Thursday, 29 March 2012
Fence Inspection !!....
Yesterdays...end result !
The strainers.... one in the ground about 5ft and .... one out,about 9ft, the Post knocker is doing a good job !!
The boys, nosey not happy about the field being fenced !
We are taking full advantage of this lovely weather, although tonight the weather has definitely cooled down and the wind has picked up.....more like normal temperatures unlike the last week of really hot weather.
There is a bit of a fencing frenzy going on here at the moment, we have moved into the 6.5 acre field, I have wanted a divide fence in this field for sometime and it is finally happening. The plan is to have the alpacas on one side of the fence and move my Highland Cows up to the top of the field on the other side, it is more sheltered here for them and there is shade during the summer months when it is hot.
We started this fence on Monday and tonight are nearly finished the job, just one wire to put in place and a little section to fence up on the other side of the gate.
The alpacas are really nosey and have been keeping a close eye on what's happening with their field, yesterday when we were putting the guide wires out most of the boys had a good inspection of the job and walked along the fence-line to scrutinise the job !
All being well this should be finished by tomorrow. I have been leaving the alpacas out over the past week, but tonight the wind is awful and its turned cold again, so they are all tucked up nice and snug inside.
I thought I'd take advantage of the fact that the alpacas are inside tonight so I have a good check of the youngsters, I like to check them frequently just to keep a close eye on condition and its a good way of spotting any problems early. Thankfully all appears to be fine.
The young boys are enjoying their new field and the extra grass there.
I am hoping to get some toes trimmed next week, this will give me a good excuse to use my alpaca handling pen as some of the boys can be a handful, last time Duke was a real handful, I was hoping he was going through a silly adolescent spell, he appears to have matured since however, you cannot take any chances with these adult boys, as their strength is really quite impressive and when you are on the receiving end of it....can be very dangerous.
Safety at all times....and the Alpaca Easy Pen will be a great help for me to safely handle those boys who can be a bit of a handful.... thankfully most are well behaved....but not all !!
So a few jobs have been crossed off the 'to do list' ..
For the moment....
I have heard a mention of snow !! for Scotland ... next week !!
Extreme weather .... indeed !!
Monday, 26 March 2012
Having a cuddle with Zoretah..in her new field last night !
Settling in, I think it gets the seal of approval ...
The Golden Weeping Willow, is in the tree shelter.......hopefully just needs time to grow !
Enjoying their new grass....today
The youngsters are in their new paddock !
I actually managed to get them in there one day earlier...which was very much appreciated. Yesterday I walked them across the track and into their newly fenced paddock, thankfully they all followed me with the aid of a trusty bucket !
Almost as soon as they touched the new grass is was a case of heads down and grazing commenced, it was only after a full belly of grass a couple of hours later that the alpacas decided to explore their paddock and had a good walk and look round.
Another gloriously hot day today, we just had a few finishing touches to do. I have a large Golden Weeping Willow in the orchard, it was planted about 7 yrs ago.
Last year I took some cuttings in the hope that I could get some more, I planted them in the ditch and they have been there all winter. A couple of weeks ago they started to sprout shoots and from the cuttings have appeared new leaves. I have re-planted one of these cuttings in the new alpaca paddock, we have fenced round the Willow in the hope that this will also grow into a beautiful majestic tree just like the one in the orchard....I have one or two more cuttings left. I am going to plant one at the top of the 6 acre paddock in memory of Pacosha .....
I am going to divide this field and have the alpacas in the bottom part of this field and move my Highland cows into the top of this field, this is the next job on the 'to do' list and we are hoping to start this job tomorrow.
The alpacas are all out at the moment as the weather is exceptional at the moment for this time of year, we are forecast it to cool down later in the week.
Which will make a pleasant change !
Saturday, 24 March 2012
The fence is now complete... just need a gate and some alpacas !
The finished fence, two plain wires and half height Rylock to complete the job ! .....
Quality control .... inspect the job !
Fencing update......we are on course... and running to schedule !!
Yet another glorious day....dry and sunny, I think at this rate...we will be having a hose-pipe ban here in Scotland...if this keeps up !
I can't believe this weather at all, positively summery, lets hope we get more of the same in June or July just in time for the hay-making season.
The fencing team are running to plan...like a well oiled machine......clanking and groaning with the odd ache and pain to aid in the experience !
If I didn't know better....you might think that we know what we are doing .... although the end result is looking rather professional.... even if I do say so myself !!
Today, we have managed to run out the second wire round all of the paddock, all the wires are now fixed in place and the only job to do is to fix the gate...so we are on schedule for the alpacas to be moving into their new field on Monday....
Its getting exciting now....I shall be really happy to see them all exploring their new summer facilities !
I do hope it gets the seal of approval....
