How do I get myself talked into these things? My nephew is a reporter for Radio Solent, Tim Robinson, he's very good, and I'm not just saying that 'cos he's my nephew, he will go far I'm sure.  A couple of years ago he persuaded me to go on a program talking about the alpacas, and to my surprise I really enjoyed it. The producer called me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be 'up' for a 10 minute slot on the Nick Girdler Show, doing a sort of What's my Line thing where Nick has to guess what I do for a living? OK I said - forgetting just how nerve-wracking it is, and for some reason even more so this time. Anyway this morning I was on - he guessed after a few minutes and so I had quite a bit of time to talk about alpacas in general and to plug our Open Day which is looming up fast next Sunday afternoon.  If you're stuck for something to do, or are suffering with insomnia, you could listen, it's only for a few minutes, I don't have the direct link to my bit yet - but it's 2.09hrs into the program -  I think you can skip through to it after the news at the beginning.

Thankfully all our crias have now arrived - Goldie had a cute little light brown boy with white markings on his face and Treasure had a stunning little rose/fawn grey girl, both by Ardingly, he has given us some gorgeous crias this year. So have the Snowmass boys and when I get time I will post pictures of our 2013 collection.

Now I just have to get out of the habit of waking so early and going straight to the window to see if we have anyone in labour - no more do I need to be fixated on alpacas bottoms, watching for the slightest signs of impending births and I can put the birthing box away for a year.  Now I can relax and enjoy the cria, touching wood here, all are doing well,  my only concern is little Hunky Dory with his crooked leg, which seems to be getting worse and I may have to get him splinted.

So, this week the big preparation for our Open Day on Sunday, signs to be made, fields to be cleaned, gazebos to be put up, and a sales list to be prepared. That's the hardest bit - we are going to offer some of our alpacas at very special prices, I have made my selection and will get their details posted soon.  Hope to see you on Sunday - 2pm onwards!

Treasure and her first cria - Tuiti Fruiti

Here she is again - just a few hours old!


I wonder when they'll announce a hose pipe ban?!  Been some time since I have gone into heatwave mode .. getting up early to carry out breedings so that the studs don't get overheated, and when I say early I mean sunrise, which is around 5am. I didn't really mean to start quite that early, but couldn't sleep, so thought I might as well get on with it. The girls were very surprised to see me and it was actually lovely to be out that early - everything looks so beautiful in that light. I must admit I had to take a siesta in the afternoon before a visit from the Wickham Beavers in the evening.

The girls at 5am

1st Wickham Beavers - a great bunch of kids!

Been a busy week, again, another three cria have arrived. the first was a tiny little chap, just 4.8 kgs, who we have named Hunky Dory from Sabrina x Snowmass Royal Vision, a solid dark fawn, legs all over the place, but it's amazing how strong and determined he was and now there's no stopping him .. evening orgling today!

Hunky Dory getting a kiss from Sabrina

A few days old here and he's grown already and straightening up

Next came a rather stunning little grey girl, Hoity Toity, from Missy x Ardingly, yes he did it again with the grey. She drove me bonkers the first day, suckling Missy's leg all the time. I never actually saw her suckle properly, though in the photo she has milk round her mouth. She wouldn't take the bottle, so I played a little trick and put red food colouring on Missy's teats - sure enough an hour or so later she had red lipstick and red on her head, and ear too! I got up twice in the night to make sure she fed to make up for what she might have missed during the day. I know I'm a fuss pot, but I just had to! She has a floppy ear, still does, and she's not very strong, but doing OK.

Hoity Toity with mum Missy

Milky mouth!

Then to day, whilst I was busy doing stud work, Cassandra popped her cria out.  A beautiful little beige female from Snowmass Invincibly Elite. Very strong, up in no time and feeding really well and racing about almost  immediately - her name - Charisma. A bit calf kneed at the moment, but again she'll straighten up in a few days.

Charisma and Cassandra
Today's spit offs went quite well - 6 pregnant out of 9 from 1 mating - one of them being Aglaia who The Sorcerer, son of Ardingly and winner of many broad ribbons, and my pride and joy. Excellent, the boy is firing on all cylinders, now I have to find him a few more ladies... 
This Sunday we're off to the Rare Breed Show at Singleton, near Chichester. It's a fabulous venue nestled in the South Downs and has an Open Air Museum with fantastic buildings to explore.  Well worth a day out and do come and say Hello to us and the boys, we'll be bringing lots of fleece to sell too - some really special ones.


Firstly I must apologise for the lack of posts ..  It's not that I haven't had anything interesting to tell you, more that I just haven't had the chance to stop long enough, what with births, visitors, socialising, matings - that sounds bad!

It's been so Summery! Hot and sunny, day after day - what the hecks going on? Our grass has gone all yellow and crispy and stopped growing, thankfully there's loads of hay being made everywhere and I have ordered a load which I think I'm going to have to ask to be delivered soon if this weather carries on.

The pacas are loving it, all that sunbathing, hosing down and trough paddling.

