About Us

My photo
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.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Our loss tonight!

It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog tonight! We lost a very handsome little white male born to our first born here at Easter-Wood. Poppy went the full term and at 4:40pm this afternoon, she delivered this little boy following a difficult and lengthy birth. Phase 1 of her labour went on for too long and so we assisted in the delivery. He was very small and he was clearly fatigued from his ordeal. Anyway, we kept him warm and fitted a cria coat, gave him a feed which he seemed to readily accept and placed him alongside mum in the barn. At 8pm this evening, we planned to give him a further feed but it became evident that he was slowly slipping away and sadly died at 8:20 this evening. Poor Poppy cannot understand what has happened and I can't tell you how much it has effected all of us however, someone once said that when one keeps livestock, one should be prepared to accept dead stock! Difficult though, as I am sure that everyone who has experienced this will know!

Will sign off for now.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

British Alpaca Futurity

With the securing of our permanent planning consent (as notified by Sue Wilson at Valley Alpacas) last  Wednesday, we are now busy booking our events and shows for the remainder of this year. Whilst we had decided not to show at the British Alpaca Futurity, we did attend today's session and met up with many of our friends and fellow breeders along with meeting new ones. These events are invaluable for us, least of which is to gain knowledge on the competition but also to acknowledge the level of professionalism demonstrated at these sort of events in the Alpaca calender. As you can guess, we are poised to take our first steps onto the show circuit and whilst we have been otherwise engaged over the last three and half years in establishing and developing our business, we are now enthusiastically shaping our long term strategy and plans so that we too, will be regular attendees at the various shows planned. Our visit to The British Alpaca Futurity today was as always, inspiring and we also identified some awesome Studs which we are keen to use on our girls later this year.

Despite the promise of Spring just around the corner, Sheila is still having success in selling many of her Winter garments that she has knitted during the last few months. I keep meaning to photograph and insert them onto our on-line shop but no sooner that I arrange for our daughter, Gemma to model the Snoods, Hats, Scarfs and Gloves, the garments disappear out the door! Still, can't complain really.

Getting back to the start of this blog, we are really pleased and excited at the outcome of our planning application and for those of you who are currently waiting for the outcome of their application, don't lose sight of the passion and determination that took you there in the first place. Common sense usually prevails!

On that note, I will close but will be back soon.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

A Change is as good as a rest!!

In the corporate world from whence I come from, I always subscribed to changes in business practices in terms of process, sales and marketing and thus I believe it is true for our world too. However, I also believe that managing change is the key to success and as a result of a great deal of planning, we have now decided to sell Cambridge Ice Cool Lad. He will be much missed as he has produced some exemplary off spring for us but it is important for us to inject fresh genetics into our herd. In fairness, we started this process last year when we were fortunate enough to have Eringa Park Lawbreaker of Cambridge and Cambridge The Chairman of ACC's genetics through matings with a three of our elite girls. As a result we now have another two very promising boys as future herd sires in Easter-Wood Lawbreaker's Legend and Easter-Wood Athos. The third cria, a beautiful girl (Easter-Wood Adelle) went to our friends in Cumbria, Beck Brow Alpacas. In the meantime, we have however been looking forward to getting Easter-Wood Diego (a beautiful Cambridge Samson boy) ready for "service" which will take place this summer. He is a stunning boy exhibiting dense, highly crimped fleece with fabulous brightness and we are excited about his potential.

Easter-Wood Diego in "deep thought"
A young Easter-Wood Diego

This week saw the weaning of 9 of our youngsters which, as ever is a tough call and despite the strengthening of fences, we still had a couple of escapees. Their pitiful "bleeting" always tugs at my heart but of course it has to be done! I didn't mention this in my last blog but we also had a couple of births at Easter-Wood last week......two kittens! Mum, is our farm cat whom we purchased as a ginger Tom some two years ago!! Anyway they are all doing well and whilst I haven't managed to get a good picture of them yet, I can show you a pretty poor phone camera image of one of them at a day old.

No name yet, not even sure of it's sex!

We have some visitors coming this morning, (potential breeders, we hope) so will now sign off but will be back soon.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Is it March already??


So much has happened since the last time I blogged (got to be 2 months or more – shameful!). As ever, we have been busy getting the farm into shape after a winter which, to be fair, hasn’t been that bad but we have been trying to retain as much of our pasture as possible and for some reason this year, we haven’t been able to hold onto much of it. Our Elite cria are all developing nicely and we will certainly be present at some of the later shows this year. Sales of the garments Sheila has been busy producing have taken off really well and continues to be a regular source of interest/income from our clients.

As readers of our blog will recall, part of our “Alpaca Experience Days” offer the chance for our visitors to also “Experience” our Kune Kune pigs. Well, they are no longer tiny, sweet little piglets they were last year! They have grown significantly over the last couple of months and whilst they are never going to reach massive proportions, they are now quite a handful at meal times!!

Another event that I am pleased to report and one that is only due to the lack of light pollution here, is the passing directly overhead of the ISS (International Space Station) last month. Fortunately it was a cloudless night and not only did we get a great view of Venus, Jupiter and a new moon all in line, but the ISS suddenly came into view to round off the spectacle! As you may have guessed, I am hooked on astronomy and it has been one of my passions since childhood some 10 years ago!!!!

We have also been actively marketing the business here at Easter-Wood and another opportunity to compliment my previous radio interview experience with a local radio station last year, was to host BBC Radio Berkshire this morning. Nikki Whiteman was our guest and she fronted the interview for the Andrew Peach show. Both Sheila and I thoroughly enjoyed the session even though we had to endure a heavy mist all morning. Anyway, Nikki will be returning during the summer months along with her family this time.

 Sheila & Radio Berkshire presenter, Nikki Whiteman

Signing off for now but will return soon.