We are very pleased to say that we recently health tested one third of our 100 strong herd of alpacas and seven llamas (with the exception of this years crias) as a surveillance test. This is part of our commitment to professionalism and excellence and was carried out on representatives from all groups on our farm from our stud males, our mum’s and babies (birthing group), our other females group and all our walking – and potential walking – alpacas and llamas.
We had a completely clear Enferplex test with no single antigen positive (or above) alpacas or llamas.
As a farm, in addition to offering alpaca walking, we breed and sell quality Suri and Huacaya alpacas which are easy to handle. We also offer export and stud services plus fibre products. This is a commitment to everyone who walks alpacas with us as well as our existing and future clients.
THE LODGE – A PHOTOGRAPHERS DREAM
If you come and stay in our holiday let – The Lodge – why not bring your camera and take pictures of possibly the most photogenic animal in the UK…the alpaca!
We recently had Aaron and his family staying and he was kind enough to share some of the pictures he took whilst staying here. I have posted a gallery of the ones I like the most, but I think you will agree, they are pretty amazing.
The Lodge is available all year round as a holiday let subject to a minimum stay of a week. It has a double bedroom and all “creature comforts”!! Come and stay and bring your camera- you will not be disappointed!
If you have considered owning alpacas or are curious to know what is involved – then we have the answer! A Spring Farm alpaca ownership open day.
Come to our free alpaca ownership open day and learn all about alpacas, handling alpacas, alpaca husbandry and how they will fit into your life! We have excellent facilities so you can really find out about owning alpacas and meet them in a relaxed and fun way. We specialise in our handling techniques and will run you through all you need to know about the idea of owning alpacas – plus you will get to meet some of our super friendly, halter trained alpacas!
Are you interested in alpacas? On our alpaca ownership open day, we will look at alpacas as a business, as breed stock, as show animals and as pets. We can offer alpacas in all colours and price ranges within all of these categories if you decided alpacas are right for you. Whether you are looking to stock a farm, occupy a small paddock, agist (we look after your alpacas here at Spring Farm at a small cost) with us – or to breed alpacas and get involved in showing, we can help you in all aspects of your search. Bear in mind that we started with no farming or livestock experience 17 years ago – we started our own alpaca ownership experience with a blank sheet of paper and an enquiring mind, and now are one of the UK’s top breeders of alpacas. Our alpaca ownership open day is intended to be good fun as well as informative and you can never ask too many questions!
We run a number of alpaca ownership open days throughout the year, so even if this date doesn’t suit you, please contact us and we will put your name down for the next alpaca ownership open day we run. Pease contact us for details – we keep the numbers small to keep things personal so please contact us first to reserve a place. We also provide a sandwich lunch so need to know how many to cater for and if there are any specific dietary requirements. We would also suggest sensible footwear to walk around the farm – and given its the end of September, bring some warm/waterproof clothing – just in case!
We are running the next open day on Saturday 30th September from 10.30am till 3.30pm. As the course is intended for prospective owners of alpacas, we don’t charge for the day. It is intended as an introduction so we wont blind you with science, but we will tell you all you need to know if you are interested in alpaca ownership and think they might be right for you.
Alpaca agility training
Feeding carrots to our baby alpacas after a walk
Our farm sign
Alpaca agility in our sand school
Alpaca meet and greet
Lord Percy with his trophy’s from Alpaca Showtime
Alpaca trekking through our green lane
Wimbledon alpacas! is now being shown on the US TV channel as a great thing to do if you are visiting Wimbledon tennis fortnight here in the UK.
Last year we hosted a US production company who filmed us here at Alpaca Walking with Spring Farm Alpacas. Millie showed the crew around and they got some great footage of our walking team and the beautiful Sussex countryside – we are in the High Weald AONB. This footage has now been edited and is being run to coincide with Wimbledon tennis fortnight.
