This alpaca blog is intended to give a light hearted view of the day to day activities of an alpaca breeder, as well as providing an opportunity to share experiences and knowledge gained along the way.
Beck Brow Alpacas of Cumbria is an alpaca farm situated within the beautiful Eden Valley in the North of England. Our aim is to breed the finest quality alpacas available...this is our journey.
Apart from the fact that I am in love, and Paul has a new squeeze, there's not not really much to report
A quick photo catch up...
We have had a few cria born since my last blog, but on Sunday I fell seriously in love. I know you probably cant see it, but he is the cutest cria ever, he is the spitting image of his sire, hence the bias. He even makes the same grumbling noises...Welcome Beck Brow Adventurer. His dam Beck Brow Lucie (sire: EPC Top Account of Fowberry) is a pretty girl, so he is easier in the eye than Gorgeous was at the same age! However he was being coy for the camera today...
Beck Brow Adventurer and Beck Brow Clould Nine (sire: Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca)
Yet to be named, below is a Beck Brow Explorer daughter. She is such a character, always rolling in the dust bath, she is brilliant white underneath (looks like she has gotten some dust in her eye...can you see the tear)
Biba had a Black Sabbath son on Friday. I have named him Banjo (note your name gives you a clue as to whether you are likely to make the show team!)
Biba and Banjo
Somebody who will be making the grade is Beck Brow Bottoms Up...and don't she just know it!
Beck Brow Bottoms Up
Beck Brow Jimmy Choos thinks that he is going to make the stud grade...chasing the girls already...
Bottoms up chased by Jimmy Choos
As you can see in the background we have some big bales this year. We actually made some last year but sold them off the field, but as we then bought haylage in small bales, it made sense to keep some this time. The problem was...how do we move them about...well Paul has bought himself a squeeze for the back of the tractor. Probably cost more than we will save buying haylage, but it will keep him happy!
Beck Brow Honey Bun (sire: Waradene St Patrick of EPC)
Bozedown Celestrial has had an Explorer daughter who has missed the photo call. Next time
Below is a photo of a part of our farm. If you have good eyesight you will see some alpacas dotted in the far field. The shelter in the centre is where Explorer and Goldmine live at present (the only males to live near the girls without fighting). So where are the rest of the girls...did someone mention feed time...
Looks like it...
Leaving Timbertop CT Goldmine wondering where all the girls have gone..
Timbertop CT Goldmine of Beck Brow...our little gem!
Gee whizz...my body is too old for the life that I lead...I thought I would write a blog in order to justify a sit down. Trouble is it's all a little bit groundhog, my blogs are blurring into one; births and matings!
However, we have had a bit of excitement with the birthing. On Sunday morning, wide awake at 5.30 am..I decided to don my pyjamas and check out the birthing paddock. Well just as well I did. All the alpacas were in the barn as usual, but there sitting kushed in the paddock was a little black cria. It took a second or two to register that this belonged to Beck Brow Snooty Boots (sire Waradene St Patrick).
I ran for the birthing box, and such was the excitement that I nearly tripped up when the ribbon of my PJ bottoms came undone, and my bottoms ended up at my ankles (luckily we have no very close neighbours). The cria was cold (33 degrees) so he was promptly brought in and warmed with a hair dryer. By 7.30 am he was suckling and bright as a button. And I went indoors to put on some more suitable attire (by this point I needed warmed with a hair dryer too).
Last year we decided to mate Boots with our black male, Viracocha Black Sabbath, as we knew St Patrick, her sire, could produce black. The trouble was, Boots went berserk at the mere sight of Black Sabbath. So rather naughtily we tricked her, using Explorer (white) to get her to sit, then swapped the males. I did have a niggling concern that if she had a black cria, would she reject it. Thankfully she loves him. She does get a bit confused now and again and goes looking after white cria, but she is very proud of him. A beautiful blue black male from a lovely fawn dam...could be exciting! In recognition of his dam being called Boots, he is to be named Beck Brow Jimmy Choos.
Jimmy and Boots on day one
and again today...Boots always tries to look elegant whatever is going on!
