Friday 27 June 2014

Friends...some welcome, some not so!

 It's my favourite time of the year, doing my favourite job. This is when I realise how lucky I am to live with alpacas. Dam and cria watching in the just doesn't get any better.

 It might just look like I am sitting on a bench enjoying the view...but it is proper work. Actually, I am only partly jesting, because nothing is more rewarding than knowing your herd...and equally, them knowing and trusting you.

On Wednesday, (admittedly I hadnt looked in the paddock for about an hour as I was busy with other things) I was greeted by a head, neck, and one leg, from Anzac Showpiece. Showpiece is on agistement, but has obviously gained enough trust to just let me have a feel about without assistance. Unfortunately, I wasnt able to sort the problem, so called for Paul. It took him over half an hour (leg back and twisted behind a back leg) but eventually out came a Black Sabbath male (with very long legs). We gave some doxapram and used our newly acquired resusitator to clear the lungs. The vet arrived soon after and intravenous bicarbonate was given. He was soon up and away and has never looked back. He has been named Prima Sebastian.

Soon after this we had visitors. Jane and Barbara had purchased some Explorer matings, and were interested in adding another female to their herd (Angel has been chosen). Delighted to see a new born, they were in for a further treat, when Anzac Sweet Secret went into labour, and again delivered a Black Sabbath male. Note how I get all the females, and everyone else on farm gets males!

This was the third Black Sabbath cria in a row, as a couple of days earlier April had delivered our eighth female for Beck Brow. Named 'After Eight' she has a gorgeous fleece...we are very pleased.

 Sweet Secret and Prima Valentine

 Prima Valentine

 Prima Sebastian demonstrating which leg was back!

but soon finds the milk

 Beck Brow After Eight (sire: Viracocha Black Sabbath)

Bozedown Celestrial (pregnant to Beck Brow Explorer) is keeping us guessing. Originally mated  in May last year, she then sat again in September and was remated. However, she looks far too huge for her second dates so I reverted back to her being due now. She is now 377 days! Come on girl...I am sure she is showing signs of bagging it just wishful thinking!

Any way all this watching and waiting has me enjoying the herd dynamics. EP Cambridge Courtesse only joined our herd last year, but is high up the pecking order. Her daughter Beck Brow Bunny Girl is also one of the most forward and confident cria. It seems to follow, if mum has a position, the other herd members show respect to their cria also.

Courtesse and Bunny Girl

On the other hand EP Cambridge Summer Solstice seems to be bottom of the pile. We put her in the paddock with the dams and cria, and soon to birth females, so not to seperate her from EP Cambridge Stargazer and Stardust. However, because she is neither heavily pregnant nor nursing, she gets all the jobs to do: chasing dogs and cats, and creche duties are amongst her many roles...

Summer Solstice (fawn) on creche duty

I love the way alpacas form friendships, it is one of many endearing qualities they have. Below is Bozedown Celestrial, who is looking after Seventh Heaven for her BFF Bozedown Magic Charm (note tail out...must be soon!)

Celestrial and Seventh Heaven

One relationship which isnt so mutal, is that between Crafter and my gorgeous little Epic. With all the matings going on around the farm (everyday it seems) Crafter is getting himself worked up and is practicing what the big boys do...the problem is it is always, without fail, Epic who is the chosen one. Crafter is on his final with Explorer if he doesnt behave!

Beck Brow Crafter

Beck Brow Epic left (not happy after his love in) with his best friend Beck Brow Raffles.

Beck Brow Idris (sire: Lillyfield Jack of Spades) looking good!

Monday 16 June 2014

Bottoms Up...we are in Seventh Heaven!

Yet again rather a lot has happened since my last blog...not least Beck Brow Encore is now officially renamed as Beck Brow Bottoms Up (much to Amanda's disgust). I blame Karen from Meon Valley!

Little Bot has had a plasma transfusion and is doing okay. She hasnt really gained any weight, and we are giving her some top up with goats milk, but she is perky enough. Undoubtedly the best female we have had born here (sire: Beck Brow Explorer) she is a little star.

Beck Brow Bottoms Up in the Buttercups

On Saturday morning I was up bright and early, and off to the Three Counties Show. I was apprentice, to judge Tim Hey, at both the fleece and halter shows. I had a fantastic time, I learnt so much, and I also really enjoyed the show.

Whilst I was away Bozedown Magic Charm delivered the biggest cria ever born here. Our seventh female in a row this year, we have named her Seventh Heaven, she weighed a whopping 11.1kgs and has gained since birth.

  Bozedown Magic Charm with her daughter Beck Brow Seventh Heaven...a lovely Waradene St Patrick brown female

St Patrick does have lovely looking cria, but then he is a bit of a looker himself!

Beck Brow Snooty Boots (above) is his image. She is pregnant to Viracocha Black Sabbath...we know St Patrick can produce black, so this will be interesting!

Beck Brow Honey Bun (sire: Waradene St Patrick)

Florens Juno (sire: Waradene St Patrick)

I have to say that I am rather taken by one of the yearling females here on Prima Maridadi. I couldnt decide if ears up...or ears down was most cute?

 Finally, just to prove we do have all colours...some of the girls strolling out to the top paddock...

Tuesday 10 June 2014

What to do for an Encore!

Well I thought we might have a birth today...the sun was shinning and Bozedown Magic Charm was looking a likely suspect yesterday. However, when Paul did the early morning check he came back to report that Morden Hall Honario was "twittering away to herself" . By 10am she was showing all the signs of early labour. Now this was exciting...not due until the 23rd...this is the dam of Supreme Champion Beck Brow First Edition...pregnant again to Beck Brow Explorer. Okay deep breaths...stand back...wait...keep calm and carry on.

