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Latest News

Last Updated: 7th of September 2017


7th September 2017

RETIREMENT SALE UPDATE

Sales seem to be progressing well. We still have 7 males for sale and 6 females, one with male cria at foot.

2nd August 2017

RETIREMENT SALE:

Over the last few years we have gradually reduced our herd numbers and we have now decided to retire altogether. I am in the process of updating the website to include all the alpacas that are remaining for sale. It is worth revisiting the site over the next week or so to take advantage of the latest amendments and photos.

We currently have for sale 9 breeding females between 2 and 5 years old and 7 in tact males between the ages of 2 and 5 in various colours including 2 good looking blacks. In additon we have 5 really nice yearlings .


1st March 2017

After a busy Christmas we are coming into the quiet time for sales of knitwear and yarn so we are now offering a click and collect or phone and collect service for customers who live or are holidaying locally. This will give our customers a chance to see and compare all our products before making a final decision on what to buy. As well as allour usual alpaca hand knits - beanie hats - extra beanie hats - bobble hats - scarves - cowls, we also have a selection of alpaca yarn, festival throws, beach wraps, pet stuiff, alpaca socks and more.

Customers from further affield can still order online at www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk

From May 1st we will be holding open days when you can interact with the alpacas, see all our lovely alpaca and other products and have the opportunity to have a nice relaxed cuppa whilst enjoying the lovely views.

18th October 2016

We currenty have three potential stud males for sale but we are not expecting to have any more available for sale for some time as we have downsized our herd.

20th June 2016

Two new male alpaca cria have arrived and they both look stunning. They are both dark brown and their fleece looks excellent at the moment. They are very cute and cuddly looking. See Laurel Farm blog for photos.


18th June 2016
Four more alpaca ladies in waiting due o give birth any day now. They are enjoying their dust bath and starting to look very expectant alpacas.

5th June 2016

Only three young male alpacas for sale now at the bargain price of 350 each as pets. Suitable for breeding as they are good quality animals, subject to an additional charge for transferring them on the pedigree register. We are down sizing our herd for retirement and just keeping a few to enhance our quality of life by just looking attractive in the field.

1st June 2016

First alpaca birth of 2016. Nina has given birth to a beautiful dark brown male cria. His Grandsire,Pedro, was bred on the farm and was show winner with many rosettes.

30th May 2016

Only two pregnant female alpacas left now available for sale.

29th May 2016

Perdita (pregnant female alpaca) has now been sold. We still have a couple of female alpacas and a few young male alpacas available

21st May 2016

Still in waiting. We are going to a birthday party this afternoon so our neighbours are keeping watch for a few hours. We will be selling some females with their cria at foot when the time comes, so watch our sales page later in the summer.

20th May 2016

Ladies in Waiting - two of our females are due to give birth any time now. Although we have experienced pleny of births in our years as alpaca breeders, it is still an exciting and (sometimes) anxious time. The arrival of a beautiful perfect cria is always worth it.


13th May 2016

We have now opened our shop in the barn. We havwe much more space and as well as our lovely soft alpaca yarn and hand knitted hats, mittens and scarves, we are selling brightly coloured throws from Peru which are ideal for picnics, festivals or just to make your home look exotic and colourful.



We now have a range of pet carriers, bedding and vet bed cut to order as well as coats and toys.

We have downsized our herd but still have a few alpacas for sale at very reasonable prices.

Why not come and visit and see for yourself.

22ndFebnruary 2016

We now have 6 females (most pregnant) and 5 entire males available in our retirement sale. See our For Sale page for more details.

4th February 2016

We are about to wean last year's cria and that means that we now have remaining in our herd dispersal sale: 11 females - some pregnant and all but one born between June 2011 and June 2015. One older female was born 2007. There are also eight entire males available born between 2012 and 2015. Guide price for all the females is 8250 and for the boys 4000 or 11,000 for the entire herd. Buyer would be responsible for collection. All will be up to date with vaccination and routine husbandry. Phone Geraldine on 01460 220763 or 07951 553253.

15th November 2015

Despite the apalling weather we have sold several alpacas. Only five pregnant females with cria, 2 Pregnant females, 7 in tact males and 1 wether remaining.

8th October 2015

Alpacas - Retirement Sale. Small pedigree herd to be sold preferably as one lot but would consider splitting. 7 Pregnant Females with cria at foot (2 male cria and 5 female cria), 2 Pregnant Females,
2 Yearling Females (one mated and spitting off) 6 in tact adult males, 1 yearling male. All adults but one 8 year old female are between 3 and 4 years old. Phone 01460 220763 or 07951 553253.


