Thursday 29 August 2013

One in one out

Its been another busy day on the farm, after the routine morning rounds we had a lovely couple visit who I spoke to at the Glendale Show on Monday, they are thinking of getting alpacas and wanted to see our herd and chat things through.

We had a little fleece rummage and a good chat, hopefully I didn't bore them too much, you know what its like when you have enthusiastic alpaca visitors it's hard to know when to shut up!

As they left we had more visitors knocking on the door, this time some of our old neighbours from Angerton.  They were all so nice and friendly I really do miss them so it was great to see Rick, Jackie, Vicky & Stu. 

I had to check that they were only leaving with alpaca poo as Vicky was rather taken with the angora kids and I thought she might try and sneak off with one! 

Not that I can blame her, how can you not love these.......

Tomorrow I have a lot of alpaca moving round to do so hopefully everyone will behave - wish me luck!

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Boys and the facts

The boys have been out and about today, we headed over to Castleside Alpacas over in County Durham with Sunburst (rose grey), Sandstorm (fawn) and Gianmarco's Masterpiece (white) to do some spit offs and a mating.

Three of their four girls had already been serviced by two of the boys, Sunburst the lucky lad had already covered Lady Godiva (fawn) and Celestial (black) and Molly (white) had seen Sandstorm so these girls needed spitting off.

As I always like to try and let the boy have a girl at the end of the spit offs Marky got the job, Molly didn't even want to come in so that was a good sign is she is a complete floosy and falls to be boys feet.  Great news she spat, Celestial kicked and spat and even super laid back Godiva gave a spit.

Lucky for Marky Palm-Olive (a Remarque daughter) was ready to be mated so his reward was a mating to the lovely Palm-Olive, which should produce something stunning.

Talking of stunning we have just had our fleece stats back and we are so pleased with them.  Gianmarco's Masterpiece's 7th fleece is an amazing 22.9 micron, which is unchanged from last year, not only is his maintaining a fine fleece the comfort factor is a fabulous 91.4%.

He is also passing on this longevity of fineness to his progeny, Minimus's third fleece is still clarified as Ultrafine at 17.6 micron with an SD of 3.9 and 99.5% comfort factor!

Sandstorms 4th fleece is 21.3 micron with an SD of 5 and a comfort factor of 94.4% and Sunbursts 3rd fleece is 21.8 micron with an SD of 4.3 and comfort factor of 96.3%.

I wont bore you with all the stats but I will say that 8 of our cria from last year have a 100% comfort factor, an average micron of 16.4 and an average of SD of 3.7, and this includes black, grey and dark brown.

I do love to see the hard facts of the fleece stats, shows are great but there is no arguing with the scientific results of the fleece stats.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

A busy Bank Holiday

We have had a busy bank holiday weekend, with all the births over with it was safe to go to the shows knowing we wouldn't come home to any extra ears in the field!

Sunday we were at a Garlic Festival, a bit of a strange one and no there isn't any connection (we don't do and have no intention of ever doing alpaca sausages, garlic or not!).  I'd turned down the invitation on a couple of occasions but the organiser was persistent and so complimentary about our alpacas in the end I gave in and said yes.

It turned out to be a great day out, the alpacas were very well received and our knitwear sold well despite the lovely sunshine.  Poor little Minimus was a little out of sorts and very selective about his carrot so we decided we would have to take alternative Barnacre ambassadors on Monday to the Glendale Show at Wooler.

We decided it would have to be girls that we took to Glendale on Monday which we don't usually do.  Liberty (black) and Anka (brown) were the two volunteers.  It was the first time Liberty had left the farm but despite tens of thousands of visitors and lots of dogs she was fantastic and a real little charmer.

As you can see (thanks Chris & Rachael for the photos) as usual the alpacas drew a good crowd and the knitwear proved very popular, we had a great day of sales and lots of interest in alpaca keeping.

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We are always asked to go in the grand parade and this year was no different, however we usually leave before the champion of champions is awarded, however this year the judge enjoyed looking at the girls and asking about them!

