who is fabulous.

Mary wasn't interested in being mated today, in previous years it has taken her weeks to be interested in the boys after giving birth. She only seems to like the dark ones too, this may be because she is black.

We have been doing a bit of trading today with Brick, a friend who keeps hens. We swapped some lamb for four hens to put in our new hen house. One of the Light Sussex is obviously happy with her new home as she laid me an egg this evening.

Friday 4 June 2010

Is it this one or that one?!

Willow is settling nicely into motherhood, little Layla is a real cutie.

Having two brown cria is causing Kate some confusion though, if she leaves Ochre sunbathing somewhere and Layla stands up she comes charging over thinking Willow is stealing her baby.

This evening when we were weighing the babies Kate spat at my whilst I had Layla, she obviously thought it was her baby again. I'm not sure what she is going to do when then next two cria are born, in theory, they should also be brown!

The big boys were having a major disagreement at lunchtime. I'm not sure what was going on but Guinea, Legend and Gianmarco were chasing each other round the field fighting. I could hear Legend squealing in my work room. I had to go and check to make sure all was ok they were so bad. When I arrived the three of them just stood there bottom lips hanging down panting away.

Guinea had his tackle on display so I'm assuming it begun because he thought one of the other two were up for a mating!!

Thursday 3 June 2010

Willow comes up trumps

Well I am pleased to say that Willow did me proud today and as I suspected she went into labour this morning, in time for mum and dad to see her give birth.

Her waters broke at 11.14 and by 11.29 the baby was out which was great to see, as Willow's labour with Chiquita was in excess of 2 hours. As you can see Chiquita and most of the herd were watching proceedings. As soon as the baby was born Chiquita went off in a bit of a sulk!
Willow has produced another lovely little girl for us who we have named Layla, meaning dark beauty and she certainly is. She weighed a healthy 7.4kg which is much more than Willow's previous cria.

I think it has been a bit hot for the new baby today as she's not been very active until this evening.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Not quite what you asked for......

As Mark asked so nicely for photo's of Willow today I sat out there patiently armed with the camera to catch one of the many bulges, however as is always the case every time there was a bulge or kick the camera was either switched off or someone was stood in the way.

I did however manage to catch the three youngsters charging round at a rapid rate of knots. From left to right we have Ochre, Lucia and Kazuo who just happen to be in age order too; oldest at the front!

Ochre has enjoyed a day without his coat on today and the sun on his back. It has obviously done him good as he has gained a further 300gms today.

My parents are going home tomorrow so I have had a word in Willows ear to make sure she has her baby or mum will not be happy. Willow is a favourite of my mum and she missed her birth by a day last time! I think she may be in luck this year (figures crossed).

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Willow update

The weather couldn't have been more different today from that lovely sunshine we all enjoyed yesterday.

Needless to say Willow is still hanging on, she is now at 357 days which is 20 days longer than she normally goes. Willow (the face of our Barnacre Logo) is a compact girl with a very small vulva so I am starting to get a little worried about this baby inside which is obviously growing by the day.

It is a very lively baby spending most of the day poking something out of Willow's side or under her tail. I'm surprised she isn't black and blue, I bet she will be glad to get it out. Although saying that Willow spends the first few weeks of motherhood a nervous wreck chasing after her baby in a panic every time it moves.

It is going to be really interesting to see how her daughter Chiquita takes to a little brother or sister as she is so close to her mum they are never far apart.

The three cria we have had born already are doing really well, Lucia has gained 4.6kg in 11 days which is the biggest weight gain we have ever had in this space of time. At this rate she will overtake Kazou who was a kilo heavier at birth and almost a week older.

We have finally agreed on a name for Kates little boy, Ochre, I think it really suits him.