Monday, 29 September 2008

A letter and the shed dwellers.

We received the letter from the BAS today as described by Bob in his blog. It takes a little longer to get to the south of the county obviously. Anyway I feel it would be remiss of me not to pass some sort of comment. I must admit I hadn't heard any rumour of this development but there is no reason why I should have done.

My initial reaction was 'Excellent news, well done, great for the good of the British market and great for Patou alpacas'.

I have, however, had time to reflect and have been sitting astride the intrusive fence for most of the day. I think I have now slipped off and landed on the same side as the BAS.
Well done to Graham and his band of merry men/women.

The way I see it is that the most important thing for the Uk alpaca 'industry' is for the quality to increase year on year and the numbers of alpacas to increase in line with that. I do see that there is the temptation to import cheap low quality alpacas into the country to make a few quid. I have seen, as we all have, alpacas that were imported and are absolute mingers, if you will excuse the term. That doesn't help the industry at all.

Will adding £2,000 to the registration of imported alpacas stop the importation of cheap sub standard animals? I don't know. I don't know what the mark-ups are from one country to another. I assume that the board do know those figures and have come up with two grand as it makes the importation of cheap alpacas unattractive.

I think the stud males and elite females that will help the industry will still come into the country and I expect that they will cost more when they are here. I think that even if they are priced higher they will continue to sell. People will always be prepared to buy quality.
Will it lead to a closed registry in time? I don't know. The Americans have a closed registry I understand. But then the yanks are all mostly bonkers anyway. Oops shouldn't have said that

Here at Patou we have a herd of british born and bred animals bar one. Dee is a 10 year old Chilean import who is absolutely gorgeous and produces lovely cria. We didn't import her and we haven't imported any alpacas. Actually I tell a lie, we imported three from Dorset when we started. Does Dorset count? Should do.
Anyway that's my opinion for what it's worth.

No onto the drivel section..........or have we just had that?

We have a field shelter here in Patouland, a field shelter that is used quite a lot as we only have the one. Little Reggie was born in there, anyone not very well goes in there and when the big boys come to stay they go in there whilst they are waiting for the girls to be sorted out. It is connected to our birthing paddock by a gate at the front and to our small husbandry/mating paddock by a gate at the side via a runway.
During the summer months it is used for shade and during winter it is used as a shelter from the wind and rain.
Sometimes I close it up for cleaning and give it a few days respite. Some of those alpacas, no name mentioned, seem to think it is a latrine. I have seen them walk across the field into the shelter assume the 'legs apart, tail up position' and let fly. Only to walk back out again afterwards.

I had given it a thoroughly good clean out prior to Reggies arrival as I thought that if he was born in bad weather a nice clean dry shed would be the best place for him.

Now that he has been born and is doing well the shed was not needed. However, I left it open and the usual crew of 'shed dwellers' are back in and spend most of the day there.

The black girls particularly like to take their cria in there. They lounge about chewing and soaking up the sun, it's a south facing shed. Dee our oldest female actually takes up residence at the back of the shed and doesn't come out. I literally have to go in and chase her out.

Ronnie and Reggie continue to thrive and are both happy for me to walk up and sit right next to them. Today they were kissing each other for ages. Someone told me alpacas don't lick, well maybe not but they certainly pucker up and kiss!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Decision time about matings

Firstly an update on the latest addition, the little Groove boy Reggie. He is in top form and seems to be thriving. His mum still looks a little shell shocked but we think she'll be fine.
Here he is with some of his new friends.

As I mentioned in the last blog we had the big boys here for a couple of days and they were kept busy. However, there is only so much they can do in a day and as a result we have some females that are still empty.

Sue and I discussed at length what the plan would be. Do we carry on mating into October and have births in September next year? Do we skip any more matings and wait until spring?

