Tuesday, 28 January 2014

A Gold Rush and more Additions...

My blog writing is poor these days, and this is largely because every week in January so far has consisted of the same things...coping with the rain...and full on with the organising of the BAS National Show. We are doing better with the latter hopefully!

On Saturday the National Show Commmittee met at Telford Exhibition Centre in order to finalise the layout of trade stands etc. This was the first time that we have been at the centre when a big event was taking place...it really did create a great atmosphere and added to our anticipation of a great show. 

The show is shaping up very well thanks to the support of everyone involved; sponsors, volunteers, and those bidding on the stud services auction. The auction is really generating some excitement on a Sunday evening (yes so much so we did crash for 15 minutes this week,due to the amount of bidding!). A big thank you to C S Alpacas who donated £770 to the funds, by successfully bidding on Timbertop CT Goldmine ET of Beck Brow.

Below is a photo received today of Gilt Edge Gold Dust (sire Goldmine). Goldmine had his last three cria to be born in NZ born this month. If the curls are anything to go by...this one is going to be a stunner!


                                                        Gold Rush...look no mud in NZ

Halter training has continued today with the help of Amanda (Florens Alpacas), Carole (Prince Bishop Alpacas) and Sheila (Alpacaed out!)


                                                  Wet and muddy but training continues

We have a few logistical problems regarding getting our show team to the National Show, largely being that I will already be there, and Paul will have to load on his own. Thus we are taking an all junior show team (8) just to make his life easier (all from one paddock and mixed sex). We have just made a another purchase, adding a lovely brown female to our junior show team...


Who might this be...check her out at the National Show!

We have also secured the purchase of a beautiful fawn female, who is sired by the awesome Firedragon, and who will be travelling to the UK with Stargazer (another Firedragon daughter who is pregnant to EP Cambridge Peruvian Spartacus). 

I actually was away all weekend, as I had another BAS meeting on the Sunday. I came home late evening to be greeted by Paul looking very sheepish..."I have had a bit of a disaster" he tells me. This was a clever tactic, as of course by now I am fearing the worst. The disaster?...Epic is covered from head to toe in mud...not just a bit dirty...filthy...honestly I can't go anywhere...but it could have been worse!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Weigh-in and waiting...

At last a day without rain...cold but dry. I have spent so much time mucking out over the last month, I feel that all of my time has been taken up trying to keep our alpacas warm and dry...well dryish!

We did a weigh-in at the weekend and the weights of our cria (at foot) have really suffered. Very little weight gain, and in some case slight loses over the fortnight. All the cria received Cydectin and Vecoxan a couple of weeks ago and are up to date with all their Vit A, D & E, but are just a bit static. We are feeding the dams Camelibra and Speedi-beet but have added some Carrs Camelid mix (with molasses) as a boost.

Interestingly the cria belonging to the large group of livery females, who's dam's arrived overall with low condition scores and thus get additional pulses, had all had good weight gains. Such a balancing act between stopping alpacas getting very overweight (we have some) and ensuring good milk production. You can never underestimate the amount of energy it takes to keep warm in wet and windy conditions.

The weanlings are all doing well and gaining weight. We did start locking them in at nights during the particularly wet weather (although our own cria come in through choice the agisted weanlings did not). Halter training is going reasonably well but still considerable practice required before the National Show. We do need to get these 20 trained before the next 20 are weaned!

I am afraid the opportunities to take photos are rare at the moment. Here we have Beck Brow Blue, whose mum didn't have enough milk due to having mastitis. Some of you may recall that he had to have a plasma transfusion which took four attempts hence the shaved neck. He is weaned from the bottle but we are now trying to wean him from being hand-fed hard feed!

Beck Brow Blue (sire Waradene St Patrick)

The kittens (Astor and Angel) love the morning routine and come out on the feeding rounds with me. Not quite sure how they manage to stay so white but they do...


Astor doing some halter training...without the halters!

Only two months to go...our first cria of 2014 will be due...the BAS National Show will be over...and we will have a granddaughter. Yes, I really am wishing time away with good reason....might we also have some sunshine!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Halter Training @ Beck Brow

This is Robyn's attempt at a head shot of Beck Brow Crafter...I suppose she did get his head...just not the ears!

It is at this time of the year, when our juniors are put to the test. We find out; who is a born leader; who is a follower; and who just likes to sit down on the job...yes, halter training begins! We had figured that Cat's Pyjamas would be a leader...well more of a show off really...more Madonna...than Mahatma Gandhi...but anyway she was off and away as anticipated. With Crafter and her being inseparable (follower) he too was a star to train. The same can not be said of First Edition 'Eddie' a definite 'sit down on the job' sort.

Why do I always get the rubbish walker...Eddie what are you doing?

We made it to the top of the lane, but had a sit down on the way back (Cat's checking out the cat!)

Cat's and Crafter trying to pretend they are not with 'not so fast Eddie'

Prima Lillibet a yearling was recruited to lead the next outing (with Robyn, Craig and Esmee Mae..Bespoke behind)

With more helpers recruited, we had a mass outing up the lane...now I know it all looks rather messy at this point...

...but we made it no bother. Note I have Eddie, now on his second outing and much improved)

Now, just in case I made that look too easy...this is Pheonix (on livery here) demonstrating the fourth style...lie down and play dead...

Pheonix just doesn't fancy any halter training today thanks...Angel the cat goes to check her pulse!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Epic for sale?

Happy 2014 everybody! I actually do feel I can say that with meaning today...no rain...a whole day and no rain... I have fluffy alpacas!! Extremely dirty alpacas...but dry ones. The paddocks are still a bog, and the farm has never looked such a mess, with muddy gateways and shelters; but the alpacas enjoyed the dry weather, and so did we. Of course I couldn't resist some fleece inspections...and don't they just look so much better. I always think that the cria fleeces are going to be ruined by such weather, but they survive.

It's been a full on alpaca day today, with all of the cria getting their A,D & E top up, and the rest of the herd getting their Maxigro drench (mineral, vitamin, and most importantly selenium supplement). We then moved most of the herd around (including ponies). The liveried females now have access to a ten acre paddock (no one could ever say we are overstocked). In order to give them access to this and to their shelter, we moved Goldmine and his pals in with Explorer and Co. I wasn't quite sure how that might pan out, but it looks like Goldmine has quietly taken charge.

The Beck Brow females now have access to the top paddock.

Beck Brow Explorer trying to look especially macho now that Timbertop Goldmine is sharing his paddock (I think that he is looking more like his sire (EPC Navigator) as he matures. Still no guard hair visible on that chest!)

Not quite sure what Velvet is doing but Goldmine doesn't look impressed...with Explorer following

The livery females in their 10 acre paddock

The dreadful weather has certainly tested Paul's belter of a shelter. It has been well used by the livery herd; however, if he thought that he could get away without guttering, the torrential rain and wind has proven him wrong. Having left a small gap at the top (to allow the wind to pass through, and the roof to remain where it should) the gale force wind was blowing in the rain as it came of the roof. So that has been sorted. Thank goodness we decided to put down a concrete floor, I can only imagine the mess we would have had otherwise.

Paul putting up the guttering...Cumbrian dry stone walling foreground.

We had a visit last week from a couple who have 12,000 free range chickens...and a visiting fox! Nimrod, Julius and Snowstorm will have fun on guard duty. Homework had already been done, and the reputation of alpacas in this type of role is spreading.

Finally...just in case you were wondering...I DONT THINK SO....


P.S. He is gaining weight steadily. He just doesn't like all the mud...so I lift him over the muddy entrance to the barn! Love Epic!