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Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Breeding and Selling Quaility Huacaya & Suri Alpacas.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Midgey is Home

Yesterday morning I got the phone call I had been waiting for from the vet to say Midgey could come home.  I went to collect her at mid-day, she was pleased to see me and greeted me with her cuddly toy we had taken in to keep her company over the weekend.  All seems to be well, she is still a little weak, but the vet thinks she will make a full recovery, which is brilliant.

But I did go into shock when they gave me the bill!!  When we first went to the vets on Thursday after diagnosing what was wrong I told it would cost £480 for the operation and associated costs, but if there were any problems and she required further care and medication it would be closer to £650/£700.  But the final bill was £888.61, my heart missed a beat and the reception could see the shock on my face!  Oh dear!!

Midgey was very happy to be coming home and happily sat on the passenger seat next to me on the drive home, the other dogs were so happy to see her, all sniffing her all over and wagging their tails.

Still feeling very tired from the whole experience she settled into her bed in the mobile, the other girls not too impressed as they look through the patio dogs at her, but I tell them she needs her rest.

She slept most of the day, just waking for some tea and a call of nature out in the garden, again being fussed over by the other three dogs.  She had a good night and happily trotted out for her call of nature this morning, she ate her breakfast, but wasn't too impressed with me stuffing her tablets down her throat, which she managed to sneak back out from the side of her mouth!!  So I had to be clever and mix it in with some cat food, got ya!

Here she is in her bed, smiling at me, oh midgey we have missed that smile lol

Its very cold here today, and the fields are still white from the frost, so I think its a day in front of the telly knitting and staying warm for me and Midgey today.

I do love being able to sit and look out over the fields, we have had lots of bird visitors in the fields over the last week or so, including some Starlings, Fieldfares and Red-wings.  With a couple of birds of prey, which I don't know what they are and just can't get close enough to get photos!

But I did manage to get a couple of the Red-wings.

They all seem to like the alpaca poo areas, there must be lots of juicy worms and bugs hiding under the alpaca poo.

So we are now on a positive note and are looking forward to the coming spring and cria births.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Looking Forward

Many people may think it strange to be baring your soul to anyone who can surf the internet and read my blog, but I feel it helps me emotionally to write things down and I also think if it can help anyone else facing a similar situation, then it is not all in vain.  It helps to share as it can be very lonely struggling through a situation whatever it maybe, and to have people comment and offer support can be very comforting.

Now its been an horrendous week and I shan't be sorry to see the end of it and the end of January!!

Its always sad to loose any animal, and I find it hard to accept the loss of our little Zeus, not only for the time I had spent nursing him over the last 3 1/2 weeks and getting to know him, but also for the fact it is a big loss to our herd!

Zeus had been sired by a stud from outside our herd,  and we had high hopes of him becoming our next Suri Stud Male and bringing new blood into our herd.  So this has been both a emotional and financial loss!  We will now to need to rethink future breeding plans.

Along with the loss of Zeus we feared the loss of our beloved little Jack Russel dog, Midgey.

Midgey with Angel our German Shepherd with Milli sat behind.

Midgey unknown to us was suffering from closed  "Pyometra" she had a serious infection in her womb, but we didn't know how seriously ill she was.  Monday she was fine, but Tuesday she had gone off her food and seem depressed, but we put it down to the weather, she hates the winter and spends most of her time curled up alseep under her duvet.  But knew things were more serious when she didn't want her evening gravy bone treats, she never turned her nose at these. Our dogs live in our tack room in the barn and have the run of the yard and gardens.  Tony normally puts them to bed when he puts the BG's into their stable, I had mentioned Midgey didn't want her breakfast in the morning, but had been out a bit during the day, but he bought her into the mobile saying she had refused her gravy bones which was not like her at all!  We decided to keep her in the mobile overnight to keep an eye on her, she quite happily settled into her box and went to sleep. The next day, (Wednesday the day we lost Zeus) she seemed more herself went out for a toilet, she had her breakfast and seemed ok. 

We decided to bring her into the mobile again that evening to keep an eye on her, she seemed quite happy and even managed to pinch some of the cat food.  But during the night she took a turn for the worst, she was sick but I put this down to the cat food being too rich for her, she also had a couple accidents on the floor, not like midgey at all.

In the morning she was very subdued and again vomited but this time it was clear sticky fluid.  By the time we got her to the vet she was floppy and not responding much at all.  The vet checked her and said she suspected the closed pyometra and scanned her to confirm this.

