Thursday, 30 July 2009

What weather!

We have been pretty much underwater this week here in 'sunny' Wiltshire, with yesterday being the worst day. It didn't stop raining all day. I am sure I saw the first signs of gills developing on one of the alpacas.

This morning, so far, we are bathed in sunshine and a very wet herd is drying out by the hayfeeder. Hopefully it will be a dry day.

Splendid news on the sales front as the incredibly good 'package' that I mentioned has, as expected been snapped up. I have to confess to feeling a little bit dirty after plugging it a couple of blogs ago. The salesman side of things doesn't sit naturally with me. I hate 'sales' tactics and all that guff. So people, I apologise for the flagrant advertising. It will not be a regular feature of this blog, that is not why I do it.

We are now looking forward to appearing once again at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show on Wednesday the 19th of August. It is a one day country show and is our favourite. We went to their spring show and had a great day out. If you read this and can make it come along, you'll have a good day for sure.

As I write this (I have had break) it is chucking it down once again. Marvellous, bloody marvellous!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

All is well in the land of the Patou.

We have had a great weekend here in Patouland, some good friends over, tents in the garden, barbecue, beer, wine, pub lunch, village dog show and alpacas at the centre of everything.

Before that the herd was rounded up and given their Selenium jabs which they obviously enjoyed immensely. The herd was once again checked over and they were in fine fettle. Having conferred with the great chieftain of the Inca warriors (over a glass or two) we have decided to jab with Selenium every three months. This ensures that they all get the required dose.
Spitting off was also carried out over the weekend and a cracking 12 out of 13 spat off magnificently. The boy Columbus has four girls spitting off out of four! Come on big boy!! All one time matings as well which is great news. The main man Jack has 8 out of 8 spitting off, no surprise there. The remaining empty girl shall remain nameless to save her blushes as this is the second year we have been trying to get her pregnant. She is on agistment here and is causing some concern. She spits off for a month or two and then starts hitting the deck again. Frustrating.
The other news is that the kittens are plotting the downfall of the mad labs. Sebastian is pictured here about to pounce on poor old Bryn as he lies asleep.
Fortunately a truce was called (whilst Bryn was still asleep) and they both joined him for a snooze.

As I said, all is well in the land of the Patou.

Friday, 24 July 2009

And another thing!

Ok folks this will be short. I never intended this blog to be a marketing tool other than the fact that some people might read it and want to buy some alpacas from us......?......!.....?............. ok so it is a marketing tool ......... mmmmm ........ just thought it was a bit of fun anyway here we go.

We agist animals here at Patou and most of the animals agisting are usually for sale. It's how we pay for stud fees basically. (I know Tim, I know, soon mate soon. Its just we've had other stuff to pay for!)

We have had a small herd of seven animals from Avon Water Alpacas here to sell. They arrived just over two years ago. Four we sold last year, Matilda, Vita, Milarka and Minna. We have three girls left, Monique, Veronique and Moselle.

Their owner has asked me to sell them quickly as she needs the money for something. She has instructed me to sell them at half their for sale price! They had been reduced anyway earlier in the year but are now almost being given away.
Combined they are for sale at £13,000 which has now been reduced for a quick sale to £6,500!!

Now at that price you may think that they are ropey old things but no, far from it. Monique was sired by Koricancha Sinbad of Wessex. He has had a lot of rosette winning progeny.

Veronique was sired by the elusive but very impressive Wessex Fernando and Moselle is an ATA Cambridge Centurion girl. In short they are worth every penny of £13,000 let alone £6,500.

On top of the sire stuff, Monique is due a cria next month sired by the big boy himself, our favourite stud male, Lillyfield Jack of Spades of Inca! That is sure to produce a cracking cria.

Veronique is the first female to be mated to Cambridge Columbus, our very own special boy! She is spitting off nicely and is now two months pregnant. She is a cracker and her cria will also be good, no doubt.

So there you have it, if you read this drivel and are interested in a simply amazing deal please give me a ring. These girls are known to us, they have immense potential to produce top quality cria.

Click on the website link at the side of this page for full details.

Sorry for the marketing blog but I would rather they were sold to a friend or blog reader at least, it's that good a deal.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Pasture analysis!!

