Sunday 26 October 2014

Eye eye Oscar, anyone for mushrooms?

Thanks for your comments on Nelson, he seems just fine after his transfusion, today is weigh day so I'll update you on that next time.

He had Thiamine Judy and was clear of cocci, it didn't make any difference unfortunately, and his Albumin levels were normal too.  The only slightly high result was his bile acid but this was only at the top end of normal and not something my vet or Claire Whitehead had any real concerns over.

Moving on to Oscar, the ophthalmologist was very pleased with him and his eye and the speed at which it was healing.  He is still on a cocktail of eye drops but the injections are coming to an end and the drops have reduced, and there is definitely sight there.  We're back again in three weeks.

We are are heading towards thoughts of winter and winter grazing so the main group of girls have had another move round, fresh grass always goes down well!  Before they move I always check the fields carefully and there were some very impressive mushrooms in this field, not sure what they were but I don't think I'd fancy them in an omelet!

I've decided that I think I seriously need to look into a milking goat, as I have now started feeding another of the cria.  Black Betty has always been a slow grower but last week she lost weight, I'd tried feeding her before but she wasn't having any of it, however she must now be hungry as she took just short of 300ml twice.  Hopefully that will help her weigh gain, poor little thing doesn't have a very dense fleece either so she might end up with a second coat on before long too!!

Yesterday when checking the sheep we noticed that someone had hit the crash barrier on the far east side of our farm and had pushed it into part of our fence.  Thankfully the sheep hadn't noticed that they could actually get out!  I was not impressed that they hadn't bothered to tell me, it must have been a big lorry as they have pulled two huge lumps of concrete out the ground, the police knew nothing about it either so looks like it's another fence repair that we've got to fund.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Nelson news

I mentioned little Nelson on the blog last week and the latest blood that had been taken by the vet to try and establish what was going on.  We have tested for everything, you name it we've tested for it, including the nasties like BVD (not that we thought he has/had it) and everything comes back ok and it did again!

He has clear fecal counts, his heart, lungs and chest sound fine, but then you look at him and he's tiny, his growth chart is far from normal and without something we fear he wont make it through winter.

As you can see on his chart initially his weight gain was normal and at the first peak at just over 6kg he got heat stroke and nothing has been the same since.  After lots of hard work and various medicines we did manage a month of very steady weight gain but nothing significant and we have now slowed to between 50 and 100 grams a week if we are lucky.  At three months and one week he weighs 7.71kg!!

We had decided that the next step was a plasma infusion, not that there was really any evidence that this was going to help we are just running out of ideas!  So on Wednesday we headed off to Robson & Prescott this time with Nelson and a bag of Barnacre plasma and a rather paranoid me!

He's the gorgeous little man waiting patiently for his appointment with Sam Prescott.

I've never know Sam struggle to get a vein but he did with poor Nelson and when he did manage to find one they either collapsed or there was a valve, but Nelson being the calm and laid back little man that he is just sat there and got more and more shaved and stabbed.

I was so relieved when the plasma was in and the cannular removed and all appeared well.  I am the first one to admit I am paranoid when it comes to Nelson, I just can't help it!

Nelson was pleased to get back home and went straight to get a drink off his mum Andromeda and didn't seem to be in the slighted bit upset by his little outing, a bit of milk solves everything :-)  Fingers crossed this will kick start some growth.  Sam is off now for a week and on his return wants a phone call saying Nelson has hit double figures!!

Sunday 19 October 2014

Keeping an eye on Oscar

I have so much to tell you I’m not sure where to start, if you follow our tweets you will have seen much of what has been going on, but 140 characters can be very limiting at times!

Marne’s little man has been causing me major worries, you may recall he was the 410 day gestation cria who was found flat and freezing cold in the field, initially couldn't stand, has had a plasma transfusion and is being bottle fed because mum has not milk.

At a few days old he developed an ulcer in his eye which we put down to the fact he couldn't stand and had probably been rubbing it on the floor.  With eye ointment the clouding cleared and his sight seemed fine, but it had left two white dots on his eye which the vet checked when he was out seeing Nelson (mentioned in my last blog, more on him another night).  