We have decided on the latter. Anyone not pregnant now will be kept empty until the spring. That could be as many as 6 of our girls but it is time to reset the mating clock.
I think we started to fall behind as a result of the foot and mouth outbreaks which meant we couldn't get access to males when we needed them. As a result everything was behind schedule and this year we had some late births. We have also had a higher percentage than usual of females not falling pregnant, I don't know why, just bad luck probably.
We are going to be mating Patou Poppy, Lola, Fifi and Lily in the spring. Bobby, the spittiest female we have is due to give birth in April so she will also fall in with the others.

I had to laugh when I was doing the spit offs with Jack.
Most girls performed as you would expect, a few seconds with Jack sniffing around orgling and they either sat or were saying 'Out, let me out!'
Bobby and her mother Priscilla were so different to the rest. I think I heard Bobby spit before he had even got out of the van.
I didn't put them in with Jack, I just ran them past him. I tell you, if looks could kill!
Both of them stared at him spitting as they walked slowly past. Jack, being a sensible fellow stayed at the back of the mating pen. He's not daft, he doesn't want to be covered in spit.
It was nice to see two of our girls so brilliantly pregnant.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Still ecstatic and now the big boys are here!

I am still a bit on cloud nine here after the events of yesterday.

Ronnie and Reggie seem in fine fettle, he is all fluffed up and although they are both a bit bloodstained they have been roaming the field as they should.
Ronnie seems to have taken to motherhood very well and Reggie is feeding well.
He is very inquisitive as shown by the below photograph.

He is also a mighty handsome little galloper!

Today also saw the arrival of two big boys who had come to stay for a couple of days. Whilst here they will be meeting some of the ladies in the herd.

They were kindly brought over by Trevor, father of Tracey, wife of Tim. Tracey not Trevor. Trevor is not Tims' wife Tracey is. I think I made that more complicated than it should have been. Anyway it was nice to see Trevor and chat over a cup of coffee.

Trevor said that he had never seen a more magnificent herd of alpacas than that of the Mighty Patou. He was somewhat awestruck and I think if he is honest with himself he will admit that it was probably a bit much to take in. I think as he gazed out across the gathered herd I saw a tear in his eye. It wouldn't surprise me if he did a little bit of wee in his pants. It does that to people you know. The Mighty Patou.

Well it is my blog you know, I can make stuff up if I like. Can't I?

The two big boys were Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca and Cambridge Major Baydon.

We have had Jack here several times before and I have rambled on about how good I think he is. He is stunning, a really super looking male, and a complete gentleman. He was soon put to work with spit offs and then some matings.
Afterwards, Jack, being familiar with his surroundings was not interested in posing for the camera, all he wanted to do was graze and poop. After a while I gave up.

The Major has never been here before and I have to say he looks terrific. He posed superbly for the camera, especially when Bob, our black cat, minced into the paddock. He didn't stay for long!

He is a young up and coming male and is very impressive indeed. He was here to mate with Milarka, a white australian female, daughter of the mighty Purrumbete Highlander.
I have to say Milarka, being a mature female, took a little while to succumb to his somewhat clumsy advances but the job was done in the end.

Tomorrow morning will be a couple more matings for Jack and then I will be taking him and the Major back to Inca headquarters.

This evening before bed Angus and I will be splitting some atoms, auditioning for the lead role in a West End play and completing our alternative theory of relativity. It's a cracker!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

What a rollercoaster!

In my previous blog I wrote about Ronnie and the vet visiting yesterday.

This morning at first light I was up and out and homing in on Ronnie. Things had moved on, she was straining. She was very obviously trying to give birth. I reported back to Sue who carried out a quick internal examination and we realised that something was not right.

Instead of the hoped for nose and front feet Sue could feel something else which was either an ear or a tail. The vet was called it was 6.45am.

40 minutes later and the vet arrived. A breach presentation was diagnosed. The last thing we wanted to hear. There then followed a great deal of internal fiddling, pulling and head scratching. The vet told me that it was very likely that the cria was dead, she had not felt it move for sometime. She had managed to get one back leg out but the other was still tucked up under the body. She had a rope round it but the cria wasn't budging. We then went on to discuss the various options whilst we waited for back up to arrive.

