Wednesday 30 June 2010

Poor Barry!

Sadly, it was as I thought - poor Barry Norton has a hernia! My vet wasn't on duty today so the one who came is going to consult with him tomorrow on the best way forward and we are going to try to avoid surgery. When we weighed him yesterday I was worried as he had barely put on anything in three days - still lively but something obviously was not right. I looked at Belinda's udder and she had a sore on it and appeared not to be keen to let Barry fed so I was going to consult the vet on that anyway but I checked Barry over and noticed a squashy lump around his navel. It didn't look like an infection and as soon as I read the words - umbilical hernia - on Debbie at Barnacre's blog, I thought that is it. Sadly, the vet didn't think there was much we could do about Belinda's udder as putting anything on it would cause more of a feeding problem. I have fly sprayed her tail and legs and will just have to monitor Barry's weight closely. I presented the vet with a bag of fecal samples and she gave me several doses of oxytocin to try on Bert when she produces - we don't think it will work as it will only help the milk down if there is some there in the first place and I am not sure if there is. I then dug the frozen goo I found in the field out of the freezer which the vet had a good play with once it had defrosted - it's like fun putty! She said it looked very healthy so not to worry.

Sam has been in a bit of a daft mood tonight. His helping seems to involve a lot of roaring around on his quad forgetting everything I have asked him to do - it will all end in tears!

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Information overload

This blog will not be of much interest to my none alpaca friends but I cannot contain myself! I was feeling a bit down this morning, one of those, "I just can't do this anymore," moments with alpacas having lost cria over the winter, processing fibre being so difficult, difficult breeding decisions, overweight alpacas, fencing getting on top of us, Bert's baby due next week and no proper barn facilities, unable to watch properly with bottle feeders due . . . I could go on moaning! But then the postman arrived with the Alpacas Australia winter issue - Cracking! I had to abandon knitting and waste management to sit in the Mule and skim through - still a lot to read but great depth in all the articles. Why long stemmed roughage is important and how to tell if there is enough, vitamin dosages, fleece and what is good for processing and, my particular pet - new developments on alpaca trails. One day I will make one of these happen in the new way! The articles on maintaining high value fleece traits and breeding guard hair out of a fleece will be read several times.

Sadly, the whole day did not continue on an upward plane - Barry Norton has a problem and it is a vet problem - more on that tomorrow.

Monday 28 June 2010

The appearance of a Portaloo

Carl was off shearing again today - only two this time but another very interesting shearing experience! He was doing the alpacas in the Animal Park at Kingston Maurward College, so he had an audience of students and visitors. He enjoyed it and had Sam to help out. It was particularly good to see the students so interested and asking such good questions. The lady in charge of the alpacas was knowledgeable and obviously knew the boys very well. Much to the students delight, right at the end, as one of the boys was being led away he turned round and covered the tutor in a large mouthful of spit- Sam wasn't so pleased as he is really keen on his tutors!

All is now prepared for haymaking. It is now that anxious time for checking weather reports and barometer every few minutes trying to get the timing right. We also have to get some new tines for the woofler as the flints reeked havoc on some of them last year - and we have never found one of the ones that came off.

Water has been a chore today as Billy the Bowser ran out again and the new water butts are not in operation yet. Luckily, Carl was here so he manhandled barrels over to the fields and has left me enough for tomorrow. I had to take the opportunity to go shopping as he was around - not something I enjoy, and they have put a new glass entrance up at Tesco's which threw me - as did the price at the till! A strange sight distracted me on the drive there. On the road past the woods down to Winterbourne Stickland a portaloo has appeared - it looks most incongruous (I did have visions of a version of Dr Who walking out)! The road is a narrow country lane devoid of habitation or tourist attractions. Is it there for a purpose? Is it operational? Has it now gone?

