Thursday 28 September 2017

Twiggy 22/06/2006-27/09/2017

We are saddened to learn that Twiggy, who was Hobsey's mother, Indi's aunt, and Saffi's great aunt, passed away yesterday morning.

Twiggy when she lived here in 2014

While Twiggy was in good health when I was last in touch with her family on her birthday in June, unfortunately it seems she developed several lumps on her body, and after this started coughing and showing other symptoms that suggested whatever it was had spread internally. Very recently she suddenly lost weight, and anyone who knew Twiggy will very well understand that for this to happen her quality of life would have seriously deteriorated, and her loving family made the only kind decision they could. We will all miss Twiggy and remember with fondness the time we had together.

Twiggy's family at Brock-o-Dale: Hobsey, Saffi, and Indi

Twiggy with beloved Pasha, both gone but living on through the wonderful memories and beautiful daughters they gave us

Saturday 23 September 2017

Alpacas in Autumn

All three adult female alpacas have now been spat off 2 weeks post mating. Bess is pregnant! Hopefully she will stay that way until August next year.

Olivia is still on a diet and her condition continues to improve. I'm hoping she will be able to rejoin the other females in winter when they've eaten the salad bowl down more. Meanwhile, the two cria from this year, Fleur especially, have started to sample the alpaca food. I have started feeding the mothers from wide, shallow buckets which seems to be good for encouraging their daughters to try it while they eat. The grazing is still very good and none of them are terribly enthusiastic about food at the moment.

Friday 22 September 2017

The Year of the Nuts

There are various trees about the site, from which various edible things come at certain times of year. Some years, hardly anything is produced and what is there gets devoured by wildlife. From time to time we get one year in which there occurs an explosion of one particular thing. This year it is hazelnuts, and very nice they are too.

Monday 18 September 2017

Saffi and Adhara went to a show

Saffi and Adhara went to a local show.

Saffi was 2nd out of 2 and Adhara was 1st out of 1. But more importantly, it was a good socialisation opportunity for the puppy. She managed not to be sick in the van, although she did get rather tired of the waiting and decided a tiny Affenpinscher puppy doing a wee in a corner at the other end of a football pitch was coming to get us, and made a horrible noise and wouldn't stop it after that, so an ASBO would probably have been more appropriate instead of a rosette.


Olivia is pregnant
Poppy continues to be pregnant
Bess has ovulated (hoping it takes this time, but we won't know until next week)

Nobody likes poor Costa. Especially not Trident, because Costa pushed him over in the mud and sat on his head, apparently in frustration after all the hembras spat on him.

Monday 11 September 2017

The Puppy I Said Goodbye to Twice

Leisha, whose new name is Kezzie, has gone to live with a wonderful owner -- and nobody else. We wish her a great new life, and although we will miss her, she will be much happier in her new home as an only dog.

Sunday 10 September 2017


The alpacas have been spat off again.

Olivia has ovulated (sounds like a tongue twister).
Poppy, who mated with the same boy we used last year, has ovulated and has pebbledashed Costa. He was rose grey with a white face, and now he's rose grey with a green face.
Bess mated again. Unfortunately as she wasn't receptive a week ago, this means she did ovulate but a pregnancy did not occur, but this is information we need in order to be able to find out where Bess is going wrong and if we can do something about it. If this repeats, Bess will have to sit out the winter and start trying again in spring, as it will by then likely be too late to continue since her pregnancies last over a year and any cria that did result would be born well into the autumn. Fingers crossed that Olivia and Poppy will hold their pregnancies or they will have to do the same.

I have an old treadle-operated sewing machine that I restored a few years ago, and I have been using it to make some halters for the alpacas and some puppy collars.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Leisha Playing

Leisha is reserved and will be going to a new home soon where she will have the love and calm she needs. Today she played with Saffi, our 7-month-old puppy. Leisha gets stressed with other dogs indoors and tends to be nervous of other dogs on lead, but she can interact properly with sensible dogs off lead.

Saturday 2 September 2017

Spit Off

Today was 7 days after their first mating, so we showed Costa to Bess and Olivia again. This is called spitting off, and by observing the behaviour of the females at certain times you can tell whether they are pregnant or not, and get information about what is happening if pregnancy is not occurring. Also, for the benefit of anyone who has not cottoned on to it, I tend to use my blog for record keeping as it's easier for me to search it than it is to mess about digging through actual calendars that physically exist, and I can get at it no matter what computer I wrote it on. Which is why this post is on here.

Bess says she has ovulated, so now we wait another 7 days.

Olivia says she has not ovulated, so she mated again. Alpacas don't have seasons, and instead have something called a follicular wave, and they don't always have follicles ready to ovulate. Olivia's wave was apparently at low tide last week but she should hopefully be ready to ovulate now.

We did not test Poppy as she was only mated on Wednesday so it's still too early, but she wasn't very interested in the mating between Costa and Olivia, which is a hopeful observation.

Olivia's condition is improving and she has nearly downgraded herself from 'obese' to just 'fat'. She has come out of the grazing muzzle recently and is in a pen with some turkeys and chickens from which she can see the others and touch them over the fence, to give her some variety.

Friday 1 September 2017

Summer's End

The alpacas' winter grazing has been cut for the last time this year, ready for the alpacas to move down once it has regrown, and the crops on the adjacent land have been harvested. This time of year the dogs like to explore the land usually difficult to walk on. Indi and Leisha did not come on this walk -- Leisha finds 4 other dogs too stressful and had already been for a walk and played nicely with a friend's Groenendael boy, and Indi had been down with us to see the pacaboys and feed Costa carrots.