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.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

An active weekend, but still no rain!!

Whilst the sunshine continues to parch our paddocks, it has given us a fabulous two weeks of wall-to-wall  blue sky which was a great backdrop to a  number of farm visits here at Easter-Wood in the guise of "Experience Days" which we hosted and both Sheila and I were delighted in the numbers of interested parties and their kind words which they left in our visitor's book. We do enjoy showing people around the farm and love to hear their endearing comments about the alpacas and of course, the recently acquired Kune Kune pigs! This weekend's visit was a particularly busy one and we felt that it was very rewarding since many of the questions were focused upon all aspects of alpaca breeding culminating in the subsequent garment production. We are now preparing for next months "Experience Days" and hope that these will also be as successful.

The woodland path to our Kune Kune pig enclosure

They seem to love having their tummies tickled!

What's going on then?

 An inquisitive and "bearded" Ice Cool Lad

Will be back again soon.

Monday, 18 April 2011

.....and still no rain!

Whilst we have been too quick to criticise the bad weather last month here in the south, we now find ourselves somewhat concerned that we haven't had any rain for at least two weeks!! However, despite that, we are constantly reminded of the fact that spring has arrived by appearence of leaves on the trees, the omni present ragwort and fortunately, lush green grass. So long as the dry spell gives way occasionally to some (just a little) rain to keep the grass growing!!

We gave one of our elite girls the last of her course of three injections yesterday in an attempt to finally get her pregnant (no, I know that you can't do this with simply an injection!!). Sadly she has never been able to hold her pregnancy despite a lot of costly veterinary intervention so basically, we had given up on her but a little encouragement from EPC made us try again. Anyway, we will try another mating this coming weekend and keep our fingers crossed!

Sheila took a trip up to Stoneleigh yesterday to attend a fibre presentation/discussion and came back armed with considerable knowledge and enthusiasm gained from hearing expert advice from the presenters and fellow breeders whom she had delight in meeting. It is always good to put faces to names! She gave me an overview of what was discussed and along with a copy of the PowerPoint presentation material, I certainly picked up some valuable details of fibre analysis and general fibre information. After all, Alpaca fibre is the reason why we breed them!

Following on from my last blog re: barn cleaning/jet washing; does anyone know of an effective disinfectant other than Jeyes Fluid as it is so difficult to erradicate the strong, clinical aroma following it's use?

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spring planting and Barn cleaning

Two of the larger jobs that I set myself to do this spring was the construction of planters around the farm and filling them with plants/flowers and also the mammoth task of jet washing the barn. Both of these projects I can happily report are now completed (well almost!).

Sheila had been watching some horse-related programme on the TV recently which featured a very attractive equine property displaying planters around the schooling area and this of course gave her the inspiration for the odd job man (me of course) to get cracking doing likewise here! I decided to use half round rails and posts which seem to work very well and was strong enough to retain the top soil mixed with alpaca manure of course! Anyway once that was done, we headed of to the garden centre to select plants and shrubs. I don't know if this is a woman thing or not but the time that Sheila took to select a couple of plants, I had almost filled the trolley with what I thought was appropriate plants!! Job done and we finally headed back to finish the aforementioned work. We still need more plants however but it certainly softens the look of our farm (just read that back and it sounds a bit girlie!!)

Over the last couple of days, I have been actively jet washing the barn. I say actively as it was a pretty messy and full-on job but now having completed it and disinfected the surfaces, I have to say it does look and smell so much better. Strangely, the barn now looks bigger!!

The treatment of one of our girls, Black Magic, for an abscess is now complete and after a 28 day course of antibiotic injections and washing of the abscess itself, it looks as though it has totally cleared up thank goodness! This process did have it's funny side however. Alpacas, as we know are quick to learn and after a day or two of "teasing" her out of the paddock into a smaller space to treat her, she realised what was going to happen and subsequently took every precaution to avoid being caught which resulted in me being ceremoniously dumped on the ground a number of times (much to the amusement of Sheila!!).

Cambridge Ice Cool Lad was put to work yesterday with one of our coloured girls. We had previously taken to using the track around Ice Cool Lad's paddock for matings as it was more accessible but have since realised that it is far more appropriate for the mating to take place in the mating pen where it is quieter and less distracting for them. The one thing that we have learnt over the last three years when working around alpacas is the need to be calm at all times!!

With the weather still being dry, my next job today will be some paddock cleaning and dare I say it, another trip to the garden centre!!

Be back soon with photo's next time.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Some Easter-Wood pics

With a promise of some pics in my last blog, I grabbed the camera yesterday afternoon and took a few around the farm of which these are a sample;

This is Memory in the forground with Metisha looking on.

This line up shows from left to right: Sundown, Diego and Latte (sadly, I seem to have cut off Sundown's nose!)

This is a typical Diego pose!

From left to right: Leia, Memory and Metisha

None of this group were interested in posing at all!!

Some of you may remember that we have about a 1/3 acre of woodland at the lower part of the farm and as an added attraction on our open days, we decided to introduce a couple of pigs in there and so having completed the fencing of the enclosure and the ark, we placed the Kune Kune's into their new home last week. The woodland area is ideal for them as they can forage on all of the nettles, grass, weeds and roots that are abundant in there. Whilst the foliage is still a little sparse, the Alpacas can see them and as mentioned before, often kick up a fuss when the pigs waddle into view however the wood becomes very dense in the summer and will then render them invisible to the girls!

The one on the left is Matilda and the sandy coloured one is Stella!!

 Will be back soon.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Spring cleaning.

What with this exemplary weather and the need to "spruce up" the place, we have been actively planting new shrubs and flowers in the newly constructed "planters" around the farm including the obligatory veggie patch. We have been without home grown vegetables for a couple of years now so I thought it high time to address this!

We have now seperated out our pregnant elite girls so that they have quite a large paddock to themselves with plenty of spring grass. Within only a few days, they are looking decidedly "rotund" however that could be also due to their fleece which has really "fluffed" up since the sun has removed the moisture. The weather has also created a significant "spurt" of grass growth and as a result, all of the paddocks are looking really good now.

The installation of the Kune Kune pigs within the woods at the bottom of the farm has created a source of evil intent as far as the alpacas are concerned!! Every time one of the pigs walks into view, a chorus of shrieks and screams are immediately emitted from our alpacas who quite obviously believe that the little chubby creatures will soon be wreaking carnage amongst them!!

We had an exceptional weekend at the Berkshire College of Agriculture's open weekend last week and whilst Sheila took along some sample garments simply to show what can be done with Alpaca fleece, they soon became "must have" items. Gloves, hats, snoods,etc all soon went! As last year, the event was a great weekend and we were very pleased with the outcome.

One of the jobs that I have been promising myself for a while now is the total clean out of the barn which has housed the girls on a number of nights during the winter months. Yesterday, we manged to remove all of the stale straw ready for a good jet wash later this week, a job which undoubtably will be somewhat messy!!

I am conscious that there are no pictures with this short blog but as the weather continues to be good, I promise to capture some images of the Easter-Wood herd for the next blog.

Have a good weekend and will be back soon.