When I awoke this morning I remembered I was going to have my wisdom tooth out ... my stomach churned with massive butterflies, but I knew I had to go through with it... even though it didn't hurt at all anymore, thanks to the antibiotics....

I got on with the daily chores and was busy in the birthing field and noticed that Dove and Yasmina were both looking a bit iffy. By the time an hour had gone by Yasmina was looking her normal self and it was very clear that Dove was in labour. Another hour passed and things weren't progressing. It was early on to worry, but just something about the look of her and the fact that she wasn't looking quite right under her tail, not bulgy or pointy, led me to suspect something was not quite as it should be.

I got my lovely friend and fellow alpaca breeder Donna from Poppydown Farm (to give her a plug - great turkeys and sausages - check out her website!)  just up the road to come and help me catch and hold her whilst I had a poke about inside ...   I couldn't feel a cria at all, she was fully dilated and I could feel a twisty bit - so I suspected a torsion. Time to call a vet.

The Vet arrived after 30 minutes or so and got stuck straight in - up to the elbow whilst I cuddled Dove's head, she was so sweet and never murmured or tried to struggle throughout the next 8 or so minutes (we know 'cos Donna filmed the whole thing) it took to un-twist the partial torsion, reposition the upside-down cria (thats why I couldn't feel it!)  and bring him into the world. Thank you Vet Martin!  After a bit of hanging upside down and vigorous rubbing with a towel he looked fine and Dove seemed very relieved.

It had certainly taken my mind off going to the Dentist, but having said goodbye to everyone and made sure that Dove was OK and her cria, who we have called "Topsey Turvey" was feeding OK .. off I went.

My timing was too good, had I been just a few minutes later I wouldn't have managed to park in time for the Dentist as there was a steam engine blocking the road! OK so it's New Alresford, that's to be expected with the Watercress Line in the town I suppose.

Anyway - tooth out now - so I am less wise that I used to be?

Not every day you see one of these blocking the road


 The week has consisted mainly of coping with the weather and it's affects on the nursery field. With all this heavy rain, the mums and crias have been in the shelter a lot of the time and I believe this upsets things as females get grumpy with the wrong crias bumping into them and being cheeky and consequently they get grumpy with their own crias and stop feeding them. 

Beulah has had a sore udder and so wouldn't let Bamboozle feed, so he's been on the bottle and she's had antibiotics and metacam to keep her comfortable, things are improving there but still not quite right yet.
 Bettina had her cria on Monday and was fine with her for a couple of days and then decided to run away from her instead of feeding her, so she was stabled for a couple of days until she re-bonded and now she seems fine and her cria, who is a cute little black girl, is putting on weight and running about.

  Another to birth this week was Selene who has had the most gorgeous little brown boy by Nyetimber. She needed just a little bit of help with the birth as there was one elbow stuck, after that she managed on her own. Being a maiden I kept a close eye on her and with bad weather on the way decided to keep her in for a couple of days, she seems a bit confused by the whole mothering thing. Just as well as her milk supply wasn't great to start with, but she seems fine now and little Solstice has also gained weight and Selene dotes on him.  

 The last edition to the herd this week has been from Bretta, who waited 'til I'd gone out on mobile matings and when I came back she had a lovely little beige female who had obviously been up and fed already - a highly protective mum, I braved the screaming banchee to weigh the cria - she followed me with her nose in my face and I was just waiting for the green stuff to cover me, but thankfully she didn't spit - I was a bit deaf by the time I returned them to the nursery field.  We have called her cria Brie. 

Now for some photos, this time all taken by Rebecca as I was otherwise employed on the end of the sucky mucky tube!

Callista and Crystal
Cotton Fields
Cotton Fields

Very pretty flowers
A very bad hair day and thats winter clothes I'm wearing in mid June!
Selene and Solstice

Bettina and Cherry Berry or Berry Cherry - re-bonded

Berry Cherry
We had Paul Vallely from AAFT here on Tuesday who gave a really excellent Seminar and test our fibres for us. We were very pleased with our fibre results - we are definitely heading in the right direction with our breeding programme and the tests results bear out the judges comments on our show team too.    Everyone who came seemed to really enjoy the day and we will be repeating another one next year. Sorry I forgot to take photos at the time.


Last Saturday evening, after our shearing day, I looked out of the window to see a little black head moving in the long grass. Cotton Cake, who was supposed to have given us another grey, had delivered a solid black girl and we called her Cotton Fields, Fi for short. She was a bit premmy but strong willed and managed to get up and feed within the hour and I stayed up til midnight to make sure she got a few more feeds in before I went to bed. I was up really early the next morning and all was well.

