Tuesday 31 May 2011

Girls, girls, girls

The sun has been shining here today which encouraged Mary to give birth.  She obviously  listened to me yesterday before we left for the show and hung on until today.

Mary is an experienced mum and gave birth it true text book style.  I did think at breakfast something was likely to happen today as she just wasn't quite herself.  I couldn't believe it when I went over to check all was well with the baby; another girl!

He she is just enjoying her first drink.  My camera has a large zoom I wasn't that close as I don't like to interfere unless I have too.
She is a lovely solid black girl from Loki so he has done us proud, we are very pleased with his first two progeny.

She weighed 8.99kg which again is bigger than Mary has had in the past, Mary was having to push hard to get this one out so I'm glad she didn't hang on.
It's she a sweetie, we now have another name to agree on as I was sure she would be a boy!

Monday 30 May 2011

Northumberland County Show

Despite the poor weather forecast and some very black clouds the weather was very kind to us today at the Northumberland County Show.

We weren't actually showing animals but were helping out with stewarding and Paul had his usual job on the microphone.  How he manages that always amazes me; it's not a job for me.

We had our eyes closely on the junior white male class as Wheelhouse Alpacas were showing one of Legend of Spartacus', our supreme champion, sons.  He is the first to be shown so we were keen to see what our judge Mary-Jo Smith from Bozedown Alpacas thought to him.  The news was good because Ivory Star (Ivor) came second in the Junior White Male class and went on to win Reserve Junior Male Champion.  Well done Ivor!

We also had a great day selling our knitwear.  It is always good when people can see what we actually use our fantastic alpacas for, and receiving lots of nice compliments is great for morale.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Almost half a kilo

The weather has been really mixed here today so no no arrivals thankfully.  We have three girls on 344 days and one on 337, all four are looking very large and uncomfortable so I'm sure they won't be too much longer.  If they go to their personal averages two should be producing next week so keep your eye out for announcements!

Emery continues to gain weight, in the last 24 hours it was 480gms.  Kate has so much milk her udder wobbles like a cows so I can see why she is doing so well.

I am busy printing off labels for the latest batch of hand crafted phone charms so I'd best get back to it as I have another early start tomorrow.  I must get these charms in the shop before too much longer, although as fast as I make them I sell them so it's not very ofter there are any in stock - not that I'm complaining.

Saturday 28 May 2011

A weekend job list

Weekends round here always mean a long job list and today was no different.  Firstly was getting everyone (my parents are staying) up extra early as it's birthing time, that was a job in itself.

All was well in the fields so after the usual feed routine there was a little field draughts to be played.  Paul went off to cut the field that the girls will move in to after shearing whilst mum and I got on with the manual jobs.  Paul always like the driving round jobs!

The boys moved into a new stud strip that was growing far too fast, so they can eat that off for the next week or two to save me cutting it.  The ewes and lambs also got new grass which went down exceptionally well.

Then it was spit off and mating time, Oonagh and Sienna who were mated last weekend spat convincingly.  I also tried Ursula again, she spat - so what is going on with her?!

Lualeni got to see Gianmarco's Masterpiece's, this is a repeat of her mating last year.  Neelie who is now a month old is looking fabulous so another one like that would be a very welcome addition to the Barnacre herd.  As you can see Lualeni likes to share kisses during such intimate moments.

However after 25 minutes she'd got a little bored and just sat there staring ahead.

Today is Ochre's 1st birthday, he is a fantastic character who loves to interact with people, just like his dad Golden Guinea.  He is one of the boys that we have for sale.  He will make a great fleece producing pet cutting over 2.6kg of fleece when sheared earlier this month, he also likes to stand guard so will be a good hen protector.

His new half sister (Kate's baby), now has a name, we have decided to call her Emery, a dark grey hard rock. She has gained weight again, and in two days she has gained half a kilo, mind you this comes as no surprise when you see the amount of milk that Kate has.

Friday 27 May 2011

The only way is up

Just a short blog tonight because Paul has been hogging three computers all night and I'm now far too tired to type!

So I thought I'd share with you a photo taken this morning of our monster cria, who we are still trying to find a fitting name for.
She is such a character already, she really is going to be a handful for Kate.  Kate usually has active cria but this one tops Midnight Star and Ochre, poor Kate it's going to be a long six months for you!