The vet said she was seriously ill and there was only really one course of action, she required a full hysterectomy, if she did not have this she would almost certainly die from poisoning.  We sign the forms and said our goodbyes.  It was back home for a long couple of hours while they operated.  As with all operations there is a risk, even more so with an older animal who was seriously ill.  My youngest daughter, Natalie was amazing, without her I don't know how I would of got through it.

A couple of hours later we had not heard anything, so I phoned the vets.  She had come through the operation and was just coming around, so the first hurdle had been overcome, but they were concerned that she had flickering eyes which could indicate that the infection had started to spread into the rest of her body affecting her other organs.  Her head was also falling to one side indicating there maybe some brain damage!  Only time would tell and we would have to wait and see.

The next morning I phoned to see how she was, there had been very little change, she still had flickering eyes but she was still under sedation, that evening we went to see her and omg I wish I had not gone, our poor little     dog just lay there not even recognized  us, had I done the right thing? should I have just put her out of her misery.  The vets assured us she was not in pain and was still under sedation, and we must give her time to recover.  We went home and updated the family of the situation, we had made the decision if we did not see any signs of recovery by Monday we would make the heart breaking decision to have her put down.

It was a very difficult night and I had very little sleep, I got up as usually as there where all the other animals needing feeding, I was due to phone the vets at 9.30am to get an update, but at 8am my phone rang, I could see it was the vet phoning and my heart nearly stopped, thinking they were ringing with bad news.  But I heard the words "we have some good news" midgey had made a good recovery during the night and had started eating her chicken and was moving around, all be it very wobbly but this was a big step and they were very pleased with her progress.  

At 11am I went to visit her, what a difference, she was standing up, all be it very wobbly and she nuzzled me for a cuddle.  Her head was still slightly to one side, but this was a huge improvement. 

Again this morning(Sunday) the vet phoned with even better news, she was now eating proper dog food and has been out for a little walk.  She has been taken of the drip and was now just on oral medication.  They want to keep her in for the rest of the day but are sure she will be able to come home tomorrow.

So I am now trying to look forward to the new week and trying to put this awful week behind me.

I have always had bitches and never experienced anything like this, I now see why getting a bitch spayed at an early age is not just to stop unwanted pregnancies but also to prevent this awful thing "Pyometra".  There are two types of pyometra - open and closed.  Unfortunately midge had a closed one which means the cervix stays closed and the infection can not escape from the womb, if she had suffered the open one maybe we would have notice the problem sooner as she would have suffer from discharge and the infection wouldn't have built up so much and this can be treated with anti-biotics.

All un-spayed can be susceptible to this problem no matter what age, although it can be more common in older girls.  So a very important lesson to us and anyone else who may read this blog - "Get Your Bitches Spayed" as early as you can.  I wouldn't want to go through this again and I am sure you wouldn't want to either.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

RIP Little Zeus

Its been a very hard 24 hours, sadly last night Zeus lost his fight for life.  Its been a very up and down three and half weeks, there were days when I though he was going to make it and days when I thought he wouldn't.

I think his mum knew his time was coming to an end, she never left his side all day.  After watching him during the morning, I called them down for lunch early so I could check him out and give him a feed.  I called and as usually the whole here came running and bronking down the field, except little Zeus who just stood at the top of the field.  I fed everyone in the hope he would make his way down, but he didn't.

So I walked up the field to get him, he never moved until I go there, as I walked around the back of him to encourage to walk down the field and came face to face with his mum Emma, she had run all the way back up the field when she realised he had not come down.  I walked behind them to encourage them to head for the barn which he didn't to seem to have any problems with.

I gave him his milk and checked him over, his ears felt very cold so I check his body that was also unusually cold, he had lost a fair bit of weight so would obviously find it difficult to keep warm,,  I took his temperature it was 36.5 so not a good sign, the concern being hypothermia.  So him and mum were put in a nice warm stable with  a deep straw bed, I put another rug on him.  He seemed quite happy and started to nibble at the nice pile of fresh hay.

Due to my concerns of hypothermia and dehydration, I got some boiled water and cooled it to body temperature and added some re-hydration powder and glucose, this would re-hydrate him and give him additional energy available to keep himself warm.  He seemed quite happy and his temperature raised to 37 a bit more acceptable.  I checked on him every hour through the afternoon/early evening, alternating between giving him his milk and fluids.

