|Last Updated: 22/08/2013
Recently we decided to extend the grazing area of the farm and have reclaimed a piece of land from our woods. A lot of old pines have been felled, gorse bushes removed and it has been ploughed a number of times and reseeded. It is coming along nicely and should be ready for 'habitation' next year.
For this year I was keen to increase the number of coloured animals in our herd, I therefore used an outside fawn stud male ( Mile-end Trojan) who was a junior champion in UK. We are pleased to say that our girls have produced two dark fawn females and a light fawn male cria from these matings.
Due to missing an important trip to UK last year because of hand rearing the delightful Freya, I have decided on no cria this year. This allows more time for indulging the adults and who knows we may manage a trip away.
Although we have a lovely breeding herd of alpacas we are not a commercial farm and do not turn out cria year on year. This year only two cria were planned as a 'test mate' for one of our latest stud males. I am very pleased with the results and plan to incorporate him into our future breeding plans.
Although we had only two cria, what a difficult time we have had of it! At five days old the first cria sufferred fly strike and if you have not had it, it is truly horrible. He was clean and our birthing fields when in use are cleaned twice per day, so we were baffled. Our vet did not seem overly surprised and seemingly it is not unusual when the weather conditions are right i.e. warm and wet. He advised treating the second cria with a fly repellent in case she also became a target, and athough taking great care to avoid both her rear and head her mother rejected her and she became my first ever hand rear.
Some of this years cria have already arrived, we have a beautiful bevvy of babies, some sired by Bozedown Pernod and others from Popham Columbus. Both sires are UK bred and well known top winners at British and French shows. Accoyo Remarque (recent Supreme champion at the Bath & West show UK) and Champion Bozedown Galaxy are grandsires to these cria so they carry enviable genetics and characteristics in fleece and conformation. Come and view our new batch of cria some of which will be for sale. See cria gallery.
We have been very fortunate this year to add to our acreage courtesey of our local Mairié. The one acre field adjoins our existing land and has previously only been cut for hay. We are very grateful to the commune for allowing us the use of this
Spring is in the air and we are eagerly awaiting births from our gorgeous girls to both Champion Bozedown Pernod and Popham Columbus next month. If you are looking to secure a cria from either of these fabulous prizewinning boys please contact us.
FRENCH BULLDOG PUPPIES
CHIOTS DES BOULEDOGUES FRANCAISE
Yes, I know its an alpaca site, but we have available an adorable litter of red fawn puppies. They are just three weeks old and completely adorable. Hope to get some photos up A.S.A.P. There are male and females and will be ready second week of December but can keep until after Christmas. They will be vet checked, vaccinated and microchipped. Registered L.O.F with the French Kennel Club. (see photo gallery).
ALPACA TRAINING CLINIC
I have just returned from a very enjoyable two day ‘Camelidynamics’ clinic run by Julie Taylor Browne from the UK and hosted by Andy and Nicky Spillaine at their farm near Riberac.
Camelidynamics, as some may know, is a handling and training system devised specifically for alpacas, llamas and other camelids by American trainer Marty McGee. The philosophy behind the training is mutual respect and an understanding of how things are viewed from the alpaca’s perspective.
Julie is one of only three people qualified to teach this course worldwide and her way of teaching makes the whole thing fun with plenty of time for interaction and hands on practical work.
Day one began with introductions from the ten attendees, a mix of both French and English and Anka, a Dutch friend of the Spillaines who translated. Some had brought animals of their own that were proving difficult to handle and there was a good mix of both alpacas (supplied by Andy) and llamas of various ages to practice on.
We then went on to the course proper and Julie asked what we really expected from our animals when we handled them. The correct answer ‘nothing’, ideally we would like them to accept what we do to them with as little fuss as necessary. To this end we listed what makes an alpaca feel safe, i.e. its herdmates, lack of restraint, its balance, etc. and what makes it feel unsafe, being isolated, chased, grabbed or shouted at.
We were subsequently shown the preferred way to catch an animal and how to correctly fit a head collar on an untrained alpaca. Once they became accustomed to handling, we were shown how to progress to quicker ways of catching and fitting the head collar, the best positions to stand, in relation to the animal, in the catch pen and herding techniques to facilitate collecting animals from the field.
A part of the success of ‘Camelidynamics’ is achieved by the use of ‘T Touch’, a system of massage pioneered by Linda Tellington Jones and though some of us were skeptical, when we practiced the technique it served to calm not only the alpacas but us too!
Day two was taken up with a detailed talk of how best to design your barn and catch pen areas. We then had more practical sessions, teaching animals to lead and how to use obstacles, such as weaving poles, as opportunities to improve your animals confidence in the show ring or for trekking.
Once we had the basics in hand we were shown ways of vaccinating and cutting toenails of animals single handedly, without restraint or stress, which was surprisingly easy and very effective. This would certainly be very advantageous for those of us who manage our herds without assistance or those with smaller numbers of animals.
The overriding message throughout the clinic was that if we learn what makes our animals feel safe and balanced and incorporate it into our interactions with them, they will become calmer and more accepting of us. The system is practical and gives very quick results therefore easing the stress on both human and animal
Interspersed with all the learning we enjoyed good company, had fun and were well fed, watered and ‘wined’ by our genial hosts. As the course came to a close each was, I think, eager to get back to their animals and try out some of the techniques we had acquired on this very informative course.
Interested in learning more about ‘Camelidynamics’? Visit our ‘Links’ page for contact details.
We are pleased to offer POPHAM COLUMBUS, RESERVE CHAMPION MALE, WHITE COLOUR CHAMPION, 1ST ADULT WHITE MALE at Vierzon 2008 at stud this season.
Our two new boys did us proud at the Alpaca Concours at Vierzon 2008. Classical Castor, 2nd place, white intermediate male (class of 10). Mile End Tolstoy's boy, 2nd place, intermediate fawn.