She has gained weight today, it is usual for a newborn to loose weight in day one, instead she's gained 100gms so now weighs a staggering 11.45kg (25.2lbs).  Can you believe yesterday she was exactly the same weight as my niece Faith who is three next month.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Cria (baby) number 4

For those of you who follow our tweets you will have been eagerly awaiting tonight's blog, so here goes.

Kate gave birth this morning to an absolutely massive cria, a grey girl no less!  As with her previous two babies Kate decided to give birth laying down, but after a lot of pushing and grunting she finally listened to me and stood up taking a helping hand from gravity. 
I was just about quick enough to get the poor thing landing with a rather large thud!

Despite her large size it was a text book birth, Kate is a fantastic mum and has been hot on the heels of her daughter ever since the minute she landed.

Her arrival was extra exciting because she is the first progeny from our black stud Loki, who was Scottish Black Champion in 2008.  She weighs a staggering 11.36kg, our biggest ever cria, no wonder Kate has been so grumpy and has been having such big bulges.  The placenta was also the biggest I've ever seen so I dediced to weigh it, it was over 5kg!  That means poor Kate has been carrying round an additional 16.5kg.

Just like when she was in the womb, she has been highly active, up on her feet in less than half an hour and running round the field and climbing within an hour.  Check this out, she was 45 minutes old!

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Do the conga

The weather today has really been a mixed bag, it was lovely at the crack of dawn when I got up but by 7 or 8 am the sun had gone in and the morning got colder from then on.

Eventually after doing the usual morning jobs and sitting in the field observing the very pregnant girls, when I could feel my fingers no more I decided it was time to head back to the mouse house for lunch.

Just before I left though the three new arrivals (from front to back) Neelie, Sahara & Ellie May were doing the conga round the field.  They weren't getting many hangers on though! 
The two trouble causers Sahara and Ellie May got a little distracted by a jackdaw and set off after it.

Kate continues to bulge frequently, I really am amazed that the cria doesn't do her any damage it pokes out so much.

This afternoon the sun came out and it was glorious again, but by this time it was too late for any births so the wait continues.........

Tuesday 24 May 2011

I'll blow and I'll blow

I think I spent most of last night lied in bed listening to the wind worrying about what I would find when I returned to the fields this morning.

Thankfully things were not to bad, I was out by just after 5am.  All the shelters were fine but the two large hay hecks in the girls field had blown over. They are so heavy particularly as they still had a fair bit of hay in them too!  I righted them but one now has a broken wheel, typically it had to be the newest one didn't it.

The wind has dropped slightly today but it has still been very windy.  The weather hasn't known what to do with itself, we've had sun, rain and hail all at the same time.

Kate is now looking enormous, her teats are now full too so I suspect she is waiting for a nice day.  She is at 339 days now and birthed last year at 337 but the year before went a year so she's not been very consistent!  I think she will be giving birth to our first cria from Loki, our black boy so I'm extra excited about with the two of them will produce.

Monday 23 May 2011


I can't believe the wind.  I got up at the crack of dawn as usual to sunshine, but this was soon replaced by rain, in fact it was so bad the weanlings actually went in their shelter, and they never use the shelter.

As the day has progressed the rain stopped but the wind has increased.  It was so windy this afternoon whilst I was poo picking the wind almost blow over the nearly full muck truck!  I was struggling to stay upright a times, so you can imagine what the poor cria were like.

Then just as I was about to head home for my tea the wind blow off Golden Guinea's shelter roof, it came straight off.  Luckily I have all the roofs on the shelters tethered which stopped it from flying across his field. 

The cross members are snapped and the roof crumpled, I doubt any of it will be salvageable.  Oh well on a positive note I suppose it is one less shelter I will have to take down when we move.

As it is so windy I couldn't move it on my own so Guinea got to move fields, he was particularly pleased with this because he never really likes the roadside field much anyway.  I'm just so glad it happened whilst I was there and not during the night or it may have done him some serious damage as it landed right where he goes to sleep.

The wind is still blowing an absolute gale so I'm hoping everything else is still in one piece and all is well.  It is supposed to die down over night so hopefully I will be able to try and sort things out tomorrow.

Sunday 22 May 2011


It has been a day of sunshine and showers today so thankfully all the girls stuck to the script and there was no birthing, despite these bulges from Kate's back end!
The quality of the photos isn't brilliant as they were taken from my mobile phone but you can see it doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest and she has no intention of it  interrupting her tea!

Saturday 21 May 2011

FIrst matings of the year

We had a busy morning, there was a batch of lambivac injections that needed doing so we needed to gather up the girls.