Around 7pm I went out and everyone looked like they had settled for the night in the barn and in the stable Zeus, Emma his mum and Chloe his sister were sat down, slowly chewing the cud.  Nobody got up, having now got used to me popping in and out, I gave him some fluids and checked his temperature which had dropped a little so I popped a third rug on him.

8pm I went out and they were all still sat in the same spot, it had got colder so I pushed the straw up around Zeus to give him extra warmth and covered him with a horse rug, he was breathing a little bit heaver.

9pm I went back out and he had taken a very bad turn for the worst, he was on his side and was breathing very deep and shallow, I sat down beside him, stroking him and talking to him quietly and within ten minutes he slipped away.

Its been a hard few weeks, but I would not hesitate in doing it all again, we gave him every chance we could, but I think one of the factors against us was the weather!  Its been up and down, maybe if this had happened in the summer we would have had more of a fighting chance.  So sadly we say goodbye to Zeus it was nice to have know you the time you have been with us.

This morning, after a very sleepless night (which I will go into in a minute) I went out into the barn with a lump in my front and just had to check the stable where Zeus was, I don't know I just felt for a minute he may be sat there looking at me waiting for his milk, but obviously he wasn't.  So with tears in my eyes I set about looking after the waiting dogs, alpacas, goats, horses and our barn cat.

After their breakfast, all the alpacas wandered out of the barn as usual, I fed the horses at the top field and came back down to tidy the barn and fill the hay racks, as I turn from the haystack with some hay I came face to face with Emma, she looked at me with her big eyes and hummed, I believe she was asking me where her baby was, I told her how sorry I was and that Zeus was no longer here, she wandered around the barn humming for a while then back out into the field.  Tonight she came to me again and hummed, she stood looking at me for a second or two and then joined the rest eating the hay.

RIP Cotswold Vale Zeus

Now after a very upsetting evening, this carried on into the night, my little Jack Russell dog Midgey took a turn for the worst, which took me quite by surprise.  She had been fine during the day, was eating and even had a little walk around the garden,

Late evening she was sick, I thought this was due to her pinching the cat food and being a bit too rich for her. But to cut a long story short, she became very ill and this morning we took her to the vets, and it turns out she had Pyometra, she under went an hysterectomy this afternoon and is recovery, we are unsure how much this has effected her and the next 12/24 hours will tell.

So I am now wishing the next two days away and hopefully will have my little faithful midgey back home where she belongs.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Does she know something we don't?

Still can't work out whats going on with our little Zeus!!  Yesterday seemed to be a good day, he grazed most of the day with the others and nibbled on the hay at tea-time, his poo is still a little hit and miss, not quite what it should be but has improved a lot since last week.  So I felt happier with him last night.

This morning were on a downer again, there was nothing runny this morning on the poo spot in the barn, and when I watched him go outside it was only a small amount, not runny but not formed pellets!  But he did seemed a bit quieter this morning, I gave him his milk/yogurt and checked his temperature which was 39 so seems to be normal for him.

He wandered off as normal with the herd to their usual starting point of the day and promptly sat down! with the binoculars I could see he was nibbling around him as seemed to be a routine with him now.  So didn't worry too much, once I had finished clearing the barn I went back out to check on him.  The rest of the herd had moved on up into the field by the road, again this is their usual routine.

But he was still sat in the same spot, which was unusual, he always kept up with the herd!  But what was even more unusual was that his mum was still with him, and this is very unusual, she normally doesn't take much notice of him grazing with the herd and not usually taking much notice of where he is.

So I started to walk up to check on him, halfway up the field he spotted me and jumped up, mum moved on into the next field and he followed.  He grazed for a few minutes and then sat down again.

Its not really much different from other days, so there is not much change in him, but I can't help worrying.  Does him mum also have a feeling, does she sense something, does she know something I don't?  Oh god I just wish I had a magic ball and could see exactly what is going on!!.

Along with Zeus I am now worrying about one of our jack russells, midgey is our oldest dog and she is about 12 years old.  The last year or so she has slowed down a lot, not wanting to come up the fields with the others, and happy just to sleep most of the time.  She hates the winter and almost goes into hibernation mode.

But she always rushes out with the others to get her breakfast, yesterday she was different, she didn't come out, I called her but she didn't come out, so I went to get her otherwise the others would eat all the meat and she would get none. I picked her up and put her down by her bowl, but she just walked away and got back under her duvet, very strange.