You can see the results here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mzusS7Z5VA
One of the other things we do here at Alpaca Walking with Spring Farm Alpacas is alpaca showing. Its a bit like Crufts in that alpacas are entered within breed (suri or huacaya), then by colour (black, brown, grey etc.), then by age. Its great fun for both us as breeders and for the public who can watch the proceedings.
Lord Percy as a cria
This weekend, Vicki took Lord Percy to the Alpaca Showtime event in Cambridgeshire. Lord Percy was entered into the intermediate grey huacaya alpaca class and won his class – hence the rosette!
Lord Percy then was brought forward into the Champion Grey huacaya alpaca class and was awarded Reserve Champion! Well done to both him and Vicki – who missed a Bad Co. concert to take him to Showtime…
Lord Percy with his trophy’s from Alpaca Showtime
All that lives on the farm is not cute and cuddly! We are blessed with an abundance of wildlife here and we were lucky enough yesterday to see a dark bush cricket.
A common animal across the southern half of England, the noisy, irregular chirpings of the dark bush-cricket are a familiar feature of late summer. An animal of gardens, hedgerows and woodland edges, dark bush-crickets can often be seen in quite large numbers sunbathing on bramble patches. However, males are very aggressive, defending their territories against intruders. Females lay their eggs in late summer in rotting wood or bark crevices; they emerge 18 months later, so odd-year and even-year dark bush-crickets never meet.
The dark bush-cricket lives up to its name: it’s dark to red-brown, with a paler patch along the top of the thorax, and a yellow-green belly. The female has an up-curved ovipositor.
What I didn’t know is crickets have antenna longer than their bodies and grasshoppers have antenna shorter. Anyway, it might not have the initial appeal of an alpaca, but a stunning creature none the less!
Dark bush cricket
Cleavers and alpacas! Our alpacas like nothing more than browsing along our hedge lines and tucking into what they find. Unfortunately this includes cleavers (as we know them). Cleavers have many names including: goosegrass, catchweed, stickyweed, robin-run-the-hedge and apparently sticky willy. Cleavers officially is a herbaceous annual plant that loves Spring Farm. As we are in higher level stewardship we don’t use herbicides except via spot spraying for thistles and docks so we have an abundance of wild flowers on the farm. This is both good and bad with cleavers in the latter category! This is because the seeds love alpacas and alpacas love putting their heads into hedges and in so doing, pick up a multitude of the seeds which are a nightmare to get out of the fleece.
Cleavers and alpacas!
As to what have cleavers ever done for us? Ancient Greek shepherds would use the barbed stems of cleavers to make a “rough sieve”, which could be used to strain milk. Linnaeus later reported the same usage in Sweden, a tradition that is still practiced in modern times according to Wikipedia.
In Europe, the dried, matted foliage of the plant was once used to stuff mattresses. Several of the bedstraws were used for this purpose because the clinging hairs cause the branches to stick together, which enables the mattress filling to maintain a uniform thickness. The roots of cleavers can be used to make a permanent red dye. I can safely say “I did not know that” and just hope that our alpacas steer clear somewhat more than Osiria has done.
So I have been persuaded to get out of bed early on a Bank Holiday, load the van with various alpaca related goodies, alpacas and llamas and head over to the Edenbridge and Oxted Show 2016 so I can take 2 llamas and 2 alpacas for a day out – it should be fun!
If you are going to the Show come and see me tomorrow and Vicki on Monday. In the last couple of years the weather has been dire and we have had to be towed off the showground alongside everyone else given the all embracing mud. This year, the weather forecast is benign and we are looking forward to two days of good weather and a great Show. So if I am getting out of bed at the crack of dawn, I would appreciate a bit of company – so please come and see me and our team of alpacas and llamas. If you were bearing gifts of tea, coffee or food, so much the better!
The Edenbridge and Oxted is a great Show and I really look forward to seeing you tomorrow and Vicki will be there on Monday with her brother as well. Hope to see you there!
Chris and Vicki