Page 1

NEW

✦ LATEST NEWS ✦ BREEDERS DIRECTORY ✦ PRODUCTS ISSUE 1 / SAMPLER 2012

BUYING GUIDE FOR

SOUTHDOW

IMPORTAN NS INSIDET! TIPS ISSUE 1/SAMPLER 2012 £3.50

The essential guide to small field animals

A RAM MoT Is he ready for action?

FOCUS ON

MANX LOAGHTAN Own a piece of history

Exp

Fantastic fleeces

Getting started with alpacas; an owner’s tale

Goat nutrition

Expert advice on dietary requirements

PLUS...

✓ HOOF TRIMMING ✓ LLAMA TREKS ✓ VETS Q&AS ✓ GALLERY SEY ✓ & MORE! N ER GU EN LD GO R TE EL SH G SEEKIN Cover Sample issue.indd 1

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A new small field animals magazine

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elcome to this 20-page sampler of Kelsey Publishing’s new livestock magazine; Practical Sheep, Goats & Alpacas. Selfsufficiency and smallholding is enjoying a resurgence in the UK, as people search for the good life. A natural extension of growing your own food KEY FACTS is keeping livestock.  Frequency: Quarterly Practical Sheep, Goats & Alpacas is  First issue: Cover dated produced by Kelsey Publishing, the Winter 2012 and published UK’s most exciting and innovative in November 2012 publisher of specialist magazines for enthusiasts. Kelsey has a portfolio of  Cover Price: £3.50 over 30, regular-frequency magazines  Pagination: 60 pages covering a variety of market sectors and sold through the UK news trade  Format: A4 (including WHSmith high street shops),  Production: Quality farm shops and feed barns. gloss paper Practical Sheep, Goats & Alpacas will be on sale from November 2012 as a quarterly frequency magazine. Kelsey Publishing has extensive knowledge of the smallholder magazine market through its existing successful publications Practical Poultry, Practical Pigs and Grow it! While some magazines already include small field animals in their coverage, none is focused entirely on this subject. If your company is targeting its products or services at the small field animal enthusiast market, Practical Sheep, Goats & Alpacas is the magazine where you will reach them most effectively.

Kelsey already publishes the following magazines aimed at smallholders and ‘home farmers’: FIND A BREEDER: Use our unique directory to source your pigs

Practical

£3.50

PIGS

One reader’s solution to cutting everyday costs

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guide to this delightful pig

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5 delicious root veg Full growing instructions inside magazine.

Beetroot ‘Cylindra’: Tapered cylindrical roots grow to about 15-20cm (6-8in) long and up to 5cm (2in) wide. It has sweet flavour when freshly UK a£3.50 cooked, either as ‘baby’ beets or as larger roots. Ideal for pickling. Average content: 70 seeds.

Seeds supplied by

Root veg collection

Beetroot ‘Detroit 2’: This quality variety, with rich maroon colouring and excellent flavour, forms uniform beets of a good size. A good choice for succession sowing throughout the season to enjoy a longer harvest period. Average content: 70 seeds.

Back from the brink

HOW WE’RE SAVING OUR NATIVE BREEDS

Carrot ‘Amsterdam’: A quick-maturing variety, recommended for early forcing under glass to produce delicious finger-sized carrots. The small roots have a rich, orange-red colour with almost no core to them. Average content: 500 seeds.

PIGLET PROVIDER

Carrot ‘Autumn King’: For an excellent maincrop variety you won’t find better than ‘Autumn King’. The high-quality, large, conical roots have a fine, even internal colour. Highly recommended for winter storage. Average content: 500 seeds.

Learn the secrets of successful breeding

Parsnip ‘Hollow Crown’: These parsnips produce mild, white fine-grained flesh. They develop a sweet, nutty flavour after frost. Mature roots are 30cm (12in) long and 5cm (2in) thick and love a deeply prepared soil. Average content: 80 seeds.

Seeds supplied by Thompson & Morgan (UK) Ltd. For customer care tel: 01473 688821 or email: ccare@thompson-morgan.com Web: www.thompson-morgan.com Standard seeds – Complies with EC rules and standards

PLUS: VETS Q&As TRAINING COURSES PP_Spring cover.indd 1

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Practical Pigs. Published quarterly in collaboration with the British Pig Association, Practical Pigs is the UK’s only magazine dedicated to this fastgrowing smallholder passion.

