Monday, August 11. 2008
Last night I put the female alpacas and the cria into the barn paddock which has 8 foot high no climb fences and two hot wires one at 4 feet and one at 7 feet.
Of course the no climb aspect relates to horses not cougars!
I also left the the radio on in the barn all night tuned to National Public Radio - all that talking will hopefully scare off the cougar from my property and if not - well at least all the alpacas will be good Democrats by next month.
The alpacas were peaceful as far as I know and one neighbor reported that her dogs barked all night long which is something we don't normally hear. So she was convinced that something was stalking about.
There was a cougar (mountain lion) in the area about 5 years ago and the local cougar hunter was brought in to kill it and did so the very first night...maybe that is what we will have to do again this time.
Being English we don't have any firearms on the farm either to scare off a cougar with noise or to actually try and kill it. Right now I am sort of wishing we did have something...far be it for me to encourage gun fire and have high velocity bullets flying all over the place I would certainly feel safer than I do right now with just my trust Leatherman by my side....
The weather has been very clear today and we have been spared the smoke of the forest fires in California but the forecast says that smoke from California will be blowing our way very soon.... and will be here in force by the weekend...
Sadly the firefighting helicopter that crashed last week contained several people from this area and included some of my sons school friends - very tragic and our thoughts go out to the eleven families who lost loved ones.
Sunday, August 10. 2008
This morning while giving out various flyers to neighbors who have livestovk and/or small children warning about the cougar sighting. I discovered a few people have seen the cougar about.
Cougars can cause severe economic hardship if your income depends on livestock. During the early years of ranching in the USA, cougars were considered as bad as wolves in terms of their destructiveness.
As recently as 1990 in Texas for example, 86 calves, 253 Mohair goats, 302 Mohair kids, 445 sheep and 562 lambs were confirmed to have been killed by cougars that year.
In Nevada in 1992, cougars were confirmed to have killed 9 calves, 1 horse, 4 colts, 5 goats, 318 sheep and 400 lambs.
In both cases, sheep were the most frequently attacked.
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Also known as the mountain lion and many other names.
Some instances of surplus killing have resulting in the deaths of 20 sheep in one attack. Cougars frequently kill calves, sheep and goats by biting the top of the neck or head, differing greatly from the throat bite used by coyotes and indiscriminate mutilation by feral dogs. The size of the tooth puncture marks also helps distinguish kills made by cougars from those made by smaller predators.
Attacks on humans
Due to the growth of towns and cities, cougar ranges increasingly overlap with areas inhabited by humans. Apparently attacks on humans are rare, as cougar prey recognition is a learned behavior and they do not generally recognize humans as prey.
Attacks on people, livestock, and pets may occur when the cat habituates to humans or is in a condition of severe starvation. Between 1890 and 1990, in North America there were 53 reported and confirmed attacks on humans, resulting in 48 nonfatal injuries and 10 deaths of humans (the total is greater than 53 because some attacks had more than one victim). By 2004, that count had climbed to 88 attacks and 20 deaths.
As with many predators, a cougar may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person "plays dead". Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud but calm shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing, may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage.
When cougars do attack, they usually employ their characteristic neck bite, attempting to position their teeth between the vertebrae and into the spinal cord. Neck, head, and spinal injuries are common and sometimes fatal.Children are at greatest risk of attack, and least likely to survive an encounter. Detailed research into attacks prior to 1991 showed that 64% of all victims – and almost all fatalities – were children. The same study showed the highest proportion of attacks to have occurred in British Columbia, particularly on Vancouver Island where cougar populations are especially dense.
Cougar tracks what to look for ..
Saturday, August 9. 2008
Last night the female alpacas were putting off an alarm call and dashing hither and thither about the place in a complete flap I have never seen them so agitated. So i went out into the paddock and by now the sun had long since set and as I peered into the gloom I couldn't see anything. I probed the darkness with headlights from the Gator but nothing no reflection from eyes not a sight nor sound.
How odd I thought and went to bed.....
The next day I received an e-mail from a friend of ours who owns a vineyard just up the road.
This afternoon at about 3PM, I was sitting quietly in our kitchen reading the newspaper. The rest of our family was in Medford and our border collie and Akita were in their doghouses at the other side of our house. I looked out the window and was totally surprised to see what I believe was an adult cougar weighing perhaps 80 to 90 pounds, walking by about 10 feet away and parallel to the creek. The cougar was headed south along the creek towards Debra and David's.
Friday, August 8. 2008
As regulars to my blog will know the annual alpaca show is on track for October 2008 on the Columbus weekend. The show is the usual AOBA level III alpaca show and a whole host of fibre arts events.
Last year and again this year we will be having a collection point for the AFCNA fibre collection. AFCNA for those of you who don't know is the national alpaca fibre cooperative over here in the USA.
This year we have also invited the AAFF which is a new private enterprise that is promising to pay I am aware.
The show organisers then wondered about also inviting to the show the company who use fibre to make rugs.