The drops Sam put in showed that there was not retinal damage and he was happy that it was scar tissue that could be scraped under a local anesthetic if it bothered him.  However a few days later the eye started to water and it clouded within a few hours and a black dot appeared next to the raised white scaring (you should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them).

Straight back to the vets we went as I was very worried, he now appeared to have lost sight in the eye.  Sam Prescott referred us straight to an ophthalmic specialist, Chris Dixon at veterinary vision who immediately prescribed a cocktail of eye drops and injections until he could move round his appointments to see us on Firday.  Here is the little man waiting to see Chris.

The poor little man underwent a number of very uncomfortable examinations including an ultrasound of his eye which was rather fascinating.  Put simply Chris diagnosed a protruding iris, his eye had ruptured and the black that had appeared was his iris!  

He was happy that he was suitable for surgery and he immediately underwent very complex corneal surgery to remove all the clouding, return the iris to it's rightful place, re-inflate the front of the eye and have a corneal graft.

It took almost two hours, which seemed to be the longest two hours of my life sat in Morrisons car park 5 minutes from the vets!  The relief when Sam (he was doing the anesthetic)  rang to say he was out and in recovery was immense.  I was there within minutes and within half an hour we were heading home with over 40 tiny stitches on his eyeball!  This is his eye tonight.

This little man is such a fighter, he's had so much thrown at him in his short life how could I have done anything else but try and save his sight, I'll worry about the four figure vet bill next month when it arrives!

We have now given him a name, Oscar which is a Celtic boys name meaning jumping fighter.  He's a keeper!!!

Thursday 16 October 2014

Thirsk Show

Things just seem to be manic here, with the days getting shorter outside jobs are getting harder to fit in and with a knitwear order book growing by the day I'm trying to knit like crazy at night whilst fitting in four hourly (I'm trying to stretch them out!) feeds round the clock!

As I was on bottle feeding duties Paul headed off to Thirst without me last weekend, he was commentating as usual so my mum and dad were meeting him there so mum could do most of the handling, she's great at it and loves it thankfully.

First up was Boulevarde, this was the first time we'd actually shown him, although he'd already won a championship a couple of years ago as an adult.  He won first place senior grey male and went on to win Grey Male Champion; result!  He has a lot to live up to with his half brother, five times grey champion Sunburst.  

Shirley said he caught her eye the minute he entered the ring, she loved his walking, his fleece and everything about him, he does have that effect on you!

Next up was little Galapagos, hes' only 12 and a half months but has a stunning fleece.  1st place and Champion brown male; Shirley's comments were finest, densest and best fleece structure, beautiful animal, watch this space!

Next in was Paul and Zoom, not sure if that was because he wanted a break from talking on the mike or he'd sneaked off for a Jan cake and thought I'd better give mum a break.  Zoom won the Fawn Adult male class and also went on to win Fawn Champion.

Next it was the turn of the girls, Elfida in the intermediate fawn class.  She came second with the comment that she was finer with more character than the girl in first place but not as consistent in colour.

After lunch it was on the whites, first in for us was Czara.  The text I received was 'Czara in massive class be patient' I was struggling with the patience bit!!  After what seemed like an eternity she was placed 2nd on density with the comment this fleece woos you.  She went on to win Female White Reserve Champion.

That just left our two white adult boys, after a lengthy deliberation we got 2nd for Thor and 3rd for Plato.  The joral reasoning from Shirley on Thor was fantastic, in fact I got three texts from different people all congratulating me on the fantastic comments, and another text described the comments as orgasmic!  But at the end of the day she said she preferred a bigger 'boxier' male.  

Thor then went on to win Reserve Male Champion, clearly he was rather bored by the whole thing!!

The darkside of the Championship line up was a sea of Barnacre, three out of 5 so not a bad days work.  We took 7 animals can came home with three 1st, three 2nds, a 3rd, three colour champions and two reserve Champions so not to shabby ;-)

Saturday 11 October 2014

A gain at last

Oops it's now early on Saturday morning and I have been meaning to blog since about Wednesday!  Better late than never, I'm here now!