I kept thinking Prue was about to produce as she kept rolling - but no! Tomorrow is Islay's last hope - she is 360 days and I have to confess she does not really look pregnant - just overweight, it looks like we lost that one over the winter.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Wife in Giant Water Barrel Incident

What a hot morning - luckily a bit of a breeze blew across the fields in the afternoon. Dude has settled into his new pen and seems to like it. He can watch all his girls and if he peers round the corner he can catch a glimpse of the boys. He has lots more shade and somewhere to roll. I took Sam to meet his friends and think I passed the Parfit Gentyl Knyght on the way home. Carl went off early to deliver two massive RSJs which were surplus to requirements - they were pretty tricky to load even with the aid of the front loader - they swing! He then returned with several gigantic 'water barrels' which are now stacked up at the back of the garden. I had to lean on them while he undid the stretchy straps on the trailer and I had visions of him having to write the blog tonight with a title such as "Wife hospitalised after being run over by many water barrels!"

Sam came back happy and raving over a roast dinner - our salad tea was a bit of a disappointment to him. We then had to rush around getting the mower ready for haymaking. Cruella, the cat, is not happy as she was sleeping under it! To be truthful, it was mainly Sam and Carl rushing around as I was finishing off my suri fleece sorting. It is the first time I have sorted the suri as we have never had enough before. It is quite remarkable stuff as it is so slippery and feels like it is wet to the touch - but it isn't and it has a lovely shine to it. I am really looking forward to seeing how that turns out.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Muscle Inspection at Ashdale Alpacas

Great, relaxing day today - we went out! Sam and The Chippendales looked after the alpacas while we motored down to sunny Devon to visit Irene and Si at Ashdale Alpacas. I needed to see Irene as a matter of urgency as I had a knitting catastrophe - - - A Dropped Stitch! Turned out the reason I couldn't find it and sort it out was that I hadn't dropped one in the first place. After a chat and coffee surrounded by fantastic displays of bedding plants and having persuaded Si and Carl to stop showing us their muscles we took a tour of the alpacas - and they look really good. One of their studs was having a grand old orgle at the fence and I couldn't believe how well Timothy has grown. Their barn is almost complete and looks wonderful - made me quite jealous. There were also some very nice females I had my eye on - shame we didn't have the stock trailer with us! Sadly, we couldn't stay too long but I did notice Si and Carl's eyes beginning to glaze over as Irene and I got deep into the joy of 'Feather and Fan'! I forgot to take the camera so no pictures.

Back home Sam and The Chippendales had done a great job - even finding time to water Bert with the watering can. Sam had also managed to unblock the tap on the Bowser which clogged up when Carl filled it last night. Sadly, no babies but, when Carl gets back from fixing a link of The Shepherd's tractor, we are about to go and introduce Dude to his brand new summer pen.

Friday 25 June 2010

Old Peculiar

It has been very hot and I came over all peculiar this evening. I think it was a combination of the heat, a lot of bending over managing waste, lack of sleep and knittingitis. I have now retired to the house and left Carl to red mite the chicken houses. Sam has been up on the picnic site flying model planes with a very nice gentleman he helped look for a lost wing a week or so ago. He is relaxing this evening after the 'exhaustion' of exams! He was out last night with Carl helping The Shepherd and Tractor Lad move some cows - tomorrow Sam is in charge as we are having a bit of a day out.

The Shepherd had just retrieved one of his sheep with it's lamb which had escaped ages ago and he said something very interesting. Apparently, sheep will clear ragwort and, a long as they are not on it for more than 6 weeks, it does them no harm as they can flush the toxins out of their system. We don't have much ragwort and pull out every rosette that appears but there is quite a crop down in the footpath bowl next door and seeds do blow over - might have to see about the sheep tackling that! They can't go in the girls paddocks as we have separated them from the girls so there is no contact by animal or by area they tred - part of our biosecurity measures!

I had to rush out this morning to get some more Camelibra as our meeting last Sunday at Wellground had to be cancelled and Rob normally has sacks available - we couldn't wait though as the girls love the stuff and line up ready when feed is due. I also spent some time going back through the records just checking I had due dates right as Sherbert looks like she might produce but not for another few weeks. My due dates are right which means she really is at 355 days and looking nothing like as far gone as she did last year - just have to wait and see I suppose.

