Nothing to report, all this waiting for crias to arrive has had a rather odd effect on me.  This morning a very strange urge to clear out the cupboard under the kitchen sink overwhelmed me. Stuffed right at the back were all sorts of wondrous cleaning products I haven't seen in years!  I threw out half the contents, cleaned the shelves and then put what was left back in again. Can't work out why it looks more full than before, and I never will use that miracle oven cleaner - who cleans ovens anyway?!!!

So photos I took this afternoon...  

Bossy Boots & Dynasty 

Rinky Dink



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Rinky Dink checking out Dynasty's hernia strap

Our five pairs

Rinky Dink

Toffee and Rinky Dink

Rinky Dink

Bonaventure with Arthur and Bossy Boots

Bossy Boots


Well the full moon worked it's magic on Alana and at breakfast time this morning it was clear she was in labour, bang on her 11 month due date. Why can't they all do that?!

Alana and Yara have very recently been sold and they were too near their due dates to be moved so have stayed here to have their crias and be mated again before leaving. No pressure then! Alana is an experienced female, I really didn't think there would be any problems, but you never know. By the time I had fed round she was beginning to push, and I could see a nose, I walked the 50 yards to the house to fetch the birthing kit and a clean towel, by the time I returned the cria was on the floor!

Dried off, sprayed and checked over, I put a coat on him as the wind was really chilly, it may be mid summer here, but even with the sun out it felt more like October.

He was up and found the milk bar quickly and after a couple of hours the sun did feel a little warmer so I took his coat off. He is a very handsome chap, well he would be, sired by Snowmass Royal Vision, with his unmistakable head and a super soft handle to what already feels a lovely dense fleece.

Our congratulations go to his new owners Andy, Sally and Ethan and I do hope that Yara will get on now and have her cria for them too, she was also due today.

Fletchwood Arthur

Alana and Arthur


Out three nights in a row - Thursday a Young Farmers meeting at the Liphook Equine Hospital, (and before all you rude people tell me that I'm far too old for Young Farmers, I was invited to join Rebecca on her first evening out with them!) much reminiscing for me as for years in my horsey past I took many a lame or sick horse there. It's all changed now, very high tech, state of the art, quite amazing facilities.

Friday evening we joined a farm walk, on tractors and trailors hardly any walking.., round Sparsholt College, which included a visit to their intensive pig unit and whilst we were in the farrowing unit we saw a little piggy being born - or should I say propelled at speed into an incredibly filthy, and overwhelmingly stinky environment - pigs must be tough! At the end of the evening we were served a port roast!

Last night we were at our neighbours 50th Birthday bash, a very big and very posh marquis, a brilliant  singer who sounded just like Michael Buble, another delicious pork roast, followed by lots of dancing, before hobbling home in my torturous heels the 100 yards up our stoney drive in the pitch black around 1am!

I did wonder if all that very loud music might get the due girls going - well something did and Bonaventure and Toffee Apple produced this morning - both at the same time, so it was a bit like Wimbledon with all the looking left and right! Toffee wasn't progressing with hers so Lucy held her, not that she was objecting, she seemed relieved to get the help, whilst I had a feel. Two front legs in the right place, but just a neck and the top of ears .. head pointing down, rather than out, so no way that was going to come out. There seemed to be quite a bit of space thankfully so I gently cupped the mouth in my hand and brought the head up into line with the feet and exit ... then we left her to it.

Toffee had a big strong dark fawn boy, by Ardingly, he has a bit of a bent ear at the moment but otherwise fine, apart from being the wrong colour - we were hoping for a grey. Bonaventure had a sweet little white girl, by Snowmass Invincibly Elite, her first and she is a doting mum, she's going to be a stunner.

Now I must go and get the dinner out of the oven - cow not pig, for a change!

Toffee Apple and Rinky Dink (that might get changed !)

Bonaventure and Bossy Boots - and me checking teats to see if they've been recently sucked!


She's a very petite 5.2 kgs!

Alana getting broody - she's next on the list

A slightly odd look with his squashed ear ...


Topping, topping, topping ... I think this is round 3, but whatever the fields certainly needed doing. Our ancient little red tractor has been OS for a couple of weeks with a head gasket thingy gone, but is back now and working very hard, with me and Peter taking turns at the wheel.

On the machinery front, I am very seriously considering buying a PTO driven paddock sweeper to go behind the tractor ... there is no way I can keep up with the amount of poo they're all producing with our little sweeper and once full I find it impossible to empty it..

This afternoon I put all the non-pregs in with the Junior females. Very entertaining as they all got close to each other- they have been in adjoining fields for ages, but they found all this very exciting.