However remembering what happened to the weanlings when they were gathered up a week ago (they were sheared) the girls weren't too keen.

Eventually we got the required volunteers and all the injections were complete without even a scratch to myself.  I  usually manage to stab myself whilst putting the top on the needle or something!
After injections it was mating time, the first of the year.  Oonagh was the first volunteer for Legend of Spartacus.  Oonagh was last to give birth last year and only got one chance to mate because we don't like late birth.  Sadly she didn't take so hopefully she will be first next year, although after 8 minutes she decided she'd had enough so we'll have to see.

Sienna was much more obliging for Gianmarco's Masterpiece and he orgled away for quite some time whilst Princess Mallika sat patiently the other side of the hurdles.  She only gave birth just over a week ago so she has a little wait yet and she's booked in to see Golden Guinea this year.

We also spat off Ursula again who spat like crazy.  I'm really not sure what is going on there.  She was mated three times last year but on the last round of spit offs sat but as it was getting late we decided she would have to wait until the spring; now she thinks she is pregnant.  I'm thinking of buying a Pregtector to see if I can detect any heartbeat.  She's always proved difficult to scan in the past and both years the vet has scanned her he's got her wrong!

Friday 20 May 2011

Me first, me first

Like Rosemary at Westhill Alpacas I've been trying to take photo's of back end bugles today, Kate our grey girl is looking so uncomfortable.  How this baby hasn't broken through the skin is beyond me.
Having been poking it's toes under her tail for ages, like Kate it decided it needed to make more of a dramatic statement and looked like it was going to do her some damage, at one point it was practically a head sized bulge.  Unfortunately I wasn't quite quick enough to get the camera out and this is all I managed, which with all her fleece on doesn't actually do justice to how far out it was sticking.

Another girl looking like she wont be too much longer is Nefertiti.  Paul has said for a while that she will stick a sneaky one in whilst I'm not looking.  Well I have news for you Neffers I'm watching you!  According to her averages, and unlike Kate has been very consistent, she has another two and a half weeks to go. 

She clearly fancies a water birth and has been climbing in the water trough today despite me thinking it was rather cool and wishing I had dressed differently this morning.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Babes and bulges

I've been on Kate watch today, she is now at 334 days and has been sat on her own on and off today.  She has been having huge bulges at the back end for some time now and I've been trying all day to get a photo  of her enormous bag of milk and big long full teats but she's not been playing ball.

I really thought she was going to have it this afternoon but she held off.  She is carrying one of Loki's first cria so it is extra exciting to see what he can produce, especially to an unpredictable grey.

The three little girls are growing fast, they spend most of the day playing and exploring but every now and again need to recharge the batteries.

From left to right Neelie (from Gianmarco's Masterpiece), Sahara (from Golden Guinea) & Ellie May
(from Legend of Spartacus)

Whilst I was trying to get a photo of Kate and her bulges I spotting Lady Godiva, nicknamed Smiler by James Dixon when he was shearing - you can see why.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Poo, puss and Charlie

Shortly after breakfast the girls spotted something, Oonagh is always chief spot and was straight over with Little Miss Irraquoy, Lualeni (and Neelie who needed a drink!) and Geena.
It took me a while but I eventually spotted what they had seen, Charlie Fox!  Alpacas do make fantastic guardians.

This photo gives you some idea of the distance away from them.

I have been doing some serious poo picking today, it seemed to be getting the better of me so I set about making the fields spotless.  Quite some time and a lot of petrol later the fields were clean, well they were for a few minutes anyway.  Don't you wish cleaning the house was as enjoyable as cleaning the fields.

I managed to snap Minimus with Lucia one of his weanling mates, in fact she is his foster mum!  It shows how tiny he really is. 

My lame lamb is a little better today, although there was still a fair bit of puss that needed removing.  Poor little thing knows what's coming as soon as I go in the field and he scarpers.  Hopefully in a couple more days he will be back to normal, I really don't know what he'd got in there but something obviously  had.

Tonight I have  been to a local knitting and spinning group.  It made a nice change and I learnt how to crochet a flower too; I'm not sure it's quite up to the sort of standard I would like though.  As in the school report need to try harder!

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Something in the air

There has been something in the air today.  This morning Ochre and Pearson spent over 45 minutes play fighting, neck wrestling and trying to mount each other.
The game only came to an end when they thought it would be a good idea to involve Lucia, she was not at all impressed and went mad at the pair of them screeching and chasing them.

