Monday, 28 April 2014

The Alpaca Fiesta 2014

I am afraid that we are back to a blog on showing again, as last weekend was the Heart of England Alpaca Fiesta. Now, the closing date for this show was the day after the NWAG show, the show where we had taken Supreme Champion. So maybe I was feeling a bit ecstatic still, but I decided as Cathy Lloyd was judging both shows, that I would take a completely different show team, and leave all the Champions behind!

So the small, but select, show team was made up of, Bozedown Campari (this is the female that we chose from the Bozedown herd following our winning bid at the Alpaca Classic, the bid was to have the pick of the 2012 born females) never shown before. Beck Brow Sugarbabe (dam: Cambridge Camilla....dam of Beck Brow Explorer. Sire: EP Cambridge Fortitude) never shown before. Beck Brow Bespoke, who keeps coming second to Beck Brow First Edition, so we thought he deserved a solo outing. Finally Beck Brow Inkster, because he is well behaved and Bespoke needed a friend!.

First in was Inkster who came a respectable third. Next up was Campari, first placed Intermediate brown female...and Champion Brown Female! So far so good on day one. Day two saw Sugarbabe in the ring early in the day, and we again did well with a first place and Reserve Champion Light Female. We had to wait a while for the junior white male class, which was a big one, but Bespoke took first place, without Eddie there to steel his thunder!

So there we were, ready to pack up, when we were told we needed to go back in to the ring. Both Bespoke and Campari were eligible for the Best British Bred Alpaca as the highest placed British Alpaca in their colour (male and female). Cathy Lloyd (judge) was obviously having a big difficult decision to make...the organiser was called into the ring...after some discussion Cathy announced that she wished to award both a male and female champion...held breath...the male champion; Beck Brow Bespoke!! How exciting...and the female champion...our Bozedown Campari...I couldn't have been more what a result for our little team.

A big thank you to the organisers of the show (I know how hard it is), to Michael Henderson who was my travelling companion and helped me through out the weekend, and of course Jean MacDonald who handles in the ring and would appear to be our good luck charm!


                                                             Bozedown Campari

                                                                  Beck Brow Sugarbabe

                      Michael handling Campari in the ring as she gets Best of British Female

We are still waiting for our first birth (371-days gestation for Courtesse) and now have 4 in the birthing window. My guess is Liza (an agisted alpaca) tomorrow!

Finally due to requests...another photo of our granddaughter, Henrietta Rose...


                                                               Pretty in pink!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A catch up!

 I have decided that I need to improve upon the frequency of my blogging...or at least follow-up on stories where readers have been kind enough to show interest...

So firstly, Raffles and the sore leg. Well, I was begining to think that we had missed something. Every day I did some passive exercises with him to prevent contraction, and although he seemed to be less uncomfortable, three weeks had passed and he still wouldn't walk on four legs. Then bingo..tentitively yesterday, just seeing if he was brave enough...then back to walking normally today (if a little carefully).

Secondly, Pheonix who lost lots of weigh and had the Vit B12 injections. She went down to 22.5 kilos and today weighed in at 30 kilos. That is a 5 kilo gain in the past three weeks! She manages to always look bedraggled but thats just her!

Today we did a couple of spit-offs after weigh-in. The good news is Easter-Wood Adelle, whom we mated to Goldmine in October spat off (yes late but we though we would just have the one go when he came in from New Zealand) and Galaxy, who accidently got mated in December, sat...phew...that is just too late. We didn't actually re-mate her, as we really do need to tighten up on what is our birthing season next year.

Actually, I have decided that it doesn't matter when you mate them in the spring...they don't birth earlier than May in Cumbria. It is only alpacas that we have bought in pregnant, who are ever due so early in the year (remember Explorer due to be born 10th April...born 30th May). Well now we have Courtesse, due to birth 27th March (her average of 340 days)...still waiting!

Easter-Wood Adelle...can you see where Epic gets the cute factor?

Beck Brow Raffles...all better

 Kingwell 30 kilos

We delivered three young maidens to their new home on Monday, and had a lovely day, with a glass or two to celebrate and a lovely lunch, as well as some alpaca assessment. Included in the delivery was one of our three female Beck Brow Explorer progeny. Another is being delivered next week, only leaving me with Beck Brow Hallelujah. Lets hope we get some more daughters this year or I might just regret my decisions!

Beck Brow Hallelujah...who has a lovely fleece, but has a tender spot which we now believe to be due to her dam having a jaw abscess, and thus struggling with condition when nursing her.

I am off to Manchester in the morning on the yearly plasma spinning run. We are getting six bags spun for now, and will see if we need to top up our stocks later in the year.

On the subject of plasma, the last news we had from New Zealand was that Stardust was doing well. The plan is that she will be landing at Heathrow with on the 15th May. I cant wait to see her...our first cria of the year.