Especially after all the hard work involved !
Friday, 23 March 2012
Half Day today.... fixing the Rylock ..
Its great to see the fence taking shape !..
Just starting to pull the Rylock wire out.... this morning ... another glorious sunny day !
Another glorious day today in North East Scotland, it has been slightly cooler with a light breeze which was much appreciated. It has been so hot and sunny I have had to get the sun-cream out ! Factor 15 ....to be precise.
We have only had a half day today...as I had to be some where this afternoon, we managed to get the longest stretch of the Rylock on, I have one more wire to add to this run of fencing and then this will be complete. I am hoping that by tomorrow all of the fencing will be done ready to hang the gate on Sunday .... that's the plan anyway !
Necessity is the mother of all invention...so they say, we have adapted a tyne off the front of the tractor to put the Rylock on, this makes life a little easier as the wire is really quite heavy when you first start off.
I have stapled all the Rylock and guide wires in place ready for the last row and the hog rings to be fixed.....
It will be great to see the alpacas out in their new field...exploring their new paddock. I'm sure they will have a bit of a run round to explore, they will be able to see the adult boys across in the other field from their new field...so I'm sure it won't be long before they spot each other.
This is the 5th dry sunny day this week....the weather has been marvellous for the time of the year, I'm not convinced that winter has well and truly gone.
The clocks are going forward to mark British Summer Time....no doubt that's when the weather will get back to normal....just to remind us that we are only in March !!
The girls have only 4 months until July when we look forward to the arrival of the babies.....I have noticed just how much fleece the alpacas are carrying now, its funny how you hardly notice their fleece growing... it just seems to grow under your nose...one minute they re sheared and sleek...then the next time you look...they re fully fleeced. Some of the boys are under a large blanket.....and have been feeling the heat over the past week.
A bit like myself !
I have also noticed that the grass is growing in the garden, so its just a matter of time, before I get the lawnmower out...and it will be grass cutting season not to mention....time for the muck-spreading !
Thursday, 22 March 2012
View from the bottom of the new paddock ...
Guide wires and posts in.....along the bottom fence.
Heckle and Jeckle.....there are three Chiefs ...on this job and no Indians !!
Starting this morning...to repair the other broken fence !
This is day four on the fencing ...we have once again had a glorious day, positively hot....no overall required...just the hat to shade me from the sun....or else I end up looking like a tomato. I'm hoping that this is not going to be like last year...and it ends up to be the summer..if we could get this fine weather in the summer...hay-making would be a pleasure !!!!!
Today we have been busy doing a spot of repairing...the cows wreck the fences and use the fence as a scratching post.....so they made a bit of a mess with part of the divide fence, this is quite a new fence, it is about 6yrs old, it has stood well and would have been still good if the cows hadn't been rubbing against it.
This took most of the morning, taking out the old broken posts and removing the old staples, we then had to tighten the wire and put new posts in.....its looking as good as new now.
After dinner we went back out to start the bottom part of the new fence, we once again did the guide wires and managed to get all of the posts knocked in before tea....the sun was blinding and I couldn't believe how hot it was.
Everyone has been making the most of the good weather as I could count 6 tractors working around the neighbouring fields.....I am bounded by arable land and all the contractors and local farmers have been out.....working flat out to get the fields sown with barley.
After we did the bottom fence we went to the top of the field where we had the last three fence posts to knock in. Tomorrow I'm hoping to either continue with the fencing, I also have an appointment to go and learn a thing or two...which will come in handy ready for my surprise in a couple of weeks....
So today.....has been another productive day.....we are making the most of the weather....I couldn't have arranged it, if I had tried....
All the post are now in place, I have a gate to hang, the Rylock to stretch out on the bottom part of the fence and another plain wire to run out......then we will be done.
I think that it might be the weekend now before the alpacas are able to go into their new field... as we decide to repair the other fence this morning.
So that's nearly a job crossed off the 'to do' list already....
My mam and dad have been here a week already........how time flies !
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Not quite the Savoy...just yet !!
The Boys...enjoying the weather....a quick hello to me ...and back to the grind !
The fencing team....with Haggis & Dougal....working slightly less harder than us !!!
Taking shape......its a work in progress......another day at it tomorrow .....
In for a cuppa...with my new B'day drill.....
This is day three ... on the fencing task.
Today, we have managed to put the last strainer in position, then it was time to start and put the guide wires on. I am using half height Rylock fencing which is about 2ft high, I will then use plain wire to finish off to the desired height.
We have had a glorious day here, I even managed to get a sweat on.... tonight all the guide wires are in place and we managed to knock in the posts on the longest stretch of the paddock.