Oooh! I hear you exclaim, pasture analysis, that sounds ribticklingly exciting!!!!
Is ribticklingly a word? If not it should be. I will use it gratuitously in future, ribticklingly good.
Anyway the title refers to some pasture analysis that we have recently had done. Ooh err get me sounding like a proper farmer!

Pasture analyis? Why? I hear you all exclaim in unison! Well let me explain.

We have had a few minor ailments amongst the herd over the past couple of years, nothing major, mainly a bit of lethargy here and there, an upset tummy, an unexplained bald nose etc etc.
How were we to know that? I hear you squeak with deep concern

We have ruled out just about everything and all that was left was a possibility that there may be some sort of mineral deficiency in the pasture. So I phoned up a man who works for a company that does this sort of thing and supplies pasture/soil treatments to farmers, big farmers. After a chat with this very nice man he agreed to send off samples of our grass for analysis. He sent me a pre-paid envelope and I sent off a bag of grass collected from several areas of the field. The results came back and the man phoned me. I don't quite understand how or why but the test was carried out free of charge.
How is that I hear you shout? I don't know, as I've just said. But how cool is that, absolutely free! What a very nice man!

Anyway the upshot was that we have a Selenium deficiency in the grass. A couple of other minerals were also low and we had high levels of something that I have never heard of and can't remember. In fact I couldn't even pronounce it. Sue being a medical operative had and ridiculed me to the point of tears several times, openly laughing at my ignorance.
She never did, did she? I hear you question incredulously. Ok maybe not, but she could have done.

So what did we do next? I hear you all bellow impatiently?
Well here's what. We drenched the herd with a Camelid specific mineral drench.
NO! Yes we did, drenched the lot of them. Some of them didn't like that at all.

A few weeks later, Louise, our lovely vet came and took blood from five randomly selected members of the mighty Patou.

Why? Why did she do that? I hear you splutter exasperatedly?

Well, here's why.
Louise then sent the blood samples off for mineral analysis to see what their levels were now after the drench. That way we could see if the drench was sufficient to correct the mineral imbalance in their diet or if we needed to do more.

What more could you do, you seem to have done everything and more? I hear you sigh whilst slowly shaking your heads.
Ooooh what were the results of the blood tests? I hear you question embarrassingly (you had forgotten hadn't you?)

Well the results showed that the herd was still deficient in Selenium.
Ooooh!!!!!!!!! I hear you gasp!
What now? You shout!

Well here's what. We gave the mighty Patou herd an injection of something containing lots of Selenium, that's what we did.
Stunned silence from you I think..........what are you waiting for?

Well what now of the health of the mighty Patou herd? I hear you clamour with open arms and hope in your hearts.

Don't really know actually we are still pondering our next move. Camelibra again? Selenium jabs (my preferred option because we know they will all get enough) or something else. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime here is a picture of some kittens.

Belle (now seemingly fully recovered) and her brother Sebastian, a right pair of little terrors!

Apologies for tonights drivel, odd mood, very odd indeed!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Time for a rant

First of all a couple of pictures of the new boy. He has now dried out and fluffed up and looks very handsome indeed.

His name is almost decided on, the front runner being Samson, although George Alexander Fry is also a contender!

Now that's out of the way onto what I wanted to write about.
Every now and again I have to let off steam.
I am pretty calm, in a very juvenile way, for the most part but all the time the internal pressure is building and building. So that I don't go completely bonkers this pressure must be released. Sometimes I just shout for a bit. This I find can be done most effectively whilst I am in the Patouwagon driving along when nobody is watching or more importantly, listening.

