Saturday, 22 June 2013

Freedom & Summer Chores !

This was the big day for the little rescue hens.  I have been feeding them up, worming them and giving them some treatment for Coccidiosis.  After a few weeks of this they were ready to join the other free range chickens out in the orchard.  This is a box with the first three being put outside for the very first time.  These little chickens were barn hens and have never experienced the world outside ... until now. 

The girls are attracting the attention of the big Orpington Cockerel.  I have four Orpington cockerels in total so the boys will have some extra girls to watch over.  Some of the brave ones venturing out ... and onto the grass !

The summer chores continue...this is a bit of a quiet time for me on the animal side of things, which means that I can catch up with chopping the wood and stacking the logs on the woodstore ready for the winter.  I have my parents visiting at the moment, so its great to have some extra helpers. I have no babies due until mid July all going to due dates, then it will be time to think about making some haylage once again...the year just ticks along and the seasons roll by.  So this time allows me to do a few catch up jobs around the garden and general chores, there is always something to keep me busy.

Safety in numbers ...more of the little brownies are now out with the others.  They have been out now for three days and are getting the hang of their new surroundings.... this is their last move now, so time to just enjoy some freedom outside.  These little chickens are only 40 weeks old, hopefully they will now enjoy a long and happy life. 

Doza is settling in just fine... he is gaining weight and has put on 2kg in 2 weeks.  He has had his second vaccination and we managed to get him weighed.  He will soon be over 60kgs at this rate.  The dogs are also enjoying some sunny days out in the garden.  Zonda is much happier, but she is looking much older lately, she spends lots of time asleep on the lounger. 

This is little Zanto after his appointment with the shearer !!  We are getting used to the new summer look. 

Sparky & Stravinsky strutting their stuff out in the field the other day ....the boys are looking very sleek.  Its lovely to see them all sheared.  I have been busy sorting my mountains of fleece out.  I have 7 more to do.  Then I just have to find somewhere to store it ....The boys have yielded some huge fleece weights this year.   I have some fleece samples to send away for analysis, which will be very interesting.  I like to guess the results, its just a little 'me test' to see how accurate I am doubt when they return I can tell you more !

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Fleeced !!

Little Zazu being brave for the very first shearing !  He looks so different you would hardly recognise him.  The big boys were sheared first, most were well behaved with the exception of .....guess who ...yep Duke !  He put up a hell of a fight and James had his hands full .... he was dealt with swiftly, but I'm glad they all don't behave like that.  He's a big powerful boy and he took some holding.  But James knows how to handle the alpacas and once he was tied he was ok.

This is little 'Dolly Mixture' having her date with the shearer, she was a real princess, no fuss and just behaved in a dignified fashion, unlike some !!

Zaninni is not happy, he was having a right strop with anyone who dared to get in his space.

Zoretah, she was a darling and the girls were very well behaved, we started shearing at 8am and didn't finish until after 1pm.....only stopping to change blades, the babies have all been micro-chipped, I hate that big horrible needle.  Most of the herd have had their annual vaccinations, except for the pregnant females who will be vaccinated in their last four weeks of their pregnancies.

Zeto, before .....

and after !

Stravinsky is hiding behind the tree.....all embarrassed
Zerquo ... he was full of himself after shearing, he is a bit of a stirrer.

The babies, recognise who's who !

Look at me !  little Zyisha, has lots of multi coloured spots.  Its lovely to see just how spotty she is.

Some of the girls resting after their exhausting day with the hairdresser.
So we are all set for summer with our new summer look.  We will be getting ready for the babies to arrive mid July onwards.  Looking at the girls after shearing, I'm confident I have 6 definitely and 3 might be's  so we will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Just in time for Summer !!

Zazu, Zanto, Zodo, Zirdar & Zavia  (L to R)
With the promise of summer, I thought I'd better take some photos of the alpacas before they get sheared on Friday.  Here are the little boys yesterday out in the big field enjoying some nice fresh grass.  This is my hay field, but I have been letting them graze in here to allow their field a bit of a rest.

This is Wellground Vital Spark, known as 'Sparky' he is alittle camera shy and always moves just as you try to get a picture.  This was the best shot that I managed, funny how some of them like having their photo taken and pose quite happily, whilst others are really hard to take.

Zanubis and Wellground Stravinsky, thankfully both boys were posing together, so I managed to get a quick picture.

This is Zazu, any prizes for guessing .....'Who's the Daddy'  He is a little duplicate of his dad, Zanubis.  He carries a lovely dark grey fleece, he will look very different come Friday !

We all have one ... he is the Poser !  This is Barnacre Duke.  He is happy to have a photo.

Little Zanto, he is the brother to Zimushka & Zeto, my grey stud boy.  Zeto had 5kgs of fleece last year with a 4kg blanket.  I am always excited to see if we manage to get a similar result,  I have kept the same mating and it is always exciting to see what Dusty produces.  Out of three matings I have three lovely greys, I wonder what this year will bring. I have always promised myself, if we get a different result I'm going to try her with Zanubis, but she produces these lovely babies, so as the saying goes ... If it ain't broke... don't fix it ! 

Zazu, Zavia with Zanto, Zirdar and Zirrius in the background ..... I haven't run out of 'Z' names yet !

Piggy Piggy ... Norka and Noggy also enjoying some sunshine, its about time to.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Made to Measure !

Today I managed to finish off the job that was halted a couple of weeks ago, when my handle snapped off the tractor !  This is the first time I have mucked this part of the boys barn out.  It was always made with the idea that I could fit inside with little Ruby the Siromer tractor.

Thankfully, we must have built it right as the little tractor fits inside snugly .... which is great, this means that I can muck this part of the barn out with ease !  It only took about an hour to finish off the boys barn.  More to the point the handle stayed put.  We are shearing next week, so I thought that I'd get this job done, as you can bet your boots that the weather will change after shearing and the boys will be needing their barn.

Doza is settling in, this is him enjoying a walk round the wood.  It was the first time I had let him off the lead. I think he enjoyed the walk with lots of new smells and places to explore.  Zonda has been rested this week and she will be out for walks soon, I have been just letting her enjoy the garden.

We were at the vets last week for Doza to have his vaccinations, when we were there I got him weighed, I guessed between 50/55kgs.  He currently weighs 53kgs, but when he is mature he should be around 60/65kgs, so he has a bit of condition to gain.  He has a good appetite and is eating around 1kg of food a day plus .... eggs, which is great as the little rescue hens are providing us with lots of lovely eggs.