All the dogs live in our tack room in the barn, and it wasn't unusual for her to stayed snuggled under her big duvet during the winter, but when Tony goes out at night to put the to bed they all get some gravy bones as a treat before bedtime, they all love these especially midgey.  But last night she didn't come out from under the duvet and didn't want her biscuit, Tony bought her into the mobile as he was worried about her, we decided to keep her in over night so got her a cosy box to sleep in.

Now normally if the dogs come into the mobile they head straight for the cats dishes to see what they can pinch, but she didn't even do that, she just sat in her bed and went back to sleep.  This morning she has gone out for a toilet and did manage a little meat, but still seems to be a bit down.  Her temperature is fine and she is drinking.

She has just been in season, so I am not sure if it is a bit of doggy pmt! so will see how she goes this morning and if not brighter will have to visit the vets.

Oh dear these animals we love them but oh boy do they worry us.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Little Zeus Update

Well its been a week since my last poorly cria update.  Just don't know where the times fly's to!!

He is still not quite right! After speaking to the Vet last week I did feel a bit more confident he was on the up and was very pleased with poo sample results.  So felt it was just going to be time to build him back up.

But after feeling positive on Monday evening, Tuesday morning we were back on the roller-coaster again!  I went out to feed on Tuesday morning, as I entered the barn I caught Zeus doing his business, but I was very dismayed to see   it was extremely runny, not what it should be at all! I caught hold of him and checked under his tail, there was not much evidence of diarrhea, but as I had witnessed it I could not be any more certain that he had a problem.

I check his temperature and it was 39.5, so too high, he did have quite a thick rug on, and it was very mild, so I thought best thing would be was to take the rug off, continue with the morning chores until the vets opened (no point in phoning before they opened as would only get out-of-hours support and this seemed silly as it was less than an hour until they opened).

Before ringing the vet I checked his temperature and it had in fact gone back down to 39, so he had obviously got a little hot under his rug.  After a chat with the vet who had seen him the previous week it was decided we would give him some more Lactosym and continue supplementing him with the yogurt/goats milk.  In the hope we could settle his digestion system down and hopefully build up his strength.

Well he still seems to go up and down, some days he's up and feeding/grazing as much as everyone else, then there are other days, he seems to sit around a lot more.  When he comes down into the barn with everyone, he is eating the pellets and nibbling at the hay.  I have noticed when he does sit down, he chooses a spot with plenty of grass and seems to be nibbling around him while sat!  I am not sure what to make of it!

It has been suggested that if I am not happy we could take him up to the Veterinary Training hospital for more  in-depth investigations, but I am not sure if this is right or fair on the little man?  I worry if he does go he wont come back!!

Why can't things be more clear cut, am I just being paranoid?  oh why can't he just talk to me and tell me how he feels!  so very frustrating!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cria Latest Update

Our little poorly Zeus is still not too well!  After the treatment from our vet and several days of intensive care from me we did see an improvement towards the end of last week, he had started feeding quite regular from mum, was grazing and even eating hard food along with the rest of the herd.  So it was very promising signs.

He still had his little coat on as he had been loosing some of his fleece!  But over the weekend he has gone back down hill again!

I had stopped supplementing him with the extra goats milk and pro-biotic goats yogurt he was grazing the same amount as the rest of the herd and I saw him regularly feeding from mum, he had also started to fight and run away from me, so I felt it was a sure sign he was on the mend.  Yesterday I noticed he was sitting down a bit more and sadly today he was again sitting the majority of the time, so at lunch time I decided to start supplementing again and gave him some more goats milk/yogurt, this seemed to give him a lift and he did graze a little, at tea time he had some milk and yogurt.

This evening I had a chat with our vet and he said all the herds poo samples showed very little worm problems and little Zeus showed no worms or cocci in his sample at all, so that was a good sign.  So it was possible he may have had some worms and our worming session may have killed them off, the vet explain that sometime, especially with younger alpacas that if they did have worms and were wormed the dying worms can sometimes cause irritation within the gut causing colic pains, thus making the alpaca feel like not eating.  He also said this could go on for up to three weeks.

On reflection this could be what has happen to little Zeus, so the plan will be to continue with milk and yogurt feeds along with some daily finadyne for pain relief, hoping he is relieved of pain and this will encourage him to eat, and the ultimate goal is to keep his digestion system working until he is feeling much better.

