I have lots of news to share with you about my plans for 2016 – but first let me wish you a Happy New Year. I hope it’s a happy, healthy and prosperous year for all of us!
December 2015 ended on a good note, as customers flocked into the shop in the run-up to Christmas. Continue reading
Coco Alpacas Shop
My feet haven’t touched the ground since my last blog post.
I’ve been so busy arranging the stock in my new Coco Alpacas shop, dressing the shop window, meeting members of the public and the press, and of course looking after my beautiful animals!
The opening day was very successful and I had alot of support from Church Stretton folk and further afield too, because many people had read an article in the Shropshire Star about my new enterprise.
Everything just fell into place on the day and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive: people seem to agree that it’s good for the town to have something a bit different, and my little cottage industry seems to have been welcomed with open arms.
Two of my favourite alpacas, Wizard and Derby, were on show in the Square, pretty much directly opposite the shop, and they certainly looked cute in their deep purple halters and pulled in the crowds. Continue reading
Shop Opening Saturday 14th November 2015!
The past few weeks have been gathering pace as I prepare for the grand opening of the Coco Alpacas shop – I’m just a couple of weeks away from this very exciting new enterprise.
It’s been my lifelong ambition to own a shop selling high quality yarn and I’m so excited that it’s finally happening. Continue reading
Shop Opening in Church Stretton!
I have some exciting news to announce this month. Church Stretton is getting its very own Coco Alpacas shop in the High Street – and it will be packed with stylish alpaca knitwear and specialists yarns.
I can’t wait to introduce local shoppers and tourists to our fantastic range of accessories, created from the fine fleeces of our loveable alpaca herd. Continue reading
A New Home for Asterix and Alfie
I had a poignant moment recently when my lovely black male Asterix and his gorgeous chestnut brown half-brother Alfie – the first babies Asterix cropped ever born in my herd – went to live at South Staffordshire College. Continue reading
What a lovely surprise I had on July 14th, when a beautiful grey cria (baby alpaca) arrived safe and sound, and snuggled up to her proud mum, Keira.
I knew a baby was on the way, but I had no idea at all of the date. Keira was running with a stud male near Kidderminster in Worcestershire last year, and was pregnant when I bought her in October.
Our new arrival is quite a rarity; she is a stunning shade of grey, and her fleece is looking good at just a few weeks of age. She is a very welcome addition to the herd.
I’ve been so lucky with all my alpaca births so far: my females have given birth naturally without any complications, and the crias have all been good feeders. Alpacas are pregnant for eleven and half months so I imagine its quite a relief for them to give birth! Keira will feed her cria for six months and then she will be weaned.
Alpacas are born outside and if there are no complications it happens very quickly, often within half an hour. They can stay outside afterwards and don’t need to come into the shed unless the weather gets very cold and wet. Crias are normally born in the morning or early afternoon as this enables them to be standing and feeding and to dry off before the night, when the temperature drops. This is important as alpacas originate from the Andes in South America where the temperatures can fluctuate by 40 degrees in a day, being extremely cold at night. Continue reading
Three Counties Show
June was a busy month for me and my two alpacas, Felix and Wizard, who accompanied me to the Three Counties Show at Malvern at the weekend of June 13-14.
The event is the largest livestock and equine show in the country and it’s a wonderful showcase for British farming and our rural heritage. Continue reading
Cooling off for the summer: my alpacas are ready for shearing!
June is the month my alpacas get to lose their warm winter coats ready for all the lovely weather we hope is coming our way.
My shearing date is 24th June, and my animals will be expertly sheared by Colin Ottery from Devon, who was one of the first alpaca shearers in the country. Continue reading
Family planning at the Alpaca Futurity Show!
As an alpaca breeder, the sector’s shows are of great interest to me, and I love to admire the top quality stud animals available and do some “family planning” for my breeding females.
This year I went to the Alpaca Futurity show in Coventry (which champions the best of British alpaca breeding) along with a couple of other Shropshire-based alpaca breeders.
While we were there we had a meeting with one of the UK’s top breeders, Toft Alpacas.
One of their stud males, Toft Timogen (pictured at the front), was best in show for browns and I think he would be a wonderful choice as the sire for next year’s baby alpacas (cria).
I am now waiting to hear how much it will cost to use this handsome stud after his success in the show, so watch this space!
I have six females, so we would hope to get six healthy cria next year after a 11 month gestation period. Usually alpacas have one cria and twins are quite rare. We only have one cria due this year as the other females are having a rest, so next year will be an exciting year when the planned new additions arrive, hopefully full of life and kicking! Continue reading
I love all of my alpacas, and I’m always intrigued to get to know each one, as they all have their own individual personalities.
is a pure white female who used to be the dominant female in my herd, although she now lives in Italy after selling her a couple of years ago.
She was a very independent alpaca and a wonderful mum producing lots of little cria for me.
I will never forget Sonowdrop’s quizzical expression, as she has now been immortalized for me in a fantastic painting which is hanging on my wall. Right next to Snowdrop’s portrait is another painting, and this one is Derby, my fawn and white ‘Alpaca with Attituude’. Derby has the most amazing hairstyle which suits his personality down to the ground. He was quite difficult to halter train, but I perservered, and now he’s as good as gold.
Both of these lovely pictures were painted by a neighbour when I was living in Southern France near the Pyrenees. Gill Masters is an artist who had moved from Kiddermisnter out to France, and at one of my open days she mentioned that she loved painting farm animals. I jumped at the chance to have some fantastic artwork on my wall featuring two of my favourites.
I was so pleased with the results. Gill is a very talented artist and captured Sonwdrop’s searching look and Derby’s crazy hairstyle perfectly!
(If you’d like to see more of Gill’s paintings, visit www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/gillmasters2)
It’s great to have a gift for painting like Gill, but there lots of other ways to be creative too. I like to see what people can create with my alpaca wool, for example. And I thought it would be a great idea to feature a knitting pattern ( or something similar) on my blog every month. This will be starting next month, so watch this space!
If you want to chat to me about the alpaca wool, any of our products, or even the alpacas themselves feel free to visit me at Ludlow market stall, on any of these dates:
Thursday 2nd April
Thursday 16th April
I hope to see you there!