The options, if the cria couldn't be pulled out, were not good. A caesarean, which could result in a dead Ronnie or cutting up the cria in order to get it out, hopefully resulting in a live Ronnie.

I wasn't overly keen on either option, but once the second vet arrived decisions were going to have to be made.

At this point in the day I was beginning to wish I was still alseep in the middle of a very bad dream. We were looking at another dead cria and there was a chance we could lose Ronnie as well.

The second vet, David, arrived. He had delivered the two still borns earlier in the summer. He got to work.

As he was lubing up we both saw the foot that was sticking out of Ronnies rear end twitch.

We looked at each other and I asked him if he had seen that foot move. He had but said it might have been due to a contraction.

It moved again. 'It's still alive' I said.
My somewhat low mood had surged upwards.

David was now going to work and bugger me if two minutes later he didn't pull out a lovely healthy male cria!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a fantastic, wonderful, bloody marvellous result!!!!

There were a few tears welling up in that field shelter I can tell you. I just couldn't believe it. From a scenario where we had a dead cria and were in deep pooh with the mother we went to the best possible result, all in about two minutes flat. My emotions still haven't quite caught up with me.
Ronnie was simply marvellous and just lay there without making much of a fuss about any of it. She couldn't have been any better.

Ronnie isn't owned by us so the name of her cria will ultimately be decided by his owner but we have affectionately named him Reggie.

Do you know what happened then. The sun came out. What a fantastic day!! Bring it on!!

Monday, 22 September 2008

In a bit of a dither.

We are in a bit if a dither here in the land of Patou. We have one female yet to unpack, Avon Water Veronique, one of the most gentle alpacas we have here.

She is one of those alpacas that remain virtually invisible within the herd. Never arguing with anyone, always calm, always behaving as a happy healthy alpaca should.

'Ronnie' is now eleven months pregnant and her behaviour today has changed. She is noticeably very pregnant and is mooching around like she is thinking about giving birth. She has been visiting the poo pile frequently, sometimes doing something, sometimes not. Sue was at home and was keeping me updated whilst I was at work. We have become a little hypersensitive about birthing after the two stillborns we had this summer so I came home early and after observing and umming and ahhing we called the vet, just to be on the safe side.

The vet came and checked her over. Ronnie was perfectly behaved and after examining her the vet said she thinks that things will start to happen within 24 hours but she is not ready yet.

So we are in a waiting game.

'Ronnie' is pregnant to Cambridge In the Groove and we are hoping that we are here when it arrives. A healthy cria is all that we wish for. With Ronnies looks and Groove's fab fleece the cria should be good.

Avon Water Veronique in full fleece.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Rumpy pumpy training session

Sue called me out into the garden this morning to watch some of the boys, being........well......being boys.

Jake who is our big white wether thinks that he is a stud male. We think he was castrated a bit late and he still thinks he has what was taken away. Subsequently every now and again he finds an empty female that smells right and gives him the wink and he starts orgling. It can be very useful and we have discovered a few 'empty' females due to Jake's behaviour.

Today he had found Avon Water Monique who is due to be visited by the big man Jack of Spades next week. I don't think he quite anticipated the help he was going to get from the young boys in the herd.
His orgling had also attracted the attention of Bannock our senior black girl and mother of my favourite alpaca in the whole wide world. Bannock came over and lay next to Monique. She was supposed to be pregnant so she will also have another liaison with Jack next week. Bugger.

Orchard Blackjack, Patou Jonah and Patou Alacazam all thought they would come over and help.

Jonah being the oldest and the biggest of the youngsters flapped around on top of Bannock who chewed patiently. I must say female alpacas are so sweet when they just lie there patiently, bless them. Jonah's little orgle was almost as loud as Jakes but he kept falling off and winding himself.

Jack and Al were beside themselves trying to help. They were jumping up onto everyone and orgling their little heads off. It was quite a noisy occasion.

In this last picture poor old Monique is completely pinned down, Jake is in the stud male position and immediately in front of him is Blackjack who has assumed the position on her neck and head.

