Sunday 26 February 2012


new pastures
 Today, we got the herd into new grazing in the paddock, next-door-but-one, which sounds straight-forward, but a complicated manoeuvre all the same. Last weekend, I'd erected a fence there with our sons and one of their partners, who were glad to earn some  man-points while they were home.
A misty start - Moira calls a meeting of the re-united herd - Minnie keeps them waiting

Firstly, we took the trailer and went and collected the four who have been staying in an orchard up in the village. We re-united them with Camelot and his two weaning partners back here, and after a little while to settle down and renew old acquaintences we gave them all their injected Vitamin ADE update. Camelot bothered Minnie for a suckle, but she was having none of it, and delivered some rear kicks.
Tasting session

Then we let them out while we humped hurdles and set them up with tapes, at strategic points on the route to the new paddock.

Our neighbours had allowed us to put Camelot and his two companions on their unused paddock over the last two weekends, and we managed to get them through a two-feet gap at the end of the fence line, with the persuasion of a feed bucket and the sight of fresh grass, so today we used this route to transfer all seven next-door-but one, which saved us taking them through two awkward gateways and along the edge of two large fields, with high risk of them 'wandering off'.
Moira is wearing some of the brushwood from the glade

After a bit of jostling and indecision, Camelot led the way followed by the two who were familiar with this, then Bramley couldn't resist the temptation and went through and they all trotted out  of the gate, and followed the tape and hurdle guide into the new paddock. Ambrosia, Pelachuta and Minnie weren't so convinced, and took a lot more bucket-shaking and encouragement, then Minnie went for a wander around our neighbours paddock wondering how to get to join the others, but eventually she cottoned-on, and Joy had managed to stop the others from coming back, while allowing Minnie through the gate to join them - phew, no mishaps, and all safely in, time for a cuppa! then to set them up with water.
Mother and son re-united

We hope to keep them there, while our paddocks recover, and we'll be doing some faecal testing before the return.
Bramley looks wistfully back at home pasture

Sunday 5 February 2012

New fibre colours released!

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd met a man with a thermal imaging camera, who was assessing some high-sustainability houses next to the paddock which four of the herd are currently grazing. Well, I suggested it would be interesting to look at the alpacas, and here are some of the results:

Given that an alpacas normal internal body temperature is 37-39deg Centigrade, the figures aren't so surprising - the air temperature was probably around 8deg., and the sun was just about to set.

As the temperatures plummeted this week, we were a little concerned about Moira, our ten-year-old maiden - she has a very short fleece, but very fine - she was shorn last summer but not the year before. We had thought about a coat, but realistically, we wondered about her accepting it - could you persuade your grandmother to change her ways? So I opened the double doors of the hay shed, put down a straw bed, some tempting buckets of alfalfa, and set up a mirror for encouragement - they all cautiously looked around, went in, and tucked in. At 11 o'clock, I went out with a torch...there they were, all sat on top of the hill - it was around about minus five - and that's where they spent the two coldest nights!

Don't I know you?
In the afternoon, had a handful of carrot chopped into long lengths, which Moira and Autumn Gold happily take from my hand - Camelot however, is 19 days into his weaning, and sniffed at the carrot but wouldn't take it horizontally, so I slowly turned it upright, resembling a teat perhaps, and he quite happily went underneath and took it into his mouth!