Now a warning - today has been warm and humid, a very typical fly strike day. Little Marah had a few flies buzzing round her and no-one else did. On close inspection she had a sore place between her toes on one foot and it was attracting the flies, so out with the antiseptic spray and the fly-strike stuff just in case.

Enjoy the pics...

Dynasty and Jumper

Good Karma and Calico


Good Karma

Medusa - she loves having her photo taken!

Macy Grey and her mum Strawberry Shortcake back together

BonBon not wishing to put up with Bonnie

Medusa again!

Bit of a colour thing going on here and spot the upside down Rebecca!

Bettina telling her daughter BerryCherry off!

Cotton Fields trying to sidle up to her mum Cotton Fields.


We have just buried little Hocus Pocus. He crashed on Friday afternoon, having been fine at lunchtime. He had a raised temperature, engorged membranes, was vey lethargic and seemed to have abdominal pain. The Vet was called and he gave him fluids, antibiotics and metacam. We very foolishly hadn't restocked our supply of plasma, the last two years we hadn't needed any, and I really believed he had suckled well enough in the first 24 hours, so we didn't take the time to go and borrow some and have the vet back later to administer it.. probably a huge mistake. He continued to go downhill and I tubed some more fluids and a little milk into him, he had no suck reflex at all, gave him an enema as he was straining but not producing, and left him at about 10.30 pm looking very flat and thinking he wouldn't last much longer.

A dreadful nights sleep, more like unsleep,  I got up just before 5 am and made my way to the stable expecting him to be gone, but he was sat up looking at me! Still no suck reflex, I tubed some milk into him a couple of times and later managed to squeeze milk from a bottle... every 2 hours. He could just manage to stand up, walk slowly round the stable, pee, but not poo - another enema, which later produced some meconium.  He brightened up a bit and seemed less flat, I hoped he had turned the corner, but again by the late evening he was down again.

This morning, another early one,  again I was surprised to see him still alive, he was kushed this time, which was very encouraging and he sucked a little at the bottle... I was optimistic. He didn't want to walk though and his tummy was very distended and painful, he peed but no poo. Although he took a couple of bottles he wouldn't take anything after 10 am and any efforts to feed him seemed to distress him. He was going downhill again. I gave him some more Metacam for the pain and antibiotics and made up my mind to go and get some plasma and have the vet back to run it into him with more fluids. He then began breathing very rapidly, started fitting and was obviously in pain. I couldn't bare to see him suffer any longer and called the vet to put him to sleep.

There is a saying if you have livestock you will have deadstock. We have bred more than 130 cria over 15 years and lost only 3 or 4,  but it's always very sad. Lessons have been learned and I will be organising plasma tomorrow morning and if we get another sickie I will probably give it to them regardless of how well they suckled.

Selene his mum, has been amazing throughout, allowing all the intervention without once telling me off and humming gently all the time. I feel sorry for her now. I have put her out and she's eating the grass in the sunshine, but keeps looking for her cria.

Well now I have thoroughly depressed you dear reader, I am going to go and check on Karma and Dynasty, who arrived on Friday morning from Jumper after 367 days, both are doing very well - thank goodness. No sign of any other crias on the way, but quite a few getting near their due dates and Bonaventure, who is a maiden should be next.

Jumper with new-born Dynasty
Hocus Pocus RIP


The weather is awful - rain, windy miserable, forecast to get worse and not in the slightest bit like June. This morning I spent a stupid amount of time trying to send off emails requesting sponsorship for the Romsey Show, a task which always makes me feel uncomfortable anyway, and I say trying because our internet goes off more than it's on, which I find enormously frustrating and puts me in a foul mood - I may have to explore a dongle - whatever that is?! Of course at very regular intervals I was watching  the due females from the window ...  they kept going out of sight in search of shelter just down the dip, which meant I had to keep going outside in the rain  or go upstairs and look out of the bedroom window, but all quiet, no-one was doing anything.

About 12.30 I was feeling very tired and bored, Peter came back from the tip, having dumped our old freezer, I declared lunch -  we decided to have some soup (yes very wintery). Nipped upstairs to look out the window ... rain all over it, so couldn't see very well, got the binoculars out and had a quick scan ... some in a huddle... counted ...  10, 11, 12, 13 ...  hang on, suddenly a little bright white face appeared out of the gloom that I didn't recognise! "We've got a cria!" I yell, instantly wide awake, no longer bored! Legged it outside armed with iodine, a towel and a cria coat.