Patou Lola came over as well. She seemed very interested and as she had refused to entertain Jack a couple weeks ago she looks like she might be ready for him when he visits next week, excellent.

I was slightly concerned not to see our little Killawasi boy joining in but then saw him some distance away trying to get a female down all by himself. Don't you just love it!

Happy days

Today is the first of a four day stretch away from the day job.

Today, tomorrow and Friday are my rostered days off and Saturday is an extra day so that Sue and I can take Angus and his best friend George for their first trip to Twickenham.

We are going up to see the Help for Heroes rugby match between an England XV and a rest of the world XV. There are plenty of international stars playing and it is all for a very worthy cause, supporting the brave men and women of our armed forces who fight in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm looking forward to it, it should be a good day.

Between now and then however, I have chores to do. I will be reacquainting myself with my strimmer and my poo sucker. There is a lot of work to do out there. The grass needs mowing again so hopefully the rain will hold off for a bit longer.

Lily has had her first two 8ml doses of Nuflor. She is on a 5 week course with a dose every 4 days. Hopefully it will stop the abscess growing any bigger and maybe even get it going the other way. I want it to go away, far away, Lily doesn't deserve it. It's not fair.
Hopefully, if I'm lucky I might be able to watch a bit of the Ryder cup which starts on Friday (are you reading this Sue?).

Other than that I will be sitting amongst the herd. Sue and I just love to wander out quietly and sit with them. They all come in close and munch away, some lie down, some sniff, some nuzzle, it's great. If you have alpacas you will be familiar with the experience. If you don't have alpacas, you seriously need to get some, you are missing out on something special in so many ways.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

It's my blog and I'll write what I like.

Having bored you all rigid (those of you who read the whole thing, Sue didn't) with the longest blog ever about the Romsey Show I return briefly with a non alpaca shorty.
Angus, the future leader of the mighty Patou, has started playing rugby at the grand age of 5 and three quarters. We have been along to Salisbury Rugby club, where I last ran out with my studs on many years ago, twice now and the little fellow loves it. He now has the kit and I can't help but show you a couple of snaps.

I'm thinking captain of the British Lions in say 2029? No pressure then.

In reality, as long as he has a good time and enjoys himself Sue and I will be happy.

I will return with alpaca stuff in the next blog.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

The Romsey Show, an adventure.

The Romsey Show was very nearly cancelled late on Friday afternoon, one of the organisers revealed to me late yesterday as we trudged through the mud back to the trade car park, lucky for me it hadn't been.

I had taken the Patou 'marquee', hurdles and all the other alpaca paraphenalia down on Friday morning. When I arrived they insisted on towing me to my pitch with a tractor as the showground was a sea of mud. I asked them how I would get off again and they said I would have to wait for a tractor. Nice, we'll see, I thought.
Tent, I mean marquee, up and everything unloaded, diff lock engaged and I went home. Mud?
I was in a mighty Landrover I didn't need help.

After I left, however, there was the mother of all downpours which turned the very muddy place into a very wet even muddier place. That was when the organisers had the discussion. They decided that as so many people were already onsite, and with a dry day forecasted, to go ahead. Well done guys, good decision.

I loaded up the girls early on Saturday and we arrived at the end of the queue to get in at about 8am. The end of the queue was about a mile from the front of the queue which meant for a long wait. An hour and a half later I arrived at the car park where I was informed there was a 2 hour wait to be towed on. I don't think so, the girls have been waiting long enough.

No problem. I parked up and released the girls for a bit of extra curriculum halter training.
We walked onto the showground heads held high and attracting comments from all around. Everywhere you go with these beautiful creatures people marvel and take photographs, I am always immensely proud to be seen with them and my girls looked great. They didn't much like the deep mud though but then who does?
Our pitch was at the far end of the showground and after a 20 minute walk we were there and ready. Once the girls had water, food and were content I went off for breakfast and found the biggest bacon baguette I have ever seen, marvellous.
Here they are, Poppy, Lola and Fifi, wowing the crowds. Never seen so many pairs of wellies!