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Today we had a visit from a lady who is looking to pursue the alpaca dream (sorry I forgot to ask if I could name her so I'd better not) who wanted some hands on experience.  There is always something to do so we have been doing lambivac injections, Jan from Castleside Alpacas also came over to help and take the leftover lambivac home to do her cria - well it's a shame to waste it and I get an extra pairs of hands :-)
It was a great excuse to have a fleece rummage, it's amazing how much fleeces change in a short space of time.  I think  my favourite has to be Pressures cria, who is a week old now and still doesn't have a name!
My new apprentice was great, she did an injection and some toenails, witnessed spit offs and a couple of matings.  She left still being hooked!!  

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Birthing Season over (not for the sqeamish)

Monday saw the end of birthing season for another year with Pressure giving birth to a lovely white female.  She has to win the award for fastest birth ever. 
I saw that she was in the very early stages of labour after breakfast and I literally turned my back for a couple of minutes and not only was the baby out but it was kushed!!
I think the rapid fire birth also took the cria by surprise because she was rather slow from here on in!  There was quite a lot of blood but everything seemed ok and her breathing was fine.  With no attempts to stand or look for the milk bar I reluctantly got involved, some lamb kick start (a bit like red bull for new-borns) seemed to do the trick and after being helped to her feet she was soon looking for milk. 
Pressures' presentation of the placenta was very busy, there were all sorts of bits hanging out all over the place!  Thankfully everything came away ok and Pressure is clearly loving being a mum.

Her cria who has yet to be named has a very promising fleece which is extremely dense.  She is from Shalimar so has Highlander on her sires side and Encantador on her dams so she should be destined for great things.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Looking like butter wouldn't melt....

Oh how looks can be deceiving!  The cria are all full of mischief at the minute, there are a number of boys who are always trying to mate their mates; mentioning no names but most of them seem to belong to Legend !!
Then there are a couple of pairs who love to play fight.  Ashling (right) and Asher (left) are so full of mischief it is so funny to watch.  They stand there looking like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths; and then
A sneaky little bite

Results in a big bite

Results in full on wrestle

Slam dunk!

Then there's Murray (right) and Middleton (left), the two Inglefield livery boys.

These two are always playing chase and woe betide anyone or anything that gets in the way.  It usually ends up with one running round mouth agape

But tides are usually turned

Thursday 15 August 2013

All change

Everyone has had a bit of a move round here, we were supposed to be having a few tons of lime spread on most of the alpaca fields and the hay field.  I say 'supposed to' as there was a technical hitch; despite the guy being told the size of our channel and gateways he turned up with a monstrous tractor and spreader and couldn't actually get in most of the fields!
This was after he walked up the channel with me and asked me to move all over the 12 foot hay hecks (not on wheels) to the size; which as usual I had to do single handed.  As you can imagine I was none to impressed when he announced he'd done two fields and couldn't do the rest.
The girls are not very impressed with their neighbours down the valley, a number of cows have arrived, rather noisy ginger ones which is resulting in lots of alarm calling from the girls who seem to think they are giant foxes or something.  I have to agree with them I'm not much of a cow lover myself!
We now have just one birth to go from one (yes there's more!) of our new girls, oops yes I've been spending again; Paul really shouldn't leave me alone with the check book.  EP Cambridge Pressure is from Jolimont Encantador, and is holding her fineness well; just as Gianmarco's Masterpiece is who has Encantador as his grandsire on his dams side.
Pressure is very friendly and settled in immediately, as you can see it doesn't look like it will be long before she has her cria.
Pressure is pregnant to Sandjo Shalimar of Anzac, so her cria has Purrumbete Highlander genetics too...... oh its so exciting!

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Two in two days

I'm not sure where the last week has gone, but at least I have something to report; two cria!!
Yesterday Paul and I were up at The Border Mill doing mill type stuff (all very exciting and more on that some other time), but we returned home to find an extra pair of ears in the field.  Layla had produced a lovely dark brown...... yes boy(!!) from Sandstorm.
He is a very consistent dark brown, mum is a fading brown so we were very please with his consistency and also his fineness which is a great improvement on his mum and he looks like he doesn't have all her guard hair too so a fab improvement Sandstorm; well done!

The today Bambi decided to give birth, she is fawn, mated to fawn and what do we get, yes you guessed it; white.  She is from an outside mating, least its a girl, she does have a little fawn spot but never mind.  Happy and healthy are good! 

She is a little cutie too!