Wat zal zal zijn zijn!
(I've taken quite a fancy to Dutch!)

Wednesday 23 June 2010

I'm a Dutchman!

It is 2.15am and only now have I reached blogging time!

It has been very hot again and it was all getting too much for the girls in the end paddock. Sherbert and Bert had yet another fight for shed supremacy which led to a lot of spit which in turn led to a lot of flies. They all then trooped up the hill where Bert and Sherbert had another fight for Dust Bath dominance. They had lots of water at the bottom of the hill by their field shelter but I decided to put a tub at the top as well. Bert promptly tipped it up and lay in it so I filled it up again and as I was doing so I accidentally threw a bucket of water over her - she loved it. She shuffled around, groaning ecstatically as only Bert can - so I threw another bucket over her. After that she came over looking expectantly at me everytime I drove past in the Mule.

Last night I said to Carl, someone will have a cria today or I'm a Dutchman - hence the title!

Tuesday 22 June 2010

The Washing Machine Repair Man

I have to admit my shop is not going too well. The target was to have it up and running by the end of May - it is now nearly the end of June and it is still not ready. The problem is having enough time to sit at the computer and sort it out. That is impossible while I am in and out of the field with the animals which I am when it is light - and it is light a long time! Never mind, we'll get there! I have been replenishing water a lot today - it has been very hot. I also went to water the grass seed we put down in Dude's paddock yesterday, only to find a whole gang of strutting pheasants eating it!

There is a lot of activity up on the hill with diggers, vans and multitudes of men (no women, which is probably why, whatever it is they are doing, is taking so long!). No cria activity in the fields I am afraid.

Carl is in a bad mood a the washing machine has broken and whilst mending it he discovered an open tin of cat food which had rolled under the kitchen cupboard. It was virtually empty and can't have been there that long but apparently this is all the fault of Cruella and Smudge who are, "Dirty cats!" It didn't help when I told him that if we had those kick board things at the bottom of the cupboards like normal people have, it wouldn't have rolled under there. I am sadly afraid that in a minute he is going to discover what has made the washing machine break and I fear that it is all due to a lolly stick which got stuck through one of the holes in the drum last week and sadly worked it's way into the innards. I just hope it has disintegrated sufficiently for him not to realise or that will be the fault of Cruella and Smudge no doubt.

Monday 21 June 2010

Circus Dog

As babies do not seem to be forthcoming at the moment, I got a bit of grass seed down in some of the bald bits of Dude's new paddock and knitted - not at the same time! I can't believe how long these babies are taking this year. We now have two at 352, one at 351 tomorrow and one who reaches 335 days tomorrow - surely there must be something soon, they can't all not be pregnant!

Carl finished the wire on the gate today while I hunted down thistles. This was supposed to be a picture of Carl hard at work but for some reason he appears to be standing there balancing the dog on the fence post!

Saturday 19 June 2010

No Free Time Yet, Carl!

Early start today in order to get all animals sorted before taking Sam to meet his friends. He had a very good day and thoroughly enjoyed himself (he will not let me say any more than that!).

Carl and I checked out some top end alpaca boutique knit wear whilst out and we were very heartened about the quality of our things so I am now knitting with renewed vigour. What we must have looked like in this posh shop with our working clothes on - I didn't even think about it until we got home and I realised Two Tone, the lamb, had left something nasty up the back of my jumper - we don't get out much and dressing up appears beyond us!

Carl's bike is now in his shed, a yellow Suzuki Beamish, but he is not allowed to play with it until he has Free Time - and there is no Free Time until the run is finished. I was, therefore, most annoyed with him when I went out to his shed just now and found him taking the wheel of the bike. He was supposed to be welding something he borrowed from Si at Ashdale Alpacas - it is a strange looking thing consisting of quite a lot of chains which will, apparently, make our life a lot easier tomorrow.

Finally, a view, taken by The Grey Haired Neighbour, across third field where Valtra Man can just be seen silage wrapping. Lovely!!