We were pleased with our poo samples results and although we had a very low worm count, and no signs of cocci or whipworms, the vet did say there were a lot of people finding whipworms causing a problem this year, probably due the mild winter.  We really need a good few hard frosts to kill of the eggs to reduce the reinfection of the alpacas.

So I will continue to nurse him and with everything crossed, hope he will start picking up and continue to grow and thrive once more.  We can do more and pray we can get him through this.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Cria Update

Well its been a long couple of days, but fingers crossed things maybe looking up.

Further to my last blog I thought I would write an update on our poorly suri cria "Cotswold Vale Zeus".  After his visit to the vets on Saturday, he didn't seem much better on Sunday.  His temperature was ok (ish)  but he was still sitting around all the time, moving only when the herd moved.

I had the feeling he was getting weaker so thought it might be due to lack of feeding, I had not seen him grazing at all or even attempt to feed from mum during the day (not sure what happened at night)  so I offered him a bottle of goats milk, but he didn't want to take it!  So I got some pro-biotic goats yogurt and syringed it into him.   This seemed to spur him into seeking out mum's milk bar, he fed for a little while but mum got inpatient and walked away, he gave up and sat down again!!  So I carried on giving him the yogurt through the syringe, hoping this would give him some strength and settle him tummy.

I didn't sleep much sunday night and was up very early on monday morning, I was dreading going out into the barn to see how he was, I was sure he wouldn't still be with us.  But there he was sat next to his mum, but when I approached he didn't even get up!  I gave him some more yogurt and check his temperature, it was 39.3, getting higher!  I had also not seen him go to toilet, so gave him a little warm soapy water up his bottom (I really needed to get a poo sample)  this seemed to work and he did pass a small poo which I promptly collect to take to the vet.  He then followed his mum and the rest of the herd out into the field but then promptly sat down, I felt like he was giving up and felt so helpless!!

I phoned the vet at 8.30am (no point in ringing the out of hours vets) they told me to bring him up at 9.15am.  The herd had followed their usual routine and had gone up to the top paddocks.  I hadn't given them breakfast as I knew this would be the easiest way to get them all back down to the barn.  I went out and called, they came charging down the field and into the barn, Zeus mum was there, but no Zeus and no sign of him!  My heart sank, had we lost him?  I ran up the field and as I neared the top paddock I could see a little bump in the grass!  I called and to my great relief his head popped up and he promptly jumped up, realising everyone had left him he started back down the field to the barn.

My heart thumping from the stress and the run down the field (not getting any younger or fitter!!) I caught hold of him and popped him into the back of the 4 x 4 and off we went on the 25 minute drive to the vets (I decided to take him rather than wait for the vet as they couldn't get to me before early afternoon, and I wasn't sure he would last that long)

It was a different vet to the one I saw on Saturday, she had check his notes and we re-capped what was now happening.  She checked his stomach which was still working too fast, his heart was now working a lot harder and under strain, and he was now dehydrated!!

We discussed the options, he could be admitted to the nearest teaching veterinary hospital, where they could re-hyrate him via drip etc or I could nurse him at home.  I chose to nurse him at home, I felt it would be more stressful for him to be somewhere strange without his mum and the rest of the herd, and felt I probably wouldn't see him again.

The vet said she was certain it was a stomach problem, one of my concerns was coccidia! but she assured me it was highly unlikely as he would have severe diarrhea, and there was no signs of this at all.  But it was good I had managed to get a poo sample.  She did say it be possible it was the wormer we had given him the previous weekend and sometimes if they do have a worm burden it can upset the digestion system, but it was difficult to confirm this.

He was given more anti-biotic and armed with some Lectade to re-hydrate him, Lactosym to help balance his gut back out, Finadyne painkiller to help kill the stomach pains and a written list of how to nurse him, we drove back home.

I decided to put him, his mum and a couple of friends in the garden next to the mobile home, from here I could watch him more closely and it was easier to catch hold of him for his hourly treatment.

Here is is in the middle of his mum and Ispys.

I continued giving him fluid and milk/yogurt hourly alternating each time, little and often was the policy, he had his last feed at 9pm and I turned out the lights praying he would manage to get through the night.

Well this morning I went out into the barn, and there he was sat next to mum, but this time he saw me coming, jumped up and tried to get back out into the field, he was obviously feeling a bit better and had got fed up of me forcing him to drink!  I gave him his milk/yogurt and water, and checked his temperature - its was 38.5, that was great.  He then promptly went out to the poo pile with mum and did his business, a good sign things are still moving how they should, on checking it was a funny pale green colour, but that is only to be expected.