The picture below gives you an idea of how muddy it was. The tractors towing everyone on had turned it into a ploughed field in places. We were on a little grassy island.

The girls who behaved impeccably really were very popular, some couldn't get close enough!

Luckily for me my pitch was within 100yards of an assortment of fine food establishments, the toilet and the bar. What more could a man ask for? The sun came out and the crowds flocked in.

Two things struck me during the day that I hadn't really noticed that much at previous shows. Firstly as people approached the alpacas they started to smile (the people not the alpacas), almost everyone, it was magical.

Secondly was something I already knew really, that people can be stupid, rude or both at the same time. The number of people who loudly asked me stupid questions whilst I was plainly in conversation with someone was staggering. Most stupid question of the day? "Are they mammals?". I must admit I almost replied "No madam they are crustaceans, isn't it obvious?"

I did meet a lot of very nice people who were genuinely interested in alpacas and also fellow alpaca owners.

It was nice to meet Janet Stamp, a reader of this blog and alpaca owner. Thanks for introducing yourself Janet and thanks for reading.

So a great day was had by me and the Patou girls, we had all had enough at the end of the day though and were keen to get home. Next part of the adventure was the extrication of team Patou. How were we going to get off?

By 6pm I had packed everything up and had made my way back to the car leaving the alpacas to guard the stuff. I had briefed them to spit at anyone attempting to enter the inner cordon. They were primed and ready to fire.
When I asked what the procedure for getting off the site was I was told that I could try myself. But if I got stuck I would have to wait and someone would come along and tow me out eventually.
That was it, diff lock engaged once more and the extrication operation was on.
The 12 year old Land Rover towed the 28 year old trailer onto the site. We ploughed our way through the mud. In a lot of places we couldn't stop we had to keep going, we slid and we slewed but we carried on. In my head the theme tune for the great escape was blaring out as I tackled the task with my shades on and a steely grin on my face. All I needed was a big fat cigar to complete the picture.
I made it to the pitch, the alpacas were excited, they really were. They knew we were going home. I quickly loaded up, the alpacas jumped into the trailer and the exit route was planned. Follow the tractors basically, and off we went. Ten minutes later we were on the motorway heading home. Job done.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Sulking over

Sorry about my general demeanour yesterday.
I have to say everything I did yesterday was tinged with a childish, stampy feet, bottom lip out and quivering, furrowed brow, harrumphy hue.

I am a simple soul and have access to a whole range of emotions, I am either happy or miserable. Okay just the two then.

I am virtually incapable of pretending to be anything else.
I try, believe me as a Policeman I have to. I have to be chirpy at times when I am miserable and it takes a lot of energy to make the transition. As soon as the situation is over I revert to the current mood. Conversely when I am at the other end and the occasion demands a serious face it takes the same amount of effort to switch.

By the way I am happy most of the time, I have a wonderful family, great friends, a promising plan for the future and am very fortunate to live in a super spot with a great bunch of animals.

Anyway enough of that tosh. This morning I joined Alpacapeople which is a forum for alpaca owners where we can exchange advice and experiences, ask questions and generally pool alpaca knowledge. The BAS forum is not well used and I don't know why that is. Maybe this forum will work better. It was started by my wee chum Gerry the Captain of the good ship Coire. If you have alpacas give it a bash.

Today I am off to set up at the Romsey show which is held in the vast grounds of Broadlands Park. It's a big one day show and a very impressive setting. I shall obviously be taking some very impressive alpacas to match. Patou Poppy, Fifi and Lola will be up early with me tomorrow.

I am flying solo at the show, Sue is at work and Angus is going to his best friend George's house for the day. Thanks Katie (George's mum) it's a great help.

I am off for three days now and the sun is out it is all going to be fabulous!!!!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

I am sulking. Big time.

