Thursday 29 August 2013

Hoity Toity, Miss La-Di-Da and Snooty Boots

Well after an angst filled week last week, things have gone better than anticipated this week...I touched wood after typing that bit...with two potentially troublesome births going smoothly.

First up was Beck Brow Lucie, who last year had a prolapse resulting in her cria being still born. She had at that point been a maiden, and we thought long and hard about remating her. Well I am pleased to say that she delivered a 9.5kg male without any trouble at all. Another Beck Brow Explorer progeny (looking very like him again), I have called him Ludo. For no other reason than I think Lucie and Ludo sound cute together!

Beck Brow Ludo (at less than 24 hours old).

Now for the second birth... Easter-Wood Adelle was 379 days gestation yesterday, so you might have thought she was going to be a goer. But no, Silverstream Hoity Toity decided 310 days of cooking was long enough for her. Going by her previous average gestation period, I had her down for the 20th September, so was a little surprised.

I am pleased to say, that after three males, Hoity has at last has given us a female (she knew we were short this year I guess). She weighed in at 7.4 kgs (light for Hoity) and was very weak on her pasterns with the floppiest ears. Now, I was on my own so was wondering the best course of action...the cria wasn't going to stand any time soon...should I just give cows colostrum...but then you stop them looking from milk from the dam.

Well, Hoity Toity is aptly named, when she is pregnant she is a bit of a madam, but she has an immediate personality transformation as soon as she gives birth. Hoity just stood in the paddock and let me milk her. With some milk on the teats, I sat the cria on my knee and managed to get her under and on the teat. I have never been completely under an alpaca before but Hoity stood statue still. I did this every half hour until at 4 hours old the cria stood by herself...a very wobbly stand but she managed...and she staggered under Hoity...legs wide apart for balance. What a little star and what an amazing dam. We have called her Miss La-Di-Da (Miss Ladida for BAS registration as no symbols allowed) as chosen by Amanda

I have organised for a plasma transfusion for her tomorrow (soonest I could get some more plasma) as I suspect she only took enough colostrum to give her partial immunity...this is a special one...I have waited three years for Hoity to produce me a female...I am taking no gambles.

Beck Brow Miss La-Di-Da (sire: Beck Brow Explorer)

Miss La-Di-Da today still requiring legs apart for balance 

Beck Brow Snooty Boots appears to be coping well after the loss of Wellies (still nothing conclusive on PM) but hardly surprisingly her mating didn't take. You may recall that I wanted to mate her to Black Sabbath, but she was horrified with the idea, and thus we mated her to Explorer. Well, we played a dirty trick...we had her sit for Explorer...then quickly took him out of the pen and put Black Sabbath in...she didn't seem to fingers crossed.

Finally one or two photos from the paddock today. I obviously need to cut down some brambles that are growing through the wall...

Beck Brow Boxster...with body decoration

EP Cambridge Lady Gaga with hair adornment (the shearer gave her a bad hair do this year)

Beck Brow Sunday Best (her legs are longer than that)

Cambridge Scarborough and Beck Brow Lucie in a very Cumbrian landscape

Monday 26 August 2013

Introducing Victoria's Secret

Well what a week...the ups and downs of an alpaca breeder...and thankfully we ended on an up. It was a bit touch and go and I was bracing myself...could I cope with any more trauma...but thanks to our amazing vet (Vicky) that wasn't the case.

Beck Brow Pepsi Lola ran in all the way from the far paddock to the barn at feed time (6pm)...It was Paul who noticed; "what is that?"..."what"..."that sticking out of Pepsi"..."OMG its a black foot". I donned my gloves and lubed up. I could feel that the neck and head were completely curled back. I really had to reach hard but I could get hold of the head, but couldn't turn it to vet...she tried and tried..."one last one before a C-section". That was when she realised that the cria was upside down and thus we both had been trying to turn the head the wrong way! Amazingly the female cria...named Beck Brow Victoria's Secret... has never looked back since!

Beck Brow Victoria's Secret (born 8pm)

I have managed to weigh the cria belonging to the over protective black livery female, every day in injuries..not even any spit. No, she hasn't had a personality transplant...she is just a bit of a dip stick!On Saturday I went into the shed to sweep up before feed time and got the shock of my life to find the cria sitting there, completely on his own, with the rest of the alpacas at the bottom of the field. So quickly I weighed him...gained 200gs Yesterday, I decided to steal him...I grabbed him...ran out of the shelter...weighed him put him back...and she was so busy eating she hadn't even noticed! She seems to be getting better...I think she wanted to sniff my head this morning...but I don't trust her enough to find out if she is nearing as friend or foe! Mind you by the look on her face in the photo below...she looks the worried one...see what you get for being unflattering photo of you on the blog...serves you right!!!


