Saturday, 25 April 2015

Cusco, our first!


Looking back, it was 2005 (July) when we first became interested in llamas and we went ahead and bought Lima & Inca, and it wasn't until 2008 that we had our first cria (baby llama) and as you can see Cusco was born on 15th August.

His younger brother Nazca came along a year later!

We have made the decision not to breed any more, but it is something that we will definitely miss!

Cusco & Nazca are still with us and have a great temperament and are always willing to halter up and go for a walk with willing guests!

Would you like to be a willing guest? Ashwoodllamas.co.uk

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

2015 - the year of the vet!

Our vets are doing well out of us this year.

All of our domestic animals have been, the cat was bitten by a dog (not one of ours), Lladdie has been sick, Gizmo has been limping, Pepper was injured in a fight with Lladdie & Cookie, bless her  is getting old.

The farm animals have also been a bit poorly, mainly goats, in fact I'm not sure we have had a vet out to a llama yet this year, we have had one goat Jedi, put to sleep as he was in so much pain and the vet could not fix the problem. Flo, our old goat is much the same as Cookie, the kids all needed assistance arriving.

We also have 3 poorly lambs, and it makes it all the galling when you come out to feed the lambs to find one had just "died" overnight, and one of the more healthy ones. This is the second one we have lost this year and talking to vets and other sheep farmers we have just been lucky in the previous years.

Yesterday was also a bad day, as Cookie went for her quarterly check up and the vet advised that her days were numbered - she said it a bit more kindly than that, but her back end is wasting away, she has very little muscle left around her back legs and thighs and struggles occasionally to get up. The vet was astonished at the change in her in just over a month (she had a problem a month ago unrelated to her regular check ups) - as we see her daily it is difficult to the see the change as it is so gradual.

The quarterly check ups are now having to be monthly going forward because if the deterioration continues at the current pace .... the less said the better, but I am sure you get my drift.

She is 14 years old this year and as Samoyeds have an average lifespan of 7-8 years I guess she hasn't done bad!

We'll still be sad though!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Llamas on a sunny day - spot the dog!

What a glorious weekend weather wise - you could see for miles.

Our lamas are certainly enjoying the fine weather, although it is rather a nuisance that they are fussy about what grass they will eat as in our 3 acre field where we currently have 11 llamas, they are probably eating just half of the grass that is growing, the other half we have to get out and cut.

In the above picture you can see 9 of our llamas and Lladdie the dog. At the front is Lima, our herd matriarch  and she is very much the boss, she was also the first llama we ever owned and so it fits well with us that she is boss. She has given us 3 cria, Cusco our top guard llama, Nazca our biggest llama, although one of our nicest and Tallara a young female who herself is now a mum to Guinevere who was born only last year.

We have a plan to control the grass, and that is where the lambs come in - I'm hoping they're not so fussy!

If you want to come and visit us and our llamas you can - check out our website - www.ashwoodllamas.co.uk  - thank you!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Our Welsh Twins!

These two lovely goats are just over a year old now, bought from Richmor Pygmy Goats in Wales, hence the Welsh Twins.

Nugget & Noodle still live together in their own accommodation and are not quite full sized yet, but come the autumn will be old enough to be put with the billy goats and start their working life with us. We currently have four breeding nannies & two stud males, so these two will bring our breeding herd up to six. We also have three retired nannies and a wether who keep the two studs in their place.

This year three of our nannies produced seven young kids, two sets of twins and a set of triplets. One of the triplets is being bottle fed as mum cannot produce enough milk for all three. We had 4 boys and 3 girls. The girls will be kept and increase our herd still further, and with two studs they will not be interbred. We have been lucky and sold the four boys, one set of twins, and one each from the other two will be going to two new homes where they will be treated well and kept as pets. Both new owners are experienced farmers/smallholders which is great.

We offer a chance to come and meet our llamas and other animals via our website Ashwood Llamas, so if you would like to meet Nugget & Noodle please check out the website. Thank you.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Gizmo


We own four dogs, or should I say they own us?

Lladdie, our border collie & Gizmo our springer spaniel have been with us coming up to three years now and are about a month apart in age. They are both from working stock and the idea was that each dog would be a companion for Vicki & I while working out with the animals. Lladdie is my dog, and spends much of the day with me, even when I am working in the office, whilst Gizmo spends the day with Vicki.

Having said that, there are times when I'll take all four dogs out for a play and a run around, and one of those times is part of the morning animal rounds, they get to play while I bottle feed the lambs and feed the goats. The other two, Pepper (Jack Russell X Springer) and Cookie (Samoyed) get sent back when I head out to feed the llamas, Pepper being a small dog is afraid of the llamas, and Cookie is just too old to be knocked about. Not that the llamas would knock her about but she is totters a bit and can't get out of the way as quickly as she once did - she is now 14 years old.

Gizmo is the funny one, so much character, loves to chase the ball, loves to swim in the pond and loves to pick up sticks/stones and carry them around. He even picks up dogs bowls, gloves, slippers, shoes etc..., all for a bit of attention.

Why not have an afternoon llama experience when you also get a chance to meet all our other animals, including Gizmo!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Don't say it out loud!

The vets have been booked to castrate some of our animals.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view we have been unable to sell our young pygmy goat kids as entire goats. We have had two sets of buyers who each want two wethers (castrated goats) as pets. I am sure that in their new homes they will be very well looked after.

Young goats who are castrated lose not only their manly bits, but this also stops the hormones that grow large male horns, they will end up much more like female horns, smaller and shorter. It also stops the urge to wee on themselves which in some way makes them more attractive to the girls.

Both Galloway and Nero, our two stud males have a horrid smell during the autumn rutting season when they try to attract the calling of the girl goats.

This is Galloway one of our stud goats.

This is Jedi, one of our wethers, I think you can just about see how much bigger Galloway's horns are.

The other animal booked in for the chop, is Llancellot, our stud llama. He has been for sale for a while now and with no takers, he will join our other gelded males (and females) with no chance of breeding.

We have decided to stop breeding as it is becoming harder to sell llamas, and we do not have enough land to keep on breeding.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Lamb update

We have 14 lambs, 11 can be seen in the above picture enjoying their lunch the other day.

We also have 3 lambs in sick bay, 2 lambs came to us very young, just hours old I think and were very weak, and despite having them for nearly 3 weeks now they are still not strong enough to fight their corner when it comes to drinking from the bottle. The other poorly lamb has pulled a ligament in one of its front legs and can only walk on 3 legs, very healthy & fit despite that but again cannot cope with the hustle & bustle of the rest of the lambs.

We have two sets of lambs, 5 are 2-3 weeks older than the others and this weekend they were taken down to the big field (albeit in a small-ish pen) where they will live until weaned when they will be let out to join the llamas. One of these 5 lambs is a bit smaller than the others and will stay with the younger lambs until it has put a bit of extra weight on.

The younger ones will stay in the old "goat" paddock and once weaned they will be able to join the bigger lambs.

I was amazed though at how much more civilised feeding time is now that they have been split up, and the older ones are no longer there to push the youngsters off their bottles because they can drink faster.

All in all a good move methinks.

If it stays civilised I may well let the 3 out of sickbay and join the others in the hope that it will aid their recovery but will keep a careful eye on jostling as the youngsters will need some protection to ensure that they get to have enough milk.

You can find out more about our smallholding at www.ashwoodllamas.co.uk