Issue 99 /June 2012 £3.50

STRAWBERRY COLLECTION

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THE UK'S BEST SELLING POULTRY MAGAZINE!

Soft feather heavies?

HOUSING POLICY

Have you got the best house for your hens?

You pick from our NEW quick reference guide!

All about Aylesbury! We spotlight this appealing duck breed

Vet thebirds Askto keep healthy your Helping

Scots Grey buying

✦ LATEST NEWS ✦ BREEDERS DIRECTORY ✦ PRODUCTS NEW ISSUE 1 / SAMPLER 2012

BUYIN GUIDE FOGR

SOUTHDOW

IMPORTAN NS INSIDET! TIPS ISSUE 1/SAMPLER 2012 £3.50

The essential guide to small field animals

A RAM MoT Is he ready for action?

FOCUS ON

MANX LOAGHTAN Own a piece of history

Expert advice on dietary

Fantastic fleeces

Getting started with alpacas; an owner’s tale

Goat nutrition

Expert advice on dietary requirements

PLUS...

✓ HOOF TRIMMING ✓ LLAMA TREKS ✓ VETS Q&AS ✓ GALLERY NSEY ✓ & MORE! SEEKING SHELTER GOLDEN GUER Cover Sample issue.indd 1

31/05/2012 14:22

Content: An informative and entertaining ‘one-stop-shop’ for enthusiasts, providing straightforward, down-to-earth content covering all the essentials. Readers will enjoy regular, in-depth buying features, practical articles on key aspects such as breeding, housing, feeding and husbandry, owners’ stories, health and welfare-related Q&As, delicious recipe ideas, regular competitions and a unique breeders directory. Distribution: Throughout the UK news trade including WHSmith high street shops and thousands of local newsagents, plus farm shops and feed barns as well as to postal subscribers.

Promotion: Advertising in smallholder magazines, enthusiast websites and through Kelsey’s extensive range of rural enthusiast magazines including the top-selling Tractor & Machinery, Practical Poultry, Grow it! and Practical Pigs.

It’s a no-nonsense, practical performer!

12/04/2012 12:01

Grow it! The wellestablished monthly magazine for allotment and kitchen garden enthusiasts.

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12/04/2012 15:01

Practical Poultry. The UK’s market-leading monthly magazine for chicken enthusiasts

Target print order: 20,000 copies Advertising rates: A full-page advert costs £850 and a quarter-page just £250

.. Sheep, Goats & Alpacas. t…… s ou ’t mis Dontha rtising in Practical t your company benefits by adve k

o.u Make sure 514. Email sga.adsales@kelsey.c 543 59 019 on on Sim or 586 543 zine.co.uk Contact Kara on 01959 dable pdf, go to: www.sgamaga loa wn do a d an r ple sam s thi of For a digital version SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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BUYING

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GUIDE • B

Contents XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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BUYING GUIDE | SOUTHDOWN

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A F

The face should be wide and level between the ears with no sign of horn. The face, not too long from eyes to nose, particularly in rams. Hair of an even mouse colour and eyes large, bright and clear of wool. The ears should be of medium size and covered with short wool. The nose dark, not pink.

he first thing to know about goats is that, like cows and sheep, they are ruminants. This means that they chew cud regurgitated from their rumen (a part of their digestive system). Goats eat a large amount of food in a relatively short period of time, and swallow with minimal chewing. This means they minimise their grazing time, during which they are less alert and more at risk from predators, which is essential for survival in the wild. The goats then retreat to a secure place, where they feel safe to chew the cud. Goats are also browsers – they wander along hedgerows, eating any twigs and branches that take their fancy. Contrary to popular belief, goats are quite fussy feeders and would choose to starve than eat something that doesn’t live up to their high expectations!

D E • B U YI

The neck is wide at the base and well set on the shoulders. Shoulders should be neither too wide nor too narrow, with the top level with the back.

C

Legs should be well set on each corner, straight and well up on the pasterns. Faults are cow-hocks (turning inwards at the hock on the back legs), and knock-knees (turning inwards on the front legs). The horn of the hooves should be black.

D

Chest and ribs are deep over the heart, but not too wide, with well-sprung ribs (coming out from the spine in a good well-rounded shape).