However, things weren't really progressing, Honaria never stood to push, but was very fidgety and was looking a bit uncomfortable. After an hour of her attempting to push now and again, we went to get the Hibiscrub and obstetric gel. On return Paul declared that a bottom had appeared...yes completely breech with the legs under in a crushed position. We gently helped Honaria and the cria slid out, still attached to the cord. Then Honaria stood breaking the attachment. Paul quickly swung the cria, which obviously had fluid on it's lungs. As the cria was now looking blue and showing little sign of life, Paul gave mouth to mouth resuscitation. On the third administration, the cria started to breath. 

The cria was given jump-start, glucose, and was brought in under the lamp and warmed with a hair dryer. Cord now sprayed, we had chance to see, that we have yet another female (six in a row for us). We called the vet, to check that Honaria hadn't suffered any tears. Also, so that  if we needed to administer bicarbonate (given I.V.) for acidosis, due to the cria's breathing at birth, it was on its way. 

It looks like good news around. Honaria has no tearing (I have given her pain relief and long acting Amoxypen...and as I am told she may retain her placenta, Oxytocin). By the time the vet arrived the cria was looking fine. She has now had 2 x 50 mls of cows colostrum, and doesn't appear to understand what all the fuss was about!

She is showing signs of being premature so will need a close eye...but phew for now (we now have Doxapram on farm, an aid to induce breathing and a resusitator on the shopping list...well done Paul)

Looking very like her sibling, First Edition (albeit a cream version) we have decided to name her Beck Brow Encore...we did consider Bottoms up (and worse) but decided against it?

We had another female born on the farm yesterday, this time belonging to Amanda (Florens Alpacas). Blackmorel Vale Butterscotch presented another gorgeous Waradene St. Patrick "look at me" cria, named Florens Juno.


It's been another busy week with mobile and on-farm matings. A great opportunity to catch up with folks, not what you could really call work! We did manage to include some proper social activity, when we joined Viv and Niamh of Oakton Alpacas, in the evening celebration of their wedding. We had a lovely time.

It was back on Sunday, ready to make a special delivery of four boys to their new home. I was going to drive, but as Robyn and Craig were available to farm watch we decided to go together. The boys have gone to a fabulous new home, and it was lovely to be able to spend a little time there.


                                                 The boys at their new home

Robyn and Craig took Hettie for a walk whilst on the wasn't until they returned that they noticed what was in the parcel shelf...

                                                                Astor enjoying a trip out!

And finally for Claire...a photo of our granddaughter Hettie (Henrietta Rose)

                                                          Hettie Kerr...little doll!

Monday 2 June 2014

Shows, Shearing and Surprises!

 A quick catch-up...well as quick as I can be when I have been rather slack with the blogging!

At some point since I last blogged we had our fifth female of the year. What a start to the breeding season! Holly had a lovely fawn Waradene St Patrick female, who was up on her feet and looking like she owned the place within no time...thats St Patrick cria for you!

Beck Brow Honey Bun (right) our fifth female to be born

 On Wednesday we had our shearer (Ben Wheeler) arrive at 7am. As we had more that a day's worth of shearing we decided to concentrate on the pregnant females and stud males (who desperately needed their fleeces off to get working). Then at 3pm I left Paul and Amanda in charge (Paul armed with microchip reader for recognition post shearing!) as I headed off to Shepton Mallot for the Bath and West Show, where I was to be apprentice judge, to Mary-Jo Smith.

Fortunately it was a leisurely start on the Thursday, as I hadnt arrived at my destination until 10pm. I had a fantastic two days, learning so much from the experience, and I also managed to catch up with lots of folks. Bath and West is a great show and the alpaca section was so well organised...just a shame it isnt a bit closer!

I then travelled back ready for shearing part two. We were up at 6am ready for action, but we had been beaten to it, for there was Willow with a cria born and already standing. Willow belongs to Wiseman Alpacas, who now are the proud owners of a gorgeous brown male sired by Anzac Almost Illegal (who does appear to be rather good at producing brown!)

Beck Brow Willow with Wiseman Shocolate

It was the turn of the weanling boys to get shorn at the weekend...they look so comical shorn and even I am finding it difficult to recognise everyone. I think this is a photo of Epic below...what do you think?

 Beck Brow Epic pre shearing..

 Beck Brow Epic post shearing?

The weanling boys all shorn!

In amongst all the activity we also had Northumberland County Show on bank holiday Monday. We were lucky with the weather, after days of rain (we had to get towed on to the show ground) the sun shone down. Another well organised and very enjoyable alpaca halter show. We had a very welcome surprise when the judge, Shirley Bettinson, awarded the Supreme Championship to Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas. So aptly named... for she sure does think that she is!

 Beck Brow Cat's Pyjamas showing off her Fawn Female Sash before winning Supreme (with Jean from Velvet Hall Alpacas).

Cats has a full sister born this year (dam; Ep Cambridge Lady Gaga. sire; Waradene St Patrick) whom we have named Beck Brow Posh you can see in the photo below...another one aptly named!
 By the way we seem to have been over taken by Buttercups all of a sudden!

Beck Brow Posh Pants

Lastly, just because I get accused of having super clean alpacas...Ep Cambridge Courtesse...

Ep Cambridge Courtesse with Beck Brow Bunny Girl