Tuesday 6 August 2013

Rabbit races

Not many words tonight as my keyboard batteries appear to be going flat so I keep missing out letters!!
What a difference a day makes, this morning we woke to a nice blue sky and the sun soon made an appearance.  The main bunch of cria started the day with their usual bunny races; they seem to take great delight in chasing the rabbits!
At the front of the gang we have Elfrida and Selby.
After a wet arrival yesterday Patience is now fully dry and a real cutie, I can't wait to see how her fleece develops.

As with all Geena cria she requires a bottle top up as Geena doesn't produce much milk but thankfully she likes her goats milk; hopefully it will stay that way and as long as you bribe Geena with a bit of carrot she doesn't panic too much!

Finally I thought I'd share a couple of Sandstorm cria shots, these two are so alike it could quite easily be the same one.  First up we have Middleton (from Snow).

And secondly we have Gabby's little girl who has yet to be named but is currently affectionately known as mini me as she is a miniature Gabby.

Monday 5 August 2013

Excuse me, it's raining!

Our weather for today wasn't good, and despite waking to a dry morning it wasn't long before it started to rain.  It also wasn't long before Geena decided it would be a good idea to go into labour!!  What is it with water births here lately?!

I had noticed at breakfast that she was looking slightly dilated and Geena is a rapid birther to say the least, two minutes last year from nose to being on the ground.  So I decided I didn't have time to go and put my waterproofs on.
This was a slow delivery in Geena terms at 18 minutes from the first glimpse of a nose to being on the ground.  Even Geena thought something was wrong when she came over to me as if to say something isn't quite like before.  The sack was extremely thick, so much so that the feet were struggling to pop it so I helped them out and the rest as they say is history.
Geena has so far only ever produced boys for us and we've had her since 2006 so we were well overdue a girl and thankfully she delivered just that, and she's black.  We, well I say we, more I, have called her Patience.

It wasn't long before she was kushed and being greeted by the rest of the herd, Oonagh (white), our herd matriarch was first.

At this point I felt it was safe to nip back in for a complete wardrobe change and put the waterproofs on.
Geena is a particularly stressy sort of girl so doesn't like coming in, not ideal when you decide to give birth in the rain and the cria needs to dry off.  She also doesn't produce enough milk to feed her babies so they always need topping up with a bottle so once she had fed from mum (her colostrum will be better than what I can give) I gave her more from the freezer.
As the weather didn't really improved until tonight she had been penned with Chiquita and Pasha in the overhang of the barn to help dry Patience off, I can't wait to see what her fleece looks like, she is from Black Sabbath, owned by Beckbrow and we've not seen any of his cria yet.  She has a lovely head though.
I will post some nice dry pictures tomorrow, it was getting to dark to get a decent shot by the time she dried out!

Sunday 4 August 2013

Producing and reproducing

It's been busy, busy, busy again and I've failed to blog, so I thought I'd better rectify that now!

The trailer seems to have been out and about almost daily, I'm sure a van would be much easier.....

We delivered Indigo (our young grey boy from Kate & Loki) off to his new home up towards Wooler, despite moving in with 5 'big boys' some of our 2011 boys Indi seems to be holding his own - well from Kate you'd expect nothing else!!!

Speaking of Kate, she is now carrying special cargo.  She has been scanned pregnant to our multi grey champion Sunburst, so we are really excited about this!!  This should be the first Sunburst cria, we have a number of girls spitting off to him now.

He has been out and about visiting ladies too, before he got to see one girl on Saturday he had to spit off her friend who he'd seen a little while ago; she spat which was great news.

Golden Guinea our brown stud and dad to our brown champion sisters Meketaten and Anka has also been out to see some outside ladies.  He is a really ladies man so has been in his element!!

There have been no cria born here since I last blogged, despite Geena looking very fed up and being overdue.  However Sandstorm has had another cria for Castleside, this time a white boy with Palm-Olive.  I've not seem him in the flesh yet but Jan kindly sent me this photo.

Today has been another manic day, annual sheep shearing day.  Last night Paul and I were out rounding up the sheep, it was like one man and his dog; unfortunately I was the dog!  The girls were pretty well behaved actually and it wasn't too painful.
Shearing one of the blackie girls revealed some nasty maggots, thankfully Crovect is fantastic stuff and soon draws out and kills the horrible things.  She didn't even have a dirty back end, they were on her shoulder.