I won't name and shame but here she is with her daughter and cria. (that is the shed top left, so you can see why it was a shock that she had left him there)

I have to say that she is the exception to the rule, we have some gorgeous females on livery. One of my favourite females is Cambridge Sparkle. She has been chosen by Andi Ruedi to form part of an elite herd owned by Evi and Ivo Bieri. The females will be bred and will eventually be exported to Swizerland. Sparkle who is sired by super sire NWA Ltd Ruffo (now deceased making his genetics even more sought after) is eight years old, but her fleece has the handle of a is beautiful. 

Sparkle has a very promising female cria at foot (Edelweiss) sired by Silverstream Czar...Edelweiss is now nearly as tall as her dam and has a fantastic density and length to her fleece. One for their show team I expect. Sparkle has now been mated to Beck Brow Explorer...this one is going to be a stunner...I am going to be envious I know I am!


Fleece of Edelweiss (sire Silverstream Czar)


Cambridge Sparkle

I haven't seen much of Paul today as he is busy building an enormous shelter...27 supports to dig in...20 to go...thought it best to keep out of the way!

Friday 23 August 2013

New arrivals and sad farewells.

Well, it would be an understatement to say that this hasn't been a good week. I have shared the sad news on Facebook, so I won't dwell; but my worries about Wellies were well hopes that it wasn't meningitis were not. There was obviously a niggle of doubt in the fact I mentioned it, and I did start Marbocyl. However, he started to go rapidly down hill on Monday morning and despite a battle by all to save him, we lost him on Wednesday. If there is anything to learn from the postmortem I will share. We are so very sad.

               The beautiful Duke of Wellington...RIP.               

Now, where to start with the next bit of the bad week...I came back from taking Wellies to the VLA for the postmortem, a horrid experience and I was probably not at my best. Anyway, I walked the birthing paddocks to see if any one was looking like birthing...nothing in the Beck Brow paddock. I then walked the livery paddock... nothing...I then walked back passed the shed, whilst talking to Amanda on the telephone..."OMG I will have to go"...There in the shed was one of the black livery females (I won't name names but she is a bit of a grump) with a new born cria.

So this is were the day gets possibly worse...I quickly grab the iodine to spray the naval (the shed floor isn't the cleanest place to birth) and walk towards the dam and cria. I have my head down as I sense she is going to spit at me, and I am speaking in reassuring tones. However, I was not prepared for what happened next...which was my fault as I am so used to my own alpacas being so friendly...and of course the female didn't know me well...but boy did she go for me...she bit my arm and head, pushed me over, jumped on me, then bit my I am on my back with her about to attack me again when I spot a yard brush..and I use it in my defence.

 I managed to push her away and roll out of the shed kicking the door shut behind me. I had forgotten that a delivery driver was outside unloading some wood...he looked horrified as I got to my feet covered in green slime and blood pouring down my face...but mad as I am I couldn't help laughing...what must the scene have looked like? You are allowed to laugh...everyone else has!

I did explain that alpacas are normally very timid creatures, and this behaviour was very unusual. I share the blame as I should have approached more carefully. However, I have since heard that this female has never had her cria weighed because she is so aggressive. The lovely blue black male is 7.5kgs...I will not be beaten! I am rather sore today as you can imagine, but we have come to some kind of a truce...although she is still scary! 

A blue black Prophecy male (dam is shut in the shed!)

Right, Debbie; the longest gestation in alpaca history?..a fat lass with a retained CL...Yes, I had the vet scan her and he found nothing. I know that scanning isn't 100%, and we did debate about giving the Estumate, but we decided that she needed to be induced any way. That was on Wednesday and we have no it would look like just too many pies...I am going to try mating her again soon.

We have received a photo from New Zealand, of another Timbertop CT Goldmine ET progeny. We just can't believe our luck, that we have managed to purchase a working male who is producing such stunning cria, and has such amazing fleece stats. Exciting times!

A Timbertop CT Goldmine ET cria born this week

On Tuesday we had a delivery...three new arrivals...

Yes that is a lovely grey female they are not mine...they are additions to the livery girls...and very nice too. Maybe I could get in to greys after all!!

Monday 19 August 2013

Wellies is a worry.

Wellies (aka Duke of Wellington) is a worry...he most definitely isn't right...but what is wrong? I first noticed yesterday that his neck was stiff, but he had just woken up so I thought he had been lying uncomfortably. However his neck is still stiff today and so is his back right leg.