Finally just because it's a bit of a pale blog...Anzac Razamataz...don't you just love those ears!

Razamataz...wondering what style of moustasche would look best.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone. We are actually relaxing at Beck you can see from the three Viracocha Black Sabbath boys below...

The Black Sabbath cria test my skills for identification!

We have seen a lot of our granddaughter, Henrietta, over the weekend. Now six weeks old, the bets of; will she have her Mummy's unusual green eyes, or her Daddy's deep blue eye colour, have been it is...


Henrietta Rose and those deep blue eyes.

We are still waiting for our first cria birth. Cambridge Courtesse is now 357-days gestation. We also have EP Cambridge Aria, and EP Cambridge Lady Gaga, in the birthing window now. I can't pretend...I am rather excited about the prospects of a Beck Brow Explorer cria from Aria...don't you wait until next weekend when I am away!

We have put the females who are due over the next couple of months in to a separate paddock. Also in the paddock are two females who do not fit in to that category. Firstly Beck Brow Rumour Has It (due in July) who decided she really had to be included (I thought that this was to be with her dam, but it appears that she is best friends with Lady Gaga!). Secondly, Beck Brow Celestrial, who was originally mated and spat off late May. She then decided to sit in October, and as Goldmine had been allowed to mate rather late in the season, we mated her again to Explorer. 

Now, is it just me, or does she look far to huge to be heading for September? This pairing of the dam of Beck Brow Bespoke (2nd placed Jnr White Male at the National Show) with the sire of Beck Brow First Edition (1st placed Jnr White Male at the National Show) is an exciting one...I would rather she be in the birthing paddock for months than miss the birth. We seem to have had a couple who have sat whilst already pregnant...time will tell!

Bozedown Celestrial May or September?

I have been out to take some photos of some of the pet boys for Alpacaseller. I admit to being a bit half-hearted as I love the group of young boys. I did manage an acceptable photo of Otis, but Orlando has rather spoilt the background...

I am struggling with some of my decisions, Otis (centre)  was placed second behind Inkster at the NWAG show, should he be kept?...probably not...whereas Inkster who was placed second at the National Show will stay for now...

Beck Brow Inkster

I wonder, could I get away with a 'pick and mix' photo!

We actually have no white boys (one beige) for sale this year, as we only have three; Eddie, Bespoke and I am not so sure Epic has been aptly named...only his mother would love him (and his dam Adelle) does he manage to look so scruffy!

I just thought that I would slip in a photo of Summer Haze (dam; Chaska. sire; Jack of Spades) who always seems to miss the photo call...

Beck Brow Summer Haze (sire; Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca)

We did get caught up on plenty of jobs in the run up to Easter. Paul has completed the additional space in the barn (Foxy Sox is showing her approval here). The plasma donating boys have been given their Lambivac booster in preparation for blood collection. All stud males and females have had their selenium drench ready for matings and birthing to begin.

Beck Brow Foxy Sox in the barn.

We had our niece, Maddi to visit for a couple of days...Astor seems to have been voted the favourite cat of the week!



Saturday, 12 April 2014

Not well down under...

After the good news at the weekend, regarding Cambridge Stargazer and her cria in New Zealand, things took rather a down hill turn down under. Stargazer's cria had been premature ( a couple of days shy of 11 months) she was small, but fiesy was the report. However, we received an email on day three, to say that she wasn't great. After some discussion it was decided that she needed plasma and antibiotics. She was also bottle fed for 24 hours before she began feeding from mum again. Kit and Sheryl at Silverstream Alpacas in NZ, have been amazing and we cant thank them enough. I am told that she is now wearing a merino coat, plus waterproof and is running around; so much so, that she is difficult to catch in order to administer her antibiotics! 

I am convinced that Stardust (as we have named her) was one of those cases, where she took the colostum, but her immaturity meant that she did not produce adequate immunity. I think I must have had a sixth sense when I contacted Kit on the day that she was born (not knowing) to say do not hesitate to call the vet in if need be. She is obviously a little fighter with the most amazing depth of elite genetics...I cant wait to meet her. No photos of Stardust yet. Below is Stargazer at 8 months.

Cambridge Stargazer

We have had a busy old week, but a productive one. Lots of moving alpacas around. The females due over the next couple of months now made up a prenatal group, and are in a paddock close to the house. The female weanlings have gone back in with the main female group and the boys are moping about missing them.

I have made a decision about Anzac Almost Illegal, he is a lovely boy but he needs to work, and has consequently gone on our for sale list. Next job is to take some photos of some of our 2013 boys, who will be for sale as pets. Lots of lovely colours this year.

We have also decided that it is going to be easier if we integrate the large agisted herd we have here, in with our own. This allows for appropriate management of feed. This also brought about the decision to extend the penning areas in the yet another load of concrete arrived today...

