At the start of 2016 we were beset by horrendous weather. Heavy snowfall and gales in January were followed by weeks of incessant rain that turned the fields into a quagmire as water poured off the Moors and the river overflowed its banks onto our lower field. This was particularly worrying as 8 of our girls were pregnant – a record for us – so replenishing hay, supplementary feeding and ensuring that all our Alpacas were using the shelters became a constant battle.
In March we also lost our oldest 14 yr old Alpaca, Rocco, which was devastating. He has been kindly given to us by Fowberry Alpacas to use as a ‘spit-off’ male and he had become a firm favourite. For our friends who are unfamiliar with ‘spit-off males’ these are the unfortunate but much loved entire males who are taken on a halter to females at intervals after they have been mated to a stud to check if they are pregnant. The ‘spit-off’ male when presented to the females gets very excited, starts orgling and the females if pregnant should spit at the male although some of our girls choose to kick instead! If the mating hasn’t taken then females will sit down and kush indicating that they want to be mated at which stage the unfortunate spit-off male is taken away back to his field!