Thursday 31 May 2012

Will it work

I've been trying to get on my blog all night and keep getting an error message so I'm not going to say much tonight in case it won't post, plus I don't have much to report!

We have had rain on and off all day and after the heat a couple of the girls have been feeling the cold, namely Mary, who gave birth yesterday but refused point blank to come in - probably something to do with her daughter Liberty being the biggest live wire ever and never stopping still!

Lady Godiva was also feeling the cold, she is quite a petite girl and cut lots of fleece so I suppose you'd expect her to feel the cold more than some of the others.

On the turbine front, it has been moved today.  I was advised that the checky contractors have been in my field taking photo's of it's removal.  I wonder if it was one of them that snapped one of our fence bars to allow one very eagle eyed sheep out onto the road!

Wednesday 30 May 2012

With a poke here and a prod there

Despite the protruding cria from Willow's side yesterday she decided that today wasn't a good day for having a baby.  Maybe she saw the forecast for tomorrow, rain, and thought she would hang on.

The girls are getting ready for a change of grass, there isn't an awful lot left on their current field but I'm planning on keeping them in there another week, then they can move onto fresh grass.  Each new field is causes even more excitement than usual as it is all new to them!

There are lots of girls with bulges now, this is Star's back end all the time now, she can't have much room left in there at all, she has over a week to go to reach her personal average gestation so we will see if she lasts.  I'm hoping all these girls don't birth on Monday whilst we're at the Northumberland County Show.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Check mate

I thought I'd start off with a turbine update.  I suspect the driver was going to fast round the bends and lost control, his explanation was he clipped the soft verge and slid off the road!  It is taking some recovering, they have been building the platform for the crane all day, it most be costing a fortune!
This morning saw a surprise arrival from Mary, one of our black girls, she wasn't even in the running to be next!  Mary has gone 345 the last two years and been very easy to read.  This morning she came for breakfast as usual and I was pottering in the girls field, I left them and walked back to the house to put the kettle on and before I'd even poured the tea out I saw a black head wobbling!  She must have fired her, yes it's a girl, out at record speed.

Meet Barnacre Liberty, named after our hill. 
There was a bit of checking out going on this evening, Lady Godiva is checking out Liberty and Palm-Olive is making sure the heavily pregnant Willow is ok.

How painful does this look, I don't think Willow will last much longer...

Monday 28 May 2012

No wind turbines here!

This morning bought another close call with our fence line, this time with part of a massive wind turbine.  I didn't like them at the best of times!

This photo shows you the scale of things.

By this evening they have managed to recover the cab and trailer but the turbine remains.  They are going to have to build a platform to put a big crane on to lift the 20 tonne tube up.  We didn't have all these problems with our solar panels.

On the alpaca front Nefertiti has now joined the list of full udders, she usually ends up resembling a cow by the time she births.  So who will it be Willow, Nefers, Ursula or Star.  Keep posted to find out.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Famous last words

We have  had another busy weekend and would  it not be for our two sets of Pearson friends we would probably still be out there now with the spotlights!

Yesterday first thing off we went to the Scottish borders to deliver four boys which had been purchased by a lovely could.  I am absolutely rubbish when it comes to selling them, I think I managed to hide my tears well.

Here are the boys happily munching their new grass, I'm not sure they even battered an eyelid when I left!

Later on in the day we had three new arrivals, one gorgeous grey girl from one of the girls on livery here, and two young hens who needed a new home, well one hen and one cockerel. 

Today we had sheep jobs on the list, thankfully both sets of Pearson were coming over to lend a hand, there is no way we'd of managed on our own.  It took hours and I blame Carol, the ewes came in relatively according to plan and Carol said how easy it was, almost immediately the lambs then started disappearing through the fence.  Two hours later they were all back!

We are so lucky to have such good friends in the Pearson's (unrelated!), Gill even bought tome delicious cakes to keep us energised.

Friday 25 May 2012

A star bulge

Firstly, yes Bev we do seem to have some very long legged cria this year, although I was sat on the grass when I took that last shot of the new man, who needs a name quick because Paul keeps calling him Skunk!  So any suitable suggestions gratefully received.