Friday 18 June 2010

Pesky flies

The flies have been dreadful today. Sherbert was really being pestered by them and they were those nasty biting ones - I think it may be time for the summer fly cream tomorrow. It is raining at the moment but only a drizzly rain. Carl is out this evening as somehow he has managed to acquire another bike and he has gone to collect it. This is despite him saying he has no money.Strangely, it looks exactly the same as the old bike he had which he kindly sold to pay for an alpaca related emergency. Odd!

Silage in third has all been wrapped and it looks good. I shall try and get a photo tomorrow. It is a busy day tomorrow as Dude is on mating duties and we are checking over all the alpacas. We also have the unenviable task of weighing the lambs. Two Tone is becoming a bit of a nuisance as she will jump up like a dog and what was cute in a tiny lamb is not so cute in a hefty great trainee sheep!

I am a little nervous tonight as Sam has a new experience tomorrow, which he will not let me blog about, but I feel my little boy has now grown up!

Thursday 17 June 2010

Holes, Silage and Waiting

I do feel better today - if not exactly rejuvenated! The burn doesn't hurt much now - just itches, and who needs teeth?!

The three girls who are due are now 349 days for Sherbert and Crispie and 350 for Islay. I really do think Crispie has something there but at the same time she is very keen on Dude which can't be normal - alpacas are extraordinary animals. Barry-Norton has spent most of the day trying to mate with Islay's head! She is always very patient with the cria but even she began to get fed up when every time she lay down he ran up and jumped on! We were supposed to weigh the cria this evening but I forgot to get batteries for the scales and I am a little concerned about Velocette. She is lively but whenever I go near her she runs over sniffing around for milk and Flamenco does not have a huge udder. She is also sniffing round Lily and Emily so we need to keep a close eye on her.

Several recce's have been made up the road this evening as Carl and the Neighbour are desperate to know what is going on. A huge hole with a tank in it and a deep trench has appeared - must be something to do with water they think - I told Carl to see The Shepherd, he'll know! Valtra Man cut third field for silage today - I love it when that is baled as it is a beautiful field, I shall run around in it, pretending I'm playing with the dog as an excuse!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

I am not 19!

Sadly, I feel my body is falling apart. Inside I feel 19 but my outside bits do not realise this. Teeth problems again. I went for a filling, dreading it as usual, but now I would rather have had the filling than what I did get, the news that there was no point in filling it as it was going to fall out anyway! So, what with my teeth about to strew themselves to the winds, my burn looking disgusting and - to cap it all - Carl's big iron fencing bar falling on my big toe - I am a wreck! I also nearly had a heart attack when I looked over at Crispie's paddock this afternoon and saw her on her back with all four legs up in the air - like a dead cartoon cow! I raced over to find her snoring so rushed over to get the camera by which time she had slid back over.She still looks a bit pregnant to me - despite her lying down by Dude and letting Emily jump on top of her - I don't know!

I tried to get photos of the cria in between limping, itching my burn and checking my teeth were still there but all I got was an out of focus picture of Sunbeam (the grass looks good though!).

P.S. Carl completed the fencing on his own!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Fencing Blues

Another jolly evening of post banging. It always starts okay but generally degenerates after about five minutes. HE says I am not levelling the posts properly, I say HE is not banging them in straight. The ground is full of flints so I DO level them correctly and then a flint sends them of course. Then I have to try to level them up again with a mighty great post banger swinging over my head and HIM saying "GET THE LEVEL ON STRAIGHT . . YOU'VE GOT IT UPSIDE DOWN . . . THE OTHER WAY!!!" The lambs, meanwhile, are bleating like crazy because their are being weaned from their bottles. We've given up on post banging for the rest of the evening and retreated to a calming can of lager!

No more cria yet and I am getting increasingly worried that the 3 currently due are about to produce nothing - Prue, not due until next week, definitely has something kicking around inside - but these three! The love affair Crispie is conducting over the fence with Dude seems to rule her out which leaves Islay and Sherbert as my, "Let's hope so's"!