So where do I start.. well Last Thursday Bonita had her cria, a white female by Snowmass Invincibly Elite - so a potentially very special one. I have called her Bling, she was sooo shiny when she was new. First off she was taking ages with her labour, and then I could see why when she only produced one of the front legs with the head ... out with the lube then and Peter held the front end whilst I did the midwifery. A big and very flat cria, obviously wasn't going to make any attempt to get up and walk, let alone feed for hours, so I defrosted the goats colostrum and fed her every hour. She finally got to her feet about mid afternoon, when it was clear that Bonita had no milk at all, never had that problem with her before, oh deep joy! I am still bottle feeding her now, after a few days of allowing me to interfere, but only in the confines of the stable yard, Bonita has turned into the witch from hell and screams, alarm calls and spits violently every time I go near the cria ...  this was prompted by me attempting to feed the cria when I was all clean and perfumed and ready to go out - she didn't recognise me!!!  I have developed a system of double doors, she exits the pen and the cria goes in the stable to be fed! Once fed I hide behind the door and they reunite!!  Today, for the first time in over a week the cria is only taking half a bottle each time - I do hope this means her milk is coming in at last.

Alton Show was a great success - loads of interest and hopefully sales for the future. Whilst we were there Yara, who we have recently sold, delivered a beautiful dark grey female by Ardingly and she is doing really well.

The early part of the week was finishing off the first round of matings with the new Snowmass boys and The Sorcerer and Eros having a go too.

The Sorcerer with Aglaia
Yesterday, three yearling boys, Cassidy, Topsey Turvey and Solstice, left to go to their new home, just down the road, it'll be lovely to have them so near to be able to see them from time to time.

This morning I had two lovely ladies come on our Beginners Course, as they came up the drive Ena, our appaloosa was unpacking her cria. Great timing and a text book birth for them to watch - we skipped the usual program and went straight onto breeding and cria care! Her cria, a boy, is a mini-me, a lovely lot of dark fawn spots and sort of pale beige, or maybe grey background I think. Up in no time and feeding on very high quality colostrum. Ena's last cria, also by Ardingly was Enigma, a solid black!

I'm now getting in a panic as its only 3 weeks until our Open Day on 4th August ... I have so much to do to be ready and no time!

Echo and Ena
Echo & Ena
Echo & Ena

Yara and Yoko



Bonita & Bling - this is as close as I dare go before food shopping!
Cassidy, Solstice & Topsey Turvey
All ready to go ..


These pics were supposed to be at the end ... oh well that's what happens when you try and post, cook the dinner and have a large Gin & Tonic all at the same time .. our crias x

I am still waiting for more crias, I swear my head turns better to the left than the right, because when I sit at my desk I am constantly looking out the window beside me for any tell-tale signs of impending births! Pics of some very pregnant ladies ... cria trying to climb out of Bonita - has been for weeks!

Pokey-out bit under her tail - 'let me out'!

View from my desk ...

Yara - a very low slung tum!

Today I have been doing a bit of halter training on the yearling boys and sorting out some fleeces ready to take with us to the Alton Show this Sunday. I see from the plan that they have put us in our usual spot  near the cattle and sheep lines - every now and then they move us and our regular visitors get most upset if they can't find us. Our first Agricultural Show of the Summer and the forecast is for hot sunny weather ... thankfully they always give us a really nice big open marquis so we'll be in the shade.  Come and say hello and meet the boys - bring a lolly with you please!

Yerba our llama with the boys

That's a lot of fleece, which I must get round to hand shearing off, and a lot of llama!
The boys being very subservient to Yerba - they know who's boss!


Today we had Peter Aitken a specialist camelid vet come and take blood from 6 of our alpacas which will be spun down for plasma. Crias are born without any antibodies and the first milk, or colostrum,  is essential for the transfer of these antibodies from their mothers. They must receive this within the first few hours of life.  Failure of passive transfer results in crias getting possibly fatal infections, or just failing to thrive and a plasma transfusion boosts their immune system and is often life saving. 

The plasma will be stored frozen and used if and when we need it for a cria who we believe didn't get enough colostrum for one reason or another, hopefully we won't need it, so it's a bit like insurance.

Our donors were all very well behaved, thanks to Peter's expertise and good preparation. They were very gently chuckered with a soft thick rope so that they stayed still and it was then just a matter of holding their heads still.  Each one only took a few minutes and the whole procedure was stress free, all done and back out in the field by 10am.

If you look closely you'll see the hind feet tucked up in the rope.
Now that it's July we will start our matings for the year over the next 4-6 weeks, we do this so that our crias come after the shows and hopefully before August, leaving us free to go out on jollies next year.

Our new Snowmass boys will be arriving here any day, very exciting. In the meantime we have our own lovely homebred boys The Sorcerer, and Eros, today they had their first hot dates.  Both boys are two years old this summer and I was very keen to get them working, I have a few females for them, plus they have some outside services lined up. I wanted to give them plenty of time and some gentle and experienced females - the last thing a virgin boy needs is to be spat at or kicked!

The Sorcerer, our grey Ardingly son, was very keen - my goodness he was like a pro! Straight on, ogling really loudly and no messing about! Eros, son of Snowmass Incan King, wasn't far behind him either, and he too had a very impressive orgle on him, but unfortunately the ground was sloping a bit away from him and so he had to work hard to stay on board, certainly didn't seem to put him off! The boys worked really well and the girls loved them - they went back to their field, reluctant to leave their ladies and definitely strutted their stuff in front of the others!

This will be interesting - Eros is out of our appaloosa female Ena and by Incan King a light brown,
 could well result in an appaloosa - Dove here has had multi's in the past.