He followed the herd to the top paddocks where I was feeding hay to the horses and to my relief he started grazing along side mum, this was brilliant.

Here is Zeus grazing with his between his mum and his sister.

So fingers crossed he is on the right road back to health, I have watched him this morning from the window, he has his little yellow coat on so I can see him from a distance,  and he is grazing and feeding from mum quite regular, although still sitting more than the others, but that is only to be expected. 

It is still early days, but I will continue topping him up with milk and fluid to help him regain his strength.  And will hope and pray he will make a full recovery.  Sadly he is loosing some of his fleece, which is a sure indicator of illness, but who cares as long as he carries on improving.

Fingers crossed everyone.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Worried and Feel Helpless!

I feel really helpless at the moment! have done what I can!

We have a poorly cria, not quite sure whats going on.  Noticed him first thing yesterday morning sat in the middle of the field on his own while all the others had moved on up to the top paddock.  I know occasionally we may have  one not notice the herd move on as they are obviously sleeping happily.

So I watched from the window for 20 minutes and he still didn't move, he was sat up and his head moved every so often so I knew he wasn't dead!!  I decided to walk up the field and check him, when I got a couple of feet away he did see me and jumped up, then walked off to join the rest of the herd.

I stood by the fence to just watch, he went over to the water trough and had quite a long drink then wandered off and sat back down!!  It was early morning and a few of the cria were sat around so I though I would keep just my eye on him, but I did have that deep worry feeling in my tummy.

I watched from the window, and he sat a lot longer that the other cria, and when he did eventually get up he went back to the water trough, seemed to drink again for quite a while and then sat back down again!  This was his routine for the rest of the morning.

I felt very uncomfortable about this and called them all down to the barn to feed, he did come down but was at the back of the herd.  I checked him over, his condition seem fine, took him temperature and it was 39.1 (a little high but not horrendous) I then checked mum and she had loads of milk (probably a bit too much giving me the impression he had not fed for some time) this not necessarily being a major problem as he will be 6 months next week and not a small cria.

The girls enjoyed their extra meal and then went back out into the field, after going to the water trough yet again!! he followed the herd to the top and then promptly sat down again.  After half an hour I couldn't bear it no more so phoned the vets.

Typrical I phoned half hour after they had closed for the day!! so got put through to the out of hours vets.  The vet phoned me back and after a quick chat arranged to meet me at the surgery.  So I popped in the back of the car and off we went.

The vet check him, his temperature was fine and all he could find was that his stomachs were working a bit faster than normal, so he said we would treat with pro-kolin and he would also give him antibiotics just in case their was an underlying infection he was fighting.

So why is his stomachs working faster?  he said he could have eaten something that didn't agree with him.  But I can't think of anything he would have eaten different, and they haven't changed fields for about a month! The only thing that we have done different is worming and AD&E injections last weekend, was it the worming? everyone seems perfectly ok!

He is doing the same this morning, he seems quite bright and strong, but how long can he go on like this?  this is a new one on me!  have I done what I can? I still feel helpless

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The truth behind Alpaca guarding abilities

I am sure as owners/breeders we all know the value of alpaca's as field guards, and I myself have witnessed my alpaca's gathering together and screech when someone unwelcome has entered their field.  When the BG's arrived they screech on and off for a week!

I always know if there is someone unwelcome around as the girls heads will go up and usually someone will make the classical high pitch screech, I have even seen them gather together in a bunch and start marching towards whatever they find threatening.  I know if someone is walking a dog along the lane, as again their heads will go up and they will stand staring until they have gone.

At the moment we seem to have quite a few foxes around, even in the daytime!! Just the other day I was at the top of the field feeding the boys and saw the girls charging up the field chasing what at first I thought was our cat (which I thought was very strange! as they are used to the cat and don't generally find the cat a threat) but as they got closer it turned out to be a fox and he was running for his life!! with the girls in hot pursuit, they only stopped when the fox jumped the fence into the next field.  And even then some of the girl were still screeching and hanging around the fence where the fox had disappeared!

So I was interested in reading the following article.  http://www.smallholder-agriculture.co.uk/articles/the-truth-behind-alpaca-guarding-abilities-73/

I also think its very interesting that they seem to know who is a threat and who is not, they get accustomed to family dogs and don't find them a threat.