E

The back is long, wide and level, evenly fleshed and firm to handle. Rump well rounded and not pointed.

Digestion

F

The tail is broad and well set up and level with the chine (lower spine and flesh either side).

D

Southdown Buying guide:

One important consideration for any smallholder or first-time sheep keeper is how easy your chosen breed is to manage. The worst thing that could happen, having gone into your new venture full of enthusiasm, is to find yourself struggling with the day-to-day business of running your flock. A breed that is docile, friendly and productive is a must, and the Southdown certainly ticks all of those boxes.

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The standard calls for a leg free from fleece on its lower half.

he Southdown’s importance in sheep history cannot be overemphasised. It produces fast-growing lambs with excellent meat qualities in their own right, but when crossed with any other breed it passes these qualities on to the offspring. Its use as one of the premium’ terminal sire’ breeds, not only here but around the world, bears this out. The ubiquitous ‘New Zealand’ or ‘Canterbury lamb’ used the Southdown as the basis of the breed in the late 1800s, and it’s still in use today. This is a breed which will thrive wherever you keep it, and its docile

As they have no upper incisor or canine teeth, goats use a hard dental pad in front of the palate, lips, tongue and lower incisor teeth to pull food into their mouths. They swallow their food with minimal chewing, relying on the process of rumination (the regurgitation and chewing of semi-digested food from the rumen) to break it down. Ruminants have a four chambered stomach – the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.

G

A Southdown’s wool should be fine and dense and of even colour. The standard calls for fleeces to be white, covering the whole body down to the hocks and knees. When parted it should show pink skin.

nature makes it very attractive as a starter animal. The ewes are relatively small and very easy to handle, making it an ideal breed for first-time keepers and it does well in both small and large flocks. A stocky, compact body shape means the Southdown can easily be turned onto its back to carry out routine husbandry tasks such as dagging, shearing or trimming feet, and it lambs with ease. Due to the breed’s smaller size, using a Southdown ram with young ewes of other breeds gives these first-time mothers the advantage of confidence; the lambs are born easily and mature quickly, giving the ewe an excellent

With its stocky build, fine fleece and attractively woolly face, the Southdown has a lot to offer the smallholder.

introduction to motherhood. Subsequent matings can then be made with a ram of a different breed, giving a larger lamb, happy in the knowledge that the ewe is an able mother.

Making history The Southdown is one of Britain’s oldest breeds, and was estimated as numbering 1,100 as early as 1341. In 1761, in the village of Glynde in Sussex, nestled at the foot of the South Downs which give the breed its name, John Ellman began work to improve the breed, developing its now distinctive small, compact shape. Its popularity peaked from

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around 1790 and the breed became well-known for the quality of its carcass, while it retained a very good fleece, making it an ideal allrounder. By 1813 there were some 200,00 Southdown ewes in and around the South Downs alone, and their presence played a vital role in fertilising the chalky soil of the downlands. Small, docile and easy to handle, the Southdown adapted well to being kept in folds; taken up to the hills to graze during the day, returning to the lower fields to be penned in ‘folds’ at night. This method of folding stock reached its peak in the late 1800s before slowly falling out of fashion.  SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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News

4

Buying Guide: Southdown sheep

Views, reviews and new products

Great meat, a fine fleece and docile too!

8

What are the implications of this nasty virus for the lambing season in 2013??

Letters

12

Tupping time

Balancing act down the small particles of food, The rumen and reticulum have a before they travel to the small very similar function, and together intestine. they make up about 85% of the The small intestine is the site total stomach. It’s here that where the majority of microorganisms supply nutrients are enzymes to break Oesophagus absorbed, down and Rumen although some ferment tough have already fibre. As such, a goat’s diet Reticulum been absorbed Omasum in the rumen. should be highRumen The parts of the fibre and feed that are forage-based. Abomasum indigestible and The third section unabsorbed nutrients of the four-chambered are passed to the large stomach is the omasum, intestine where they are further which is made of many folds of digested and any nutrients tissue that break up the feed absorbed, before being excreted. ingested. Some of the water from the feed is also removed here. Diet The abomasum is often known as the true In addition to grazing, at least half stomach, as it of a goat’s diet should consist of functions in a similar forage (on a dry weight basis), with way to the human a concentrate feed making up the Forage is defined stomach. Additional remainder. Concentrates are as as bulky food such digestive enzymes important as the forage part of their as hay or grass and hydrochloric diet, and a good quality goat feed acid further break will provide the essential balance of

 Despite their reputation, goats are fussy eaters.

