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1st: Rugs and Fibre 2nd: Rhea 3rd: Rhea 4th: Sheep and Alpacas 5th: Dogs 6th: Rugs and Fibre 7th: Rhea 8th: The Land 9th: Sheep 10th: Goats
11th: Rugs and Fibre 12th: Rhea 13th: Dogs 14th: Sheep and Alpacas 15th: Alpaca 16th: Rugs and Fibre 17th: Dogs 18th: Wildlife
1st: Sorting fleeces
A day of sorting fleeces: removing dirty bits and VM (vegetable matter) from the sheep fleeces, putting them back in their bags, taking all bags (sheep and alpaca) up to the house and then storing in the fibre room. Next stop: weighing and recording, and then packaging up some of the sheep fleeces to send off to the mill to be processed into slivers for our rug making!! Meanwhile the alpaca fibre needs processing here: i.e. washing, drying and spinning. We also have a few rug commissions to crack on with too... busy busy busy!!! And all very exciting!!
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2nd: Every last piece
The young rhea really do love their lettuce - nutritionally, it isn't of great value but it is a fabulous way to get them eating when they first hatch and it helps to get them really tame - they literally fall over themselves to get to the bowl when we first take it into the barn and every single last piece gets eaten.
They are such engaging animals, we adore watching them.
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3rd: Keeping your house in order
When the mums decide the dads don't keep a good enough 'house' .... read on...
Within the rhea community it is the males who build the nests and then sit and incubate the eggs. Having had a brief but hopefully satisfying courtship, the females only job after that is to lay the eggs! They don't even get that involved in raising the young!! We currently have three males sharing one huge nest. It is filled with feathers and grass and twigs and any other plant matter that the males could lay their beaks on! Every evening, we pop into their field to collect any eggs laid that day (we aren't at this stage allowing the males to sit and instead choosing to artificially incubate). And every evening the boys dutifully rise from their positions and go off for a feed and a run, whilst we scoop up any offerings from the day.
This evening, as we popped the one egg of the day in our bucket, one of our grey females came down to the nest and proceeded to have a good old re-arrange. As the video shows, she picked up bits and pieces of grass and feathers and flung them behind her as if to say: 'well, that shouldn't be there' and 'why on earth is that lying like that?'
She then came over to check the egg with a peck that suggested she wasn't at all happy I was taking it away. White Toe, one of the boys came back down, saw what she was doing and beat a hasty retreat, no doubt to tell the other dads not to come back for a while as 'fussy knickers' was 'having a bit of a tidy'.
We imagine normal service will be resumed tomorrow!!!
4th: Perfect Photo Bomb
This is one hellavu photo bomb by Mars.
And there was I enjoying a few cuddles with Master Muckle - totally unaware!!!
They not only give us all their amazing fibre, our animals provides us with so much entertainment as well!!!
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5th: VERY pregnant
This is a very pregnant Roxy - today is day 55 and she is looking fit to burst! She is also having a few bladder issues, caused no doubt by a pup or two pressing on her bladder. We have clipped her back end a little and are trying to keep her clean and dry and comfortable. She gave birth on day 60 last time - we have told her that any time now is okay..... it will certainly be a relief all round when they appear!!
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6th: New way of peg looming
Using our 'extending' table to get the right length for our warp threads... and notice too, the use of the trusted wooden spoon!!
We love coming up with ever more fun and efficient ways to do the prep before starting a new project!!
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7th: Nest sharing Rhea Style
The 'boys' have been like this for a couple of weeks now. Any eggs laid are usually found under either White Toe or Beta, although White Boy does have the odd one. The jury is out on whether we will leave the last few of the season under them.. might be weather dependent of course... if we carry on as we are, we will be having a cold, and at times, wet summer!!
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8th: Swallow to Oak
Moving day for the sheep, goats and alpacas.. more grass, more space and more shelter is now theirs for the next few weeks
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9th: Mistress Muckle
The ever gorgeous Mistress Muckle, taking an early morning siesta in the long grass of Oak Field.
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10th: Barrington
Definitely his best sit-up-straight and look-smart-and-intelligent pose, and possibly a little haughty too. But then with a name like Barrington, maybe he's entitled! Gorgeous boy!!!
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11th: Fibre prep
David teasing apart washed alpaca fibre before putting in the hanging racks and leaving to dry in the Devon sunshine. These five fleeces from Colin, Hamish, Winston, Percy and Miguel are destined to become one large rug for Alresford alpacas in Hampshire. The quality and colours are sumptuous.
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12th: Vying for attention
The three boys are still nest sharing - watch as one of the females comes down to see whether or not to lay an egg for them - talk about vying for her attention...
13th: Puppies!!!
And so begins another eight weeks of utter delight as we welcome an incredible TWELVE more Gordon Setters into the world courtesy of Marshmoor Purple Velvet with Delmhies (Roxy) and Marshmoor Black Jack. It was a long labour, over 14 hours, and sadly we had a still-born boy, but as we type this, mum and pups are quietly snoozing and feeding, bellies are feeling full and bodies are feeling warm. So proud of our girl!
(Follow the daily puppy blog here)
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14th: Chilling...
Sometimes when we wander round our land checking the animals and spending time with them, we come across some delightful pairings! This is Miss Muckle and Iocaste - not a couple we usually see together but they were very content lying side by side, enjoying the sunshine. Both are gentle souls, inquisitive but not pushy, and happy to go with the flow. We took a quick picture and left them to their calm and relaxed musings!!
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15th: Sunbathing
Aas the weather heats up, the alpacas have been enjoying lying out in the warmth - at one point this morning, all but six of them were lying fully stretched out soaking up the sun. We do find that we have to check that all are in fact still alive mind you.... they can look a bit odd and lifeless it has to be said!!!
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16th: Rug making
The rug commissions are coming in thick and fast at the moment - making rugs from our own fleeces will be taking a bit of a back seat for the moment - but a happy situation to be in!!
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17th: Stonefly
And here is Stonefly demonstrating that she is just as good as the alpacas at sunbathing - in her case, she is however also showing she has absolutley no shame!!!
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18th: Fragility of life
A young blackbird resting on a plant pot after flying into one of our windows and knocking itself out! We hate it when birds do this..... Fortunately s/he recovered pretty quickly and then headed off into a fairly thick hedgerow at the back of our garden.... New life is pretty fragile.. hope s/he makes it!!
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