Thankfully Fair Lady's cria, who is still to be named; we can't agree on anything but none of the options seem to really suit her, has finally started gaining weight.

Fair Lady seemed to be starting with a touch of mastitis, but with having antibiotics and pain relief following a very traumatic labour I think I caught it very early and it has cleared up.  I was struggling to get any milk from her back quarters and she wasn't keen for the cria to nurse on three of her four teats.

In the last three days she has gained 750gms so we seem to have cracked it, although I did notice a bit of scouring last night so now need to keep an eye on that; there's always something to be watching.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had a lovely young girl Lucy here for some work experience, she is wanting to be a vet and is wanting some alpaca experience for her portfolio.  She was very good and I'm sure will make a fantastic vet one day.

Tuesday I had the vet out, Nelson is still worrying me.  Despite now being three months old he is still only 7.5kg and gaining no weight despite eating, peeing and pooing completely normally.  He had started to stiffen up a bit on his back legs so that was a concern.

Sam has taken another two lots of bloods to see if the lab can find anything, so far everything has come back clear but I can't give up on this little man, I'm worried that without some growth he is never going to survive winter.  He is the most adorable little thing and has the best black fleece we have ever bred, he is a very special little man!

Wednesday we did a round of Lambivac injections and routine cocci drench for some of the cria, Lucy was happy to get involved and was very competent at giving injections.  Here she is giving Perry his.

We also did a bit of halter work with the young boys, Asher likes to think he's the boss and doesn't really like being told where to go!  However for the first time he seemed to get it and walked the best he has ever walked, it is still a work in progress mind you.

Paul has headed off down to Thirsk this morning with an amended show team, I'm at home on bottle feeding duty so feel a bit like I'm missing out!  Hopefully our twitter feed @BarnacreAlpacas will be keeping us all informed with proceedings.

Monday 6 October 2014

The wait is over

 At last the wait is over, Fair Lady eventually decided to go into labour late on Friday morning (just before it started to rain)!

I was quite pleased she'd decided that Friday was the day as we'd got mum farm sitting on Saturday whilst we were at Morpeth for the Food and Drink Festival with the alpacas and our knitwear.  After the Marne delivery a couple of weeks ago I didn't want mum to have to deal with another overdue baby to be delivered.

At 11.30 mum went up to check and thought that Fair Lady was showing all the signs; she's getting very good at it now, she was spot on.  After lots of rolling, and visits to the poo pile out fired one leg, yes just a leg, no sign of anything else!!

Fair Lady is a real worrier so I knew getting hold of her in the field wasn't going to be easy but I needed to investigate.

I decided the easiest way was to get everyone out the field and into the channel; perfect it worked and she was soon in a catch pen.  All lubed up and in I went, further and further to try and find the other leg and a head.

I eventually found the head down low underneath the cria and squashed to its tummy, but as for the second leg I couldn't find it anywhere.  I could find back feet but no front leg so I called the vet as I knew I was going to need help.

It took the vet over an hour to arrive so during this time we took Fair lady down to the shed, Rose and Selkis were happy to show her the way as it was raining by this time and they'd spent time in with Nelson if you remember and found it rather cosy down there.

I continued to try and get the cria out but try as I might I couldn't budge the head, she was on 365 days so I was thinking the cria must be big and I was starting to think it would be dead.  Having chased the location of the vet (they said she'd left an hour ago so should be there!) I had one last go and somehow managed to get the head up and out.  I've never been so relieved about anything, there was a few coughs and splutters but the cria was alive.

With some extra space I hoped I would now be able to find the missing leg but I still couldn't feel it and then I heard a car, I can't begin to tell you how pleased I was.

It took the vet some time but eventually after constantly finding back feet she sighed a sigh of relief she'd found the leg, somehow bent over the back of the cria!  Fair Lady wasn't very keen on the cria being pushed back in to move the leg but she was clearly very pleased to have the cria and the vets arms eventually out!