We did have a break for tea and went back out to finish the job. I am hoping that the weather stays kind and we manage to get the rest of the fencing completed on this run. Tomorrow it will be time to fix the Rylock wire onto the posts and move over to the shorter side, I hope this will be a bit quicker.....I don't want to be counting my chickens...but I'm hoping that we have what should resemble a fenced paddock...by the end of the day.
Then it will be another day to hang the gate....so hopefully by the end of the week....maybe the alpacas.....might be checking out their new grazing !
Haggis and Dougal were very interested in the new fence....just when we were about to stretch the wires..for some reason....Haggis was determined to be on the other side of the new fence...he was escorted...away from the new fence a couple of times...he eventually got the hint !!
So just a couple of photos...to keep you updated on the progress....
Four legs...or four wheels.............what do you think !!!!!!
All I can say at the moment .......is ...........more !
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
The girls.....enjoying the view !
Some of the work-force !......
Spot the babies...are growing up fast ....
Guess .... who !
Since my last blog....I am another year older !
It was my Birthday on Saturday so I had a nice quiet weekend...it was the calm before the storm....I fear ! I have received some lovely cards....& some very special Birthday presents, that will not arrive for a couple of weeks.....surprises to be revealed later !! .....
It appears that there is a bit of fencing in the air...we too are doing a spot of fencing, I have decided to make an extra paddock for the younger boys, this will allow me to rest the baby/birthing paddock for the summer and the pending arrival of the new babies this year.
The new paddock is part of the 10 acre field which will form a new area where I can keep the younger boys, the ones who are just too small to join the adult males.
I have positioned it so that I can make use of the views, I will be able to see the alpacas from the house....which is great and means that I can see whats going on from a distance, I might even use this slightly larger new paddock for the mothers and cria this year, never-the-less, it will be lovely to have the extra use of space.
The remainder of the 10 acre field will be once again used for making haylage, the rest of the field is hopefully going to be a pond.....that's the plans...anyway !
So just a few photos of the goings on here in Zanzibah Land.....as I have been neglecting the blog lately......
Hopefully I will have some more photos.......soon...depending on the rate of progress, its funny how the fencing always brings out the best in you !!!!!
The tractor and the post knocker is working well, which makes life easier, we have been fencing for just two days, putting in the strainer posts.....tomorrow we will be making a start with the wire and posts....I am hoping that we will have a fence to see by the end of the day.
Providing we have no unexpected....issues !!
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Zirrius....he packs a bit of a punch !
But does have a soft side !
But Don't mess with him....Strav !
Sparky & Stravinsky...ganging up on Zirrius....but not for long !
Not quite the pond...more of a plunge pool !!
The weaning is going well all the boys have settled in and found their position within the group.
Zirrius has always been a character since the moment he was born he has been a real character. Never one to shy away from mischief or even conflict, he was climbing on the other cria when he was weeks old......nothing much has changed.
One day last week he found himself in a bit of a strand off between Stravinsky & Sparky. True to form...he decided to show them what he was made of...and stood his ground, a bit of light hearted argy bargy between the boys.
The peace and harmony was soon restored within the group....but never underestimate the little one...he may be small....but he is not to be challenged lightly !
On a slightly different note...most readers will know, I have wanted a pond for years....however I appear to have some plunge pools.....not quite the pond imagined...but there is a reason for the appearance of these......for a while now I have had a very wet patch in the little paddock, it was either a broken drain or a collapsed culvert...it has transpired to be the latter.....it is in the process of being repaired....however over night....the holes left have filled with water....hence the plunge pools....!
Unfortunately until these are repaired the weanlings are having to share their paddock with the holes....I have decided not to tape the area off....as I do not like using the electric tape....I had a nasty incident with the tape....Zaninni nearly strangled himself one year...and after that, I vowed never to use the stuff around the alpacas....The holes are not ideal, however the logic is the alpacas can see them and tip-toe around the for the time being.....its a case of between a rock and a hard place !.....but at least I don't have to worry about them getting tangled up !
If my pond retains water any thing like these two holes.....it will fill up in no time.....and stay full......
That is one big aim....I'm determined to have....a lovely BIG pond....its on the horizon.....then all I want is to find some Swans.....on there !
Well....you have to try and achieve the things you want from this life.......then have the time to enjoy them.....if we did not have goals and dreams....then life would be boring !
Aim High..........Fly Low !!
But Don't Forget to ........Enjoy it Along the Way !!
Monday, 5 March 2012
Rufus meeting Sparky & Stravinsky
Some of the big boys...Zanubis, Zeto & Duke
All girls together !..
On Saturday night....it was time for the 'Big Weaning' for Zirrius, Rufus and also to take Max out from the girl group.....Max is a castrated boy who came to stay with us last year !