Not wanting to feel left out the big boys thought it would be a good idea too.  It actually started when Sandstorm, the youngest of the bunch tried to mount Legend who was sunbathing - bad move!

Loki (black) and Tenzing (white) put on a good show...

It wasn't  long before Hughie had to join in.
All the excitement got a little too much for the babies who needed a quick power nap.

Monday 16 May 2011

Jocking for first place

After a pretty disastrous weekend equipment wise I thought things would improve today - wrong!

I picked up the replacement tyre for the flail mower this morning, putting on said wheel wasn't the easiest job in the world.  I know I'm strong but the mower weighs an absolute ton and I needed to pick up the machine and wedge some wood under whilst I put the wheel back on.

With the wheel on (eventually) I set about cutting the field, the girls were supposed to be going in the big field this weekend after shearing, but with shearing postponed so was the move.  The grass won't last until they have been shorn so I had to cut it.

When I came to put the mower away I noticed the jockey wheel was buckled and broken.  Great, I'm guessing it had bashed on one of the rigs and was broke.  I now need to get a replacement jockey wheel, we are already on jockey wheel number two!

Thankfully all the alpacas are doing well, we have four girls over 330 days, and all of them are looking rather swell.  In fact those long standing readers may recall Kate's (our grey girl) cow udder from last year, well it has made a return visit so I doubt she will last much longer, I'm guessing she'll be next.

Sunday 15 May 2011


We seem to have had one of those weekends which started with shearing ending rather abruptly because of the rain.

It has continued today with equipment issues.  Paul decided it was safer if he stuck to paperwork this afternoon so in between baby watch duties I have knitted a few more bobbles, shortened a pair of Paul's trousers and ironed him enough shirts to last two weeks!!

All three girls are gaining weight nicely, Princess Mallika's baby who we have named Ellie May looks like the oldest of the three not the youngest, she weighs a chunky 9.67kg.

I couldn't resist this photo, the blades of grass were almost as tall as Minimus. 

Saturday 14 May 2011

Little and large

With batteries fully charged (in the camera at least) I thought you'd like to see a proper picture of our latest little girl who has yet to be named; she's a real chunky monkey as you can see.  No wonder poor Mallika was finding life tough.

This next photo is especially for my mum; little Minimus now he has been shorn.  He is stood behind Layla and Meketaten who are just over a month older than him!   
My grandma always used to say to me when I complained about being small that all good things come in small packages and this certainly applies to our little man.  He has a fantastically bright fleece with amazing crimp, hopefully now he's been shorn he will have a growth spurt!

Friday 13 May 2011

Our new arrival

Like everyone else I was unable to blog last night, sorry to all those who were dying to see Mallika's new baby.  Yes she had it yesterday morning, those of you who don't follow our Twitter might of missed it.

Well here she is, yes another little girl, so we're making up for all boy lambs, three female cria so far. 
She is massive, really chunky and extremely active.  She's must have been born around 5am as she was already born and kushed when I arrived.  I don't mind missing a birth if all goes according to plan though and despite Princess Mallika being a maiden and the baby weighing 9.17kg all went well.

The photo's aren't the best quality because I was having to use my phone.  I did have the camera but the batteries went flat as soon as I switched it on.

Last night I had to do a bit of moving about as today we were supposed to be shearing, the forecast wasn't good so I wanted to move the weanlings into the bigger shelter so at least they would be dry(ish).  With everyone penned in I decided to take one good walker and one not so good each time.

On the first trip was Lucia and Freyja, after half an hour of coaxing, pushing and dragging Freyja I gave up and let her off the halter and went to get a slightly more compliant youngster as a black cloud was approaching.

Half way there  with Lucia and Pearson and Rory somehow managed to get through the fence.  Having been in this field for weeks and penned in exactly the same place on numerous occasions why on earth he decided to escape last night I don't know, other than I was on my own with lots of things to try and do and they could see I was getting stressed.

By 10.30pm the weanlings were all shut in!!  Need I say more.

Unfortunately the Friday the 13th jinx struck today and the weather wasn't on our side.  Just after 7am the heavens opened.  We had a brief pause shortly after 8 so we managed to get the weanlings sheared, here is Freyja having her go.

12 down 26 to go sometime soon; I hope!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

No baby no bobbles

Well despite another 12 hours spent in the field Mallika still hasn't produced.  I've got to be honest at one point this morning I was starting to think she was at least thinking about it.  Today is the first day I've thought she looked likely so fingers crossed not much longer to wait.