Other than a bit of a wonky neck the cria didn't seem any the worse for her (yes it's a girl) rather stressful arrival into the world.

Despite being 365 days gestation she was only 6.48kg and is showing signs of prematurity, down on her pasterns and teeth not erupted.  She is also causing me some concerns over feeding, my regular vet Sam Prescott is coming out tomorrow so we'll see what he has to say about her.

I've got to be honest she is not at all what we were expecting.  Fair Lady was mated to Lavender Park Tully and has herself produced two very nice cria, the first one of our colour champions' Zoom and the second a very nice fine black Jumping Jack so we were hoping for grand things but that is not the case, however as long as she is happy and healthy that's all that matters, we all know alpaca mating results are far from predictable!

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Still waiting for Fair Lady

Fair Lady our last girl to birth still has her legs crossed on 361 days today, I'm really hoping we don't have much longer to wait, hope you've had more luck with your next one arriving Barbara!

Seeing as there are no new babies to introduce I will carry on with the ones we have already.  I had previously got up to Cerys, who is now owned by Balnuith Alpacas in Scotland.

Next up is Leyton, he's from Little Miss Irraquoy and Heart Throb, he was named Leyton because he was born late on in the evening the night before shearing.  As is always the case Irraquoy is super protective of her son and as with all her cria he has attitude.  He has a very nice fleece to go with it though!

Next up is Amarillo, he was born the day of shearing, again late by alpaca standards at 7.30pm and needed a fair bit of help to enter the world.  He is from Amata and Sandstorm and has a lovely buttery beige fleece which will make fantastic yarn; I'm already working out what I can knit with it!  

He got his name after a tomato (!), blame Paul, he calls his mum tomato for some reason so a tomato variety seemed to suit him.

The following day Kimchee gave birth to the biggest baby of the year (so far) at 10.5kg to a lovely brown girl Aryana meaning golden haired, she is sired by Darwin.  She is still the heaviest of the year, despite being almost a month younger than the oldest.  Aryana is full sister to Stargazer (black!) who is one of the boys we have for sale.

Next up is Stella (previously known as Cacace).  She is also sired by Darwin and from Cha Cha, she is a lovely girl with a nice fleece and great presence.  Stella and her mum have been sold, but luckily for me they will stay here on livery for a while yet.

The 7th June was a busy day for birthing, very shortly after Stella arrived Kealani produced Xanthe.  She is a sweet little girl, sired by Heart Throb, she has a lovely fine fleece which is a lovely shiny beige, hence her name, Xanthe meaning bright and blond.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Whalton Village show sheep racing

Saturday saw our annual outing to Whalton Village Show, this is always a busy one for us because not only do we have the alpacas and our knitwear I also race some of my pet sheep.  Team Barnacre Barnstormers has a reputation to uphold, we have won three of the four previous years so we have standards to keep!

This year we had three of the usual team, Mocha, she's back left, next to Ebony back right, then there's Mia who is closest to me as usual, so you can hardly see her and the big girl in the middle was new to sheep racing, she's Curly one of my new Wensleydales.

Having had a few practice goes it was clear that despite a huge height advantage Curly wasn't really made for sheep racing; but she was there now so no team changes could be made.

There are four heats then a final and it has to be said this is about the only time that I get really competitive, I have no idea why, but something just comes over me and I get super excited and shout like crazy encouraging the girls over the finish line to a bucket of feed!

First up was Mocha, she was the very first ever winner of the Whalton Sheep race so I have high expectations.  Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to get a bet on the tote, but plenty of others did and she did them proud, clear winner.

Next up was Mia, two times previous winner and would have been a third time winner had somebody not decided to open a crisp packet on the way round which caused Mia to stop in her tracks and make sure she could eat them, she had a half course lead at the time!!!

Anyway off they set and she was clearly in the lead, but being rather well built (she is very greedy) and having a bit, or rather a lot of a weight disadvantage she was tiring towards the end and being caught.

And at the last hurdle she was over taken, the jockey waving to the crowd didn't really help aerodynamics! 

Third up was Curly, now this was funny, she didn't like the jockey for starters, then she didn't want to leave her mates, the crowd thought it was funny but poor Curly was last!

