Saturday, 20 December 2014

Our Latest Addition to the Stud Team

When we bought our first four pregnant females in September 2008 we had a plan; we would buy the ones with the biggest eyes, the ones with the super cute cria at foot, and we would buy one of each colour (white, brown and two fawns). At this point we had purchased our alpacas purely as pretty lawnmowers, and for the pleasure of having some cria around the farm.

By March 2009 we were seriously addicted and decided to make breeding alpacas into a business. This did necesitate a plan...and the plan was to breed elite fawn genetics. Well we were obviously still niave at this point, because as we all might know what colour you want from a breeding...but it doesn't mean you are going to get it!

 But then I quickly became seduced by the elite white fleeces I was seeing at the shows... fortunately, this resulted in probably the best decision I have ever made...the purchase of Cambridge Camilla...who was carrying Beck Brow Explorer (our multi Supreme Champion and sire of Supreme Champion Beck Brow First Edition). And so it was for a couple of years, we focused on our whites and fawns, and were happy enough with the occassional brown.

Thus it came as a bit of a surprise to someone who secretly didnt like black alpacas...when we bought a half share in Viracocha Black Sabbath with Florens Alpacas...note the half share, not ready to fully commit! And so it is that two of our star members of our 2015 show team are black. Whites and fawns remain my passion but I am now happy to have some blacks around...anything but greys...well that is what I thought...I wasn't even secretive about my disinterest in grey genetics...

Well, that is about to change....



I have been tempted... Beck Brow and Velvet Hall Alpacas are to be the new owners of EP Cambridge Gunsmith (sire: Wyterrica Propaganda) when he arrives in the UK next May. I guess it isnt really about the colour, its about the quality, and that was what made him too difficult to resist.

Talking of blacks, Jimmy Choos is one of our little stars. His dam is the gorgeous Snooty Boots, whose own dam is EP Cambridge Lady Gaga. Both Boots and Lady G are fabulous mothers...and both Jimmy Choos  and Posh Pants have been weaned today...I think mums are taking it worse than the cria are. Jimmy is actually only 5 months old but as he is over 30kgs so he joined the other 15 weanlings. Weights ranged from 26kgs (6 month old on agistment with underweight dam) to the rest between 30 and 42kgs. All cria this year are taking hard food, including little Bond who started eating Camelibra at 3 weeks.

Beck Brow Snooty Boots with Beck Brow Jimmy Choos

The sixteen weanlings enjoying the fresh far so good!

Last Sunday some of the NWAG members met for a fleece rummage before enjoying a lovely Christmas lunch at the Heather Glen. As you can see from the photo below, some members were taking it very seriously. I think we need a caption competition " Amanda doesn't normally like to point the finger...but if this fleece is black then..."

Caption required!

Finally some views to the East and the North from the top paddock (I have made that up, I have absolutely no sense of direction...could be West and South...but they are from the top paddock!)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How they have grown...

 Its been a beautiful bright autumn day here today, so I decided to get some cria photos whilst I had the chance. As you will see we have not managed to keep them very clean, and the photo quality is variable, but for those of you who like to see the cria grow, here we have some of the 2014 crop...

Beck Brow Jimmy Choos (black) is sired by Viracocha Black Sabbath and is from a fawn dam; Beck Brow Snooty Boots, who is sired by Waradene St Patrick (fawn). The fawn female born here on agistment is sired by Lavender Park Tulley. Her dam is now pregnant to Timbertop CT Goldmine,who shares his sire with Tulley.

We only put Beck Brow Explorer with one non-white female and Beck Brow Kitty La Kat was the result. In the foreground is Prima Sebastian (sire; Viracocha Black Sabbath)

 Beck Brow High Five is full brother to Beck Brow Explorer (sire: EP Cambridge Navigator of Houghton Hall) and his dam is one of our star females; Cambridge Camilla)

Here he is again. Normally he doesn't like to get in the photos!

Beck Brow Honey Bun (sire: Waradene St Patrick of EPC) looking very cute with those dark ears. Foreground is Beck Brow Illusion (sire; EP Cambridge Mirage)

Foreground; Beck Brow Soprano sired by Beck Brow Explorer. Dam EP Cambridge Aria (dam of Valley Alpacas The Diplomat)

This is one of my favourites of 2014; sired by Beck Brow Explorer she is full sister to Beck First Edition (Supreme Champion NWAG Alpaca Championships 2014). She has a very similiar fleece to her brother but beige in colour.

Beck Brow Asterisk (sire; Beck Brow Explorer) was rejected by his dam initially. Beck Brow Fine Romance rejected her first cria (Beck Brow Foxy Sox) and tried to do the same again. But with the help of Sepia (homeopathic remedy) and a persistent Asterisk all ended well. Typical crimpy chest of the Explorer cria.

 I realised that I hadn't taken a decent photo of Beck Brow Bond 007 (BBB007 is on the right) our only Timbertop CT Goldmine cria of 2014. Born the 9th of October he is a late born cria, but is gaining weight well. Here he is with Beck Brow Mr Darcy (left) who was due the same day but was born 3 weeks earlier.