This morning Sue and I carried out our fortnightly check of the mighty Patou herd. We had several injections to give, some worming to do and all the little ones needed weighing. All bar Jonah that is who has now passed the top of our scales and is a great big lump. He is 2 and a half months old and is over 25kilos. Bless him.

One of the things we check for on our fortnightly check is jaw abscesses. Readers may remember a few months ago that we were treating our favourite alpaca in the whole wide world, Lily for a jaw abscess. We treated her aggressively with Nuflor for 5 weeks and the abscess seemed to harden and shrink slightly.

It has remained cherry sized until today when we discovered a secondary abscess next to the original lump. I have to say my heart sank. I know abscesses are part of alpaca life but as I have said before, Lily is special to us here. She is a special alpaca. And now she has another of those horrible bloody abscesses.

We have started her on another 5 week course of Nuflor and I have spoken to our vet. Unless the thing disappears in the next 5 months, which is highly unlikely, we will have Lily operated on and have the lump/tooth removed. Lily was mated to Jack of Spades last week but if she doesn't spit off we will probably leave her empty over the winter. We can then concentrate on getting her in the best condition for surgery. Once Lily's cria Millie is weaned she can go off and get it sorted out.

So no laughs today from me readers.

I am sulking. Big time.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Show time again.

I have been away from the blogspot for a few days. The day job is partly to blame. The fact that we have been busy with other stuff has also affected my computer time.

I am now back to work (late shifts all week) so with Angus back at school the mornings should be free. I am pinching a bit of blog time whilst Sue is out, when she returns we have a few husbandry tasks to complete and a wet smelly field shelter to clean out.
The field shelter is 12' x 10' and the record so far for alpacas is 22. That's not us forcing them in that's just them going in of their own accord. It doesn't seem to be the wet weather that forces them in. No, they seem quite happy out in the rain, they just sometimes decide to pile in en masse. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.
The main shed dwellers are Dee and her cria Barney (Killawasi's Peruvian Royal Prince Man about Town). They do go in when its raining and venture out only when it is dry. Consequently the main herd will be out soaking wet. The sun will come out and Barney will wander amongst the soaklings looking all fluffy and dry. I'm sure he is saying "Boy, you dullards really haven't got the hang of this shed thing". Dee doesn't usually come out until we chase her out. Then she lingers nearby until we have gone and sneaks back in muttering under her breath.

This weekend we have the Romsey show to look forward to. It will be a first for us, it falls on the same day as the Frome show and we went to that last year.

We have been to the Romsey show before as visitors and enjoyed it. Having been to both we think the Frome show is a bit 'Ooh Aargh' and the Romsey a bit more 'Air hair lair'. We will see. Or should I say, I will see. Sue is working all weekend and so Angus and I will be flying solo. In fact it might just be me.

I didn't mention the Corsley show that we went to on bank holiday Monday.

It's a really nice village show and we went last year and were surrounded all day. This year was no different and although it was a bit chilly we enjoyed the day a lot. We also sold a lot of wool, or yarn as I believe it is correctly known. It was the first time we took yarn to a show. It won't be the last!

I waited until the crowds parted to take the following pictures otherwise it would have just been a photograph of a large crowd. Patou's Poppy, Lola and Fifi wowed the crowds and seemed to cope very well. They may go to Romsey or we may give a mum and cria combo a go.

The lovely Mrs S ready to answer any questions.

Last night I was out lying in the field amongst the mighty herd. Once again my favourite alpaca in the whole wide world brought her cria over and they both lay down next to me. She loves me you know. I can tell.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Stud males or stud fees - discuss

Monday and Tuesday were interesting days. Oh yes very interesting for a boring old fart like me.

On Monday Angus and I were at a loose end and so accompanied the leader of the Inca Tribe to EPC headquarters. Before we left Tim cast his expert eye over the ranks of the Patou herd. He made some nice noises which was good and he summed up the new additions as I had, which means I must be learning something.