The cria belonged to Selene, daughter of Strawberry Shortcake a grey, due on 7 June to Ardingly ... I confess I was a little disappointed, the white face is fine, just like a grey, but the rest should have been grey, not brown, and it was a boy! Oh well, someone will love him!  Rain not too heavy, I dried him off as much as possible and put a coat on him and left them to bond. Lunch watching the newbie trying to stand, and then finding his way to the milk bar.  The weather deteriorated and forecast to go on for hours and hours, so around 4pm Rebecca and I brought them in to a cosy stable.  We've been compiling a list of names and his is going to be Hocus Pocus .. seems to suit him!

Callico is doing fine - last day of her antibiotics - little Karma is a cutie, very inquisitive and bold - the rain has washed her, she had a pink tinge from her birth, she has a couple of small fawn spots and she's mainly white, but with a slightly fawn tail ... she probably won't get in the show team then! Tomorrow I'll put Selene and Hocus Pocus out with them and Karma will have a buddy to play with.

Meanwhile Bozedown Jumper is still hanging on - tomorrow she will be 365 days.

Callico & Good Karma

Weanlings looking streamlined

Check out those ears on Touchwood at the front - just like his daddy Incan King!

Callico enjoying an extra breakfast as a reward for her jab!

Doting mum - this year she knows what to do!

Hocus Pocus with milky lips!


Thank goodness that's over for another year... and a huge thank you to our usual team of hard workers Stuart and Allison, Donna and Lucy - couldn't have done it without you!

Calico decided to have her cria a week early, not for the first time, and on shearing day, also not for the first time!  We started with the 2 big boys, Ardingly and Goldrush, then the intermediate boys, and then the weanlings and in all this time Calico was quietly getting on with what looked like completely normal first stage labour.  Rebecca, Lucy and Jim were keeping an eye on her, as I was busy skirting and bagging fleeces as they came off.  At some point and I can't remember when Rebecca asked me to come and check her out, as she was obviously having difficulties.

The beauty of knowing your females is that you know when something isn't right, Calico's last few crias have been textbook delivery, although a few years ago she had a bad birth, again, on shearing day and it was not a good outcome for the cria.

Armed with loads of lube I had a rummage about and decided it was either a uterine torsion or a breach,   if I had thought about it more clearly it had to be a torsion as I couldn't feel the cria, but it was shearing day! Anyway, it certainly wasn't normal and beyond my skills, especially on shearing day, so I called the Vet for help. He arrived within half an hour thankfully and confirmed a torsion. We have had one of those before and so I knew what to expect. Phil, the Vet hadn't done one on an alpaca before, but plenty of cows of course. He was brilliant and with the help of Peter and Stuart, who I stole away from shearing and me holding her head, we gently rolled her over to untwist the torsion whilst he pushed down on her  belly to keep the unborn cria in her uterus in one place - if that males sense.  After warning me that the cria may not be alive and that she may not dilate fully and he might have to do a cesarian ... ever the optimist I suggested we wait a little while. Thankfully her cervix slowly dilated over 5 minutes or so, the cria was still moving and he very gently delivered the cria. He swung her from her hind legs to clear her lungs and there was loads of blood from the umbilical,  I grabbed a clamp, so relieved I had restocked on those last week, and soon it stemmed the flow. All was fine - a live birth, no cesarian and a female too. Result!

Vet gone, having leant on the gate to watch the shearing for a while - and I got back to work. I had a look about hour later and Treasure was claiming the cria as hers and not allowing the cria to suckle from Calico! So we picked up the cria and moved them into the next door paddock for a bit of privacy and quiet bonding. Another half an hour or probably more, all the time shearing going on and all that that entails, it was clear that the cria, although lively, hadn't sucked and was trying to find a teat on the tree!!  So with a bit of help from my friends we made a pen in the paddock, popped them into it and I latched the cria on. She had a really good long feed, got the hang of where the milk bar was and then we let them out of the pen.

Shearing finished - I decided Calico had been through enough for one day and we'll do her next week ourselves.

Now I'm going out again to check on them all - I won't know who's who for a couple of days and they all look so elegant and clean and tidy - I on the other hand look a real mess and I'm filthy!

We have our first cria - YAY!!!  We left Calico to be sheared another day - I reckon she didn't need it today!

Weanling whites ready and waiting - little do they know what's in store!

Ha - Donna - you'll regret making that face when you see this!!

Mike the shearer and me!
Mike in action and the team getting the next one ready

"What have they done to you?"
Topsey Turvey and his friends looking quite different!

Lots of lovely fleeces

And here she is " Meon Valley Good Karma"