Beck Brow Adventurer (sire; Beck Brow Explorer) is adorable. His dam obviously hasn't the best milk supply, so he shares the milk from our multi- championship winning female Bozedown Celestrial, with her daughter; his best friend Beck Brow Trendsetter!

Winning the prize for looking like a scruff-bag despite having a fabulous fleece in there, is Beck Brow Stardust (Sire; EP Cambridge Spartacus. Dam: Cambridge Stargazer). I suppose she did travel all the way from New Zealand.

Beck Brow Bunny Girl (Sire; Sanjo Shalimar) just never takes a good photo despite being rather lovely in the flesh, with a very dense fleece (Dam; EP Cambridge Courtesse)

Beck Brow Kitty La Kat again.

Beck Brow Hot Shot (foreground) and Beck Brow Mr Darcy (both sired by Beck Brow Explorer)

Beck Brow Prime Suspect (Sired by Viracocha Black Sabbath)

Left to right Beck Brow Explorer progeny: Mr Darcy, Adventurer and Trendsetter.

Looks like Beck Brow Mr Darcy (centre) might be well named...posing well!

Prima Sebastian (Sire: Viracocha Black Sabbath) getting in the frame again.

Paul has been building yet another field shelter. A small one this time for one of our isolation paddocks. It will be used for visiting females or when we have additions to our herd.

Taking of additions, our latest two to arrive on the farm and still in isolation, are Furze Park Sputnik (front) and Furze Park Elvira (both sired by Furze Park Telstar). We are hoping that Sputnik doesn't get any hanky panky ideas, but looking at the back of his neck, I suspect Elvira is in charge!

Lastly Beck Brow Idris (sire Lillyfield Jack of Spades) enjoying the view.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Back from blogging hibernation

Anyone who follows us on Facebook will know that we are alive, and that all is well. My blogging has been rather neglected, partly because I haven't had time to take any photos, and partly because I have forgotten what we have been up to, its been so long. I think that we all end up having a little blog hibernation after the births are over.

Firstly after all the waiting, Adelle had our long awaited Timbertop CT Goldmine cria on the 9th of October. A white male whom we have called Bond 007 (there is a bit of a tale to that one!) We have been extremely lucky with the weather and he has come on well, gaining 3 kilos in three weeks. Early impressions are that he is very fine and dense.

He is now on weekly weighing. We weigh our cria (using a sling and balance scales) every day for the first 5-7 days at least. It then depends on how they are thriving, but they go on to a minimum of weekly weigh-ins after that. This means we pick up any weight loses quickly, and we have a recent record of weight, so if any one looks off colour we can assess weight gain/loss fairly accurately.

Thus it was a bit of an anxious time when our large Salter P2000 scales went on the blink. Well more than went on the blink...they went kaput...£750 and four years old! It took over a week for it to be decided that they were not repairable, and another week or so for a new set to be delivered. In the meantime we had 32 cria to weigh with Paul holding a cria and standing on a  set of bathroom scales.

We ended up with 13 females and 10 male cria after the start of 9 girls in a row. We also had 6 males and 3 females born to agisted alpacas on the farm, so pretty even in the end.

Yesterday I completed the registrations of our 2014 cria. With the BAS National Show entries commencing in less than a month's time, I thought I best have them ready to enter. With only 360 spaces I expect entries will close early again this warned!

Easter-Wood Adelle with Beck Brow Bond 007 (24 hours old)

We did manage to have an amazing break in Oman. It was sheer luxury staying at the Shangri La Al Husn, an adults only hotel (adults only as in no children...rather than x-rated) where we really did have a chill out holiday. Paul returned to head straight off to Spain with work. leaving me to prepare for the North West Alpaca Group Workshop which was held on the farm. Tim Hey shared his knowledge and expertise with 40+ members of the group, and everyone agreed, lots had be learnt

 Members and guests of NWAG enjoying the workhop with Tim Hey of Inca Alpaca.

As I said earlier I keep meaning to write a blog but never like to be short of photos. However my efforts have been poor. I did think that I would  get some action shots of the females with cria running in at feed time, but I had the camera on the wrong setting so that they were too quick!

I have marked out High Five in the first photo...

Can you spot High Five reving up...

here he has swung round the outside to gain position

he is so fast I havent managed to run backwards quickly enough!

Today set off murky and has progressed on to drizzle. My plans to get photos of some of the yealing boys, and to get them on to Alpacaseller, have thus been delayed again. It might be Spring at this rate!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Four goodbyes and three hellos!

 I had been hoping to tell you about something exciting...about our first Timbertop CT Goldmine cria...I have decided that it is going to be a white male..but Adelle isnt for revealing if I am correct. She is 351-days gestation today. Apart from the anticipation, we really needed a safe arrival before I go away for a couple of days from tomorrow. Looks like Robyn, Amanda and Hettie will be on midwife duties. I use an average gestation period of 340 days to work out expected dates, but I think I need to review this, I have just worked out this year's average and it is 347 days...lazy Beck Brow girls!

