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.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A slight panic!!

Whilst I was conducting my daily feeding regime along with the routine herd inspection last night, I noticed that we had two seperate groups of our Aussies, each appearing to cast a cautious eye on one another! I found this behaviour somewhat baffling, so with the evening light beginning to rapidly fade, I approached the group who were particularly busy feeding from the new hay feeder we purchased the other week. I then saw what the alpacas were alarmed at..................one of the girls had an adorment around her neck which was not initially visible in the twilight....................a bucket was hanging around Memory's neck like an over-sized medallion!

I had been using water buckets, hanging from fence posts which had always been a convenient means of providing water as we do not currently have it piped for some of the paddocks! Anyway, we quickly rounded them up onto the adjacent track and managed to remove the offending item from the poor girl's neck.The next trip to our farm supplier will mean purchasing some additional water troughs! It just goes to show how important it is to always observe your Alpacas on a regular basis as I shudder to think what damage it could have done if I hadn't spotted the problem!!

Sheila has been busy labouring over the production of garments each day and with the sound of clicking needles ringing throughout the Easter household, I have found solace in immersing myself in designing and installing our modified CCTV security system! It works a treat even though it intitially had a habit of recording every movement from a busy spider creating it's web across the field of view!!!

This past week has seen a lot of husbandry work including vitamins ADE injections for the crias, toenail cutting, spit offs and three matings. The collapsing barn solution has commenced with the delivery and installation of accro props which will be followed up with the replacement of trusses and supporting timbers during October. At least with the accro's in place, we will not have to fear the roof falling in!!

With the recent Autumnal weather decending on Berkshire, we have had a fair bit of rain of late which always brings up the worm casts on our fields; the result of which is a bunch of very muddy Alpacas who seem to delight in covering themselves in this unsightly mess!! I am in awe of all those breeders who manage to have only "clean" Alpacas. How do you do it??

Sheila will be making her way to the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall on Friday to deliver some fleeces for processing and as the garment production line is in full swing here at Easter-Wood, she is rapidly running out of yarn! This trip actually coincides with a visit to her mother who lives in Tavistock so it is a fairly short hop to Launceston.

Well, the rain is upon us again today and I have just discovered that The Ryder Cup is only shown on Sky Sports channel, which we don't have so that makes me a very unhappy chappy!!!  :0((

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Highs and Lows

Its been an extraordinary week with some highs and lows but most importantly, finishing on Saturday with a particular "high" in the shape of the successful GWR fleece and Fibre show held in Frome, Somerset. As it has been covered by so many other breeders, I will not go into any detail suffice as to say that it was a "smash" hit and a memorable day out for Sheila and I! We met a number of our friends and managed to catch up with all things Alpaca.

A particular "low" we experienced came early in the week with our barn which had taken on a very noticeable dip in the roof line and somewhat "bow-shaped" supporting walls! Upon inspection, it appeared that the roof trusses are not up to the job of supporting the roof!! A series of calls to the manufacturer revealed that the company had been acquired by another supplier of barns and stables which obviously sounded warning bells to us. Anyway, to cut a long story short, the new company came out subsequent to me taking a series of photos of the "structure" and they have promised to rectify the problem albeit at our expense as the guarantee is no longer valid! Ah well, it could have been worse.

Today has been a busy husbandry day with toe nail cutting and injecting Lambivac. Tomorrow, I have promised myself to get on top of the "Poovering" and despite having a bad case of "Man-Flu", it just has to be done!!

Whilst I did say that the GWR Fleece show had been well covered by other breeders who attended and thus, didn't need to go into any detail, I cannot sign off without showing our modest success on Saturday:......................
A rosette, (our first) for Easter-Wood Navigator's fleece!

Be back soon.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A vet visit, A new purchase and more DIY.

I am sad!! Easter-Wood Polaris will not succeed as one of our herd sires. Despite having a terrific phenotype, fineness of fleece and a great Sire, the crimping is simply not good enough to pass on to his progeny so we have decided to give him the proverbial chop! This decision was based purely on our breeding programme and the ability to produce exemplary, elite cria. Our focus is to create the best that we can and whilst it seems a rash decision, his cria would not be up there with the best!

Whilst our vet was here, we asked him to do the honours with the ear tagging and microchipping on our 2010 crias as well. I did attempt to do the microchipping myself last year but frankly struggled with the size of the needle so as the vet was here....!!

Of late, we have had a fair amount of success in using eBay and since we were in need of another mobile Hay Feeder, we conducted a search and found one that appeared to be fairly new in Sussex. It is always an entertaining exercise with these auctions and managed to secure this feeder at a very competitive price. This week, we hitched up the trailer and took a ride out to Heathfield in Sussex to collect it. It is now sitting proudly in our Elite Australian's paddock!

For some reason, we are prone to a few power interruptions/surges here at Easter-Wood and every time this happens, the RCD's in the power distribution panel trips off and subsequently seems to damage the individual power circuits for the CCTV camera's. This happened again last week and the net result is a need to purchase another power supply!! So annoying (and costly)!! I am re-positioning the cameras along with their controls this week so I am hoping that this will make a difference!

We also finally managed to fit the guttering onto the cabin last week. The amount of rain water that had been cascading off the roof was amazing and presented us with a constant challenge having to face a "curtain" of water when trying to get in or out of the cabin. So, the guttering couldn't be put off any longer and I owe Barry, my brother-in-law a big thank you for helping me out (in fairness, he did most of it!). Anyway, allowing the rain water to drain off the roof was only the first part of the solution, the next was; where to pipe it? We decided that as there is a water ditch around our farm, the most sensible solution was to direct the rain water into the ditch. The problem with this however is that between the cabin and the ditch, there is a steep mound which would require a substantial amount of digging.......hand tools were certainly out of the question! We hired a man and a digger for this exercise and once we had accurately calculated the "fall" of the drainage pipe and excavated the trench, we laid the pipe and back-filled it.......Great job. The following day, it bucketed down and hey presto, it worked!!

We are looking forward to a fun day out at next weeks GWR fleece show. It will be good to meet up with old friends again and no doubt, catch up with news, etc. Sheila has spent the last few months really focusing on garment production and so plans to have many "knitting-related" conversations with a few of our friends.

Off to feed the pacas now, so will be back.