Meet the ‘Moonlight Girls’

Introducing Alba, Janice, Beyonce and Mary.

We picked up our quartet from a breeder in the Lake District after I wanted another alpaca to have a Cria at the same time as Marmite, who is due in May next year.

Although I only went for one, I somehow ended up coming back with seven!!!

On arrival, we quarantined them to protect our existing herd and to make sure they were as healthy as can be before joining the main group. It’s good farming practise to do this as it protects them from exposure to infections or viruses which may be brought in when you new animals arrive outside of the farm.

We set up a pen in our hay barn and, with the help of our vet Tiffany, set about developing a new care plan, which included body scoring each one.

To do this, Tiffany placed her fingers on the centre of their back, either side of the vertebrae and felt for muscle coverage. Alpacas are scored on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being skinny and 10 being obese and the girls were initially coming in at around two or three. But, after being fed some extra hay, alpaca food and Speedybeat (a soaked food to give them an extra boost,) they were soon being scored at five/six, which is where I wanted them to be.

Six weeks later, we turned them outside onto their own field, neighbouring up to our own girls over the forthcoming weeks so they could meet and greet each other over the fence. Both groups were very curious to meet each other and it didn’t take them long to nosey up to each other to say hello.

Needless to say with endless amounts of grass to munch on and the potential of hanging out with new friends, our Moonlight Girls settled in fabulously.

Two weeks ago we brought them all together and it was clear they were all at ease. The Crias won all the attention and Elvis, who spotted another fellow white alpaca strolled over to Alba, thinking she was his mum – until she told him off and he scuttled off back to Saskia.

We also brought in Gandolph to say hello in the hope that next year the girls will have their own babies with him next year.

Watch this space.

Portia gives birth to Tilly (Matilda)

Portia was pregnant for 11 months and was due to give birth on July 20th but was actually five days late. It’s typical Portia really, does things her in her own way in her own time and on her terms.

On the day in question, I was returning from my alpaca walk around the farm with my guests when I noticed she took herself of into a corner and appeared a little quiet. We watched from the side of the paddock, as she gave birth, bang on midday.

Alpacas are usually born between 6am and 2pm and after watching from the side of the paddock, she later gave birth at midday. But the cria accidentally wriggled into the fence and nearly ended up in the stream which would have been disastrous.

Luckily, I had seen what happened and brought her back to safety where Portia licked her dry. Tilly eventually got up and suckled for milk before going to meet the rest of the herd.

She is the spitting image of her mum and is a gorgeous chestnut brown colour, with very long lashes.

Elvis is in the building

It was all quite dramatic soon after Saskia gave birth to her baby cria Elvis, who arrived 10 days late. He was born at 4pm which is unusual for alpacas as they usually give birth around noon.

I could tell straight away he was very weak, was trembling and not really able to stand up properly. His head was down and his movement limited.

I had bought some alpaca colostrum which is essentially a powdered first milk full of minerals and vitamins for neonatal crias which I fed him every few hours.

Slowly but surely Elvis gradually got stronger and started to feed from Saskia and our little King has now found his feet and is getting more confident by the day.

Strangely, Saskia has since become a lot more friendly, wandering up and saying hello.

Maybe her maternal instinct has kicked in.

S.O.S for Saskia

Saskia developed a large abcess on the side of her face we had to call Tiffany our vet to come and tend to the problem.

The abcess was half the size of a tennis ball and forcing her eye to close.

Tiffany worked her magic and drained the sore, before treating her pain and prescribing some antibiotics.

Saskia is currently sporting a blue face but that’s just as we keep applying soothing antiseptic to keep the wound clean and free of infection.

Although Tiffany works as a large animal vet she specialises in alpaca husbandry and has been a welcome line of support over the years.