This also meant one thing....it was a happy time for the baby girls who have spent approx 6 weeks being weaned, it was time for them to rejoin the main group of females....back with their mothers.
As I am usually working single handed....I had a plan, however it was whether or not tha plan would work !
The babies came into the barn as usual accompanied with Strav & Sparks (the Nick Nacks). Then it was time to get the girls in, all went to plan as usual, now the fun would begin and I'd see if the plan would work.
I allowed the baby girls back into the other side of the barn and managed to catch Zirrius who was no problems as he is very friendly. Then I had to catch Rufus, he is the youngest little boy here, however he was two days over the six months, I managed to catch him and persuade him into the other side of the barn. I only had Max to catch, I managed to corner him with my crook....I guided him towards the gate....and it was a bit tricky to try and keep him confined and try to get the gate open all at the same time...but I managed, he did try to dodge under the crook at one point...but I held him off in the right direction. The little boys....ate all their feed and hardly noticed that they had been separated...I find that it works well to separate the babies from the mums....but they can see them, this means that both fret less....the main aim is to give time for the mothers to dry up from producing milk...and the separation does this....but the contact is still nice, I think this way is far less stressful....and it works for us....any-way !
Max has actually been more bothered about getting back in with the girls......
Tonight we have all had a bit of a cuddle moment....obviously Zirrius is coming over to see me and he is getting used to being separated, both mothers are gazing over the divide but are not too concerned about their babies being on the other side of the fence !
This is the second day out and harmony has reigned....the newbies have met Strav and Sparky, there has been a bit of argy bargy but nothing to fuss about.
Its lovely to see the herd growing, I am at a stage now where my main herd is up to capacity, I had always aimed for having twelve females, I now have sixteen....!
So depending on this year.......it might be a time to broaden our horizons .... branching out into the sales department !!!!!!!!!
Friday, 2 March 2012
The weanies.....growing up !
Zoretah, Wellground Vital Spark and Wellground Stravinsky, eating carrots !!
This is the view from the alpaca side of the barn....now all cleaned out and fit for a King !
The barn looks good enough to have a snooze in....now ready for the Spring !
I have been busy this week....finishing off the mucking out of the big barn !
We are all done and dusted, earlier this week I managed to get the rest of the barn mucked out, this is where the girls the weanies are along with the Nick Nacks.....
It has all been cleared and re-bedded down....I don't usually turn the alpacas out until the weather improves, so they come in every night for bed at the moment, its usually around April when they get their marching orders...!
I took a photo after the big Spring clean, you can see that the horses are on the other side of the partition.....eating the haylage, as usual !
It is a big weekend...for Zirrius and Rufus, this is their time to be weaned, the baby girls will move back with the adult females and that is the way it will remain.....preparation for the summer and the pending new arrivals.
Zirrius, Rufus and Max will join the Nick Nacks who will remain in the small birthing paddock, until I manage to get a bit of fencing done. I intend to make another paddock in my 10 acre field. This is where the younger boys will remain, until they are old enough to join the 'Big Boys' I normally introduce the younger boys when they are at least 2yrs old. I have found that any sooner can cause problems within the group, however it really does depend on the temperament and personality of the youngsters, often some grow up much more quickly than others and can stand up for themselves within the adult group.
Most of my introductions are a success, however in the early days it did take me five attempts to introduce Zeuss to the main boy group.....thankfully the others have been no problem !
I often feed carrots to my alpacas and they just love them especially in the winter time when there is less grass to choose from. The other day I scattered some out for the babies to eat, most of them are used to carrots, however I do have one little boy who shows no interest in the hard feed or the carrots, I have taken to giving him some liquid molasses on an evening when they come in for bed...to try and broaden his taste for new food...I'm hoping that he will get to like the taste and move onto the feed...soon. He often stands licking his lips afterwards but has not managed to make the big move.....onto eating the feed.
I have also been supplement him with Multi-Vit paste and injections to help support him through the winter months when the vitamin and mineral levels are greatly reduced due to the lack of grazing, mind you he loves the haylage....despite the lack of interest in the feed, he is in overall good condition, but I can't help thinking he is not as bright as the others.
I'm sure it will just take time to get him going on the feed.....he is lacking behind the others at the moment, Rufus who is 3 months younger was eating the feed months ago.
So this is the end of the weaning for 2012....we are making arrangements for the months ahead, all the girls have done a fantastic job, at looking after their babies...so its time to hand them over to me....for a bit of growing up time....halter training and obviously...lots of delicious cuddles....are on the adult agenda !
It is approx 4 months now until the new Zanzibah babies start to arrive.
I'm already excited to see what delights we are presented with......I just hope that we have no problems and that they all arrive safe and sound......we had a great year last year, 5 babies in total.....4 girls and one boy !
I wonder what we get this year !!!