17th September

Our farm shop is now open Thursday to Saturday 11.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Christmas. Meet the alpacas in the paddock next door.

1st September 2015

Visit our stall and meet the alpacas at Chardstock Street Fayre - Sasturday 5th September. Wool, hand knits, socks, brightly coloured Peruvian throws, bags and more.


17th August 2015

Don't forget your alpaca socks. We seem to be selling lots of bed socks at the moment. Must be campers!!


13th August 2015

We will be taking some of our lovely male alpacas to the Chardstock Street Fayre on Satuday 5th September. We will also be selling our hand made alpaca products and yarn. All in aid of charities.

12th August 2015

All our alpaca fleece has now been send to the mill or has been siold. We have 3 x 2k bags of Gotland Sheep fleece available to hand spinners. 18 per bag. Phone Geraldine on 07951553253.

7th July 2015

Lovely soft, fine alpaca fleece now being sorted to go to the mill for spinning. Last chance for hand spinners to buyfrom this year's clip.

1st July 2015

Another black cria - this one is a female and she is called Anastasia. She seems rather delicate but is nevertheless joining in with the other sturdier cria when they pronk around the paddocks. Currently sorting this year's fleece to send off to the mill. Hand spinners can purchase at 10 per kilo for a limited period.


26th June 2015

Alpaca fleece and Gotland Sheep fleece now available.

17th June 2015

Another healthy cria arrived this morning - handsome black male called Cusi (Inca for Joy). Mother and baby doing well.

15th June 2015

Colin, the shearer, came this morning. Luckily the weather was fine and the sun came out in time to green the newly shorn alpacas.

11th June 2015

Two more females born yesterday. One is light fawn and the other white. See Laurel Farm Blog for photos. Contact us to buy high quality young males.

30th May 20q15

First of this year's cria born. A black male with lovely soft fleece and brown female - not yet dry!! See Laurel Farm Alpacas Blog for pics.

21st May 2015

New in our farm shop - picnic blankets/throws, brightly coloured bags, hats and bright coloured cargo pants.

20th May, 2015
See our blog for the latest lamb pics. We will be at River Cottage on Saturday and Sunday with some alpacas and our alpaca products.

6th May 2015

Gotland sheep triplets born. Total 8 lambs from 4 ewes. Looking forward to alpaca births starting later this month.

27th April 2015

Book your Gotland lambs now. Young male alpacas also for sale. See our Sales page.

22nd April 2015

New arrivals on the farm - two sets of twins born to our Gotland ewes. The Gotlands have lovely fleece and the lambs so far are black with lovely soft fleece.

10th April 2015

We have a number of young potential stud males for sale. Ready to work now. See our sales page.

28th February 2015

This website and our Alpacastuff online shop website have been revamped and brought up to date so that they can easily be viewed on tablets and phones as well as conventional computers. As well as our popular Country Socks we now also stock Walking Socks and Short Socks. The walking socks are 75% alpaca and are ideal for walking, climbing, and hiking because alpaca fibre does not absorb moisture like other fibre and therefore bacteria does not cling to them readily and make them smell. Short socks are 55% alpaca and ideal to wear with smart shoes or trainers. These and much more are available in our farm shop at Laurel Farm or online from Alpacastuff.

30th January 2015

There is not much good grass left in the home paddocks so after securing the fencing where the ram escaped and checking the entire boundary, we felt we could risk sending the male alpacas and all the sheep down to the winter paddocks. Although the grass down there will not be very nourishing this time of year, at least there is plenty of it. Mike moved the old stock trailer down there so the hay and feed can be stored down there, saving a lot of wear and tear on the muddy tracks.

16th January 2015

At last some dry weather. The alpacas have all become used to feeding in the barn and so they roll up at about 4 p.m. when I put the chickens away. We also keep their water just inside the barn in a raised trough. It is very convenient and it means that the food is eaten or guarded so that no vermin get a chance over night. The cat is also on duty. It all helps with bio-security.

2nd January 2015

All the alpacas are in the home paddocks now and with the recent frosty mornings are pleased to be chomping their way through the hay, although they still like the grass when it has defrosted. We are looking forward to a really great 2015 and wish the same for all our friends and customers.

28th December 2014

Back to normal after a really good family Christmas and business in the Laurel Farm shop was really going well. New ideas in the pipeline for the spring holiday makers.


24th December 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Laurel Farm Alpacas.

18 December 2014

Just arrived - jute bags. Small ones which are ideal as gift bags and larger shopping bag size. Lovely soft cream alpaca scarves nearly sold out. See the online shop.

11 December 2014

New in our farm shop Alpaca Bedsocks. Pretty pink and blue in small (4 - 7) size and basic cream in small, medium and large. They are very attractive and lovely and warm.

3rd December 2014

Our alpaca bedsocks have sold out. New stock arriving soon in pink, blue and cream. All available in our farm shop at Tytherleigh, Devon or online at Alpacastuff.

25th November 2014

In addition to our scented candles we now have delightful hand made soaps in the Alpacastuff shop. They are only available to visitors to the farm and not online as yet. Oatmeal, rose, honey and almond are just a few of the treats in store.

21st November 2014

Henning III our new Gotland ram (half share) arrived yesterday and is settling in well. We are hoping for a good crop of lambs in the spring to help graze the bottom fields and give fleece to sell or use - we have not decided on that yet. The ram will be over-wintering with us when he has serviced the ewes. He will have to be a sheep friend for our male alpacas as we have no other rams.

20th November 2014

New in our alpaca farm shop hand made cowls made from our own alpaca yarn! Only in champagne at the moment but can be made to order in any of our natural colours. See the alpaca yarn on our Alpacastuff website.

16th November 2014

We ran a condition check over the male alpacas today and decided that it is time to give them some extra hay and protein feed. The grass has lasted longer than usual, but some of the goodness has gone out of it now. We are also taking dung samples to check for fluke (even though we have already taken preventative measures) and other parasites.


15th November

We have sold out of our home made alpaca scarves. We are busy making some more ready for next week. As soon as they are ready the online stock will be adjusted.

14th November 2014

The Sheep have been released into the wild again after being confined to the barn whilst their fleece was growing back a bit. They have loved the company of the alpacas and so we have been letting them run with the females. They were all a bit bedraggled today because of intermittent showers, but most of the time they seemed happy enough.

11th November 2014

Our Gotland sheep complement the alpacas in that they graze the areas that the alpacas disdain. They also have excellent fleece which we are currently selling to hand spinners at 14 per kilo.

8th November 2014

The alpacas are using the barn more and more as the November rain kicks in. Our "pet" Gotland sheep ewes were shorn yesterday and are being kept in the barn until enough fleece grows back to keep them warm. They are shorn twice a year.


3rd November 2014

I was checking the October shop takings with last year and found that we had no takings at all in October last year because the roof had been blown off in the gales and terrific rainstorms, so we had to close for a while to repair and regroup. It has been a different story this year with more visitors and more sales.

Latest addition to the shop - hand made scented candles and hand made soap - just in time for Christmas presents.

The alpacas love coming up to the paddock near the shop as they get a bit of a treat to entice them to meet visitors, so it is heads up when another car is driven in.


7th October 2014

This is the time of year given the damp warm weather, when Liver Fluke can attack livestock, so we have been drenching our alpacas to try and protect them from this parasite.

9th October 2014

The last of our sock delivery has arrived. We now have a selection of Country Socks (Knee length) Walking socks (cushion soles) and dress socks (short).


3rd October 2014

We have just received a delivery of short alpaca socks which will be added to the online shop stock tomorrow.

2nd October 2014

We opened the shop again today after our break. The alpacas who come into the paddock next to the shop when it is open, did not need to be asked twice. I think they sensed that there was some lovely fresh grass up there, or maybe thought there was a chance they would be fed by visitors, which quite often happens.

I thought it was a bit early for Christmas sales, but was surprised that I sold a calendar and three cards today. As there is no storage space for extra stock, I usually put everything out on display when it arrives.

1st October 2014

The farm shop will be reopening tomorrow with our usual range of 100% pure alpaca yarn, hand knits, colorful alpaca throws from South America, gifts and cards. Alison's Animals 2015 Calendars now in stock. A selection of our pretty alpacas will be happy to meet you in the paddock next to the shop.

26th September 2014

We have closed the farm shop until 2nd October when we will introduce autumn/winter opening hours. Thursday to Saturday 11.30 - 5p.m. (or dusk). As ever, we will of course be available to show customers our alpacas for sale, and are happy to open the farm shop for customers who have made the journey specially.+

12 September 2014

I am in the process of updating our Alpacastuff website now that the summer is drawing to a close. There are new products and new photos so click on the online store button to see what we have in store.

30th August 2014

We now have six young intact male alpacas for sale, ready to work. See our Sales Page.

18th August 2014

The footfall in our little farm shop has increased nicely over the past few weeks and the extra shelving I bought for the Honiton show has come in very useful as a display for our new range of walking socks. There has also been quite a lot of interest in the alpacas and visitors love to sit with their cup of tea, coffee or an ice cream and watch them quietly grazing. If they are too far away for a photograph I try to tempt them closer by shaking a bucket of food and some people enjoy the experience of walking in the paddock and the patient ones are investigated by the alpacas with a wary sniff or two.



8th August 2014

Sadly our day at Honiton Show did not go well. The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Marquee had next to no footfall. The boring FSB banners made it look like a hospitality tent, and probably most people assumed that it was an insurance company or, maybe, solicitors.


Also East Devon Council had a stand next to us and their banners completely blocked sight of our stand and all the other stands on the same side of the marquee.

Whatever the reason the footfall was extremely low and none of the exhibitors had a good day, even though the avenue outside was crowded.

It was more frustrating because the craft marquee next door was heaving. I did not think we qualified for the craft section as about 50% of our products are hand made from our own alpaca yarn, but the rest is bought in. On visiting the Craft Marquee, I found that many of the stands had a similar mixture and so we would have qualified in that section.

18th July 2014

We have made the final payment for our stand at the Honiton Show. We will be in the FSB marquee with our own alpaca yarn, hand knitted garments as well as colourful throws, scarves and shawls from South America. We have been unable to find out what the footfall is likely to be in the marquee so it is difficult to estimate how much stock to take!! My friend, Pam is full on with the hand knitting and I am making as many scarves as possible on the knitting machine. Fingers crossed for dry weather on the day.

16th July 2014

We are currently waging a war against Himalayan Balsam. It is a prolific week which was imported and is overpowering some of our native plants, leaving just bare earth when it dies back in autumn. Luckily most of it is along our ditches and behind the stock fencing, so even if it is bad for alpacas, they should not be able to get at it easily. We try not to use chemicals so between us we are pulling it up and strimming it.



12th July 2014

We had a great day at Uplyme today. The weather was kind and the promised rain did not start until we got home!! The alpaca boys behaved very well and were not too worried by it all, and we sold a surprising amount considering it is summer time and was quite hot!! This bodes well for our latest adventure which is a stand in the FSB marquee at Honiton Show in August.

11th July 2014

We are off to Uplyme Summer Show and Country Fair tomorrow. We will be taking three or four young male alpacas as well as some of our shop stock.

10th July 2014

New to the farm shop - we now have alpaca walking socks with cushion soles. They come in red, black, cream and dark green. Will be online at www.alpaca-stuff.co.uk soon.


8th July 2014

Now that the school holidays are nearly upon us we are opening the farm shop for longer hours and bringing the female alpacas and their cria up to the paddock next to the shop so that visitors can see the bearers of our exceptional soft fleece and enjoy seeing and buying their lovely yarn and hand knitted accessories, like hats, scarves, throws and more.

Our visitors seem to love being so near to the alpacas and often Dad and the children will happily gaze or take photos whilst Mum can rummage uninterrupted in the shop. At last the dogs are getting used to the chime which goes off in the house when anyone enters the gate. This is partly due to the fact that on a windy day the hedge moves and quite often sets the chimes off, so now it is difficult for the dogs to know what is a true visitor and what is a false alarm, and partly because the novelty of people coming in and out has worn off.


24th June 2014

Petra as a weanling managed to clear three 4ft fences to get back to her Mum. She has grown into one our our biggest alpacas and was really quite flightly when being handled, although being in the barn so much during the recent horrible winter has made her much calmer and more co-operative than she used to be. Hence I was not surprised that well past the expected due date she was still acting as though she was pregnant by spitting off the male. First of all I thought she was just being her old self, but when she wandered over to the water trough which they use as a bathing station with a lump coming out of her bottom, I realised that she was trying to give birth. There must have been a clerical error when entering her mating date!!

We now have a lovely light fawn healthy male with a devoted mother, despite a difficult birth. See Laurelfarm alpacas.blogspot.com for more details.

9th June 2014

Milk bandit, Angelina, was being rejected by her Mother. Nina, one of our favorite female alpacas has had five cria, so it was unusual that she was not looking after her properly. She has now been treated for possible mastitis and has had medication to improve her milk flow. See laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the whole story.

3rd June 2014

We have currently six young in tact males for sale and one working stud male. We are retaining our remaining females as breeding stock for our own herd until next year.

30th May 2014

Angelina is an amazingly bright white cria who was born on the 21st May. She is quickly catching up with Annie our first born cria of 2014 and they are often seen running around together, although sometimes the younger adult females try to join in and it puts them off a bit, which is a shame.

Her fleece is exceptionally soft but does not have as much crimp as I would like, whereas Annie's definitely has the wow factor.

See Laurelfarm alpacas.blogspot.com for more details.

19th May 2014

Annie is doing well - see photos on our blog. Laurelfarm alpacas.blogspot.com. Also we have made our first alpaca sales of the year. A little later than usual, but still much appreciated. Two males are going as chicken guards and one pregnant female is also leaving us for new pastures.

9th May 204

The first cria of 2014, Annie, was born this morning to our oldest alpaca, Citrine. Mother and baby are doing well. See the farm blog for a photo.

4th May 2014

We should have believed our alpacas when they became agitated and ran up and down their paddock. They must have seen the fox in the next field who took one of the hens. We usually have some alpacas in the same paddock as the hens but have been resting the grazing. Needless to say they will be returning to guarding duties tomorrow.

13th April 2014

Quality young male alpacas for sale at bargain prices. See our for sale page for special deal on a trio of males. Coming soon in the farm shop - ice cream and cold drinks.

9th April 2014

We have started on our new venture - willow trees in our acre of wetlands. The alpacas and sheep loved the willow leaves so we have had to run an electric fence round the saplings to protect them. Willow is a natural wormer, so we might let them have some access once the trees are established. See our blog for photos etc:

3rd April 2014

Our farm shop is now open Tuesday to Saturday 11.30 a.m. to 3.30p.m. weather and farm duties permitting. As we are only a two man band we sometimes have to deal with alpaca issues and of course our lovely animals have to come first. We have given up opening when the weather is really bad as we have to batten down the hatches and bring the signs in for safety reasons. We would not be very popular if one of our A boards went into the road!! So, if you are coming specially, it is a good idea to phone ahead.

24th March 2014

We have a new arrival. Nanook is a lovely young white male with excellent fleece and we are hoping that when he matures he will bring some valuable new genetics into our herd. Our alpacas have really soft fine fleece but from time to time we need to add a new ingredient to the mix, so to speak. See our blog for photos.

18th March 2014

Today we set up the last of our young females with Pedro, our beautiful dark brown stud male. He will stay in the paddock with his young female alpacas so that we can expect his quality progeny next spring. This means that shortly all our females will be pregnant and ready for sale or to increase our herd back to its normal size.

12th March 2014

See our For Sale page for a new special package deal on quality young in tact males.

10th March 2014

We have just moved all our alpacas to fresh grazing and given them a preventative treatment against fluke, which is a parasite that thrives in wet conditions and can cause fatal liver damage to livestock. We also treated the sheep and when we put the goats out they will be dosed as well.


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The sun is out at last and for the second day in a row the female alpacas and the ewes have been able to graze the paddock around the farm shop, which is closed for repairs. They have also managed to destroy my containers full of plants, which I forgot to remove. We have to keep the farm gate locked whilst they are up there, as there is nothing else to stop the animals walking on to the road. We cannot risk someone walking in and forgetting to shut the gate, or leaving it insecure. See our blog for some happy photos .http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk

Whilst we are waiting for Nick's (Influenza) and Mike's (Irregular Heatbeat) health and the weather to improve the shop remains shut, so we decided it would be a good idea to let the female alpacas and the Gotland sheep graze in that paddock.

Not a simple as it sounds because the hedges are laid in the traditional way and would be alpaca proof especially as we have a long Devon Bank across the frontage to the main road, but we were not so sure about the sheep. Nick only did the hedges at the end of last year and so they have yet to thicken, leaving a couple of places where a determined ewe could access the road. Mike and I spent a happy hour untangling some netting and making a temporary block in both the top corners.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


At last there has been a break in the weather which coincided with Nick, our once a week helper, being on the farm. With his help in holding them I managed to take some new photos of our male and female alpacas for sale. This is a serious business so the photos need to look professional, but there are some really funny shots of Nick trying to stand up on the wet ground. In one he looks as though he is dancing with his alpaca. They have been cropped for display on the for sale pages, but I think I will try to find the dance one to go on the blog!!


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Having the alpacas in the barn makes it very easy to carry out routine husbandry and Nick and I trimmed all the female alpacas' feet and the ewes', followed by a dose of ADE vitamin drench (to help compensate for the lack of outdoor light) before they were released for a bit of exercise and fresh air.

It is still almost impossible to stand still in some areas of the farm without getting stuck in the mud and I am sure I am developing a duck waddle. If only I had four legs.


See our blog for photos and the rest of the news. laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk


The alpacas have been mainly indoors this winter because of the terrible wet weather here in the West Country but the last couple of days it has been possible to leave them out to get some exercise and enjoy the winter grass (not the best). It also saves them from going stir crazy and getting grumpy with each other.

They are very keyed in to their daily feed now and this afternoon I went into the barn casually for some reason only to be joined suddenly by galloping sheep and alpacas all hoping to get there first. I had all the dogs out and they were rummaging in the straw in the barn and so the herd was quite surprised to come face to face with four collie dogs in their living quarters, so they all turned tail and galloped back out.


See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.

After photographing all the young male alpacas for sale last week, Nick and I trimmed the female alpacas' topknots to make them smarter and took photographs of them for our alpaca sale page as well. The photos are on our for sale page but check out our blog too!!

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


Cria (juvenile alpacas) can often be seen pronking at dawn and dusk. This usually starts off with one youngster pronking (similar to a canter in a horse) and is quickly joined by one or two and usually then all the youngsters in the herd. They go at a considerable speed and obviously enjoy themselves. It is probably to exercise their limbs as much as anything but it looks like really good fun.

I cannot remember seeing adult alpacas doing this. They gallop if they are running away from trouble or to food but do not pronk!! Yesterday, however, first the adult females in one field and then the adult and yearling males in the adjoining field decided to have a pronking session!! It was lovely to see and it is nice to know that even adult livestock have childish impulses. I can only think that they got the wind (quite blustery) under their tails!!

This afternoon there was a sudden blast of wind which is probably the pre-cursor of the forecast gales and the whole herd galloped up from the bottom of the field and seemed relieved when we ushered them into the barn or their shelter. Obviously a more serious form of exercise and not for fun either!!

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.



We left it as long as possible before ordering more hay and straw for the alpacas in the hope that we could pick a dry day and one when Nick was here to help. The hay loft is wonderful but high so we have a system between three of us.

Michelle from a neighbouring farm delivered a load of 50 small bales of hay and 10 bales of straw. She drives a huge tractor and trailer as if it was a mini!!

She threw the bales down and Nick and I piled them on the barn floor. After Michelle left Nick went up into the hayloft and Mike was below with our tractor. My job was to load three bales at a time into the tractor bucket for Mike to lift up to Nick in the loft to unload. It went very smoothly but we were all ready for a break and a cuppa. The cat took the opportunity to have a cuddle on my lap.

See our blog for photos and the rest of the news. laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk



When we first moved on to our 15 acres to farm alpacas it was completely derelict and amongst other things we spent a lot of money on really good stock fencing for our alpacas. We expected them to last for many years, but this year we are having to demolish a large percentage because they have rotted making them unsafe and/or ineffective.

Our friends, Clive and Elaine, cam to stay for the weekend and put in a lot of work to start the process. We intend to end up with two fields each split into two so that we can divide males and females. The small paddocks dividing various classes of alpacas, which we used when our herd was bigger, will disappear.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.

Time for the alpacas routine vaccinations. They have been grazing outside during the day for a few hours to give them a chance to stretch their legs and to give us a chance to muck out. To help prevent infection it is advisable to give any sort of injection when the skin and fleece is dry (unless of course it is an emergency).
With the sudden showers and heavy downpours it has been difficult to find a time when the alpacas are dry and it is convenient for us to carry out this procedure.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


The place looks strangely deserted in the mornings these days because all the alpacas are kept in over night in their various shelters to protect them from this winter's uncertain and vicious weather. It is a shame that they missed the beautiful start of the day today but they soon made up for lost time when they finally stepped out at about 9 a.m.

These photos show the dawn view from the balcony in our bedroom and include a recent visitor who sits on the fence for quite a while every morning occasionally pouncing on some poor unsuspecting creature for breakfast. Unfortunately even with the zoom on my little camera I could not get a really good shot of the buzzard.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.

The problem with the goats' feet made us have a rethink and whilst Mike was having his routine blood test this morning, I introduced the older male alpacas, Anchor, Pedro and Spirit to the yearlings. They have been sniffing each other over the fence for ages and so when I put them in a paddock together they hardly noticed.

I then moved the goats into their shelter which I had cleaned up and added lovely dry clean straw for their comfort. It was easy to move the goats up the long race. I just showed them the bucket of feed and they were putty in my hands. My only concern was the proximity of their long horns. Not that they meant me any harm, but they find food extremely exciting!! I hope a stay in the dry, without access to the wet grass, will help their poorly feet to return to normal. When I looked in a little later they certainly seemed very much at home. The chickens have not ventured in yet, but I am sure they will eventually. They will probably use the horns to perch on.

When Mike returned we moved the wheeled hay rack out of the alpaca yearlings' shelter and put up some wall racks to make more room and when the rain came Dolly and I herded them all in. They were quite keen when they saw the buckets of alfalfa waiting for them and I listened carefully when I went up to shut the farm gates and there was no noise, so presumably they were all happy together.

This will make it much easier because with the goats housed indoors and only two lots of alpacas instead of three there will be a lot less mileage in the muddy fields.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.

The weather in the West Country has been appalling and we have kept the alpacas in shelters or in the barn for most of the time, letting them out to exercise and get a few rays whenever possible. They have all learnt to recognise the shake of a bucket and rush to return to their abode whenever summoned thus. The girls in the barn make a bee-line to get back in as soon as it starts raining. The four Gotland sheep are in with them and they are worse than the goats for eating, so if I do have a bucket in my hand I have to hang on for dear life and dish out the contents before being mugged.

The chickens are enjoying the alpacas being kept in because it means lots of straw and hay lying around with plenty of seeds for them to scratch around for. We have to cover up the wheelbarrows if there is any hay on them or it all ends up on the floor, having been thoroughly scrutinised for the slightest tasty morsel

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


The weather has been extremely wet and windy down here for the last few days, with a few hours of calm and brightness in between. since the alpacas do not get a chance to dry in between I have gone back to shutting them in at night. Until last year we never felt the need to get them in at all, but the winter was so severe that we had the main herd in the barn, but this year with our fewer numbers I am keeping them in their paddocks but enticing them into their shelters with a feed just before dark so that I can at least make sure they are not exposed to the wind and rain over night. It is not a bad thing as it forces me to go do the rounds morning and night so that I will spot any fallen trees, broken fences etc: caused by the storms.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


Even the alpacas were surprised to hear Victor, our resident cockerel. He has has finally achieved it. For ages he has been croaking. Then he developed a "cock-a-dooerrr" but this morning he gave forth a true Cock-a-doodle-doo! Luckily it was about 9.30 a.m. and even then it was not too raucous, so fingers crossed he will remain conservative in his vocal efforts. I think it will be a mixture of crowing and croaking for a while yet.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


Alpacas are our main farming interest, but our other animals including the chickens also have their place. They pay for themselves and make a bit of profit too.

Chicken Licken (ours, not the story book one) is now an ex chicken. The first signs that she was poorly were that she was easily knocked over by the other chickens and on one occasion I saw her actually somersault. On Friday she became lethargic and had obviously lost interest even in eating, which was her favourite hobby. By yesterday she was not really with us and we made a comfortable bed for her in the shed where I store the straw for the henhouse.
This morning I thought she was dead but she chortled very slightly, so I just let her rest on until later when she finally breathed her last.

Originally a battery hen, she was the sole survivor of a fox attack a few years ago (when I accidentally left the door to the henhouse open over night) and my friend Pauline taught her to be cute and feed from her hand. From then on she thought she should have access to all of our property including the kitchen if we were not careful. She was often seen riding in the land rover or the back of the quad bike.

All the other hens are all right, but they only lay eggs, they are not friends!!


See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.



Having reduced our herd of alpacas this year we are taking the opportunity to re-brand the business with greater emphasis on the wonderful alpaca products that are available both from our own alpacas and from South America. Our on line shop has been revamped and the Christmas Market was a re-launch for the farm shop.

We will always have our own alpaca wool and our practical, classic hand knitted products but there is also a place for the lovely bright colours available from South America .

The new borns in the spring will revitalise the herd and continue to provide lovely soft fleece for spinning. I just love the baby alpaca fleece which is the softest of all.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.


All went to plan for our Christmas Market with lots of visitors for most of the morning. The cars started to pour in at 10.30 a.m. and it was really busy up until lunch time when it started to quiet down. The farm animals, alpacas, sheep and chicken all behaved well and were quite a draw especially for the children.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.

With the Christmas season nearly upon us the alpacas' wool and the garments we make from them are at their most popular. Our online shop is doing well and we expect the Christmas Market on Sunday 1st December will give us a kick start in the farm shop.

The weather should be dry for Sunday, so fingers crossed we will have plenty of visitors to make it worth while for the stallholders and, of course, for our own shop.

The barn will be full of interesting stalls from pottery and handmade walking sticks to soap and goats cheese with patchwork, bunting, natural Christmas decorations, fabric goods, cakes and preserves and more in between.

As we do not dye our own alpaca wool, we have introduced a range of fair trade alpaca throws, scarves and shawls in vibrant colours to complement our own classic and practical hand knits. Our alpaca socks are, as always at this time of year, selling well and now that most of our building work has been completed the farm is looking quite neat and tidy. 29.11.2013

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of the farm news.



25.11.2013

Just before I was about to close the farm shop today a car pulled in and four young men emerged. They wandered down the drive as I wandered up and I made the observation that I presumed they were not interested in the shop and they confirmed that they were more interested in the alpacas.

As usual when visitors particularly want to see them the alpacas had removed themselves to a lower paddock, so I offered to bring them up so they could see them at close quarters. They were really pleased and so I called Dolly the dog out to help me move them.

As luck would have it Dolly acted like a participant in One Man and His Dog on this occasion. (Sometimes of course it can go horribly wrong)! She listened to my voice and whistle commands and casually herded the eight young males up the paddock and through two gateways. She then lay down to block the second gateway whilst the visitors took photos and generally enjoyed the experience. When I felt that the alpacas had settled down I called Dolly back and raised my hand in a wave as Dolly and I walked away.

One of the boys waved back and shouted "I have got to say that your dog is awesome." so what I always knew is now official!!

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.



We are making the most of the weather to prepare for the winter ahead. We sent the three older male alpacas who normally free-range around the house and barn areas down the race which separates our paddocks from the perimeter fence. The grass was in need of a trim up and the boys enjoyed the fresh grazing but after a couple of days they kept coming back up to the gate in the hope that they could access their normal shelter and, I think, be part of the "family" including the yearling alpacas, dogs and chickens. They are now back in their home territory and enjoying being Lords of all they Survey again. See the photos on our blog.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.


We have been gradually working our way through the routine husbandry for the alpacas and finally finished by trimming their toe nails. It was a nice easy job as they are all well behaved and the wet weather has kept the nails soft and easy to cut. Sometimes in long spells of dry weather the nails seem to be as hard as stone.


See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.

With the wet warm weather that we are experiencing, the warnings are out that liver fluke is becoming a problem for sheep and alpacas in the area. The liver fluke is a flatworm with a complex lifecycle which relies on moisture and warm temperatures for survival,

Acute infestation can cause livestock deaths if the parasite is left to multiply unchecked. Sheep of all ages are equally susceptible, with the most acute forms of infestation observed during the autumn. Alpacas can also carry this parasite, especially if they are grazing on wetlands . We have a spring in the winter paddocks and quite a large marshy area, which is particularly attractive when the marsh orchids are in bloom.

As a precaution we drench our alpacas against fluke three times over the winter, starting in October and the last dose in April. With our smaller herd it is an easy job for me to do without any help. Today was the turn of our females and I was really pleased at how well they behaved. Even Perdita, a well built but sometimes unco-operative young female, gave way gracefully.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.

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SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER 2013 IN THE BARN ON THE FARM!!! Christmas Craft and Gift Market. Refreshments.
Meet the alpacas, sheep and chickens.
10.30 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.

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The chicken guarding alpacas are obviously feeling on top of the world and told Romie, the dog, to leave their exalted position. The chickens think that Mike's yard is just another perching opportunity and the dogs are accepted as four legged chickens, I think. Only the cat remains aloof and literally on top. She has taken over the barn as her abode and sleeps on the highest bale in the hay loft.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.

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Having survived the terrible winter and summer last year when for the first time we had to keep our alpacas in the barn for several weeks, we have had a change of plan this year. We have sold off about half the herd and are left with just 24 now. The female alpacas are in the "winter" paddocks which boasts a large shelter in one corner, and the young male alpacas are in the home paddocks with the three older stud males free ranging around the farm yard area.

Rather than having to occupy the barn for long periods, thus making it unavailable for any other purpose, we have decided to house the alpacas over night in the shelters. Whilst it is not yet cold we have had torrential rain sometimes (usually when I am out without a coat) and when it happens during the night as well as the daytime the animals do not dry out. If this were to be combined with cold weather, they could well get very cold indeed.

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.

Dolly usually herds alpacas when we need them moved around but one of her other duties is helping to put the chickens away at night.

In the summer we do this at tea time before we go indoors for the evening and Dolly is very useful as the hens do not believe it is bed time. She herds them into their pen and they can still wander around and feed until dusk when they go indoors and the automatic pop hole shuts them in safely for the night.

See the http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk/ to find out what Dolly did next!



The Vet recommended a suitable wormer to fight the parasites identified from dung samples and we have now dosed the bucks, sheep, male and female alpacas, so they should be fine now, although I will probably take a percentage sample for testing in a couple of weeks just to make sure the treatment was successful.

The three alpacas who act as chicken guards and lawnmowers in the house area did not appear to have any worms according the test results but we have decided that it would be a good idea to give them a prophylactic dose anyway

See http://laurelfarmalpacas.blogspot.co.uk for the rest of this farm news.