Our Website: www.ashdalealpacas.com

Friday 22 July 2011

Baby Love

This time of the year is the best if you are breeding alpacas.  Seeing the cria in the paddocks is wonderful, we can while away many an hour just leaning on the fences watching them. It's just a pity that we also have to do routing chores that take us away from them.  We have been getting the wood ready for the log burner in winter and making alpaca poo bricks to burn too.

Si has started to prepare the fleeces for the GWR show and getting any that haven't been entered ready to go to the mill.  We are getting really low on yarn and the knitwear is still selling despite the warm weather.  As it has been dry here today we have taken advantage of it and been cutting the grass again; the rain made it grow so fast that the alpacas couldn't keep it short enough.

I did remember to take the camera out today and grab a few shots of this years cria.  They are growing so fast and we only have another couple due but not until next month.  We should have done spit offs on all the girls that have been mated recently but we were far too busy so that will have to go on the weekend 'to do' list now.

Clyde is the youngest (and isn't ours) but we are still getting a lot of enjoyment watching him play with Bonnie in the top paddock.

Eleanor Rigby, who was born in January, with Piper just behind.  I'm afraid I chopped off Condor's head in this one.

In this one I was trying to get Wilhelmina and Condor but Heaven spotted the camera and came charging over.

Bonnie seemed quite happy to pose today, she normally tries to hide behind her mum when the camera comes out.  Maybe having Clyde to play with has given her more confidence.

Monday 18 July 2011

Let Sleeping Goats Lie

We had farm visitors yesterday morning and although the parents were keen to see the alpacas their sons were more taken with the goats and pigs.  They have gone from just wanting to have alpacas to wanting every animal they can when they set up their enterprise.  I think the sons may also have mentioned elephants and giraffes at some point.  Probably a bit too ambitious for land of just under 10 acres but they seemed to enjoy helping feed the alpacas and then collecting branches to give to the goats. 

They loved seeing Cricket's new baby and there were lots of oohs and aahs but we had to explain that Cricket had already been sold so her son doesn't actually belong to us either.  Never mind there were still quite a few other elite pregnant girls to choose from.

After they had left we spent the afternoon catching up with the routine weekend chores such as disinfecting the feeders etc.  A quick check of the boundary fences and having a moan about the extraordinary strength of the buttercups or those b****y buttercups as they are now known around these parts.  We have too much rain forecast to be able to spray them again this week or even cut the grass, in fact the rain was hitting the windows sidewards this evening.

Today we did the monthly pedicure on the goats and they are now so calm about it that Cherub fell asleep in my arms when I was holding her for Si to do the actual trimming.  Even after he had finished I was stuck there on the ground holding her as she seemed so reluctant to move.  If only the alpacas behaved as well.

We have had quite a relaxing day, only doing what has had to be done and then snoozing while Si watched the golf through his eyelids again.  It must be the only way to watch sport on tv.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Busy Bee

We have had a brilliant few days.  On Friday morning our clients came across to visit their new cria.  His fleece is looking amazing but with his genetics we didn't expect anything less. He was moved yesterday out of the birthing paddock so that he has a playmate.  As he isn't mine I'm blaming him for leading Bonnie astray; I have spent too much time today just watching the pair of them play.  They have been jumping on their paddock mates while they have been trying to sunbathe.  I must admit that the females have been the model of patience and not one of them spat at the babies.  He has even had his first go at pronking and I have never seen one so young do this before.

The latest beautiful cria standing next to mum Hemiccoyo Cricket of Cambridge, sister Ashdale Delilah and Ashdale Exhibition.

I was able to attend a show at the weekend as this little one was giving us no worries.  We managed to sell scarves, hats and gloves even though the weather was really hot.  I suppose it pays to be prepared for winter.  Once again we were getting so many compliments on our knitwear and even tonight Rosemary at Westhill Alpacas emailed to tell me that she had sold one of our shawls.

On Saturday evening we were just unpacking from the show when we noticed a couple at the gate looking at the alpacas so we invited them in.  The husband had been on a bike ride earlier in the week and noticed the animals so had brought his wife with him this time.  We showed them around and then because the knitwear was still in the car we showed them some of the items we had had for sale.  They have asked if they can come back and buy some items for Christmas.  We are always pleased to show people the alpacas and the end products.

After doing two days at a show Monday was spent playing 'catch up' on all the chores we hadn't done over the weekend.  We have had the hay delivered straight from the field so we should have enough to get us through the winter and we have also been chopping wood so that we are prepared for the colder nights.  We were really tired when we got in tonight so I was looking forward to putting my feet up and watching some TV.  Si had the remote control and we ended up watching a programme on BBC4 about statistics, I am so glad I have my knitting to do (or maybe it is some devious plan of his to keep me working).

Saturday 9 July 2011

Walk Away

Well you turn your back for a few days and Google decided to change the whole blog format.  It has taken a bit of getting used to but we seem to have got the hang of it now.

We had an exciting day yesterday.  We have been watching Cricket closely waiting for her to give birth and yesterday I mentioned that she seemed a bit fidgety and was making unproductive visits to the poo pile.  At about 11.15am Si was going down to the barn when he noticed a head and two legs hanging out so obviously the first thing we had to do was grab the camera and the phone to inform Cricket's new owners. Poor Cricket had all the females born last year examining her closely, probably hoping they never have to give birth. 

Cricket did what she normally does when giving birth and promptly sat down. She makes her cria walk out.

Carrie had got bored by the whole thing and turned away while Delilah greeted her new brother.  Penny made sure she had a front row seat.

It didn't take long for him to be up on his feet.  Everything works fine and today his new owners came over to check their latest addition.  I must admit he has excellent bloodlines from both his sire and dam and when we checked him over again today we were amazed at the crimp in his fleece.

We will give him another day to bond properly with his mum and then bring Bonnie back down with Ms Humphreys so he has another baby to play with.

Saturday 2 July 2011

You Say Goodbye and I Say Halo

We had a return visit from a couple who must remain anonymous for now.  They will be referred to throughout as TW (the wife) and TH (the husband).  They have spent many hours travelling the motorways looking at alpacas to source the best bloodlines the UK has to offer so that when they start breeding themselves they are producing top quality animals from the very first cria.  They had previously seen our animals in full fleece but this time they saw them after they had been sheared so that they could check out the conformation properly.  They purchased two of our pregnant girls from us, Halo, who was our first cria born here from EP Cambridge Larralluh and Hemiccoyo Cricket of Cambridge who has produced some beautiful progeny.

Halo in the foreground.

Cricket is about to give birth any day now so we all had a feel of her abdomen and could feel the limbs moving. It's always exciting waiting for your first baby but they're having to do it by proxy. We are keeping the camera close by so we can email them pictures as soon as the cria is born. We spent some time going through fleece samples and looking at rosettes our animals have won for their fleeces.

While we were examining the alpacas that they were interested in we had also brought Ms Humphreys into the chase. Si and TH had opened the gate to let them back in to the paddock while TW and I were chatting about fleeces, yarn and birthing. All the animals had gone back but Si was still stood with the gate open so I asked him what was up and he pointed at the alpaca I was still holding, I hadn't realised that the Humph had come between TW and myself and I automatically started stroking her and scratching her neck which she loves and she flatly refused to go back in the paddock. Si patted her on the rump to try to encourage her to walk in and she refused to move. Si tried to coax her, push her. In the end she just went to the ground and Si had to push her in like a wheelbarrow. So much for us trying to say how easy alpacas are to handle.

Sorry about the secret squirrel post but we will announce the purchasers once they have sourced the rset of their elite herd.