And so it was that the thought popped into my head as well as being:
AlpacaMania - the friendliest alpaca show in the world.
AlpacaMania could also be and Alpaca Harvest Festival with a huge concentration on the use of alpaca fibre to produce desirable consumer products. So there we have it. What do you think? Does the idea of a fall Alpaca Harvest festival sound good to you ? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.
Monday, August 4. 2008
Our annual alpaca show AlpacaMania is now creeping over the planning horizon and bookings are looking good, although the overall future of some alpaca shows is going to be in question with gas prices now double where they were only two years ago.
We are still short of volunteers so if you have any interest in helping out at AlpacaMania - the friendliest alpaca show in the world - then now is a great time to drop me a line adrian at mulberryalpacas dotcom.
We currently still have openings in the silent auction, spin-off, vet check, the fibre arts show and emptying the poop bins..... if you are busy that weekend you can just show up for the Thursday to help set up or the Friday to help with vet check.
Get those dates in your calendars October 10th to 12th 2008 for AlpacaMania
Tuesday, June 17. 2008
I was hoping to weigh the fleeces and start to mail out the samples for analysis. But ended up heading over to White City. While I was there I went by Vector Control and picked up some fish that eat any mosquito larvae which form in the irrigation pond.
Vector control dispense free fish to help control mosquitoes.
Controlling mosquitoes is very important as they can be a vector for West Nile Virus which affects alpacas. West Nile has slowly spread across the USA and is now on the West Coast.
To learn more about West Nile Virus visit the CDC web site.
While in White City you get a great view of the 9600 foot Mount Mclaughlin. Probably be a great place to live if you were an alpaca hankering for the Peruvian altiplano...
Sunday, June 15. 2008
..... and the Official Birthday of HRH Queen Elizabeth the II or was that yesterday?
At this time of year the wild roses are in bloom all over the countryside and next to one particular hay field are some domesticated roses have made their home and truly love the environment.
Red roses go back to nature.
Apart from admiring the roses and fiddling about with alpaca skeletons. We had decided it was time to replace Jo's bicycle...well she had made her current bike last 20 years which is good going in anyone's book.
So off we went to the local cycle shop to buy something she could use to go to and from her office in town which is about three miles away from the alpaca farm.
Jo astride her new eco friendly transport system......
Saturday, May 31. 2008
Today is the June meeting for SOJAA so yours truly will be heading over to central point to chair the SOJAA board meeting followed by the SOJAA general meeting.
SOJAA represents about 50 (local'ish) alpaca breeders so generally speaking it usually a small affair. Today we are having a pot luck lunch with the Gyuros who are quite large alpaca farmers.
Maybe you are more curious about The State of Jefferson than you are about alpacas.
"The State of Jefferson - The unique identity of the mountain border region of northern California and southern Oregon, its lands and its peoples.
You can always check out the official Jefferson State website
Tuesday, April 22. 2008
Yesterday afternoon a wildfire broke out on some pasture land on the outskirts of Ashland.
A controlled burn of blackberry bushes at the Billings Ranch resulted in a fire that got out of control after winds picked up. Ashland Fire responded to quickly contain the blaze. But not until 5acres had been destroyed.
The view from our deck.
Flames leap about as the fire eventually burns itself out.
This afternoon I am going out to check some fences for a friend who is going to start breeding alpacas. It would be nice if the sun were shining but its cold and wet.
Saturday, April 19. 2008
This morning Macario our trusty farm manager received the keys to his first house. Here is Mac and family for the grand handover..... about 50 people turned out to cheer and wish them well.
Macario and Angelica Ramirez and their five children, it was great day and all thanks to Habitat for Humanity.
In the afternoon Bill came by to see his new alpacas and sign the contracts which was also a great moment. Bill has previously raised championship winning pigs so has high expectations for his alpacas....
Bill has alesson in using halters with alpacas.
Next week I have promised to visit Bill and check the fencing will be okay for his new alpacas. They will be staying at Mulberry for a while until Minne gives birth and shearing is over.
Saturday, February 23. 2008
RED BLUFF - Red Bluff's Fiber on the Foot, is now in its sixth year, and shifting to a multi-species fiber producer’s festival and livestock show.
This event is held the first full weekend in May. This year it is May 3 and 4. Fiber on the Foot was started by local alpaca farmers sharing their advertising dollars and enthusiasm to create a fun educational event for the public. According to Irene Fuller "That was when one said alpaca and the unfamiliar asked what color their eggs were?"
(ah how times have changed now we all know they are golden eggs!)
Like other fiber producers festivals such as Boonville, and Lambtown USA in Dixon, Red Bluff's Fiber on the Foot is a fiber producer's festival and livestock show. All fiber producers get to present their farm products, wares and livestock to the interested public in a casual setting. At the same time the avid fiber artist gets to buy direct from the producer. Many farms offer for sale livestock from their breeding program.
