Friday, 27 February 2015

New arrivals!

The vet finally turned up to vaccinate everyone, but at 2:30pm little Lucky, the pygmy goat, had her first born stuck, head was out but he had forgotten his feet, and so the vet had to push him back in and re-organise his presentation - it probably only took 2 or 4 minutes but it felt like half an hour.

This was important as he had already started to breath and he had to hold his breath for all that time, and needed some help to start breathing again.

The vet thought it appropriate to help his twin out and he was in much stronger condition and was bleating and looking for food within 20 minutes.

Orio, the first one - yes, he has a name now - had to have his first meal tubed into him as he had a swollen tongue and needed the colostrum quickly - thank goodness the vet was there as that is one procedure we are not confident about.

Mum was soon up and about licking them clean, and was given a painkiller to give her some relief from the vet's intervention.

After this we went out and vaccinated everyone, and when we came back all was good.

At around 9:30pm Vicki went out and took some milk off mum and bottle fed both the youngsters to ensure they had a good feed to see them through the night.

Obi, the second one, has learned where the milk bar is and was feeding well this morning, but Orio hadn't so he was shown where the milk bar was and was made to stay there until he had a good feed, so we know now that they know where the food is.

They'll be kept in the pen for up to a week now before they are introduced to the outside world, and we will be keeping a regular eye on them to ensure they feed.

Munchkin is up next, due Sunday, and then Breeze in around 4 weeks time.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Vaccination day for the llamas & goats!

We vaccinate our animals twice a year, we use lambivac which is essentially a vaccination for sheep against various forms of clostridial - a nasty disease that our goats and llamas can also suffer from.

But.... the weather was against us this morning, fair chucking it down with rain it was, and whilst our goats are all tucked up in the dry, the llamas tend to live outside and get a tad wet in the rain. The vet, whilst not afraid of getting wet herself, suggested that the damp weather could cause an infection at the injection point and it would be better to complete the exercise in the dry!

At around 10:30am the rain stopped and whilst there is plenty of cloud around the sun does pop out occasionally, and the strong wind is also quite drying, so we hope that when the vet coming back around 3.00pm the animals will be dry and we will be able to have a go at completing the exercise then.

All this hanging around isn't good for the animals as they have been confined to shelters since we rounded them up this morning, I think they sense something is going on and getting quite anxious. Still, a pile of fresh hay has calmed them down!

Monday, 23 February 2015

A darn fox got some of my chickens

Yesterday was a really miserable day - weatherwise to start off with!

From around 10am the rain started, heavy rain, and it continued all day. Everywhere became sodden very quickly. The animals, even the outdoor loving llamas, were all tucked up inside shelters  and nothing wanted to come out.

It was a good day to catch up on chores indoors, and one that had been bugging me for a few months was to update our website - the home page, the about us page, llamas for sale all got updated and changed. A good day really.

At around 3:30pm it was time to go check up on the animals, the goats needed more hay and to be penned up for the evening, the chickens needed corn and eggs needed collecting, llamas hay racks needed topping up and a little bit of feed required for each of them. The boy goats in the top field also needed fresh hay and some feed.

The alarm was raised when we (that is me and two dogs) found  a chicken in the wrong place. It needed coaxing to get back to its run, and when we got there we discovered 3 dead chooks, one headless, and one had disappeared completely.

The workings of a hungry fox - a rare daytime raid - we have been lucky that it has been 2 years since our last raid - and the fox managed to climb/jump over the fence which is electrified at the top and bottom. The chooks have a very large free range enclosure with trees and hedgerows, as well as three coops to live in, and so I was lucky in that the fox only got four and the other 14 survived. As is often the case you can lose the whole lot.

For the next few days extra care will be taken to ensure that the coops are locked up at night, but there is little extra we can do throughout the day! We may well have to bring our boy llamas back down to live in the enclosures surrounding the chooks and hope that they are better at guarding than our girls.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Our hens are starting to lay again!

We have a small flock of hens, plus an obligatory cockerel.

Actually, it's not obligatory to have a cockerel, but when you hatch your own, you are nearly always bound to have at least one. At the moment I have 17 hens and a cockerel (hatched last year, along with 4 hens - a good ratio methinks as it could have been the other way around).

The winter months have been quite scarce for eggs, we would be luck if we would get 2 a week, but with the new hens plus our oldies chipping in we are getting anywhere between 6 & 9 a day now.

We sell the surplus at the "farm gate" for just 10p an egg, or £1.20 a dozen - I know we could get more, but most of our buyers are friends and/or neighbours.

In the mornings they all come to greet me at the corner of their run to see if I am bringing any tidbits - which I never am. I feed the hens plain layers pellets that they have access to all day, and then in the afternoons they get treated to a handful of mixed corn.

My job in the morning is to give them fresh water, but I do throw out a few layers pellets for them to scratch around for. The cockerel, being a young chap is very wary of me, checking to make sure I'm not going to harm his girls.

It will soon be time to see if the cockerel has been doing his job, and to take half a dozen eggs and get them into the incubator - it will be good to get some youngsters into the flock for next winter - we might just get more than 2 a week then!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Unlucky 13!

On Friday we had to put our young male goat Jeddi to sleep.

He was born on a 13th, he was tag number 13 in our herd and he died on a 13th.

Not that I believe in any of that stuff but a coincidence none the less.#

Jeddi, along with his twin Jabba, were the first two goats that we can say were bred by us. His mum is Frostie, one of our retired girls, was one of four bought in girls, and Titan our first stud.