Here is Ewen and Cosmo with our dogs, Ewen loves our dogs, and always comes over to see them.

I also remember reading a newspaper article about Prince Charles having four gelded alpacas guarding his lambs.  I believe alpacas make excellent field guards and am happy to promote alpacas as field guards and It would be very interesting to hear about other peoples views and experience on this subject.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Three Lucky People

Well its back to normal today (well hopefully! - awful weather to start with!!) Christmas and New Year celebrations behind us and everyone going back to normal working hours, we now look forward to what 2012 will bring.

As my previous post showed we had a very busy 2011, both down on the farm and in own family life.

We start the year with two lucky people/families joining our "Adopt an Alpaca" scheme and a lucky lady receiving a gift voucher for "Spinning Lessons".  These lucky people have received our gift vouchers purchased from their loved ones for a Christmas Gift and a Birthday Gift (what a lovely gift to receive).


Its lovely to be able to give people the chance to get involved with our alpacas, especially when they are not in a position to buy their own.  And to teach someone the joy of producing something from their gorgeous fleece.

So what is in store for us this year? what are our aims for the year?

  • Carry on building our dream farm and business
  • have lots off healthy alpacas and cria running around our fields
  • arrange some experience/training days
  • another open day?
  • develop our alpaca products for sale
  • shearing
  • maybe show a couple of our alpacas??
  • find a nice stud for our two BG's and have some little baby pygmy goats running around the farm!
  • AND hopefully follow another one of my dreams - to breed quality German shepherds.  Last year we bought Tia who has an outstanding family tree (so we need to get Tia hip scored first, and hopefully if they results are good start looking for a nice stud male for her)
  • Millie will probably have another litter of pups this year, as last year she was a fantastic mum and produced some fantastic little Jack Russell pups, who were much sought after
  • Kittens??
Just some of the things we are looking forward to and I am sure there will lots of other things in between!!

So looking forward, we look forward to the days getting longer, the spring to arrive and the sun to shine, along with all the new births excitably wait for!!

Here comes 2012!!!!!!

Well that's enough of sitting on the laptop (not literally) its now got light, its horrible out there! but can't put it off any longer, I must go a feed those hungry mouths they are waiting for their breakfast (lets hope I don't get blown away!!)

Bye for now

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Goodbye 2011 & Hello 2012

As we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 we reflect on what the last year has given us and what the new will hold.

We left 2010 and started 2011 in freezing temperatures with deep snow!

We had a very busy 2011 and I have done some photo collages to record it.  

We had a new baby in the family, our gorgeous granddaughter, Ava Louise who was born at the end of 2010.

In March we celebrated our Grandson, Callum's 2nd Birthday

We had a wedding in April, my Son married his beautiful fiance, Hannah.

And we also had an engagement, our youngest daughter Natalie and her lovely boyfriend Don got engaged the weekend of the royal wedding and have set their wedding date for 2013 (a long way away, but I am sure if this year is anything to go by, the time will fly)

In May our gorgeous Granddaughter Ava Louise was christened.

During the Summer we had 12 gorgeous cria born, not all without drama, but happily all turned out well.

We also had puppies

And Kittens

AND not forgetting the arrival of the BG's, Ronnie and Roxy arrived with us in July and haven't stopped making us laugh, they are so cheeky and naughty!!

And we had a very successful first open day, raising £434 for our chosen charities - Cancer Research & Help for Heroes,  we had a fantastic turnout and some very generous donations, as well as making some lovely new friends 

Our gorgeous granddaughter Ava Louise celebrated her 1st Birthday

On the 21st December we celebrated our youngest daughters 21st Birthday, just don't know where those 21 years have gone.

And have ended our very busy year with a lovely family Christmas.

We have all suffered from the flu over Christmas/New Year, but seeing the kids faces on Christmas Day still made us smile 

So much has happened, I hope I haven't missed anything!

This has been the major events in our lives, (I don;t think I have missed anything major!! hope not anyway, but a lot of things over a long time!!  But in between this we having been running the smallholding, continuing to improve and build-up the farm, along with caring for all the animals, attending craft fayres, spinning, knitting etc, etc, etc

Wow even I didn't realize how busy we have been!!

So thank you and farewell to 2011 and hello 2012, I wonder what can we expect?
Its exciting looking forward to what the new year will bring.

I would like to wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR, 
Wishing everyone Health, Wealth and lots & lots of happiness xx