22

DID YOU KNOW?

Aside ing from provid ntrate forage, a conce ed to provid feed is often condition, for ain ction help maint milk produ diet. growth or a balanced and to ensure ntrate feed’ ‘conce The term with a low means a feed t, which offers water conten ible nutrients easily digest ntrated in a conce form.

vitamins and minerals that may be lacking if goats are left to fend for themselves. Although goats prefer to browse on a variety of flora, they will get used to a field that is all grass, although only if there is enough meadow grass present, as they prefer to a selection of many different grasses and weeds. The mixture of grasses that will occur naturally, at the side of a road for example, is well-suited to goats.

Forage Good quality, dust-free hay or silage should be used to provide at least half of the diet. This should be provided in racks, rather than hay nets, as goats are likely to become tangled in them. Hay or silage can also be supplemented with good barley or oat straw, but ideally not wheat straw. Fruit and vegetables also make a nice addition to the diet and provide interest – although vegetables such as carrots should be sliced lengthways rather than into circular pieces, to prevent choking. It’s possible to feed garden waste as part of a goat’s diet, though care should be taken to avoid poisonous plants, decaying matter and

chemically-treated waste. Grass clippings shouldn’t be fed as these can cause choking. It’s important to remember Defra guidelines – no catering waste can be fed, even from your own kitchen. 

 A mixture of grass species provides the optimum grazing

BODY SCORING Score

Spine

Silage is formed when a forage such as grass or alfalfa is fermented, to preserve it with a high moisture content. Silage has a higher moisture content than grass and is higher in nutrients, though lower in fibre. The grass is mown, ready to be picked up by a machine known as a forage harvester. It is then fed in to a chopping machine which cuts the grass to the desired length. There are a few different ways to preserve silage, one being to place the grass in a large pile, removing as much air as possible by driving over it until firm to form what is known as a ‘clamp’. The clamp is then covered by plastic sheets to prevent air getting back in. Another method is to bale smaller quantities of grass in plastic sheeting, which will give more manageably-sized batches of feed.

To assess the condition of your goat, use the following guidelines Ribs

Loin

1

Very thin

Easy to see and feel, sharp

Easy to feel and can feel under

No fat covering

2

Thin

Easy to feel, but smooth

Smooth, slightly rounded, Smooth, even fat cover need to use slight pressure to feel

3

Good

Smooth and rounded

Smooth, even feel

4

Fat

Can feel with firm pressure, no points can be felt

Individual ribs can not be Thick fat felt, but can still feel indent between ribs

5

Obese

Smooth, no individual vertebra can be felt

Individual ribs can not be Thick fat covering, may be felt. No separation lumpy and ‘jiggly’ of ribs felt

Smooth, even fat cover

Body Condition Scoring in Meat Goats. Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences.

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Vets Q&As

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Gallery

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Good goat grub

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Club news

Schmallenberg update

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FEATURE | FEEDING

WHAT IS SILAGE?

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FEEDING GOATS

Sarah Bee, BSc (Hons), nutritionist at The Smallholder Range, discusses the most suitable diet for goats.

IMPORTANT BUYING TIPS

Rickets in alpacas, worming goats and ewe prolapses all discussed by Westpoint vet, Peter Aitken

Your favourite pictures on show. Share your sheep, goats and camelids with us

Despite a reputation to the contrary, goats are fussy eaters; we reveal the best feeding regime for your animals

Have your say, with comments, tips and advice

It’s MoT time for your ram! Use our practical guide for a thorough health assessment

12

We catch up on the latest from the sheep, goats and camelid clubs

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Eedlcitoomre’s wEditor’s∕ welcome

REGULAR | CONTENTS

ALPACA ADVICE FEATURE | OWNER’S TALE

FEATURE | OWNER’S TALE

We discover how Paula Bull’s herd of six alpacas satisfies her love for these productive creatures as well as her active interest in spinning and weaving For anyone who is considering keeping alpacas for the first time, Paula has the following suggestions;  Make sure your vet is happy to take on alpacas; many aren’t familiar or comfortable with camelids.