The public is entertained by free demonstrations in spinning, weaving, felting, dyeing, shearing and talks. It is a win-win for the end user, the producer, the mini-mills and the general public.
It is not uncommon for recognized fiber/wool events to draw over 20,000 attendees. That is good for agriculture, communities, and the public. This is the goal of Fiber on the Foot - Fiber Producers Festival and Livestock Show.
All farms raising fiber-producing livestock are invited to participate. Breeders of livestock guardian dogs are also welcome.
Information is available by calling 527-5180, or going to the show web site.
If you can’t participate but want to be an event Sponsor, for $200 you get a full page in the event program (600 to 700 copies distributed). Your LOGO on the sponsors page, linked to your farm web site. This will stay on the site for a minimum of 10 months.
6th Annual Fiber on the Foot
Natural Fiber Producer’s
Livestock Show & Festival
May 3, 2008 9:00 am – 5pm & May 4, 2008 9am – 4pm
Tehama District Fair Grounds, Red Bluff CA
Wednesday, February 13. 2008
This morning I had to head off to Medford and see Toni Adams the very clued up CPA who handles the accounts for SoJAA, State of Jefferson Alpaca Association.
We are considering building a new web site and really promoting and developing the marketing element. Which would include buying the AOBA sales leads which are generated from the national alpaca marketing campaign and then using those leads as effectively as possible to drive high quality web traffic to the SOJAA web site where alpacas, alpaca goods and alpaca services will be offered for sale.
the reason for seeing the CPA was to discover if this was in anyway going to compromise the not for profit status of our association.
Bottom line providing we don't charge a sales commission then we are fine to go ahead and develop the new web site who's primary purpose is to market alpacas belonging to SOJAA members.
In theory the combined marketing budget of SOJAA members should enable SOJAA members to compete with the larger and usually more successful alpaca farms. Time will tell !!
Monday, February 11. 2008
I was hoping to start the Corid treatment on the alpacas today but looking at the calendar I see that I am not here every day for the next 15 days so will have to delay the treatment yet again. very frustrating but as my old dad used to say...if a jobs worth doing, its worth doing properly.
The weather is slowly getting warmer and working outside no longer feels like some Alaskan test of endurance. In fact I have bought the parts to repair the barn door so that may well get fixed later this week, although I suspect I need some timber to repair certain parts before I start bolting the sliding mechanism back in place.
In a moment of total insanity I volunteered to head up a group within the AOBA Affiliates Congress looking into the possibility of EPDs or estimated progeny differences to give them there full name. I then heard of a presentation at the weekend on alpaca Genetics by Andy Merriweather who when asked about alpaca EPDs wasn't too enthusiastic. So having found several EPD enthusiasts I contacted Andy to understand his concerns and we have had a very useful and enjoyable exchange of e-mails... the whole subject is pretty interesting and has been covered in previous postings.
Alpacs and EPDs what next?
The key to successful breeding using EPDS
Start using EPDs in your alpaca breeding now!
How EPDs help you breed better alpacas.
Remember this is probably one of the few blogs in North America that will not contain any presidential election coverage.
Happy farming and as Bruce Nelson in California says.. "Life is sweet healthy cria make it better...."
Wednesday, February 6. 2008
Some time ago I came across a Blog written out of New York by a girl called Jenna who was talking about alpacas...we swapped a few e-mails about web sites and alpaca images...to cut a long story short I sent the NYC Gadget Girl some alpaca socks.....
The other day we swapped e-mails again and Jenna had the following to say about her alpaca socks.....
I was just thinking about you the other day. I wore my Alpaca socks! WOWWWWEEE! Those are the softest, warmest, comfortablest socks I have ever worn!
Isn't it great when you actually get alpaca products into a customers hands and they immediately feel the difference...sometimes we get so busy with the alpacas and strategy and the politics we lose sight of the end goal.
Maybe mailing out a pair of alpaca socks would be much more effective than mailing out a color brochure....hmmm now that might not be such a crazy idea....
Thursday, January 31. 2008
Today was the first meeting of the SOJAA Web Marketing task force. Our aim is to specify and then have built a web site that will support all the members of SOJAA by promoting their alpacas for sale.
The project breaks down into a series tasks starting with the initial functional specification.
Building a web site that is attractive for potential buyers and easy to use for members is but the first step.
The much bigger hurdle is driving traffic to that web site over an extended time period. It is envisaged that as an AOBA Affiliate SOJAA will acquire from AOBA the various sales leads and then send to those leads a series of e-mails and other promotional items.
The maintenance of this prospect database and the management of the e-mail campaigns will all have to be outsourced to a third party as SOJAA have no resources other than the members and the tasks we are planning a re too technical and large to be expected of the average volunteer.
THE 2009 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES SWEEPSTAKES
Want to see the Alpaca Float?
Win 2009 Rose Bowl Game tickets Or 2009 VIP Rose Parade tickets.
The Sweepstakes is valid November 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM (PST) through January 31, 2008 at 11:59 PM (PST). The odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible entries received.
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