Sunday 17 October 2010

All clear on the western front.

Autumn Gold in the morning light.
Is that a camel through the eye of a needle?
All together now - munch.
Bramley in the morning light.

With the bright crisp start to the day, it was good to start with the camera, which usually comes out in the evening when the light is fading and the sun at the opposite side of the field. So as I'd cleaned the field and we'd vaccinated and pedicured the girls yesterday, I indulged myself with an hour or so with the camera. It was so clear that shots from the near-by clay pigeon shoot echoed around the hills - with scarcely a breeze, the silence was staggering, a day to just soak in...and then get on with important things... like organizing the new Olympic event: the Individual Faecal Sample Collecting Persuit - where you sprint, keeping a sharp eye on the deposited sample in the grass so that you can sample for parasites and know how each animal is doing...

Sunday 10 October 2010

Toilet training?

Now it's not really for me to query ladies' bathroom habits, however, we only have just over an acre, and my girls have created seven latrines. The biggest problem with that, is that they appear to be growing in size, and we have to maximise the quality (to minimise parasites) and quantity (to cope with drought periods) of available grazing. They have been depositing around the edges of some latrines, hence they've got larger, so this weekend I took advantage of the weather, and after clearing them, I mowed them (by hand mower!) and cleared all the clippings for maximum hygene. Hopefully, they will feel able to go back to the middle, and contaminate a smaller area - time will tell...

I feel we are at the stage of herd development, where a poover and sit/ride mower are becoming necessities. The irony is, that the catalyst for starting a herd of alpacas was the suggestion by one of our sons and daughter, that I buy a sit and ride mower to cut the grass in the field so they could use a mountain board! Meantime, we've been hooked by the wonderful world of alpacas, who now require pastures of the quality that a mower will help improve - and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday 4 October 2010


Enjoying a treat of Alfalfa.

We transplanted some Lleylandii that were in pots when we moved here, intending to let them grow into a supply of firewood. The alpacas love to have a good scratch on them.

Colin Ottery came on friday to scan Minnie, and with his Top Gun / Back to the Future glasses and scanner confirmed a pregnancy - hooray.

Bramley got ear-tagged and micro-chipped, a health check for insurance and weighed-in at 18kg, now 6 weeks old. Her she is, trying the tree scratch-post:

Sunday morning was pouring, and blowing a 'hooley', I went to the shelter to find all six alpacas keeping out of the rain, and in the corner trying to go un-noticed, were twelve chickens huddled together!

We took all the fleece scraps from shearing with two other breeders this year, and put them into bin bags for insulating the roof of the house - we have an old cottage, with part sloped ceilings (skeilings) which had no insulation - so I spent a horrendous 2 hours lying on my side in the tiny attic space stuffing the fleece into the gaps - pot-holing is much more enjoyable, but doesn't keep the house warm...

It's the time of year for catching up with admin', so I've been sorting out invoices and registered Bramley with the BAS. I'm wondering which software other breeders find suits their herd management?

Now, I wonder if Mum has got my milk ready for bed.....................................