Last Monday Viv Darcy (nee Cook) came to do some alpaca assessment before the next stage of her judge training. Whilst we were fleece rummaging and making plans to head off to Greenside Alpacas for some Suri assessment; Renatta presented us with a lovely white Explorer boy (Adelle and Renatta were mated on the same day). Thus our latest arrival has been named Beck Brow Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy has joined the Explorer club, they are so cute always sticking together.

 Kitty (fawn), Adventurer (head down), Trendsetter, Mr Darcey (in coat)

Last week I started to let the dams and cria have access to what was the hay field.  As you can see from the photos below they have plenty of lush grass (yes in October!). Unfortunately Ep Cambridge Stargazer rather over did the grazing. when she came in to feed late afternoon, I noticed her showing signs of colic and she was enormous. I wish I had thought to take a photo, she was swollen to twice her normal size...she really looked like she could explode...thankfully all was resolved with some Buscapan and Funixin...I expect it would have been rather breezy standing behind her that evening!

Whilst on the topic of bowels: One of the cria on livery was showing signs of constipation the other day. So a soapy enema was administered...but all we got were a few bubbles...I gave a little more and held down the tail expecting the soapy water to squirt out...but nothing. The cria (6 weeks old) goes and sits down...then all of a sudden from a sitting position he fires out poo so hard it travelled six feet, causing Paul and I to jump, before disolving into fits of laughter...what is it about poo!

 Prima Sebastian (sire: Viracocha Black Sabbath) enjoying the new grass

Last Sunday Paul went on a bit of a tour; delivering four alpacas and coming back with two. Kingwell Alegria (pregnant to Goldmine) was delivered to Nottingham, before Paul continued to Furze Park Alpacas for collection of Sputnik and Elvira. Whilst he was there he met up with Jo from Hillyridge who took delivery of her new boys and girls, including Anzac Almost Illegal (Almo). We wish you well with him Scott and Jo, we miss him.

Sputnik and Elvira are super cute, but unfortunately I dont have a photo and it is raining today. I tried to take a photo of his shorn fleece but I dont think I have done it justice. It is so organised with tiny micro staples. It is very like the fleece belonging to Beck Brow First Edition (pictured bottom). I am so excited to see what Sputnik can do over our Explorer daughters, hopefully he will reinforce that same style.                          

Furze Park Sputnik's Fleece (sire: Furze Park Telstar)
Furze Park Sputnik

As I havent got a photo of him, how about his family tree...

Sputnik's dam Furze Park Bodacia


 Bodacia's sire: Rural Alianza Wiracocha (now deceased) thank you for the photo Tim Hey

Beck Brow First Edition's fleece (sire: Beck Brow Explorer)

Beck Brow First Edition (Eddie)

Hopefully some excitement for the next blog...we are waiting to hear the results of screening in Australia this week...another addition?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The postmortem and happier times.

 I promise that this blog will end more cheerily that the last, but I will start by sharing the results of the postmortem on Clould Nine. The cause of death was peritonitis secondary to a ruptured abscess in the third stomach. The presentation of her illness now makes perfect sense. The abscess was causing the pain and the colic, when it initially burst she felt rather better for a short while. However, after that the infection took hold, and she became seriously ill very quickly. Knowing the facts I am pleased that she did not suffer long. RIP beautiful little Clould x

Now to happier times; we have another little Explorer boy who we have named Beck Brow Hot Shot. I love him, he is so adorable, beige with light fawn on his ears and back of his head (Explorer had fawn on his ears and head which disappearred as an intermediate)

Beck Brow Hot Shot (sire; Beck Brow Explorer)

All these little Explorer cria do look very alike. They even have the same personalities. As someone who has a couple of Explorer offspring said to me wouldnt need to DNA test them...just squeeze them and they all quack like a duck!

One particulaly cheeky one is Adventuerer, who obviously isnt getting quite enough milk from his own dam, so steals from Bozedown Celestrial. He and Trendsetter (Celestrial's cria) are best buddies, and he sneaks in for a feed at the same time as she does. I have noticed if he goes on his own Celestrial wont allow him, yet she sniffs both bottoms when they feed, so she knows he is there.

 Beck Brow Adventurer (left)

and again

Beck Brow Explorer is proving himself to be a prepotent male, with his offspring having a similar fleece style and look about them. This very much seems to be trait from his dam Cambridge Camilla, whose cria and the resulting off spring (grand cria) all have a look of her. Below is Beck Brow High Five, who is full brother to Beck Brow Explorer (dam: Cambridge Camilla. sire: Ep Cambridge Navigator). The next photo is of Explorer at a similar age...they do grow in to swans!!!

Beck Brow High Five (full brother to Explorer) 

Beck Brow Explorer at a similar age

 Perfecting the grumpy look with dam Cambridge Camilla

 Beck Brow Trendsetter (dam;Bozedown Celestrial. sire: Beck Brow Explorer)

 Beck Brow Kitty...also looking grumpy (she quacks too)

 Beck Brow Prime Suspect (sire: Viracocha Black Sabbath). 

We are still waiting for our first and only 2014 Timbertop CT Goldmine cria. Easter-Wood Adelle is 343 days today. I was hoping this late in the year she might have got a move guess is it will be tomorrow (I say that every day!)

Easter-Wood Adelle