Sunday 13 June 2010

The Photo Shoot

Today has been brilliant, and very, very funny! The Supermodel arrived with her dresser, organiser and photographer - thank goodness she knew what she was doing because we didn't. We came up with a whole new raft of ways to wear a snood and I know have a line of knitwear suitable for any self respecting lady of the night! Quick changes in the field shelter took Carl by surprise as he trundled down in the tractor - he was all flustered after catching a glimpse of black lace!
The online shop is not ready yet but this is one little glimpse of my supermodel at work
Barry-Norton found the whole thing intriguing and posed in the background!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Dude calls for Sherpa Tenzing

I can't seem to catch up with everything at the moment so last night I had the brilliant idea of creating an extra day by not going to bed - mistake. I had a glove to finish knitting so I had a matching pair and I couldn't get it right. I unpicked, reknitted, unpicked, got hooked on the shopping channel and nearly bought a string of Taiwanese pearls and a miracle moisturiser. Today I have felt very lethargic and still can't get the glove to look like the other one!

The Doctor lied when he said the gauze would not stick to the burn. In fact it did worse than that, embedding itself inside the scab. I will say no more except that I have now reverted to alternating fresh air and cling film and it hurts.

Carl and Sam were shearing today, I won't say where as they didn't ask permission but what a wonderful place and a fantastic use for alpacas. They were grazing beside a woodland burial area - fantastic, a comforting sight for mourners.

We tried another mating with Cool Dude, this time it was a liaison with Carolyn who is quite a hefty girl. She had a dance with Dude first and then sat straight down. Dude was straight on - but then rolled off. We made the mistake of doing the mating in a pen in the corner of their field - which slopes! We put him back on - he fell off! Carl sat behind him to support him and - he slid out and off! This went on for a while despite us lifting Carolyn, she wasn't moving, and plopping her down on a marginally flatter area. In the end we hauled Dude out and decided to try again tomorrow somewhere flatter. Little Star was desperate to get at him; cuddling up to Sam and clucking at the gate but she really is not big enough. Happily, Islay and Sherbert were not interested although the jury is still out on Islay. This evening we are cutting lawns and tidying up because tomorrow Heidi Klumm comes for the photo shoot!

Thursday 10 June 2010

A visit from the Knitting Guru and the VAT man!

The day started in a leisurely fashion with a little waste management, a lot of alpaca bottom watching and a fair bit of trough cleaning - then Ashdale Alpacas descended, bearing gifts - thank you! We compared knitting - Irene brought some really beautiful items, and then she proceeded to unpick the creation which had taken me 5 days so far - apparently tension matters and you can't just knit a sleeve and then hope the whole thing will come together in the end! The three cria were introduced and Lily came over to reacquaint herself with Irene. Si is a man who knows his maths - he can calculate VAT without blinking so he was set to costing and sidetracked into calculating stitches per inch. They brought along a very nice fleece sample from their stud and a couple of other little crackers. We also saw their new and very professional publicity material. Now I have a list of knitting to complete before we go over to get together again - hopefully, they will have a cria for us to see by then - and, hopefully, my next knitting will pass the Irene Test!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Quiet Day

Not a great deal to report today. Crispie has been lying by the fence gazing adoringly at Dude and demonstrating how completely unpregnant she is, Emily has been trotting up and down by the fence fluttering her eyelashes at Dude and demonstrating how completely she loves him, Prue has been off on her own humming and demonstrating how much she would like to give up on her bulge, Dude has been standing by his fence with everything on show demonstrating how much he enjoyed himself last night! We have all been entertained by a pair of jet fighters who spent all day flying up and down the vale and going upside down over the fields - quite like Top Gun over there!

This evening we weighed the babies and they are all doing well but the lambs are not happy as they are down to two bottles a day!

Tuesday 8 June 2010


Firstly, my burn - thank you for asking Debbie. The Doctor began by saying he needed to cut the dead skin off - not a good idea I told him. He, however, insisted and then put a dressing on it and it now hurts far worse than it did before but I don't care anymore because this evening has been REALLY exciting!