Many of the girls have bulges and sticky out bits all over the place at the minute, Star takes the prize today for the most painful looking bulge!
At one point not only could you see her unborn cria's toes under her skin you could also make out it's nostrils!  I suspect Star is on for another big cria this year, despite being a maiden last year she produced our second biggest cria, second to her mum Kate who also has huge bulges.

Lualeni was obviously feeling the heat again today, either that or her cria Thor wanted warm milk - how ladylike is she; not!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Little Miss Irraquoy delivers a surprise

The morning started misty again, well it was 4.45am when I did the first check on the girls, but that soon burnt off and it turned into another scorcher.

Little Miss Irraquoy decided that today would be a good day to introduce her cria to the big wide world.  I thought this morning that she would have it today.

I could see from the yard that Irraquoy was up to something so off I headed with my birthing box and the camera.  Within a minute or two of pushing out popped a head and two feet; so far so good.  A couple more pushes and we had a neck and shoulders which revealed a fawn patch, the more Irraquoy pushed the more the fawn appeared!

Here he is being inspected by the girls..
LMI is white and Gianmarco is white, and both of them are from whites so we weren't expecting a multi, but hey ho as long as he's happy and healthy I'm not complaining.

It took him a while to master his legs, he even tried using his neck as a fifth leg to see if that helped.
He has a lovely face, with Irraquoys dark skin and his patchwork fleece he is going to be an eye catcher.

 Here's the little man dried off and catching a few rays.  All we need to do now is think of a name!

Wednesday 23 May 2012

I'm not complaining but it has been hot, hot, hot!

All the alpacas have spent most of the day sunbathing, I was quit tempted to join them.  Despite being shorn Veruschka has been very hot, she is a big girl and 10 months pregnant and every year she feels the heat, and unlike many of our girls she doesn't like to paddle or sit in water to cool off.

Whilst the alpacas have been soaking up the sun I have had the pressure washer out on the yard.  Whilst I had cleared up where the boys and Wesley (tup) had been I wasted to jet wash and disinfect it.  The back splashes were quite pleasant in the soring temperatures!

I did needed a break half way thought the afternoon as I've pulled something in my neck and it really is quite sore.  So I took the camera into the weanlings paddock and sat on the grass for five minutes to see who came to say hello.


Tuesday 22 May 2012

Birthing pool maybe?

It has been glorious today, all the alpacas have been sunbathing.  The tables have certainly turned, last week Meketaten & Cassiphia, who are still in full fleece were sniggering at the rest of the shorn herd, today they were looking mighty hot and the rest of the girls were looking rather smug.

After yesterdays brief lapse of concentration Sienna hasn't let Kirkley out of her sight, he is a real little sweetie!
Little Miss Irraquoy has been paddling today, she is always one of the first to have a good paddle, although I'd rather it wasn't in the water trough!  She is now 10 days overdue, so all being well she should be next Rosemary.
 As you can see from this photo she is looking rather round.
Mind you so is Star who isn't actually due for over 2 weeks, but last year as a maiden she produced a huge baby, over 10kg. 
It should be Ursula after LMI but I think my money is on Willow, despite not being due until next month she already has a lot of milk.

One out all out

Well looks like its another late one folks, so I think I will say it with pictures!

As the weather was much improved we decided that the girls could you back into the field,they were actually itching to come out this morning which is the first time since shearing.

Here they are on their way.......

Then Sienna (brown on the left) remembers she's left something behind!
It doesn't take long to catch back up!

Ummm nice grass......

Eventually we got them back into their field without having to go all the way to the top of the hill.

Monday 21 May 2012

Kirkley arrival

It was another early start this morning, we were off to the Countryside Event at Kirkley Hall with some of our alpacas and the knitwear.  I was leaving the farm in the capable hands of mum and dad with strict instructions to keep a very close eye on Sienna as she was clearly thinking about giving birth.

Just as we were setting up I got the call from my rather excited mum to say that Sienna was indeed in labour, so I was on and off the phone keeping check on progress.