Okay so it could be an injury; Crafter can be very rough and Wellies is only 3 weeks old. So I have given him some Finadyne and also some long acting antibiotic. However, the worrying thing is his lethargy and the fact that he is slightly unsteady on his feet (although he did take a bit of catching in the paddock). I have given him injectable vitamin B1 and vitamin D. I also saw him straining at the poo pile so have given him a soapy enema. This had little effect so I will give him a phosphate enema (Fleet) which will also address any possible phosphate deficiency. The additional worry is that I have not seen him drink, but I have not been in there all of the day, and his tummy feels okay. I offered electrolytes via a bottle but he wasn't having any of it. Mucus membranes look okay (maybe slightly pale but not anaemic). Unlikely to be meningitis or septicaemia (doesn't fit was presentation) but what is going on...Worry, worry, worry....

 Beck Brow Duke of Wellington with his stiff neck (dam: Beck Brow Snooty Boots)

As Wellies was 3 weeks old on Saturday, it was time to mate his dam Snooty Boots (sire: Waradene St Patrick of EPC). In the hope of putting in some more colour, I had made the decision to mate her to Viracocha Black Sabbath...this was my decision...Boots on the other hand had other ideas...she started screaming at the mere sight of him...and gave me such a look of abject horror...before trying to jump out of the pen. She has been mated to Beck Brow Explorer!

Talking of unwilling dates...Paul took Cambridge Camilla (dam of Beck Brow Explorer) on the long journey for a date with EP Cambridge Navigator of Houghton (sire of Explorer). Now Camilla doesn't really do is a bit undignified for such a lady...but I am told spitfest was the order of the day as Camilla was adamant about her refusal to be mated. At four weeks postpartum we though we had timed it perfectly. What a pain Camilla. Paul thought that he was going to create a dilemma for me if Camilla produced an Explorer mark 11 who was even better...sorry Paul...Explorer will never be going anywhere...I am training him to empty the bins and put out the out!

Anyway it was good news at home, as Cambridge Scarborough delivered us a fabulous blue black female at 11 am. Weighing in at 9.5kgs she was on her feet and away in no time. With her sire being Viracocha Black Sabbath I initially named her Sunday Noir but that has evolved into Sunday Best (Sunday either way!)

Beck Brow Sunday Best!

Pebbles still hasn't given birth and is 396 days today (I think that is right I have given up counting). As I have been beginning to doubt myself, I spat her off on Saturday, and she definitely spat. So she is either incredibly fat with a retained CL or she is going for the record for the longest gestation.

 Pebbles liking the look of Sunday

 "Have your own" says Scarborough

Finally a photo of Beck Brow Hallelujah (sire: Beck Brow Explorer) who is still as white as ever.

Beck Brow Hallelujah (sire: Beck Brow Explorer)

Friday 16 August 2013

Fine and Dandy!

We seem to be stuck at five v thirteen to the boys, as despite some fine weather we have had no more births. I have double checked and Pebbles was definitely only mated the 394 days today!

The good news is that the Florfenicol has done the trick and Fine Design is now fine and dandy, and has the appetite of a horse. It is lovely to see her healthy again. In fact all of the new livery girls have settled really well. They have already gained a few pounds on the lush Eden Valley grass. 

This morning we had a visit from Ray and Sarah from Border Fine Arts. Ray is the master sculptor at Enesco, and has been working on a model of a dam with cria at foot. Border Fine Arts are renown around the world for the quality of their design and attention to detail...I can now see why...Ray wanted to see for himself the fleece styles, fleece growth, colours and confirmation before taking the model to the next stage. It is looking great and I will certainly be commissioning one.

I don't seem to have had the luxury of the time to sit in the cria paddock with the camera this year. So I am afraid it is snaps from the iPad...

Halle and Eddie our to Explorer progeny

The view down to the house and barn from the cria paddock (Boxster and Barnaby facing)

Everyones favourite...Raffles ( dam: Rumour Has It sire: St Patrick)

Cats Pyjamas and The Crafter always together (both St Patrick progeny)

Some of the liveried alpacas settling in well

We have been sent some photos from NZ of a female progeny of our soon to be imported male; Timbertop CT Goldmine ET (whom I have noticed has a full ET sister - born 2008- in Australia who has a micron of 17.7 and SD of 3.0....It's certainly genetic then!). Empire Miss Demure (below) is entered in the halter class at the WAC next month.

Fleece of Empire Miss Demure (sire Timpertop CT Goldmine ET) and below (great fleece length which has meant it has slightly gone past its very best for showing...but still lovely)

Tuesday 13 August 2013

392 days and waiting....

Beck Brow Orlando

Unfortunately the head shot isn't of our latest addition...because we still haven't got one...Pebbles is 392 days gestation today. Yes...I am sure of the dates...and yes...I am sure that she is pregnant. It is now 2 weeks since I considered inducing her. Prior to this our longest gestation had been 385 days (Beck Brow Explorer).

Pebbles...392 days gestation

So a few photos of some of our cria born this year...

Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas (sire: Waradene St Patrick of EPC)

Beck Brow Otis (sire: Viracocha  Black Sabbath)

Beck Brow Idris (sire: Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca)

A Young Punk belonging to Robyn and Craig and yet to be named (male born Friday. Sire: St Patrick)

Beck Brow Barnaby with the typical St Patrick ears!

Beck Brow Hallelujah (sire: Beck Brow Explorer)

Beck Brow Bespoke (sire: Bozedown Patriot) 

Beck Brow Inkster (sire: Black Sabbath)

Another week of none stop matings, my most memorable one being my trip out on Saturday. It was the first time I had taken both Explorer and St Patrick out together...Paul had warned me that St Patrick wasn't happy having Explorer as his travelling companion...and he wasn't was like spit fest...the inside of the van is green...this is despite a floor to ceiling gate separating them. Luckily it stopped once we were in transit and I just prayed that I didn't get stuck in traffic during the hour and a half journey! Poor least the van seemed to have come off worse than he had.

We are currently treating Fine Design for a chest infection. Fine Design belongs to Amanda and came to the farm with Courtesse (and is in isolation with her livery group). I think that she has found the moving farms quite stressful, as she is shy little yearling, and thus her resistance was low. After a  course of Amoxypen failed to clear up the infection, she has been started a course of Florfenicol along with Finadyne, and is now much brighter. She is so sweet and thankfully has an enormous appetite.

We have seven births to go now and seven livery births. The last birth is due the end of September and the first of 2014 is due mid March. I need to tighten this up for next September births for starters!

Thursday 8 August 2013


Just a quick update as I have not Pebbles, she is 386 days gestation today...what is going on this year with all these extra long pregnancies?

But I do at least have some news of births. On Saturday, at the unsociable time of 5.50 pm (which meant I missed getting the take away that I was looking forward to) Biba had a lovely blue black male...I feel like I have got someone else's herd...a herd of black males!

Biba and Orlando

However, at last the tide has changed...on Tuesday not only do I get a brilliant white cria...but it is a FEMALE!!!! Yes, Renatta has had our first Beck Brow Explorer daughter. The news on Facebook prompted Shirley to comment "Hallelujah its a girl" that is what she shall be named...Hallelujah...I might drop the 'its a girl bit'. I am so pleased with her...she has Explorers head and top knot again and even his ears!.

Beck Brow Hallelujah

Close up of her head (I will get one of her standing but it didnt seem right to poke her just to get a photo!).

I am of course joking about the black boys, they are a delight and look lovely in the paddock. Here is Otis a Black Sabbath cria out of a mid fawn dam. He is so blue black he shines in the sunshine.

Beck Brow Otis 

After setting off as a very protective mother; Boots appears to be slightly bored with it all, and when Duke of Wellington goes around calling for her, she looks up but doesn't bother to call back (he eventually finds her after being spat at by every other dam)...and she hasn't even been remated. Does any one else notice that...that the dams become less obsessed with their present cria once they become pregnant again...they just get more relaxed about it all.

Duke of Wellington finds his mum (Snooty Boots)

We are busy busy busy here with drive-by, mobile and on farm matings...but it is all good...well it keeps the boys happy!

Sunday 4 August 2013

Boots, Sox and Wellies...

Continuing from my last blog: the offspring of Beck Brow Snooty Boots and Fowberry Nobility has been named....Beck Brow Duke of Wellington...very clever Graham and Bev. So we now have Boots, Sox and Wellies. I am not quite sure this is a good theme...Flip Flop, Stilleto, Clogs....

Another busy week and another sociable one too. The boys had a number of mobile matings, and it is always great to catch up at the same time. On friday it was lovely to see Bev, who called in after Potfest in the Pens. I made the mistake of showing her Otis (full brother to their Dougal...but blue black)... sorry Andy!

Soon after Bev left we had a rather large delivery...I did say that we were expecting 28 alpacas...well they arrived in an enormous transporter (Appletrees) at 6.30 pm...all safe and sound. Unfortunately I have not won the lottery...they are on livery...but I will still enjoy them. We just got them settled in in time for friends arriving for supper and a sleep over...full on day!

On Saturday Carole and Amanda kindly came to help, as we checked over all the new girls and identified all those without ear tags (which was most of them). Bit of an identity parade and a real test of my memory skills. So the number of births due at Beck Brow has increased rather significantly...whats the bets that everyone else gets the females!

I haven't had time to take many photos but I did catch Beck Brow The Crafter being a total mischief as always, and tormenting Beck Brow Foxy Sox (both waradene St Patrick of EPC progeny).

playing dirty

is he being loving?

no back to playing dirty

watch yourself...she isnt impressed with you mate

no definitely not impressed

trying to be nice again

but failing!

Beck Brow Foxy Sox is the sweetest little thing but that looks like something green on the side of his face...