Sometimes, embarrassingly, I explode at home. There is usually some shouting, some kicking of inanimate objects and a bit of storming around. It's all over in a flash, pressure released, job done. I know it's not nice, I know it's not clever and I'm not proud of myself but it seems that it has to happen, bottling it up is not good.
Anyway, today is time for releasing some internal pressure about alpaca showing. I have been thinking about the subject for a while and want to get it off my chest once and for all.
I ranted about it in a previous blog when someone wrote in the SWAG (South West Alpaca Group) newsletter about the fact that it wasn't fair that the big alpaca breeders were allowed to take their alpacas to shows and win all the rosettes. That small breeders had no chance and something should be done about it. There was a suggestion that there should be shows just for 'small' breeders or that the big breeders should be restricted as to how many alpacas they could enter. What a load of drivel, it had me fuming.
Recently I heard that there had been a discussion about holding separate classes at shows for 'small' breeders with the first and second placings being allowed to enter into the main show with the big breeders. In other words a 'qualifying round'.
I'm afraid I couldn't be more against this if I tried, I think it stinks. Not only do I find it belittling and patronising but I really believe that it is totally wrong.
What is the point of taking your alpacas to a show if you are not prepared to have your animals judged against the best animals at the show? No point as far as I am concerned. To have to enter into a 'qualifying round' because you only have 10 females is insulting.
The big breeders have the best chance of breeding the best show animals for sure. They have more chances to get it right, they have the experience, the know how and the resources but that doesn't mean they always win, no siree mister not at all. I want to take them on, I don't care if I win or not. I have always been of the opinion that it is not the winning that counts it's the taking part. I just want to be given the opportunity.
If I am required to qualify to get the chance to stand amongst the big breeders you can shove it. Patou Alpacas will not be there.
Right, rant over, I feel much better now.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Problem birth?

News of an addition to the herd here in Patouland. Coolaroo Judah, Judy, the horse, gave birth in splendid fashion this morning to a healthy light fawn male. His sire is Wessex Cosmos from up the road.
Judy, as I might have mentioned is our 'problem birther'. Well not today! She might as well have been reading the 'How to give birth by the book' textbook as it was just about spot on.

He is also the strongest cria I have seen. He was up on his feet, without falling over, within 5 minutes and was under having his first drink within 15 minutes. Top notch. The rest of the herd were surrounding her throughout and took a very keen interest in the proceedings. What a splendid start to the day.

He was so strong that when he wandered over to the feeder I thought he was going to tuck in to the hay! He is unnamed at the moment but I think he needs a big strong name to match his early behaviour.

Other news here is that Columbus seems to have the hang of this mating malarkey at last.
Here he is pictured smooching Priscilla with her cria Minnie the Minstrel watching on. Priscilla was the perfect way to get Columbus going. He looked at her from afar, there was a dull thud as her knees buckled and hit the baked mud and he wandered over to carry on at his leisure. She is a complete tart our Priscilla, one of our originals, lovely, lovely, lovely.

Since then he has been in our top paddock with two lovely ladies from Tisbury Alpacas, Alice and Dilly. He pretty much ignores them during daylight hours but when night falls he's off. Three nights this week we have been woken up to the gentle noise of Columbus orgling away in the darkness. He is still working on his orgling, at the moment he sounds like an angry bumble bee
in a jam jar, it's rather endearing and when I hear him it makes me smile. He's going to be just fine my boy, just fine.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

It's a waiting game.

We are doing what most of us alpacas do a lot of in summer, we are waiting. We have two girls left to unpack and the next one up is a bit of a worry.

Coolaroo Judy (affectionately known here as 'the horse') is owned by a lady in Australia and is here as a managed animal. In other words we look after her as one of our own and split any profits made from her with her owner. Judy has been with us for over two years and is our 'problem birther'.

Last year Judy required the vet to pull a very large cria out of her, sadly it had been dead for some time due to an abruption. Basically the placenta separated from the cria inside and there was no way of knowing about it. It didn't make us feel any better but at least we knew why the cria died.
In 2007 Judy gave birth to Sophie. Again a huge cria but this time delivered by the vet and Sue pulling on ropes. It was a struggle as Sophie was not in the right position with her legs pointing backwards and she was well stuck. Sophie thankfully is a very healthy adult herself now.
With Sophie we had the heads up that someting was wrong because Judy started rolling and was obviously in distress. Last year there were no clues until a head appeared.
Yesterday Judy was behaving strangely. She had that far away look to her and was mooching around. We watched. We could see that the cria was moving around in there and eventually Judy settled down and resumed grazing. She's now behaving normally. At the moment of writing it is hurling it down so they are all flat out in the 'It's raining quite hard' pose.
I have swapped my shift today to a late start so that I can keep an eye on her this morning. This is one we don't want to miss, if something is going wrong we need to be here.

The other thing about Judy is that she is the biggest alpaca here by miles. She is also the hardest to handle and is petrified of human contact despite the most gentle of handling. She spends her life pretty much on the verge of superstress.
It is now 1324hrs and I must go to work. Judy has grazed with the herd all day and looks no more like giving birth than I do...........................steady now children!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Time to blog at last!