Craig and Paul labouring!

We had the vet out on Monday to Raffles. He went lame on Friday and we gave him anti-inflamatories but saw no improvement. It would appear that it is badly bruised above the knee, in an area where there isnt much room for swelling. The decision was made to carry on with pain relief and see how it went. This is him today, he still will not weight-bear at all, so if no improvement on Monday we will have to get it splinted to avoid contraction of the limb...poor Raffs

Beck Brow Raffles...has someone kicked him?

Just a few photos...

Beck Brow Epic...always looking a scruff bag!

Beck Brow Explorer...wondering when he will be let loose on some girls.

Beck Brow Sugarbabe

Better be off...see if the concrete is setting...I said to Robyn that I had been helping...that I had been tampering...I think I meant tamping... but either would be correct!

Monday, 7 April 2014

NWAG Alpaca Championships and a new addition!

One of these days I will write a blog that isn't about a show! However, as it has been rather none stop of late I have not had time for much else. 

Saturday was the NWAG Alpaca Championships, and as Gold Sponsers we are very involved with the organisation, thus work started on Friday. Now, this show is only 20 mins from our farm, hence I agreed to take some alpacas who are agisted here (9 belonging to 4 different owners), and I also entered a rather large show team of our own (15). What I hadn't considered was how we were going to transport them all. In the end 2 of ours stayed at home!

We had 125 Huacaya entries and 12 Suris this year. NWAG is always very well supported by breeders, both as exhibitors and sponsors. I have to say a special thank you to Fallowfield Alpacas who sponsored the Best of British, which wasn't included in the catalogue (apologies guys).

So we had 23 alpacas to show, which kept our Beck Brow team rather busy! We took 13 Beck Brow owned alpacas who came home with 7 x 1st, 4 x 2nd and 2 x 3rd. Nothing below a third place, and a number of 2nds where we had taken the 1st! 

Now for the Championships; our first was Reserve Champion Brown Female which went to Inca Havanah. She was beaten to the Championship by a female I selected to take from our agisted females, Prima Lillibet (I am generous like that!). 

However, the ones that I really secretly wanted were the fawn and white males (this is where my true passion lies). Therefore we were delighted when Beck Brow Crafter (sire: Waradene St. Patrick ) wowed our judge Cathy Lloyd, and he was awarded Champion Fawn Male. She commented on his advanced fleece style, the fineness and density, and his fleece growth and coverage. A clear winner.

Now it was going to be down to Beck Brow First Edition. Could a junior get the Championship. First in his class with Beck Brow Bespoke 2nd (also highly praised). Cathy did an amazing job of keeping us in suspense whilst judging the White Champion, back and forth along the line, you could have heard a pin drop, the tension was so high...but as she said "she just couldn't get past the junior. He has the kind of advanced fleece we are all aspiring to achieve" so Beck Brow First Edition (Eddie to his friends) took the White Male Championship, Best of British Huacaya and Supreme Champion Huacaya...go Eddie!!!!!

We had a fantastic show, with so many of our clients doing well in the ring. Nero Black Truffle (sire: Viracocha Black Sabbath) took the Black Female Championship. Beck Brow Testimony (sire: St Patrick) now owned by Teesdale Alpacas took the Light Male Championship. Florens Davinci (sire: St Patrick ) took the Reserve Fawn Male Champion. Beck Brow Explorer only has 8 progeny and 4 of these were at the show. In the second junior white female class Prince Bishop Summer Rose took first place, and Beck Brow Miss Molly second. In the junior white male Beck Brow First Edition took first and Greenside Voyager took third (with Bespoke in between who got second to Eddie at the National)

Apologies, a rather long blog but what an exciting day. Beck Brow Explorer our multi Supreme Championship winning male...has produced a Supreme Champion with his first happy.

                       Beck Brow Crafter who went on to take Fawn Male Champion
                                           (with Jean from Velvet Hall Alpacas)

                       Beck Brow First Edition who went on to take Supreme Champion 

Unfortunately we didn't take a camera so have no photos of the show (above supplied from Stuart Velvet Hall Alpacas) or the awards being presented. Lesson learned...You cant be everywhere at once!

Whilst all this was going on in Cumbria, we found out this morning that exciting things had been happening for us in New Zealand too; Cambridge Stargazer (sire: Windsong Valley Firedragon) has had a daughter (sire: EP Cambridge Peruvian Spartacus). So a great result.

It has been back to work this morning, moving the alpacas in to different groups. The male and female weanlings have been seperated, which was tough as it meant breaking up so friendships (poor Crafter loves Cats).

I put in our entries for the Fiesta last night. I am going on my own so only taking four. A completely different show team. Two of which are not yet halter trained!