Sunday 27 July 2014

Apple Vale Fiesta

On friday afternoon, Pelachuta started final stages, and I came home from work and settled down on a bench to watch, only to go back to work for the afternoon as she appeared to calm down, but at 5 o'clock Fiesta eventually dived into this world, being a 7.2kg male and a lovely caramel colour.
This was Pelachutas fourth cria - she is a sound mother, who takes close interest in her cria, and keeps away from the throng for a couple of days, preferring to take her morning feed away from the rest of the herd. It had been sweltering for several days, and, if they have any ability to choose when to birth, it seemed she waited until late afternoon for a cooling breeze to spring up, and went to the top of the hill to deliver.
He was sired by EP Cambridge Columbus (Scrumpy), our herdsire, who has done a good job with this one, and we await one or two more from him - one is now over 12 months, who had scanned negative, and who was overweight, but had shown well-defined physical characteristics once we had shorn her and could see her true body shape - a well-respected breeder who was visitng recently and took a look at her, has offered to eat his hat if she doesn't produce a cria.
On wednesday evening we got the hay baled and stored without thunderstorms - 140 bales compared with last years 80, a fabulous feeling when its all in and the barn is stuffed full.

While Joy and I were re-positioning the shelters, Bramley began wretching and gyrating her jaw sideways, she clearly had something stuck - she trotted over to us, and we feel she clearly thought we could help - we had a watering can with us to soften the soil for the ground anchors, so I put the handle of a lump hammer across her mouth to keep it open, while Joy fired a stream of water into her, and that sorted her out!

Sunday 20 July 2014

Apple Vale Fortune

Tuesday saw the arrival of a male from 'Apples' (Helenia Diana) whose sire is Dovecote Jaquinto. He was a whopping 9.5kg, bright crimpy solid white, and sired by CCNF Talon of Classical Milend.
He and our other new arrival, Florina, have been gaining weight steadily, although 'Flo'' has not made the gains we would usually see - we think that is because her yearling sister Elstar has been getting in the way, and Flo' seems to stay closer to her than her dam, Bramley - as a result, we have seperated the new mums and their cria, as when we did some trial seperations, she gained more weight - we then brought the herd back together when the thunderstorms threatened, as we could provide better shelter. We've just had the hay cut today, so fingers crossed for the mid-week weather.

Apple Vale Fortune
Apple Vale Florina

Monday 7 July 2014

Apple Vale Florina

Saturday morning began with checking the two whites most likely to birth first, and after a few chores I went in for a cup of coffee, came out half an hour later, and there was a little brown head sitting up above the grass - Bramley, our dark fawn, and re-mated to Van Diemen Qjori of Patou had repeated last years birth with a brown female, weighing 6.0 kg exactly the same as Elstar a year previously (and at almost exactly the same time!). She was up within no time and suckling well - she has gained weight over night, although Elstar has tried sneaking a drop of milk, so we seperated her last night with some companions.
Apple Vale Florina
We had a set-back last week, when Freedom, who was only just on 10.5 months pregnant, had a still-birth early in the morning, a  male weighing just 3.8kg, fully formed externall, and a light fawn. The placenta appeared normal. She has had a quite extensive attack of mange mites on her legs in the last couple of months, which we had been treating and had got on top of, with Cydectin, but clearly she has struggled to develop the cria to a point of viability. It was heart-wrenching to see her looking to where she had delivered it, after I had taken it away, and humming for it. On top of that, yesterday we discovered an abscess on her thigh and have this evening treated it with Hibiscrub and Manuka honey, and fly-spray, which we understand has worked like magic for another breeder. Fingers crossed.
Bramley with Florina

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Shiraz for shearers (or, showing showing, shorn)

Two blog titles, for the price of one today!
Enjoying a glass of the red stuff, after completing shearing our herd for this year today. We have been on cria watch for a week or so and now have three in their 'window', with two or three to follow.
Bramley and Elstar
Being able to shear our own, we have taken it steady to suit ourselves, the herd, the weather, and the show season.
Autumn Gold, shown above, was scanned as not pregnant last September, and we've found her to be body scoring very high, and she's kept us guessing, but we are convinced that she is pregnant and should be first to reveal her 'cargo' any day - she has the easiest temperament, and will happily chew your shoes or trousers, but has always seemed a bit 'dim' - fingers crossed.
Scrumpy: "don't tell anyone that I squealed like a wuss while being shorn" 
Empress and Minnie wrestle for superiority.
I'm gradually getting quicker at shearing, and it's the pressure to get finished and release the alpaca that results in odd tufts being missed, that you notice as they walk away! One of those quirks of life, that getting 70% of the fleece, the blanket, takes 10% of the time, and shearing the legs, neck, head and tail, 30% of the fleece, takes 90% of the time, but there comes a point when they are getting stressed, and I've sweat the pint of cider that I have to replace, that you must let them go, after all they're not entering a beauty contest. (today I noticed flecks of blood as I sheared Minnies tail, and it turned out I had caught the top of my finger!) nothing important then.