Sorry for the abscence again folks the day job has been pulling me around by the ear all week which is highly irritating. Nothing would give me greater pleasure to turn round and tell it where to go but that's life I suppose.

It's all good news here in the magical world of Patou though. The latest addition to the herd, Patou Polly, is in fine fettle and looking lovely, as you can see. Her mother Connie will be introduced to Columbus in a week or so which is fantastic news. He now has a bit of a queue forming so better sort himself out soon.

He is going to say 'hello' to Priscilla today, which we hope will sound in his mind like 'Ding dong!' The lights will be dimmed, the music will be on and fingers will be crossed. I will try not to stand within earshot shouting 'COME ON BIG BOY!' as that will no doubt put him off. Think about it fellas, big pressure, nobody needs that!

The other good news of the week is that little Belle, who spent two rather expensive days with the vet is now home and improving by the day. She is charging around with her brother Sebastian and behaving like a kitten should do. She still looks a little spaced out at times but hopefully she will continue to improve.

Sebastian himself is a real tearaway but likes nothing better than to go to sleep curled up on a shoulder. Yes folks that is my ear.

I was asked to write an article this week for inclusion in the South West Alpaca Group (SWAG) newsletter about how you can be successful and be a small alpaca breeder. I have copied it below, it may be of some help to someone. It does big us up a bit but hey, if we don't do it no-one else will!

Making a success of being a small alpaca breeder. (No-one said it would be easy, but it is possible.)

Sue and I formed Patou Alpacas when we bought our first three female alpacas in February 2006. Three and a half years later we now have a herd of 18 alpacas, 13 of which are females (including this year’s cria).

We are classified as ‘small breeders’. It’s not a phrase I particularly like but by virtue of numbers alone it is the category that we fit into. We are small breeders. There I’ve said it.

When we started we had a vision of where we wanted to be in 5 years and ultimately in 10 years. We formulated a breeding plan and decided how we wanted the herd to look. We were determined to use the best herd sires we could find that fitted in with our breeding plan. We wanted colour, our foundation females were black, light brown and dark fawn and that is how we saw the herd. I would stand and look at our little herd and imagine it much larger, 20 alpacas, 50 alpacas, a field full, all coloured, all with the Patou prefix to their name. All running up for a cuddle when I whistled, ok maybe that’s a bit too far, they are alpacas after all.

We predicted that we would need 5 years of growing the herd before we would be in a position to start selling our own alpacas. In the meantime we needed to generate some income for stud fees.

First of all we needed to get established, we needed the herd name known, and we needed people to know that we were here. Patou alpacas had arrived on the scene and I felt the world needed to know about us. If no-one knew we were here there was no point, it was a non-starter; it would be like whispering into a dark hole.

In November 2006 a computer literate friend of mine designed a website for us. He taught me how to update and change it, a time consuming process for someone with a technology aversion, but we couldn’t afford the set up fees of a website designer so it was a do it yourself job. We used Moonfruit ( a ‘design and maintain your own website’ company that allowed us to put as much or as little effort in as we wanted. The website has moved on a long way from where it was and it is now something I am quite proud of.

We advertised in ‘Alpaca’ and ‘Alpaca World’ magazines and we had some ‘corporate’ clothing made up with the Patou name, logo and web address printed on. We had some banners made, some business cards and an advertising leaflet. All done relatively cheaply. We then splashed out on a small marquee type thing, only 3m x 3m but emblazoned with the Patou web address and in ‘Patou green’, in fact everything was green, it was our chosen colour.

Once we were equipped with all that we entered as many shows as we could go to. I work full time and Sue works part time so we were a bit restricted but we entered every eligible animal we had into the Bath and West Show and the SWAG Spring Show, later came the Futurity. Our show team was basically anyone who was eligible; it was a short selection process! Our first year’s cria, Lily and Henry both took rosettes as juniors, one in each show. We were up and running. Since then we have taken at least one rosette at every show we have been to, bar one, grrrrrrrr. Testament to the commitment we have of sticking to our breeding programme.

We also took our alpacas to agricultural shows, village fetes, anywhere people wanted us to go basically. It was and still is great fun, everyone loves alpacas. It is a great feeling when everyone who comes up to see them thinks they are fab. If you haven’t tried it you must. It is an uplifting experience.