The event at Kirkley Hall Zoo was very well organised with lots of people.  I actually got a quick look round the zoo before it opened, it's fab.  

For once we remembered to take the camera and Paul took a few photos before the event opened, getting chance to take photo's once the public enter is always impossible. 
Out with us today was Ochre (brown) Minimus (Fawn) and Pearson (Beige).  It was Pearson and Ochre's last outing with us as they head off to their new home next weekend - that is going to be a very teary separation! 
About an hour into the morning, the call came, Sienna has had her baby.  A light coloured boy; mum couldn't quite decided white or light fawn.

He is a real chunky boy weighing in at 8.53kg, the camera was still packed away when we got back so I'm afraid you will have to wait until tomorrow to meet him.....

Saturday 19 May 2012

Out and about

We have been out and about today with the alpacas, it was the Otterburn Hall Hotel garden party and we'd been invited along.  Well I say we, I mean the alpacas really, most invitations that arrive on our doorstep are for the alpacas not us!
Thankfully it wasn't too early a start as there was lots to do before we left.  With all 60 alpacas in the shed keeping warm following shearing there is lots of cleaning up to do in the morning before the usual feeding rounds begin.

It was terrible news we received from the BAS about the loss of some pregnant females following shearing.  I'd only been saying to Paul on Friday night I wouldn't be surprised if the weather wasn't causing some poor alpacas major issues.

I left mum and dad on the farm on feeding and poo picking patrol which is constant if you want to keep the shed clean.  Mum was also keeping a very close eye on Sienna who is now on 365 days gestation.  LMI is also overdue, and Willow and Nefertiti have milk but a little longer to go.

We are off out again tomorrow at Kirkley Hall Countryside Festival, this one is an early start so no doubt Paul will be in a good mood - he doesn't like mornings.

Friday 18 May 2012

Shearing week

I really don't know where this week has gone, my last blog was Monday and Paul is complaining at me - not that I see him offering to do it!

The week has been spent preparing for shearing, this was a major operation as we still have lots of things in the shed that need to find a home either in the house or loft or on freecycle.  Shearing and then looking after lots of rather cold alpacas and preparing for a weekend out and about with the alpacas and our knitwear.

Wednesday was the big day and shortly after 8am James Dixon arrived to shear 55 alpacas.  Also arriving were a number of helpers which is always handy on shearing day.

Here was the first volunteer in Pearson.

Working through the boys first.
The girls were hoping if they formed a blockage and looked the other way they might not have to be sheared. 
 Sorry girls it didn't work!
Ever since shearing it has gone nothing but rain and there has been a cold easterly wind, needless to say the alpacas are not happy to be naked.  The girls have been in the shed ever since with the odd venture out into the yard.

The boys were happy to be out yesterday and last night but tonight were wanting back in, so in they are.  Poor things were shivering, with Tenzing seeming to be feeling it the most.  Mind you he did cut about 4.5kg of fabulous fleece so that would make a huge difference!

Because the girls are in there has been lots of opportunity to make our fire bricks.  Andrew, if you look on the home page of our website at the Countryfile video you will see how I make them.

This weekend we are out with the alpacas and our knitwear so its to be hoped the weather improves.  Tomorrow we are at Otterburn Hall Hotel's garden party and Sunday we are at Kirkley Hall Countryside Event so if you are about do come and say hello.

Mum is on farm duties as we have two very overdue girls in Sienna and Little Miss Irraquoy, neither of whom were encouraged by shearing!

Monday 14 May 2012

The lack of blog last night was due to complete exhaustion!  We had been getting the shed ready for shearing on Wednesday and as the weather was due to turn wet so we needed everyone in.

Typically just before we fetched the girls in it started to rain.  Dave popped over for 'an hour' which turned out to be five hours, to help get the girls in.  Once the channel is finished it will be easy to get everyone in but at the minute it's not a one man job.

With everyone settled and the lambs safely tucked up in bed I was able to iron Paul some shirts for work; it was well after 1am when we got to bed again.

