Sunday 28 July 2013

Picture Post

I'll let the pictures do the talking - taken earlier in the week, before the rain came:

Sunday 21 July 2013

Arrival of the Empress.

Saturday morning at ten to ten, I was perched on the roof of the barn, trying to do a repair befoer it got to hot, when I spotted Apples lying awkwardly with 'something' going on at her rear end - 5 days over her due date, I knew what was going on, and raced as quickly as you can across a roof, and slid down the ladder cartoon style.
The welcoming committe gather to inspect the 'launch pad'.

With the head out, in the searing heat flies are instantly attracted - there's nothing you can do at this stage.
After ten minutes or so, Apples heads for the shade of the glade for the birth.
We kept our distance so as not to cause unneccesary stress, and in a jiffy the cria was on the ground.
  Welcome Empress at 8.0kg.
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The umbelical cord had severed close to the navel, and there was quite a lot of blood, which, through rolling around, ended up on her neck and spread across the stomach - I collected some bulldog clips(!) and a clothes peg (!!), but after brief pressure from a cloth, it stopped, however we then had concern about the amount of flies gathering around. We didn't want to immediately clean her and spoil the mother-cria bonding and scent areas, so we waited anxiously while she took her first steps and suckeld over the next hour or so - then we got some warm water, and rinsed her off.
We've divided the herd late this afternoon - with new mums needing a little personal space for feeding, and the need for shade for all, we've split them so that some can use the permanent shelter, and the mums can use the mobile shades, with new grazing to help their milk supply.
Apples with Empress.
Apples has Dovecote Jacquinto of Alpaca Stud as sire, and Accoyo Remarque and Quetchan Frottle on her dams side - the sire of Empress is CCNF Talon of Clasical Mile End. Joy says it is the softest cria fleece she has seen, and it is very bright.
Not forgetting, Bramley with Elstar.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Weight gain, gates and wilting.

Elstar has made good progress this week, putting on 2kg in 7 days! Bramley is being a great mother,and is clearly proud of her daughter, and even brought Elstar to meet some friends of ours who'd never seen alpacas close-up. Bramley has suddenly returned to being the friendly alpaca she was before pregnancy, when she became a bit stand-offish.
We have had them in the 'home' paddock for birthing, but the grass is dried, barren and like a dust bowl, so I've let them over the hill during the afternoon, as they use the shade of the shelter in the morning and we're waiting for another birth - Bramley went to the corner of the new paddock, looked over her shoulder for Elstar, who wasn't there, and turned with a look that said, " crikey, I've forgotten the baby" and ran back over the hill to find baby making her own way over!
I hung a pair of gates and fixed some more fencing over the weekend - doing it before 11 o'clock coffee break when it became too hot in the sun, and I wilted  - funny to think back to February when I was digging the trench for the fencing, and hanging the first gates, when the temperature didn't rise above -1degree, and I had to wear two layers of clothes.
One effect of the super-saturated ground over the winter, is that the fence posts have become loose, as the ground has dried and shrunk away due to the huge loss of moisture.

We had our fibre statistics back today which was very interesting, and a good test of our own hand analysis - without broing you with all of them, Moira, our maiden, and 12 years old today, as it happens, returned an 18.1micron with 97.1% Comfort Factor on 2 years growth! If only she could conceive...

Monday 8 July 2013

Introducing Elstar.

Bramleys due date was 26th June, and since then she hasn't given any clues as to birthing - this morning she came and had breakfast as usual with the herd - then at 11.00, Joy saw her waters break and within minutes she had 'un-packed the bag-pipes' to deliver a fabulous female, sired by Van Diemen Qjori of Patou. She appears to be a milk-chocolate brown - weighed-in at 6.02kg she was standing within 20mins, and knew exactly where to find milk, though we had to clear three teats of the plug, and she has drunk regularly. Fortunately she delivered her in the shade of the shelter, as of course it's been fiercely hot. We have called her Elstar, a variety of apple of course.

Elstar, dam, grand-dam and grand-dad(!)
3 years earlier - Bramleys birth

Sunday 7 July 2013

Hay making.

Cleaned out the barn, then collected and stored 85 bales of hay today.

Granddaughter Pixie learned what a soft saddle alpacas have: