Wednesday 22 September 2010

Just A Thank You....

Hi Folks,

It's only a quick blog tonight but just felt that we had to say a thank you to a lovely lady that I have just spoken to on the phone, I cant say who it is as I forgot to ask permission to mention her name on the blog but you know who you are and you are more than welcome to come and visit us whenever you are in the area. Your words and encouragement have made us feel very happy and it was an absolute pleasure talking to you.
The alpacas have been chilling out in the paddocks today and Barry our helper has been down for his routine relax of poo picking the missed a bit Barry.....only joking, you keep coming down for as long as you want to.

"WillowBank Killawasi's Image" and "WillowBank Coco" enjoying the limelight

Well that's all for tonight.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

A Walk In The Park

Hi All,

The weekend is over and the travelling to and from work starts again.....Lisa is left to look after the alpacas with a bit of help from one of the villagers who likes to pass the time and relax, with a bit of poo picking of the paddocks, you must be crazy Barry but your help is much appreciated and if it helps you relax whilst being round the alpacas then you are more than welcome, oh and whilst I'm on the subject of being appreciated, that goes for you as well Isabelle the support and encouragement you have given us is fantastic.

With Sunday being the last day before returning back to work, we decided to make the most of whats left of the nice weather and go for a walk with the dogs around a local park. So with a farm sitter in place we headed off as a family for a couple of hours armed with the camera for those unexpected moments......for example the picture below, we knew the deer were at the park but didn't expect to get this close.

It was nice to see Lily enjoying the change of scenery and playing on the rocks......she has got no fear at all.....I think she might be a rock climber when she grows up!

Otto couldn't wait to have the attention brought back to her and in no time at all was waiting for her picture to be taken whilst sitting on a rock.

The alpacas have had there toes trimmed tonight when I got back from work as that is something myself and Lisa have to do together. It amazes me how quick some of alpacas nails grow so quick in a short time.....never mind, its one of those jobs that comes with breeding alpacas and its also a perfect time to see how the fleeces are progressing and to body score them.

Well that's all for tonight, back soon.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Success At WillowBank

Hi Folks,

Well what an absolutely fantastic day Saturday started with an early on the road driving time of 05.30 as I set off for the Standwick Centre, Frome Market, Bath. Today was the day of the Great Western Region Fleece and Fibre Show, a first of its kind to judge fleeces shorn from the alpacas without knowing who the alpaca belongs to, the names of the breeders and animal names were sealed in envelopes and only open once the judges decision had been made. I arrived just after 08.00 and was greeted by fellow alpaca breeders setting up the trade stalls in the main hall.

We had entered 2 fleeces into the show and was unsure what to expect, just learning from what the judge had to say about the fleeces was worth the trip down. Mr Dominic Lane internationally renowned for judging alpacas was the judge for the day.

The judging started at 09.00 and it soon came round to the first class of alpacas that we had a fleece entered into, Huacaya-White Junior just looking down the list of entrants made me nervous and with the judge having to narrow down the fleeces to get his chosen few, I was certain we had not even got a mention, never is our first alpaca fleece show. The judge has made his choice....6 boxes with fleeces in them sat on the table in front of me....can I tell if any of these are our fleece.....No they all look the same....which is what built the atmosphere in the room.....know one could tell who's fleece is who's. Well the judge reveals 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and highly commended......not even a mention of our fleece, i suppose it could be the 1st place choice but with hearing the names of the other winners in the class, I don't think so.

Before we can find out who the winner is all the Huacaya-White of all age groups have to be judged and then the first place winner from those classes gets judged and the winner from that goes onto Champion to be later judged for Supreme Champion but you still have no idea who's fleece is who.....what a fantastic way of doing things....its any ones guess who is going to win.

So its onto the next class and we have a fleece in this class too, Huacaya-White Intermediate another large class of entrants with some very good breeders entered, the judge really has got his work cut out trying to reduce the selection of fleeces down to just 6, I see some very good fleeces get pushed aside not making it into the final 6.....but the judge is happy and has made his 2nd place he announces "Wellground Cyan" Owners Name "Mrs Lisa Birch" in 3rd place.......hang on a minute that's our alpacas fleece....what in 2nd place.......then I get a nudge on my shoulder from Rob Rawlins saying "how about that then" Bloody Hell excuse my language we just came second....I cant believe it out of all the entrants in this class.....crikey.

Well the rest of the Huacaya-White classes get judged with some fantastic fleeces passing by my eyes, Then its time to get all the 1st place entries for this class together so that the judge can decide which one is Champion to be put aside to go onto be judged for Supreme Champion. The judge is ready he has selected his choice of champion for this class and that entry goes onto the chance of winning Supreme Champion so we won't know who that is until later, but we can now find out who has come first in the other Huacaya-White Classes so the winner of the Huacaya-White Junior Class is "Wellground Magenta" Owners Name "Mr & Mrs Birch" We have only gone and bloody won 1st place......holly macaroni.....I am shocked to say the least.......a 1st and 2nd......S**t the bed.......I cant believe it....I need to tell Lisa.

Our First place and Second place Rosettes.

The whole day was absolutely amazing, the atmosphere in the room was just fantastic everyone was just blown away with this show and its success, its certainly a show that we are already thinking about which alpaca fleeces to enter next year. In our opinion all those involved in getting the show up and running deserve as much support next year to make it even bigger. Great Western Regional Alpaca Show 2011 is a must for any alpaca breeder.

Well that's all for today, back soon.

Monday 13 September 2010

Duckies Grand Day Out......

Hi All,

Well another busy week passes with late finishes from work for me, unfortunately the blog has to go on hold when I'm on lates as I'm so worn out by the time I get home I struggle to string a sentence together let alone type a blog.....

The Alpacas have been enjoying whats left of the summer and enjoying the sunshine we have been having. "WillowBank Prime Contender" is becoming stronger by the day which is encouraging, we cant wait to see what his fleece starts to turn out like.

We have done a couple of spit-offs tonight which were showing good signs of pregnancy, we have hopefully now got all our females pregnant for next year.

Some of the gang enjoying the sunshine
A few weeks ago I blogged that Lily had placed a couple of duck eggs under our chicken that was happy to sit on them......well Lily had been checking the chicken every day without fail asking about her duck eggs and what was going to happen.....well we have a success.......

This is Lily's duck that she has name herself..........please meet "Ducky"
Lily is so excited about her duck that she wakes in the morning and the first thing she says is "Can I see Ducky" Lisa even had to take it in to Lily's play school as her teachers said that its all she talks about.......
Well that's all for tonight, more soon.

Thursday 9 September 2010

WillowBank Prime Contender

Hi Folks
We just wanted to introduce you to our new addition that arrived at 7.15pm on Tuesday evening......this is "WillowBank Prime Contender" sired by "Wellground Close Encounter"
"WillowBank Prime Contender"
"WillowBank Prime Contender" being greeted by this years cria's
The above picture is "WillowBank Prime Contender" with his mum "Wellground Beyond Compare" details of the genetics to follow soon. We cant wait to see what this little fella turns out like as time goes by.....good times ahead......fingers crossed.
That's all for now, back soon.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Close Encounter

Hi Folks

Just a quick blog tonight as I have not long just got in from work and Lisa has been very has been one of those days for Lisa, Wellground Beyond Compare one of our females has had a bit of a hard time delivering her cria, in fact she didn't Lisa did it for her.

Well the vet was called at 2pm as Lisa just had that feeling things were not going well, the vet came very promptly which was fantastic and after a little examination was happy that things were fine. Lisa is now watching Beyond Compare with eagle eyes as she is convinced that she is going to give birth tonight........

6.20pm Beyond Compare is defiantly having the cria....Lisa springs into action and soon realise that there is problems.....6.30pm the vet is called again on is on her way......unfortunately Lisa couldn't wait as all that was showing was the cria's nose then with a little help two front legs and the head....great Lisa thinks I will step back and observe the goings soon became apparent that Beyond Compare didn't want to be left and followed Lisa up the paddock.....Lisa then took a closer look and decided she would help, oh no......two front legs, one head and whats that poking out.......its a back foot......dilemma time. Lisa had noticed that the fight was starting to go out of the unborn cria and something needed to be done NOW the vet was still on her way not wanting to risk possible complication with pushing it back there was nothing else for it apart from pulling the cria out as it was.

Well we are very pleased to announce that the cria came out alive and kicking after a good rub to get things going to the arrival of the vet, the little boy came out with one back leg forwards and the other backwards, these animals do like to challenge us.

Beyond Compare was examined in case of damage caused by this delivery but all was well with a clear bill of health given by the vet. The cria was up on its feet and feeding from mum in no-time which is good news although he is a little premature as his ears are flopping forwards, but at least he is alive.

Both mother and son are under the heat lamps tonight with constant checks to make sure all is still going well. So fingers crossed that things stay this way and we get to keep our "Wellground Close Encounter" Son.

Well that's all for tonight, pictures coming soon.......

Saturday 4 September 2010

The Relentless Wait Is Over.......

Hi Folks

Its been a very exciting day for us here at WillowBank, today saw the arrival of our own herd sire "Wellground Relentless" courtesy of Rob and Les at "Wellground Alpaca Stud" Rob arrived this morning in his Stig Wagon and we set about unloading our boy.

I think Lily felt a little pushed out as "Relentless" stole the lime light for awhile. We are so pleased with him and feel very honoured to have him as our herd sire.

"Wellground Relentless" settling into his new paddock.....looking for his girls......."Relentless" will become available to start mating around March / April next year so we are keen to see what his offspring will give us, he has amazing genetics and a fantastic fleece with that greasy feel to it, more on his genetics and family background later.

We would like to say a very big thank you to both Rob and Les at "Wellground Alpaca Stud" for releasing this fabulous male from there herd, its always such a pleasure doing business with highly experienced breeders of Quality Elite Alpacas. Thank You.

Well that's all for tonight as we cant keep away from looking at our boy.