Dude started his working career! And he loved it!! We meant to try him with Carolyn first but she was obviously not ready so we decided to give it a go with Emily but before we could get Emily in, Flamenco was hanging over the gate desperate to get to him. She is the one who could possibly have a bit of retained placenta but she was straight in and down and he was on! Orgling like a good 'un. He slid off at the start but Carl got him back in and he had a whale of a time! Flamenco was very happy with him and had a good cuddle afterwards. Here's the photo - excuse the awful boots we left on him - my idea and not Carl's, they are coming off soon!

The down point is that Crispie, the suri, lay down by the pen, probably not pregnant after all. Emily, however, was desperate as soon as he started his orgling. She tried mating with Crispie!! Her turn tomorrow or Thursday!

Dude is now strutting his stuff and looking very pleased with himself - strangely, Carl is also strutting around looking very pleased with himself!

Monday 7 June 2010

A man who knows rosettes

Rain, lots of rain. They are having a lot of it in Cornwall today according to Peter from Rosettes of Quality who I am in constant contact with. We are working on the Great Western Region Alpaca Fleece Show rosettes and sashes and he is a man dedicated to rosettes. What he doesn't know about a rosette is not worth knowing - he's also very knowledgeable about silage which we have discussed in depth.

Poor Sherbert, the Suri, is shivering and looking at me out of pleading eyes but there is not much I can do about the rain. The cria are all charging round keeping warm.

My burn responded well to clingfilm but I gave it a bit of an airing today. I had a talk about whether it should be covered with Elephant Man's wife and she said to check with the doctor, which I did. Unfortunately, I have ended up having to go to the surgery tomorrow - not my favourite place!

Sunday 6 June 2010

Things to do with a roll of cling film

Things were going really well last night. I had invented a pattern for a sort of cardigan thing, after all there can only be so many people in the world who want a grey hat, and I started knitting the sleeve, I had to start with the sleeve as that is the only bit of the pattern I have invented so far - I'll worry about the rest of it when that bit is done. At 2am I had had enough and went to make a cup of tea before a bit of sleep. Stupidly, I reached over the kettle to get a tea bag and burnt my arm really horribly. I ran cold water on it , wrapped a wet, cold tea towel round it which was dripping every where so I decided to sellotape the wrapper from Farmer and Grower magazine round it but it hurt so much I couldn't manage the sellotaping. This meant I had to go and wake Carl up; he was half asleep but managed to sellotape the bag on so I went to bed but it throbbed so bad I couldn't sleep. I tried to pull the bag back off which was getting hot and restricting circulation but Carl had managed to tape it very tightly to the hairs on my arms - so I had to get up again and find the scissors to cut it off. This morning it hurt and looked foul - I don't know how people cope with serious burns. Luckily, it is my left arm and I have wrapped my whole arm in cling film which has made it feel better and stopped it getting dirt in it. Not that I have achieved much today and Carl and Sam have been shearing so Westhill Alpacas has been very quiet. A couple of photos to finish with - First is Barry-Norton in the front with Sunbeam behind him and the second is Barry-Norton on his own - - - they are all doing very well!

Saturday 5 June 2010

Irritation in the ranks

Today has been very sultry and the girls and Dude have all been irritable. Bert thinks the field shelter belongs to her and there was a tremendous rumpus this afternoon when Sherbert barged in. Dude spotted a pheasant in his paddock and went crazy leaping around trying to pulverise it. Prue is now so enormous she is just waddling around glaring at anyone who comes close and I have spent a lot of time sitting in a deckchair knitting. My new creation I am quite proud of, despite Carl saying it is another trawler net. The online shop will open soon if it kills me - I do have some nice items to go in it, but they were not knitted by me! Carl and Sam have been away shearing, and I wanted to go with them but couldn't, which did at least mean there is knitting progress.

Bit of a disaster with the fleece this afternoon. Smudge, the cat, got into Dude's and I had visions of a fleece judge examining it, drawing out a cat hair and bemoaning the lack of crimp! I was trying to sort it all ready for showing, processing, felting and my attempt at spinning - there is just so much to do!