Jeddi was only 5 - a very young fit goat until last week, and in the space of two days, three visits by the vets (the last visit was with two vets) - he sadly had to be put to sleep. It appeared that he had crystals in his bladder and one was blocking the whole system causing great pain and distress.

The animals that remain are all in good health, although we have a few old girls that have typical old girl ailments. We have three girls in kid and hopefully by early March we will have a few youngsters bouncing around outside my office and that'll cheer me up no end!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Cola & Llatte for sale!

No, no, we haven't got into the drinks business.

Cola & Llatte are llamas, young girl llamas, and they are for sale.

They are full sisters, Cola is the older sister born in April 2011 and Llatte a year later in July 2012.

This is Cola, a dark llama, her dad was Pepsi & mum was Willow. Don't laugh at our naming but Pepsi Cola was such an obvious name for this particular girl. As a complete surprise was her sister..

Llatte who turned out completely white, same parentage!

They both get on so well together, not halter trained, but both like to be handled and will eat food from your hand. It would be nice if they could go together!

Please contact us via our website if you are interested in these or any other of our llamas that we have for sale.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cleaning up the polytunnel

The new polytunnel is now up and is in the same place as the last tunnel. The last one tore sometime late last year and not only was the cover torn but the frame had come apart and some of the hoops were twisted. Today I gave the tunnel a good clear out as both weeds and winter debris had made the inside unworkable. This is the after photo, I really should have taken a before photo.
 These raised beds look untidy and need to be weeded and filled with fresh compost ready for tomato crops - I have some Ailsa Craig seeds already springing into life in the propagator and I hope that I will get 4 plants (2 per bed) in early next month. I will then get 4 cherry tomato plants and 4 more large tomato varieties in sometime later in the spring/early summer so that we will have a succession of tomatoes hopefully through to late in the year!
The big bed on the right is full of strawberry plants - I plan to dig them out - add fresh compost and then replant the stronger plants/runners. I should get three rows of about 20 plants in there. The small bed had a pumpkin plant in last year and we got two nice sized pumpkins, one in time for Halloween, and the second had to be ripened off in the greenhouse after the cover was torn off. This year, I think I'll use this bed for some cut and come again lettuce!

At the end of the tunnel, is another tunnel of similar size and I plan to grow things in the ground rather than in raised beds. Haven't yet truly decided, but I bought some early potatoes on a whim today, so I guess I'll be starting with them.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

What great weather we had today in North Devon!

...and it was a Saturday, so no office work today!

On Friday we got the covers on our new polytunnel, and although I didn't have much time to do anything inside them, it was a nice enough day to get loads done outside.

We repaired the two greenhouses - both had broken glass - one from wind damage in a storm before Christmas, and one with a stone whipped up from a strimmer. They both need clearing out now as we need to make space for the seedlings that are already germinating in the propagator.

We also fixed the fencing in the boy pygmy goats new paddock - they'll finally be moved in the morning! they'll be well away from the girls then, as at the moment they are far too close. The girls will be kidding in the next few weeks, so not a moment too soon!

One raised bed was cleaned out of weeds, and another was cleaned out of last years runner beans and canes. Weeds seem to be mainly stinging nettles that have taken hold, I have dug them out and left the roots laying on the grass as we hope a frost will kill them off before adding them to the compost bin!

I hate to say it but the grass looks as if it could do with a cut!

Friday, 6 February 2015

We have llamas for sale!

We have decided that we are no longer going to breed llamas.

We have 19 llamas, including one stud male, and it is time to downsize the herd and focus on providing experience days for the public, both locals and holiday makers.

This is Llancelot our stud male - he is a proven stud having produced two cria in 2014, Guinevere by Tallara, and Galahad by Princess Clara. Llancelot was born here at Ashwood Llamas in 2010, son to King Arthur, a LLamalland stud and our own Katie.

He is very head-shy and dislikes having a halter put on, but he will tolerate a neck collar and walks well. He is quite a gentle llama and enjoys standing on the mound guarding everyone else.

He would make an excellent addition to any breeding herd.

Unfortunately, we are unable to deliver, but visitors are welcome to visit, walk him and get to know him before making any decision to buy, in fact it is a must really. Please contact us, either here or via our website for more information including price.

We also have 5 or 6 very nice young girls for sale - details will also be on our website soon, and I'll blog a little about them as soon as they are up on the site.

Please spread the word!

Thank you!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A sunny day - let's work in the garden!

It's a very pleasant winters day here in North Devon, the sun is shining, very little wind and the birds are singing, almost as if spring is here, but we know it isn't.

Today, I have too much office work to do, including writing this blog, to do much in the garden, but with some help we have replaced the frame for our little polytunnel. Tomorrow, the same help is going to put up a second frame and then we'll get the covers on!

Woohoo, that means that I will have somewhere to work outside when the wind is blowing and the rain is pouring! I can't wait.

Last winter I lost two polytunnels to the weather, one was an old one that before the storms came that just needed a new cover, but the cover was on and the storm ripped it off and twisted/broke the frame.

The other was an even older one that had a new cover put on, but it was not put on tight enough and the same thing happened, the frame ended up twisted and the new cover ripped to pieces.

This year, we have waited a bit longer and with some nice quiet settled weather, now is a good time to get them set up, so by next week, I hope to start clearing out the ground to get ready for some early sowing!

Can't wait!