We have had to cope with torrential downpours and extremely blustery weather, more like October than mid June.  Our newly sheared pacas were all provided with shelters, I quite like keeping them all in on such occasions, at least I can sleep well knowing that no-ones shivering and miserable. However, I don't much like all the mucking out that's needed afterwards - my what a mess they make in one night!

Beulah, who is one of my favourites, has had a very sturdy, handsome boy, who is also not quite the colour we were hoping for - but then that's alpacas and part of the fun - each birth is still a bit like Christmas for me and even though I might be a bit disappointed I soon grow to love them all. We have called him Bamboozle.

Today I was very keen to get a few farm jobs done whilst we had dry weather, poo-hoovering and cutting grass and keeping an eye on the birthing paddock at the same time, though no-one have any signs of doing anything.  Whilst having a coffee break and chatting on the phone in the garden I happened to notice that the girls in the birthing paddock were intently watching something near the bench ... thinking it was just the cat but but to make sure I strolled over to look. Toffee Apple had gone behind the bench and given birth to her cria, who had managed somehow to roll under the fence and was now the wrong side. Good job I stopped for that coffee then before mowing the drive!  We almost called him Topseyturvey, but seems a bit girlie, so he's "Touch Wood".

Toffee Apple and Touch Wood
And again - dry this time

Cotton Cake and Cotton Field (Fi)

Fi staying cosy under 2 coats - it was awful weather that day

Beulah and Bamboozle

Mila enjoying the sunshine today


Can't believe how lucky we were today given the recent weather to have not only a dry day but one with quite a bit of sunshine and just a gentle breeze.  Our regular team of helpers arrived at 8am and so along with the shearers Michael, Thomas and Luke and working two shearing stations we rapidly worked our way through 49 animals by 12.15 with a coffee break!

Our huge thanks to Allison and Stuart, Donna and Lucy (the A Team) and Jonathon who came on work experience, having met alpacas for the first time yesterday and has already volunteered for next year - marvellous!  The kids were a great help too - well done Rebecca, Lucy and James!

All the fleece is now skirted, weighed and bagged up and our now beautifully streamlined and elegant alpacas are back in the fields. I just love to see them sheared ... and they seem so relieved and happy to be free of all that fluff ... just hope they won't be too cold tomorrow when it rains. So thats that over with for another year.

Yearling girls and boys getting reacquainted over the gate

Callista yesterday
Callista today


Yesterday morning, seems such a long time ago now, I looked out of the window just after 5am to see that Moya had delivered her cria who was already running about in the rain. Now the only times I can get away with waking Rebecca, without a load of flack, that early is for a show or if Moya is birthing and so we both went outside to see to them.

Moya has been Rebecca's since she was a cria herself, Moya that is not Rebecca, the agreement is that any female cria she has she can keep but any boys have to be sold ... the last few have been boys, so she was thrilled to find that this one was a girl and she has called her Mila. Incidentally, Rebecca has negotiated a few swaps and collected females along the way,  I think she has come off rather well... We did the essentials and then popped a coat on her - just as well as the weather deteriorated to a howling gale with bucket fulls of rain deluging us all day. Both crias seemed fine, warm and dry under their coats and playing happily together, so we left them out.  I woke at 3.30 am this morning and had to go and see for myself that they were still OK - they were fine.

Today has been dry thankfully, though still very windy. We have shearing tomorrow and so I am keeping everything crossed that it stays dry and that the wind calms down a bit.

Why do some mums drink their cria's wee?


Mila and Moya


I managed to get nearly all the poo on the place hoovered up this morning before the rain set in, whilst Peter topped the front field. The rain hasn't stopped since about 12.30 and no-one else wanted to go anywhere, so I set about tidying up the spare room (must be a blue moon or something) and swapping the winter clothes over to summer, not sure why when it feels like March out there, but seemed like a good idea at the time - nesting maybe?

As is my habit at this time of year I was also keeping an eye on the due females, who this morning were all just getting on with the important job of eating. By about 3 pm Calico had wandered off on her own a bit for a lie down under the holly tree, being sensible and seeking shelter from the rain. She was still there an hour later and then the next time I looked out 10 minutes after that she was doing the 'labour shuffle' ... walking round in circles and straddling in a very uncomfortable way.  Here we go then, that has put pay the spare room clear out, though I had almost finished. I did wonder if she was going to have problems as it was so late in the day, but she seemed quite calm about the whole thing so I didn't interfere and Rebecca and I watched from the spare room window, now that we could get to it!

 By 4.15 we had a head and legs and maybe ten minutes later a cria, in the exact spot she had last years, white and female, so a very good start to our season. Still raining, "Crystal Clear", unlike the sky, has a little coat on and will spend the night in a stable once she has learnt where the milk bar is ... can't be doing with all that wall sucking!