Spending all day in the fields is great, the alpacas just see me as part of the scenery so go about their business quite happily.  Mallika came and rolled at my feet at one point, I' sure it was to show me she had plenty of milk and to save me having to get down on my hands and knees at tea time to check - it's much easier when they've been shorn!

Carol popped over this afternoon with her knitting so we sat knitting and chatting for a while with the girls coming to check on quality and progress every now and again. 

I'm trying to knit a bobble hat which wasn't going according to plan.  Having spent an absolute age knitting the bobbles on one row I had ended up with not enough stitches and three bobbles short so ended up having to pull it down.  I think I've sussed it now.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Affection speaks a thousand words

Lucia, one of our weanlings is mesmerised by the babies and spends hours at the fence watching them, they usually run away when she sticks her head through.  Today however Neelie was feeling brave.
Sahara continues to be her boisterous self looking for mischief.  She doesn't giver her mum a moments peace, even when Sienna sits down she needs a hug...

and kisses....

Whilst on the subject of babies, Princess Mallika hasn't added to numbers yet.  As you can see she looks fit to burst poor thing.

Monday 9 May 2011

In bad books

As I suspected Carol and Dave are not happy about the release of Pearson for sale, but don't worry Carol I will carefully consider and new home and I will make sure he is well looked after! 

Despite the glorious morning Princess Mallika remains huge and no baby today, as this photo shows she is rather large and exhausted.

At about 3.30 I had to leave the field to meet a man about a drain, I was just on my way back and the heavens opened and boy did it rain and thunder.  My poor babies got very wet, I have been putting their coats on at bedtime but as they got wet they are coat less tonight.  The are both doing just find and I'm sure they don't need them; I just spoil them.

Sunday 8 May 2011

The time has come

Today has been a day of sunshine and showers, heavy ones with thunder too!  The grass needs it but I'd now like it to start to move away, as we now have limited shelter space (having sold the house) and shearing time is fast approaching.

The two cria are now very inquisitive, here they are going to check out what Paul is doing.  It's not great quality but it was from his blackberry.
The time has now come for me to advertise four of last years boys for sale, I've managed to put it off this long but Paul has now insisted (sorry Carol & Dave!).
I am actually in two minds about selling Wynfor as he has a fantastic fleece and is from our Supreme Champion Legend of Spartacus, so if you see him vanish off alpaca seller you know I changed my mind.

Saturday 7 May 2011

Room for a small one

Just a short blog tonight as like Princess Mallika I'm exhausted!  She still hasn't given birth, despite finding every step she takes a real effort.  The weather forecast for tomorrow isn't looking good so I doubt there will be any arrival tomorrow.

We had a visit from Liz, her mum and daughter Hannah today.  Liz and her mum come to collect manure for their gardens and veggie plots.  It always makes me smile when they arrive with a car full of bins and trugs to fill, I've nick named her manure trug lady - thankfully she saw the funny side.

I do feel sorry for Hannah mind, she travels home surrounds by poo.  They've been coming since Hannah was small and she doesn't seem to mind, unlike her big brothers who haven't been seen since their first visit!!

It looks like there was a bit of an incident on the way home today and one of the trugs fell over, lucky for Hannah it fell backwards rather than sideways!

Friday 6 May 2011

Down came the rain

The promised rain arrived today, I'd just about got everyone fed and it started to drizzle, the drizzle soon turned into proper rain that actually wet the ground.  The grass was desperate for a soaking so I'm not complaining, but in true alpaca style rain meant that Princess Mallika held on the her baby for another day.

I took a family photo yesterday, here we have (from right to left) Nefertiti, her daughter Sienna and her daughter Sahara, they seem to be getting lighter!
And what are they doing on the hill.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Wide load

I was obviously thinking on similar lines to Mark today because I too was taking photo's of fluffy bums!  Princess Mallika's to be precise, she is now at 356 days and looking very wide, uncomfortable and fed up with the whole situation.
The rest of this female line usually birth early but Mallika is not following in her mum, sister and aunties footsteps.  Duchess, her mum had an average gestation of 322 days, her sister Blossom's average was 328 and Blossom's two daughters have low averages too. 

I wouldn't resist taking a close up of Sahara's face, just look at that little spot on her nose, how cute is that!

As you can see her and Neelie are great pals, much to Sienna's concern, the poor thing is constantly chasing after her baby calling her back.