About Us

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Wokingham, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Easter-Wood Alpaca Stud is a family-run, BAS-registered Alpaca breeding enterprise, located in the Royal County of Berkshire. Sheila and Jeff Easter set the company up in mid-2008 when they purchased their first 5 Elite Australian Alpacas.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Another husbandry day

Yesterday, was the turn of the rest of our herd for the toenail treatment and whilst they were greater in number compared to the Australians, the time taken with them was much less. It is probably due to the fact that they are much more used to handling than the others, except for one of them who always makes a song and dance of the whole affair!

We have also ordered our Lambivac, Dectomax and AD&E from our vet and I will be picking that up on Monday in readiness for a vaccination session during the week ahead (must try to avoid the rain though!).

Following our purchase of the mobile hay rack, we have been delighted at the way the Alpacas have taken to this new contraption. It is of course a "food centre" with combined supplement feeders and hay dispenser. It is so much tidier than spreading the hay out on the ground for them as some of it never gets eaten and the resultant mess needs to be raked up and disposed of which is a waste of hay.

Tomorrow, we are off to Chase End Alpacas to collect Cambridge Ice Cool Lad again as he needs to be put to work on some of our girls who have not taken from the previous matings. It does of course mean that we will be getting Winter cria but to go without will not make economic sense.

I shall close now but on a positive note: the one and only neighbour of ours that has fully supported us through our ordeal of our planning application and subsequent Public Inquiry has come up trumps for us in that he has given Sheila and I a load of winter clothing from his Army days. This is a godsend to us as we were not looking forward to spending another winter in the static caravan. Without his moral support, it would have been even more difficult to get through
the last 18 months so God bless you Patrick!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Another step forward?

Good morning all. It has been a while since my last blog but with the Public Inquiry going on, it tended to take all of our focus. Interestingly enough, the Inquiry went into a fourth day, much to our dismay however we believe that common sense will prevail and we look forward to getting on with our Alpaca breeding business without the restrictions imposed upon us as a result of these proceedings! Sadly, I have to be careful of what I write as the local "hostiles" seem to want to "snoop" on our blog! I know this as on the final day of the Inquiry, one of the residents submitted a huge photo copy file of Alpaca breeder's web sites along with all of our blog entries from the first to the last!! For what purpose, I know not as I had written down so many entries which accurately portrayed the difficulties that Alpacas can, at times introduce to the breeder and that would be considered to be supportive to our cause!! Anyway, the Inspector will let us know the outcome on or before 18th November.

Turning to better things, we conducted the regular toe nail cutting exercise with the Australians this last weekend and gave three of them the "magic" mite erradication solution. We hope this works as the poor blighters are not too happy with the irritation! Later this week, we will be conducting the toe nail cutting exercise again but with the secondary herd. I am always surprised at how quickly the nails grow!

Last Sunday was a good day as we decided to attend a farm auction in Odiham as we noted that they were selling some mobile hay racks and we could certainly do with one of these. So off we went and upon arrival, bumped into Donna and Dave Line from Poppy Down who were showing off a couple of their males at the farm. After a quick chat, we sat down at the auction and successfully procured the hay rack which will be collected tomorrow. The farm was very busy and amongst the livestock which they were auctioning, was a little kitten! As we needed a good farm cat to keep the mice at bay, we decided to purchase it, much to the delight of our daughter, Gemma!

Will return soon.

Monday, 19 October 2009

My son's new start!

Our time of late has been taken up a lot by a number of various topics including the forthcoming Inquiry of course but on a lighter note, the marriage of my son this past weekend!

We spent last Friday preparing for the eventful day which included sprucing up our car which to be honest, looked rather shabby as it hadn't been cleaned, I am ashamed to say, for at least 6 months!! Anyway the following day was upon us and with our "herd manager" settled in with her book we set off. As my father had attempted to drive to Banbury in Oxfordshire from his home in Bognor Regis the day before, (a long story which I will not bore you with!) we picked him up from his stop-over point just north of Newbury and made our way to the church.

