Sunday 29 July 2012


The 8.12 bell tolls -
Using a gong that hangs in our porch, which we bought at Applecross near the Isle of Skye a few years ago, I joined in with the bell ringing on friday morning, to herald the launch of the 2012

It's a chance for alpacas to show those skills not judged in the show ring, but practiced every week in their home paddocks - so far the programme is:

High jump - leap out of a pen made u psuccessively  from 3foot, 4 foot and 6 foot hurdles;
Long jump - leap over a disinfectant mat;
Cria sprint;
Cria jumping (over adult alpacas!)
Cria synchronised pronking;
Cria gymnastics;;
Target Spit;
Scatter spit;
Water trough cramming (most alpacas in the trough) in the Aquatic Centre;
Rolling pit - most 180degree turns in 1  minute;
For owners, The Faecal Sprint - to retrieve a  poo sample from a specific animal from 50m away (requires good eye and speed before you lose it);
Feed bucket hurling;
Herd round-up (one man without his dog);

There's still space in the programme for a few more events, if anyone has other suggestions...

Meanwhile we watch Autumn Gold (third from left) who reaches 11months pregnant tomorrow - she is a lovely-natured alpaca, though comes across as slightly 'dippy', and we wonder whether she'll have any idea what's going on, but hope she's been watching the others!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Spray, play, hay!

A captive audience
The babies take a while to enjoy the water trough
Hay 'rowed up' for baling
The herd keep in a close, safe huddle while the machine squeezes out their winter feed.

Sunday 15 July 2012


Discovery is delighted to have a playmate, and pesters Darcy Spice for a race constantly. Watching cria play is a great way to 'waste' an hour, and will bring you constant smiles on your face. With Disco' being three weeks old now, we had a close look into his fleece, and were delighted with what we found.

Darcy Spice

Discovery (Disco')

Boys will be boys!

Friday 13 July 2012

The Spice of life

Five days ahead of her 11month date, at mid-day today, with no significant warning signs, Minnie gave birth to Darcy Spice (a variety of apple), an 8.5kg boy. Within half an hour we had a sharp shower, but I had already got a coat on him, and he sat it out with his mum - we try not to intervene, though it is very tempting to carry them down to the shelter, but we've found that our mums prefer to stay away from the shelter and crowding in the first few hours - with a coat on, and his legs tucked in he was quite well protected. Once the shower had passed, the sun burst through for half an hour, and I took his coat off so he could gain as much warmth and drying effect from it, but soon more showers were looming, so the coat went on and has stayed on now. Consequently, it was an hour before he stood - his first attempts at finding milk were frustrating (particularly for us) as he went in all directions, and licked a lot of rain off mums fleece, and took several hours before we felt he had started latching on for any significant milk. Minnie stood very patiently each time, and he was looking hard,  he was very active in between, so we felt he wasn't at risk and would connect in the end - a slightly floppy left ear had gradually improved by this evening - his sire is Ashhill Grenadier, so he is a full brother to Camelot.

Darcy Spice meets 3 week old Discovery

In 'other news', we have had a couple of mating trips recently - Bramley (2yrs) has met the handsome (Van Diemen) Qjori of Patou, and this week we visited for a spit-off, but she sat more purposefully than the first visit two weeks ago, so we have our fingers crossed - and Ambrosia (3yrs) has had a session with the charming CME Paris, and also took a bit of encouraging.