The final heat, Ebony's race was fantastically close and three of the four ewes crossed the line together, sadly for Ebony she was beat by a nose.  For the first time in its history there was one sheep from each team in the final, it was going to be hard for me to retain my crown; the cup vanished the only year I didn't win it so there was not much chance of getting that back anyway!!

Thankfully Mocha did me proud; and I'd managed to place a bet that time so double whammy; go Mocha, despite being an old girl in sheep years, 10.5yrs and having no teeth that wasn't going to stop her winning.

Many thanks to the Cronicle for some fantastic photo's, you can see more on their website

Friday 19 September 2014

The longest gestation yet

I'm please to report that Marne has finally given birth!  But before I tell you about Marne I will introduce another cria born last week whilst we were up in Scotland delivering alpacas and doing some matings.

Mum was left in charge for a couple of days as we headed north with a trailer load of 7 alpacas (more on that another day) and just as I had predicted before I left a few days early of her due date Coco gave birth to a lovely big black boy sired by Jack of Spades.

He is a very upstanding boy, which a lovely bright dense fleece, full of life and mischief, after a day of chasing after him I think Coco has given up on keeping him by her side and lets him get on with things.

Then on Saturday we left mum in charge for the weekend again, we were up at Berwick Slow Food & Beer festival with the alpacas and our knitwear.  This is an annual two day event which we love and is usually after we have finished birthing for the year; but not this year.

On Friday night I had warned mum that Marne was looking very uncomfortable and I thought that tomorrow would be the day. On 410 days gestation Marne produced a tiny 4.68kg male cria which was very flat, lifeless and cold (no temperature would register).

My mum did a fantastic job to keep him alive with me giving instructions over the phone until the vet arrived.  I can't begin to explain how pleased I was when Sam Prescott was the on call farm vet last weekend!

After slowly warming up and having a plasma transfusion (thanks to which ever one of our boys that particular bag came from) the little man gained enough strength to lift his head.  

By lunchtime mum had managed to get him sucking on a bottle which was fantastic because there was no way I was going to be able to get mum to tube feed him.  Slowly his strength has gained and his milk intake increased.

Sunday Jan at Castleside Alpacas came over and helped mum milk Marne, which I don't think Marne was very impressed with!

I couldn't wait to get home Sunday night to see the little man. His back legs resembled those of a frog, completely sprawled out sideways and needed some attention before his hips popped out.  It's amazing what you can do with a pair of baby tights!!

By the early hours of Monday he was able to stand for a wee and some of his bottle and by Monday night he could get up and down on his own and he's now going from strength to strength.  Sadly whilst mum likes her baby she wont feed him, she's been having Sepia to see if that helps as I've had good results with it in the past.

Last night he was up to 5.33kg and his straps have been removed and he is sitting normally.  Fingers crossed this little man is going to make it.  However we will refrain for naming him just yet.

Thanks mum, he wouldn't have made it this far without you.

We just have one girl left to birth now, Fair Lady who is out of Eringa Park The Commandante so has Jolimont Commisario and Conquistador in her pedigree and pregnant to Lavender Park Tully so we are looking forward to something special.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Woop Woop for Westmorland County Show

I can't believe how busy we are at the minute what with one thing and another, hence my lack of blog.

I have so much to tell you, I could be here all night but seeing as it's already past midnight I will stick to Westmorland County Show for now.

We really like Westmorland even though it takes us just short of three hours to get there.  It is always worth the early morning start and this year was another great show organised by Paul Hetherington.

We had entered 8 animals in 5 different classes and we were awarded first place in all of them so we couldn't do much better than that!  Not only that we managed to get four of those five into the Championship line up (of 9), to say we were on a high would be an understatement.  Thanks to Jan, Jane and mum for taking in 3 of the Champions!


In order of appearance here they are.  First into the ring for team Barnacre was Galapagos in the junior brown class, being a junior at this time of year meant he was on his own, however Judge Rob Bettinson isn't shy about not awarding first places, in fact one class later in the day he started with a third place rosette so we were very pleased to be awarded a 1st place rosette and then went on to be awarded Brown Male Champion.  He's from our brown stud Darwin and Cocomama (brown).