Earlier last week one of the black female on agistement gave birth to a lovely smoky coloured St Pat cria (above) behind is Prima Sebastian sired by Black Sabbath
Yesterday it was all go, with two births and a farm visit. In the morning Cambridge Scarborough gave birth to a blue black male, sired by Black Sabbath (below). I have yet to think of a name...not sure about Skeggness?
and in the afternoon Ep Cambridge Sparkle (agisted) gave birth to a Beck Brow Explorer daughter (below at 3 hours old). This little female will be going to Switzerland in the spring. I have never seen a cria born as lively as this one. She was trying to stand with her front legs before she was completely out. A proper little character with a very curly fleece.
Then this afternoon Garnet (agisted) decided to give birth in the middle of drive-by matings. Amanda was watching the paddock and alerted me to the fact only one leg had presented. So matings over Explorer was left in the pen as I went to investigate. I couldn't find the room to get it turned. So the vet was called. As the vet was some distance away, we were lucky that our neighbour could come round. He eventually eased the cria out with the knee locked back. Good job, with no tearing. The cria (sire: Lavender Park Tulley) was up and drinking within the hour (below)
I am rather smitten with Beck Brow Stardust (sire: Ep Cambridge Spartacus) she is such a poppet
Beck Brow Stardust
You may have noticed through out this blog, my referring to alpacas on agistement. It has rather got out of hand with 50% of the alpacas on the farm not owned by us. However, after a few delays, one of the herds here will be reducing their numbers, and will be putting most of their herd up for sale. With some top notch Australian genetics...could I resist?...no chance! So having purchased her dam, this little St Patrick female is now ours. Here is Beck Brow Bebop A Lula. This female line is exceptional, thus two of her sisters will also be staying at Beck Brow. The third (2013) female will be for sale pregnant to Goldmine, when I get the time to get her on Alpacaseller .
Beck Brow Bebop A Lula (sire: Waradene St Patrick)
Some of you, who have been kind enough to read this drivel for a number of years, will remember that we used to call Beck Brow Explorer...Gorgeous. Now you might have seen him of late and be thinking; well he is rather gorgeous. But the name was meant to be ironic, because believe me, he was no George Clooney as a cria.
But he blossomed into a swan, and the decision was made, his parents needed to be reunited. So it was, Cambridge Camilla was taken down to Houghton Hall Alpacas for a date with Ep Cambridge Navigator last year.
On Thursday morning, I knew Camilla was thinking of unpacking, and by 1pm I was certain. Amanda was telephoned...this needed an audience. By 3pm we had a head and one leg. I could feel the other leg but couldn't straighten it. I can't pretend otherwise; stress levels were high. Then Paul drove down the lane. Still in his smart clothes, he was supplied with Hibiscrub and lube. Eventually he figured out that the cria was upside down and locked in a position with no room to be delivered. With a 180 degree turn, out he came. Yes, he, but happy on this occasion.
Camilla was given antibiotics and pain relief, and the cria was up and about in no time. He is a proper little character, tearing about at a day old. He looks very like Explorer but rather cuter I think. As this is Camilla's fifth cria, we have named him High Five.
Beck Brow High Five
Beck Brow High Five's fleece at 24 hours. Looking organised
Drinking from mum, Cambridge Camilla.
Cambridge Camilla (sire: Accoyo Remarque) is undoubtably one of our very best females. She has consistently produced show quality progeny from different sires. One of those is Beck Brow Advantage (sire: Waradene St Patrick). Advantage has been rather in the shadow of big brother Explorer, we knew he was good, but had no intention of ever selling him. That was until our good friends Michael and Judith from Cockerham Alpacas approached us about a suitable stud male. A real tough decision, but he is far to good to not be allowed to leave his mark. So it is congratulations to Cockerham Alpacas on securing the first release from Cambridge Camilla.
One her offspring is Beck Brow Rumour Has It (sire: Ep Cambridge Top Account of Fowberry) who had a beautiful female earlier in the week. Sired by Ep Cambridge Mirage of Minster Alpacas, she has been name Illusion...but seems to get called Lilly Lusion!
Beck Brow Rumour a Has It with Lilly Lusion
Snazzy is looking snazzier by the day...
I am going to make more effort to blog as I lose track of what has happened. If I said lots of matings and plenty of good company and wine...that sums much of it up! We had a lovely evening with Liz and Shaun (The Alpaca Farm) and Stuart and Jean (Velvet Hall Alpacas) last week...some were better behaved than others...no guessing which camp I was in!
Lastly here is a photo of Prime Suspect...now if you are wondering where he has come from...it's because he has had a change of name...more on that another time!