We have, from very limited resources, a show team. Cue dancing girls, fireworks and highly emotional classical music with operatic singing..............I'm thinking the Barcelona Olympics here folks, Freddie Mercury, Monserrat Caballe and a huge great orchestra comprised of musicians from around the world, sod it let's chuck in some very impressive fountain action as well.
All in my tiny head of course. Sounds great though.

Quality not quantity, maybe that should be our marketing strapline.....or whatever it is they call that sort of thing. We are looking forward to the show season kicking off with the Futurity in February. If we can afford to go that is.

We left our favourite stud male Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca to get acquainted with Wellground Joy and our lovely Patou Poppy. It was interesting to note that Patou Lola would have nothing to do with him and was spitting green gooh everywhere. I had never seen her spit before so she is obviously not ready yet.

Poppy, also a maiden, hit the ground with a thud at the feet of the mighty Jack and was suitably dealt with. Actually there was the sound of females hitting the deck with dull thuds all around him. He's a good looker that lad and must have a very attractive orgle. I swear I almost felt my knees start to buckle. Almost.

Anyway off to EPC headquarters where we had a wander round looking at some very impressive looking alpacas. It was only a short visit but an enjoyable and interesting one.

On arriving home we were able to have another good look at Jack. Jeepers Creepers he looks good. He was in the top paddock and the rest of the herd was out in the main field where Jake our big white whether was having a field day. The girls were all excited because Jack was in town and Jake was reaping the rewards by wandering around orgling. Cue more dull thuds as girls hit the floor around him. Poor old bugger. We think he was perhaps castrated a bit late.

A comment now on stud males and why I write about the ones we use on the blog. My chum north of the border, the laird of the Mighty Coire herd has written today on his blog about it.

We started our alpaca herd almost three years ago with the purchase of three females. We now have 14 alpacas in the Patou herd, nine of them female, two wethers and three male cria born this year. Eight of our females will have been covered this summer (plus two rent-a -wombs at our friends Liz and Peters).

We don't own a stud male but by crikey if we could afford it I would be looking extremely long and hard for two or three good ones. We can't though. We have a house in France that eats up money, a house here that does likewise and we live well. We enjoy life.

It is a struggle to meet our ever increasing stud fees budget but we are determined that unless we can buy the best stud for our girls we have to use the best we can get.
And at the moment I think we are using the best we can get, the best there is in fact.

We have been so impressed with Jack of Spades that we have 8 females pregnant to him (hopefully!), the other two for various reasons are pregnant to ATA Cambridge Centurion and Canchones Witness.

Next summer, all being well we, will have ten new Patou herd members with very good and carefully thought out pedigrees. Obviously eight of them will be ribbon winning females and the other two will be the super herdsires of the future.

Well it's what I dream about every night.

Cue very sad violin music and a man with a big red plastic hammer and a menacing grin walking up behind me.

Monday, 1 September 2008

His fathers son.

The last cria born, Patou Peruvian Mighty Prince Killawasi Oh Great Man about town, or Barney as we know him is a right little character. Being the youngest he is the smallest. But he is into, or should I say onto everything.

I have met the legend that is Accoyo Killawasi several times. Indeed we had the big fellow here for a few days last year. He was here to mate with a few girls one of them being Barney's mother.

Here he is in our little paddock all bristling with machismo and permanently ready for a fight or an orgle.

He is the most efficient working male I have seen. Introduce a female.......ah too late for introductions you seem to have made 'friends' already Killa.

He is very aware of his status as a stud and although not the most gentlemanly of beasts he is very good at what he does. Brutal but good.

When Centurion was here last year I remember Bo, a month or so old, joining in with some matings to give Centurion a push. Behaviour we have all seen no doubt, very comical and Centurion being the complete gent didn't mind at all. I can't imagine Killawasi putting up with the same sort of assistance.

Barney, however, doesn't seem to need anyone to assist. Nor anyone to get him going. At the age of 12 days he started chasing the female cria around the field. In fact I've seen him chasing or trying to chase most of the cria around the field and one or two of the adults. Whilst he's doing the chasing he's orgling his little head off. He is without doubt his fathers son. Bless.