Next up was Zoom in the adult fawn class and another 1st place rosette, well done Zoom Zoom.  He's from Cambridge Southwind and our dam, Cambridge Fair Lady. 

Next was the turn of the light intermediate females, we had two in this class, Elfrida and Bounty.  Elfrida who is from another of our studs, Gianmarco's Masterpiece and one of our top dams, Little Miss Irraquoy, came first and went on to win Light Female Champion.

Whilst her mate Bounty came third in the same class.

Next up for us was the white intermediate females, this was the biggest class of the day and we had two entries Diamanta and Czara.  After lots of deliberation Rob awarded Czara 1st place and once again she was Female Light Champion. 

And Diamanta came 3rd.

Next up for us was the adult white boys and once again we had two entries.  Now we are very proud to say we were awarded first and second in this very important class.  Linus was second, he's from Jolimont Rodrigo of Bozedown.  He was actually White Male Champion at the Yorkshire show last year (beating Thor into 2nd and also beating a multiple supreme champion)

For the first time Barnacre Thor beat his mate (Linus) and not only came first but also won White Male Champion and then after a long and very tense piece of judging, was awarded Supreme Champion; a very happy Barnacre team all round!

Not a bad days work eh!!

Monday 8 September 2014

30 and counting

Following Rosemary's comment on my last blog I thought I would go our with the camera and get a current photo of all this years cria to date.

There have been 30 born, sadly you may recall one was still born (Ursula's) and we had two premature cria born at 304 and 314 days which we lost but the rest are doing well.

 We still have two or three to arrive, Marne who knows, what do you think?!

She's on 406 days and looks and acts pregnant, just doesn't have milk or showing any interest in giving birth.  She's even looking distended at the back end now!

The cria that have arrived, in age order are:-

Invisible Sam, he's from Carol and Sunburst, born on 13th May, full of mischief and with an exceptionally fine bright fleece.  You may recall he got his name after our vet Sam and the Queen song Invisible Man.

Next up is Selkis, she is from Highland Rose and Darwin, born on 20th May she has a fabulous grey fleece, sadly without the white face she wont be able to enter halter shows but she'll dfinately be entering fleece shows. 

She is a very vocal little thing who is exceptionally greedy and has striped her mum of all condition, she will be weaned as soon as we possibly can!

Next up is little Pixie, born on 23rd May, she is from Imala and Sandstorm, after a great start her weight gain slowed and she is now being topped up with goats milk which has helped her reach 18.6kg last weekend.

Next up is another Sandstorm baby, this boy is from Nefertiti and has yet to be named.  Despite me saying I wouldn't agree to sell a boy with a great fleece and possible stud potential at a young age I have done it again!  This chap's new owner is currently in the process of thinking of a suitable name for him.

Next on the list is Cerys, another Sunburst baby, you may recall I sold her and her mum Midnight Star a couple of weeks ago.  We are going to see her tomorrow as we are heading off up to Scotland with a trailer full.  We are delivering some girls we have sold and taking up a couple of the stud boys who have appointments with some Scottish Ladies.

More on that on our return, I will remember to take my camera! 

Friday 5 September 2014

The Pressure's on

Yesterday saw the arrival of another lovely Barnacre baby, this time the proud parents are Pressure & Gianmarco's Masterpiece.

We were planning on moving all the girls and doing a round of lambivac injections, however Pressure decided she had something far more important to do before she moved onto fresh grass.  Good move Pressure, we don't want to dirty the nice fresh grass!

Once her little man had found his feet she strolled up the channel to join the others, stopping for a nibble on the way.

He is a real little sweetie pie, I'm not quite decided on a name yet.   

He was a chunky 8.38kg and has lots of very long bright white fleece, he's certainly inherited his dads brightness.

That now leaves just two cria to arrive, unless Marne here is pregnant; she is now on 403 days, still spitting, spending lots of time on her own but showing no signs of actually giving birth!