So back to this money we needed for stud fees. We were lucky enough to have the help of Tim Hey at Inca Alpacas who encouraged us. He asked if we wanted to take on some animals to sell on behalf of their owners on a commission basis. It meant more responsibility and more work but the way I looked at it was that if we wanted to get on in the alpaca world we had to work at it. No-one else was going to do it for us. If we wanted to make it work then we had to move up a gear mentally and start thinking, not like a small breeder, but like a big breeder.

Taking on alpacas to sell meant that the website had to be seen, it had to be interesting and it had to attract people. We thought long and hard about when we were researching alpacas and what had attracted us to certain websites. We also thought about what put us off certain websites. It had to be personal, it had to be friendly, it had to be honest and it had to be fun.

In my job as a country bobby I had written a monthly newsletter which was very well received and it was something that I enjoyed writing. It was drivel really but drivel with a message about crime prevention or about being nice to each other. It made people smile and I figured that was the key. People like to smile, people like to be amused, and it makes things interesting.

I decided to delve even deeper into the internet world and started to write a blog. Patou Patter, Ramblings from an alpaca farm in south Wiltshire, was born and a link was posted on the homepage of the website.

At the same time I had to get the website seen. Initially a Google search revealed that Patou Alpacas appeared on page 42! Not good, you need real stamina to flip through 42 pages of alpaca sites. So various measures were taken to improve this standing and we now pop up on or near the front page most of the time, I still don’t understand how it works but it does. In fact I have just had a look on Google and we are on the first page today, fantastic! The website now gets in excess of 50 hits a day and the blog is read by people from all over the world. Seriously, it is! I have a thingy on it which tells me where people are that read it, how cool is that?

So back to this raising money malarkey. In 2007 we took on some alpacas from other small breeders (who wanted to stay small) and some from EP Cambridge (not a small breeder!) and marketed and sold them on their behalf. We sold 7 alpacas that year, the commission paid for all of our stud fees. Last year we sold 6 alpacas, again on behalf of other people. Again the stud fees were covered. This year so far we have already sold 7 alpacas and summer has only just begun. It is the best start to a year we have had since we began selling and we are apparently in the middle of a credit crunch.

So why have we been able to sell alpacas? I don’t really know the exact reasons but I think I know several things that may have helped.

1. People need to know who and where you are. You need to make this happen because no-one else will do it for you. Seriously, they won’t.
2. You need to connect with people. Why buy from you? What makes you different from everyone else?
3. Honesty and integrity, without that you are not doing anyone any favours least of all yourself and you will be found out.
4. Think big, our motto is ‘You don’t have to be big to be mighty’.
5. Think outside the box, be different, be brave.
6. Get out there and make it happen, have faith and be positive!

So there we have it, I hope it helps. We have massive faith in our alpacas and huge faith in the future. Doom and gloom have no place amongst the mighty Patou herd.
Alpacas are fabulous animals and they produce a fabulous product. People need to know about them. We as alpaca breeders, small or large, have a duty to spread the word. So what are you waiting for?

Mark Steele, Lord of Patou, Chief of staff to the Mighty Mrs Steele of Patou, Holder of the Order of Spit, Orgler in training, Highly trained in the ways of poop scooping avoidance, Chief trumpet blower to the mighty Patou, Drivelmaster, Chief tantrum thrower and last but by no means least Berk of the Highest Order.

Ok the last bit was just for the blog!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A rollercoaster weekend.

It has been a weekend of ups and downs here in Patouland. I know it's now Tuesday evening but I am not really sure where Monday went?

Anyway on Saturday Sue and I actually went out for the evening to a party. Not a particularly unusual thing you might think except that Sue and I hardly ever go out for the evening. What with work (conflicting shifts), on calls, lack of babysitters due to living in the middle of nowhere (a nowhere we are particularly fond of mind you) and the constant call of the many animals requiring this or that it has become a bit of a rarity.

