Monday 30 January 2012

Faecal Attraction.

Joy is busy creating products for the stand at the Futurity Fibre Arts Village. She has posted pictures on Facebook, of some of the collection of knitted and felted bears that will be 'attending' : go to 'APPLE Alpaca Craft',
Camelot has been doing a lot of mud rolling...

Meanwhile, Camelot has settled into his weaning at home with Moira, Autumn Gold and us, while the other four are away at 'graze-camp' up in the village - I cycle over there with their feed in the morning after I've fed the other three, and then drive over from the office during the afternoon before dark to check up on them and deliver their hay-bags.
"...19,20... coming ready or not!"

In the picture above, the hen had just jumped off the gate, so is in mid-flight, though it looks like it is hiding under it's wings.
Last week I met a man with a thermal imaging camera which was very interesting, and I hope to have more on that another time.
"Can't stop, the gate to the lawn has been opened, and there's good grass to be had"
"hey, wait for us!"
We do our own regular faecal tests, and for two of them this will be weekly - having brought Autumn Gold back from 'graze-camp' we are watching to see if she's brought any 'passengers' back, and with Camelot being weaned, we are watching his parasite levels as he adjusts to being without his mums resistance. We want to try and avoid anti-biotic resistance, so will only treat if the tests indicate a need - so far, so good -  which reminds me, I must read Claire Whiteheads article in this months Alpaca World - there's also a good summary of the TB Bio-security Workshop by Mark Steele - (I didn't notice you making notes Mark, so the 'day job' has clearly had benefits in your powers of observation and recollection!). Incidentally, we are spoilt in having such a good independant magazine in our relatively small industry.

And so to accurate faecal collection - remember the 3 S's: spot, sprint, scoop - spot who is doing it and where, move swiftly keeping an eye on it as there will be other piles near-by, scoop it into your sampling vessel (I use plastic party beakers, and you can write the 'doners' name on it - sample collected, now hand it to your laboratory technician (Mrs. Smallholder in this case).
Trivia: Tonights accompanying music as I write this: Moon Safari, by Air - unexpectedly fantastic.

A thought I had the other day: we credit alpacas with being inquisitive, and rightly so - when you compare what I believe to be the average day on the Altiplano: chill air drifting beneath a blue sky, searching for minimal stalky sustainance in dusty scrub, while the (very) occasional Condor wheels overhead, and Puma lurk behind rocks, with an average day on this cramped island: fox, deer, rabbits, badger, crows, sparrowhawk, buzzard, people, dogs, cats, aircraft, cars - it must be like the difference between living in our countryside compared with a day trip to London.


  1. Excellent photos..just love the peek a chick !
    and the others heading for the greener pastures.....through the open gate ! the ante-plano anyday !........Jayne

  2. Entering The Futurity photo competition this year Dave?

  3. Just love that chicken photo!

  4. Barbara, still waiting/trying for that special shot - not many days left - you must have dozens to choose from?

  5. You certainly pulled it out of the bag at the last minute last year...eye have no idea how you will beat that!!