Friday 4 June 2010

Comfy bottoms

Somehow, I managed to do something to my back last night so I have been hobbling around a bit today. I had to give up on waste management in the top paddock today - which I will regret tomorrow!

All cria are now doing well. Barry-Norton has a tremendous, thick curly topknot and is a glowing gingery fawn. Velocette is charging around with Lily and Emily while Sunbeam is just happy she has a new play mate.

Little Star, Bert's cria from last year has suddenly become incredibly friendly - running over to have her head and neck rubbed, she is also teasing Cool Dude. I don't think she will be big enough for mating this year but I have a feeling that is what she is after!

All this activity has really stirred up Dude who spent much of the morning practising his orgling at the fence. Another week or so and we will see what he makes of girls close up!

We have now entered the birthing window for Islay, Sherbert and Crispie. I am going to try to forget about Islay as I think I may be disappointed again with that one! Sherbert and Crispie are the two suris - last year Crispie was early and Sherbert was late so the bets are on Crispie being first but I have a sneaky suspicion it will not be so!

The Shepherd came round the other evening and has taken one of Carl's cutters away as apparently they can be reground - he was sporting a great pair of Horner shearing trousers which I fear Carl is secretly coveting. Apparently, rather like when riding, jeans ride up and twist and make you extremely uncomfortable in the nether regions!

Thursday 3 June 2010

Barry Norton

I'm blogging early tonight because we are all very tired and in need of baths! Sam was a star last night and finally managed to latch the baby on - it took a long time and we were about to get the colostrum out but he did it. And eventually, at 3am this morning, they seemed to bond and Belinda let the baby drink without us interfering. It is a strong baby and kicked her severely on the way out so that probably didn't help the bonding! It was born in the water bag which needed breaking - you could see the poor thing struggling. In the end Belinda seemed to give up but I managed to help it out. She then wandered away and left it in the middle of the field which was why she had to go in the barn. That was not easy though as by then it was almost dark and, the first time we got them in, the baby crawled out through the hurdles and when this was sorted he succeeded in half climbing into the hay manger - quite a night! Anyway, here he is! His name is Norton, Barry for short!

Both Velocette and Sunbeam are doing well. Vellocette has discovered that by pawing the ground she can create her own little rolling pit - just like the Mummies!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Baby boy

Really quick blog tonight as it's a night in the barn for me in a minute. Thank you Irene and Andy for the advise. Belinda finally had her baby at 7.30pm this evening - 361 days. A big one and took ages she gave up in the end and I helped it out. Had to break the sack as it appeared to be drowning. It is a boy and a lovely dark fawn colour but she is not bonding with it and will not let it feed. We are about to put her and the baby in the barn in a pen with the rest next to them. More news tomorrow.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Beware if we invite you to a BBQ!

First a huge thank you to The Great and Mighty One's! Last nights blog picture of the cervical plug was not what I thought it was - thank goodness I posted the picture. I must admit the one I thought I found last year was a different colour - white and not this raspberry shade. I had an email this morning and it seems this could be a bit of retained placenta. If this is the case it must be Flamenco's and we need to keep a close eye on her. If she has trouble getting pregnant again this could be the cause and she may need a course of antibiotics. She seems fine today and I have not found any more so in the meantime the gunge has made it's way into the freezer so I can present it to the vet if need be (assuming we haven't eaten it first, thinking it is Mossop's liver!).

It has been a worrying day today - Belinda is now 360 days and this morning she fell over. I have never seen an alpaca fall over before and it is very scarey. She is still a bit wobbly on her legs and not herself. She appears to be walking a bit bow legged at the back and is unsteady but she is grazing for short times. The baby is kicking inside her like a crazy thing. She has always been a hand feeder but you can't normally go over and stroke her - she just sat there while I rubbed her neck today. There are not really any signs of imminent birth but something is going on. I almost called the vet but brought the group down to the barn instead and gave her some Camelibra and fresh hay instead. She perked up a bit so I'll see how she is in a minute. It may just be she is very tired but it all seems very odd.