This morning it looked like the girls had had the national herd visit them overnight, there was sooo much poo it was ridiculous.  One plus point our alpaca poo fire brinks are easier to make from poo on the concrete floor.

As the weather men predicted it has been sunshine and showers on and off all day so the alpacas have been in and out like yoyos, but they seem happy enough.

This afternoon we had a visit from a lovely couple exploring the idea of keeping alpacas.  They certainly seemed to enjoy themselves, so much so by the time they left they were rather later for a night out!  I think they were quite hoping Sienna might giver birth so they could have first call on the cria!

Anywaw, it's short and sweet tonight because it's almost half past eleven and the lambs need their supper and I need my bed.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Lots of visitors

We, or rather the alpacas have had lots of visitors today, Dorothy and Geoff came this morning and bought a picnic with them, then this afternoon Carol and Dave popped over with their niece Helen and her little boy Jacob.

As you can see despite having very little contact with children the alpacas don't mind little people.  In fact Meketaten as usual was straight over for fuss.
 And promptly sat at their feet.
 The littlies are also quite happy with other 'littlies' sitting in their field.
 They even queued up to introduce themselves!

And finally I couldn't end without letting you have another photo of the new man, name to be announced tomorrow!  He is feeding nicely and his neck is improving and he is now back out in the field with mum and everyone else.

Friday 11 May 2012

And then there were two

I thought yesterday Lualeni was looking very uncomfortable, but because of the appalling weather she held on, well today she could hold on no more!

A little before 7.30 this morning she produced a lovely white boy from Gianmarco's Masterpiece.  It was cold and raining and he clearly wasn't very impressed with the world he'd arrived into.
I was hoping that he would get up and feed in the field before I took him into the shed with mum out of the elements.  Unfortunately he was having none of it, he soon kushed but standing was out of the question, let alone feeding.

Thankfully Friday is a none work day for Dave, so Carol and Dave popped over to lend a hand to get them in.  Lualeni was very good and walked back keeping a very close eye on me carrying her precious new arrival.  The rest of the girls weren't happy that I was taking them away.

Once they were home and dry with him still showing no interest in standing or feeding and fast approaching four hours old I decided it was time to offer a helping hand.
He managed to stand with some assistance but couldn't work out the milk bar and with Lualeni's teats growing by the minute and the size of a cows udder I decided to milk her and try the bottle.
Lualeni is a very placid girl and stood perfectly whilst Dave held her and fed her hay and I milked some colostrum for her baby.  He took a while to work out how to suck but he took some and this gave him the energy to stand and gain his balance.  By this afternoon he was feeding from mum.

He has obviously been tucked up at a strange angle whilst inside as he has a rather stiff neck, poor thing.  Space was probably limited as he is a big boy weighing over 8kg.

Lualeni has a huge bag of milk with enormous teats so I have just milked a little milk from her as her baby seems to be struggling slightly to latch on to her front teats they are so big.  The milk is now in the freezer in case of an emergency later in the birthing season.

Thursday 10 May 2012

What a difference a day makes

I was laid in bed last night listening to the rain lashing down on the windows and dreaded what state the fields would be in this morning.

It was still heavily raining when I got up and it hasn't stopped all day.  Each time I have been out today I have got soaked to the skin, I can't quite decide if its because the rain is so heavy or if I am in need of new waterproofing!

This evening I have bought Oonagh and Leonidas into the shed, much to her disgust.  Oonagh is one tough cookie who likes to stay out no matter what, but her son was feeling the cold so I took the decision that a nice warm straw bed was called for!

Getting them in was a major operation in itself as the channel isn't yet done.  Leonidas is a real live wire who is quite independent even at a week old, so I didn't think he's follow Oonagh on the halter.  I decided to carry him into the shed and hope that Oonagh would follow.

She was happy to come out of the field but then just started munching on the fresh grass and just shouted at me for taking her baby away.  I walked all the way to the shed with her just shouting at me!!  I had to go back with a halter and walk her down to her son I'd put in the shed. 

It's amazing what a difference a day makes....
 Lucia yesterday
Cassiphia yesterday.

The culvert today!