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Welcome to Burwash Manor (Yes the alpacas have moved)!

You know how there is always a story…?

Tracy wanted to move her alpacas closer to Cambridge so she could take back the task of looking after them.  She found Burwash Manor last year and after signing the grazing licence in January, started to order all the bits and pieces needed to make the girls feel welcome.

After putting up the green mesh and electric fence, she set about making the ‘catch enclosure’.  This was achieved with new aluminium sheep hurdles and the gate of a convoluted catch pen.  The other bits she put to one side so that they’d be ready for attaching to the field shelter.

This worked beautifully and she put the feed trays, buckets and hay nets into the enclosure so that the alpacas would get used to it and not see it as a scary place where they are manhandled.

Doesn’t the weather look serene?  Then the storms came and, let’s face it, it was a bit blowy!  The field shelter didn’t survive the onslaught and bits of it were scattered round the fields.  The tree looks dramatic but the shelter disintegrated!

All Tracy’s female alpacas were to move in on Valentine’s Day.  The horsebox was hired and Tracy was ready to do two trips to bring them to their new home.  It was possibly the wettest day to do this but with the help of Shab from Houghton Hall Alpacas, she successfully created a run from the horsebox into the field so she didn’t get stuck!

Three girls were missing, Duchess (who wouldn’t be caught), Dusty and Hope who both were a bit under the weather and so stayed in the barn at Houghton Hall until they made a full recovery.  The rest were delivered to their new home.

Now bearing in mind they are not used to people, cars, cyclists, dogs, people walking their dogs, traffic… in fact anything to do with modern life, initially, the new home was a bit stressful for them and they stayed together in a close bunch, constantly on the look out for predators.  Friday 14th February, they didn’t eat (so much for love then)!

On Saturday and Sunday, Burwash Manor hosted a fabulous ‘Love Food’ event.  The car park was full and there was a constant stream of people coming over to look at the alpacas.  Tracy was on hand to answer questions and explain why there was an alarm call coming from the herd every few minutes. 
Eventually the alpacas relaxed enough eat their food and Tracy too relax a bit.

After yet more torrential rain, when everyone was leaving with their bags full of goodies and Tracy was finishing up for the day, a young woman came over to the field and said “Oh wow, alpacas! I haven’t seen these since I lived in Australia”.  They got chatting, Alison was returning from a cat show where her rescued Persian Blue had won his class in the show.  (She was suitably proud).  It turns out that Alison is a phenomenal artist who specialises in large canvases of horses.  Check out her website: Alison Elliott; we think her work is quite exceptional, in fact, stunning!  What’s this to do with alpacas?  Well Tracy and Alison got talking, got on really well and Alison now looks after ‘the girls’ when Tracy is away with Kari-Helene doing Purl stuff.

The first team (Tracy has to call them this as there were eleven), settled down really well, gained confidence daily and got used to the routine.  Then the reserves arrived!  Liz dropped off Duchess, Dusty, Hope and the hay feeder on the 26th February so that all the girls are together.  Well these three are as insecure as the first eleven were when they arrived and this sets them all off.  So it’s back to basics with gentleness and good humour.  Tracy has had the field shelter rebuilt and inserted clear plastic panels in the roof so it’s not so dark.  Then the catch enclosure is built out from the field shelter with the easy catch pen already set up.  It’s not been used yet; Tracy is waiting for the herd’s collective confidence to grow and then she’ll start training again.

In the meantime here are some happy photo’s:

 – see if you can spot the difference

No, we don’t mean panning the camera round to get in more of the shelter – it’s Adie’s legs! She was scratching in the first photo and looks really odd!

And now about the boys (yes we know you’re wishing you made a nice drink before you started reading this missive)!

George as you know is at Woodbine Farm Alpacas and he was joined today by Charlie, Iago and Hero.  Here they are waiting for their transport and, as Liz says, look like the three stooges!

Just a bit of info’, the shaved square on Charlie’s and Hero’s necks, this is where blood was taken to be spun into plasma.  It’s a life saving treatment for new born cria – see Gaia’s story and you’ll get the idea.

And Finally…

Alison’s partner Kim is the person who resurrected the field shelter and if anyone needs a handyman, we’d recommend him highly!

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