Sue volunteered to drive which left me free to play. The party had a 'heroes' theme. Strangely Sue ended up going as a Crunchie bar (!?!?!) and I just went as myself................ obviously!
I have only myself to blame for my condition on Sunday so no sympathy requested but we were then straight into a barbecue lunch. Just what was required a 'hair of the dog' and a relaxing evening. Half past midday our guests arrived and apparently they left at around half past eleven that evening. A very pleasant lunch/afternoon turned into a 'screamingly good evening' with great company, great music, (I'm talking Lady Ga Ga here folks!) and far too much seriously tasty wine. Luckily I was the only one working on Monday and that was a 3 O'clock start. I know, we should know better.
Monday morning was made worse by the fact that Belle, one of our new kittens, was in a great deal of distress. She couldn't stand up and was obviously suffering from some sort of balance problem. It wasn't nice to watch so I was off to the vets as soon as they were open. Should I have been driving? I think not. That's life. The prognosis from the vet was not good. She was admitted and they threw the kitchen sink at her............not literally, she would have been squashed.........they took blood, tested her for everything, administered antibiotics and gave her steroids. She tested negative for everything and didn't show any signs of improvement. I discussed euthanasia with the vet, which just wasn't nice. We decided to give her to the end of the day and if there was no improvement we would make the hard decision.
The vet rang late afternoon and said that she had improved slightly and that she was being taken home by one of the nurses to see how she was in the morning. They still didn't know what was wrong with her.

This morning the vet Sophie, (we have an alpaca called Sophie after she (Sophie the vet) pulled her out of her mother two years ago) gave us the news we wanted to hear. Belle had made a dramatic improvement overnight and could come home in the afternoon.

A long chat with Sophie (the vet, not the alpaca) revealed that she still didn't know what caused the problem and that it was very much a 'wait and see' situation. Once the drugs wore off she could go back to how she was, or she could improve and that would be that.

Now some of you may wonder why we are going to so much trouble over a 6 week old kitten that cost us ten quid from a local farm. The vet bill is already into three figures and we haven't finished yet. The answer for us is simple. Belle and Sebastian became members of the Steele/Patou family last week and we stick up for each other here. It is a no brainer, we fight for our animals and that's just the way we are.

Anyway as this is an alpaca blog, so some alpaca news. They are all fantastically healthy and look fabulous.

PS. I do have some pictures but am struggling to get them on the blog. Maybe tomorrow

Friday, 3 July 2009


Ok folks you've had several days to leave a comment whilst I've been busy at work. You haven't left one, I'm not offended, its been 7 months since my last 'comment free' blog but no you can't upset me by ignoring me. No way, it'll take more than that, no there haven't been any tears or tantrums or anything, just don't care if I'm honest, no, not bothered, just not bothered. It is a bit rude though. There I've said it. Now I'm prepared to move on.

Anyway, the fluffy kittens are here!! Yes poor old Bob our cat had to be put down a few months ago and we have been debating his possible replacement for a while. They arrived yesterday and consist of a little grey girl called Belle and a little peachy boy called Sebastian (Seb).

They don't quite know what to make of us and we don't quite know what to make of them. In a certain light they look seriously alien like, really they do. I half expect them to fix me with a steely gaze and issue some ultimatum for mankind in a deep throaty voice before peeling their skins off to reveal their true gruesome selves. Eeeeuuuuww!

Belle and Seb in their den. The dogs don't know what to make of them and Josh seems petrified.

Staking a claim for the sofa in the sitting room in the west wing, actually the only sitting room we have, came over all 'grandeur' for a moment then. This was whilst I was at work incidentally and Mrs Bigsoftee was in charge.
Other news is that we had some ****hole messing around in the alpaca field the other day whilst we were both at work. Gates were deliberately opened, alpacas were rushed into paddocks and gates closed again. Mums and cria were separated and Columbus, who is a tad aggressive towards other boys at the moment, had several hours to beat the living daylights out of Henry, our first ever cria. Henry was in a real state when I found him cowering in the bottom corner of the main field. He was bloodied and in a state of shock surounded by the weanling boys who also looked like they had had a bit of an ordeal. Angry just isn't a big enough word, furious doesn't even touch it, I was..........well you can probably guess.......the air was blue and I was in a murderous mood for quite some time.
The only other thing that really threw me was the presence of a dead magpie in the gateway that had been opened and closed. Almost like a sign. Well if the perpetrators would like to present themselves for a return 'sign' I will gladly provide one, right in the teeth.
Lastly some good news. Liz Curzen who has a small herd of alpacas a couple of miles up the road phoned with some splendid news today. Liz has a lovely brown female called Connie who's womb was rented out to us last year. She was covered by superstud ATA Cambridge Centurion last summer and gave birth to a beautiful fawn female cria this morning. She will join the mighty Patou herd once she has been weaned later in the year. So far this year the mighty Patou has three new cria, all female. Now there's something to smile about!