We have two donkeys, the grey one is Heather she is the mother of the brown one Mauve. Heather is about ten years old and on the day we moved to Blakebeck her daughter kicked her in the face, arguing over some feed that was given to them. She had a very nasty cut on her face which needed stitching. This meant we had to move donkeys as well as us, the donkey’s were loaded into the cattle trailer and came here via the vets, where they stitched up her face, and then they moved to Blakebeck Farm. You will see it has healed really well, what a day that was! Mauve is about five and is a larger donkey than her mum as Heathers dad was a miniature and Mauve’s dad was a standard. They are always really dusty as they love to roll, they copy each other and if one rolls then the other will. They are great characters and love to make plenty of noise if they see anyone about.
There are 4 alpacas they are all female, we have had the white ones Princess and Narla for about two years, the other two are new to us this year, Honey and Treacle (guess which is which). Honey had a young one in June 2016, a CREA ( a baby alpaca). They get clipped once a year in June/July time, oh what a challenge that is, we have a great chap who comes to clip them and he makes it look easy, then we have the lovely soft fleeces. I have spun some; it is so lovely and soft. They are very inquisitive animals and love to see what is going on and will come to see you from a distance, they are also very timid. They do not like dogs at all and sometimes start squealing when they see them; they would chase and hurt a dog if they were in the field with them. They are very useful at lambing time as they look after the sheep and lambs protecting them from foxes and dogs, they love lambs and will stand with a lost lamb and look after it until its mum comes back.
Three adult female goats, Pricilla is the white adult and her baby Mandy who was born on Maundy Thursday. The other two adult females are Golden Guernseys “Roughy” and “Smoothy” who are twins, Roughy has one male kid and Smoothy has twins one female and one male. No names as yet. We have a billy goat called Patrick , who is a Golden Guernsey and dad to all this year’s kids. No gates must ever be left open for more than 10 seconds as they are very inquisitive and will escape to pastures new.
We have two dogs, Tyra who is a Scottish Deerhound and is 8 years old and we have had her since she was a puppy, she is very laid back, her only interests in life are having loads of attention and her comforts. She is lovely, she would not get any prizes for being a guard dog or well groomed as she loves sleeping in the straw bales at lambing time and then comes out looking like Worzel Gumage’s dog. Moss is a working collie and he loves his job, we have had him for five years he is about 7, he is a very quiet natured dog and has a few hang ups, not sure what has happened to him before we got him but, is very nervous, with metal clanking, loud bangs, shooting, fireworks.. He goes everywhere with Judith and only works for her, this is very common among working collies he will sit in the car for hours and overnight, but will not stay at home without her. In March this year he got run over with the quad bike trailer. He suffered a dislocated hip, he had to have it put back in place three times under general anesthetic within a two week period. It was a tough time for him and us, not knowing if it would stay in place and what we would do next. Third time lucky and it stayed in place, each day he has got stronger and stronger and it is fantastic to just have him back, walking on all four legs again. Still no sheep work for a few months, as he needs to build up his muscles in his leg. We have missed his help among the sheep this spring, as he is great at bringing in the sheep, catching lambs and ewes in the field; he is kept very busy most days as we have about 180 sheep on our other farm. When you have sheep there is always something that needs doing and Moss is always there to help, as he can often see what needs to be done before we do.