The service was excellent and with a guest list of over 100, there was much to talk about. The weather was also kind to us and apart from getting a little lost on our way to the reception (some 10 miles in the country), we had a wonderful time. Many of the guests were country folk running their own farms so it was a good opportunity to swap stories!

This coming Wednesday, we step up to our final (we hope) day of the Inquiry and are looking forward to this part of our life being "squared" away so that we can get on with our business of Alpaca breeding! Since the start of this, the attitude and hostility of the "locals" has never ceased to amaze us and one would think that they have better things in their lives to do rather than try to prevent an enterprising farming business being launched!! After all, shouldn't the government supposed to encourage and support such developments?? I will update our blog after Wednesday and let you know how it went.

Be back soon.

Monday, 12 October 2009

A Veterinary Talk.

I am so surprised that this week has flown by and noticed that the last blog I wrote was back last Tuesday!!

Anyway, I have to report that following the Fibre Day we attended at Meon Valley Alpacas last month, I attended another SAG-arranged session today and this time it was a talk given by Dr Gina Bromage, a most respected and knowledgeable Veterinary Practitioner and Author. She covered a number of issues including general husbandry and also the hot topic of TB in Alapacas. The one thing that struck me is that whatever ones experience of Breeding Alpacas, there is always so much more to learn! Nothing remains constant in this industry and there are always new challenges emerging.

Last week, Sheila and I paid a visit to Dorset where our new accountant resides. With our daughter acting as farm manager, it was an opportunity to take a trip out and whilst the weather was not too kind to us, the chance to run through our financial standing was well received.

Since my son is getting married next Saturday, I spent last Saturday evening in the company of him and his close friends with the sole intention of celebrating the forthcoming event (some would call it a stag night)!! I am generally considered to be quite a social individual however my days of consuming vast quantities of alcohol have long sinced gone and seeing how the others were more than willing to wreck their livers, I took the precaution of "pacing" myself!! I am pleased to say that it worked and found to my delight that apart from a slight headache, I was in fine fettle the following morning!

On a closing note, we had the most enormous egg laid by one of our hens the other day! it measured 8.5" in circumference and have to say that she must have received the most sorest rear end ever!!

On that note, I am off but will return again soon.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Ear Tagging and Microchipping

Good morning all. Yesterday was the day when three of our girls each gained their true identity! "Saphire", "Poppy" and "Miss Moneypenny" were ear tagged and microchipped. To be honest, both "Saphire" and "Poppy" were well overdue but what with one thing or another going on here at Easter-Wood, we didn't get round to it until yesterday!

Our vet was called in to also give our two horses their customary "jabs". The final job for our vet was to scan "Olympus" who we have had some difficulty in getting pregnant. Sadly it looks as though she has again not held so back to the drawing board!

With our Public Inquiry still going on and the rapidly approaching shorter days we have resigned ourselves to another Winter spent in the caravan and so we have been shopping for some oil-filled radiators which was recommended to us as a fairly efficient way to keep warm. I hope that advice is correct as our static caravan is certainly prone to chilly nights!

We have had a couple of local families (not the hostile ones!) come to visit our farm recently and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Once you are immersed in the business of Alpaca breeding, one tends to take things for granted but we have once again been reminded how exciting and educational Alpacas are as a result of the comments from our visitors!

Our chickens have increased their egg-laying yield and we are delighted with the additional "free range" food! The hens are a real joy to keep and a most welcomed addition to the farm. They are so inquisitive and have now taken to greeting us whenever we approach them by running towards us at a "gallop"! Since they have the run of the place, we do get the occasional chicken bidding for their freedom by ducking under the gate and exploring outside. Come dusk though, they never fail to make their own way back to the coop!

Well I am off to brave the weather as it is chucking it down at the moment however, we do need the rain....right?