Paula’s

 Being herd animals, alpacas should never be kept singly, so always budget for two or three. You can keep alapcas at 4-5 per acre.

passion! T en years ago, alpacas were still quite exotic and cost thousands of pounds each. Paula Bull would go to agricultural shows and drool over those she found for sale there, never dreaming that one day she’d own one; let alone six! The big attractions for her were not only the apparent gentleness and air of curiosity these animals display, but their wonderful fleeces. Access to the fibre they produce was a real bonus for Paula and, as things have turned out, it’s proved pivotal in kick-starting her successful handicrafts business.

 Breeding females need a clostridial jab annually. Cria need to be injected at six weeks, then again 3-4 weeks later.  It is advisable to give your alpacas a vitamin D and E supplement (see Vets Q&As, p7) to help guard against rickets.  Worm regularly, using a faecal egg count service to establish the timing of doses.

Getting started

In 2001 Paula and her friend, Tina, went to an alpaca auction ‘just for a look’. Almost inevitably, though, they returned home with a full trailer. Tina got several animals, while Paula bought just a single, five-year-old, dark brown, pregnant female. Called Tessa, it was this animal which formed the basis of her now six-strong herd. Paula’s initial requirements were for a good, soft fleece that was an attractive colour, which she could spin into usable yarn. She used her knowledge of sheep to look for animals that ‘stood right and looked healthy and tidy’, and marked a few possibilities in the catalogue. Showing a great deal of trust, she left her husband to bid on the last lot she’d earmarked, while she nipped out for a moment. When she returned she was delighted to find that he’d been successful! Being a herd animal, Tessa lived with the animals that Tina had bought, until she gave birth to ‘Paddington’, back in 2002.

46

 Consult local breeders and take a hands-on husbandry course before you start with alpacas.  Most important of all, keeping alpacas is contagious! They come in lovely colours and are great characters.

Baby Basil is a beautiful dark chocolate brown

Frosty, the only Suri alpaca in the herd, was a birthday present. He has taken over as head of the herd!

Then she and Paddington were moved to their own enclosure with the sheep at Paula’s house. Tina already had a herd of llamas, so was aware of any special requirements for their animals, over and above the usual husbandry issues. They discovered that alpacas don’t have any lanolin in the fleece, so can suffer during prolonged periods of heavy rain (a week or more); shelter is required under these conditions to avoid the risk of water-logged fleece and pneumonia.

Being herd animals, alpacas should never be kept singly, so always budget for two or three. kept

Having kept sheep and cattle, Paula was confident that the husbandry aspect of alpaca-owning wouldn’t be too dissimilar and, in actual fact, has found them very easy to keep.

Easy option

These animals are classed as ‘domesticated’ and, as such, don’t require the paperwork typically associated with productive livestock such as sheep, cattle, pigs and goats. You currently don’t need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number, and alpacas can be moved without a licence. Paula’s animals are halter-trained, and the youngsters accompany her to farmers’ markets, and have taken part in village parades where they are always a popular attraction. Paula has however chosen to keep

stock records – a habit instilled from her sheep and cattle experience – and there is a pedigree registration system for those who want to show and breed seriously. However, for Paula, it’s the fibre which is the most important aspect as far as her alpacas are concerned. Her animals have never had a female ‘cria’ (young alpaca), so she’s only ever had to sell gelded males, which means that the pedigree registration system hasn’t been needed so far. Three years on, Paula heard that Tessa’s original seller was having another sale and, being anxious to increase the range of colours being kept, she returned and bought a little weanling, subsequently named ‘Marmaduke’. Her first three alpacas were Huacayas, with fluffy coats and, for

Top: A selection of fibres and yarns from Paula’s animals Left: Dyed alpaca fibre and Jacob’s sheep wool drying in the sun. Paula likes the variations in colour that her animals’ fleeces give her Right: Paula has a loom which she uses to make beautiful, soft scarves and throws

her birthday five years ago, she was given Frosty, an 18-month-old male Suri, with a cream-coloured, dreadlocked fleece. Breeding from Tessa involves sending her away for mating and, of the male crias produced, one was swapped with a friend for ‘Constance’, a jet-black female. Then, last year, Paula heard of someone wanting to re-home an eight-year-old female called Honey. This animal’s character had apparently changed after she’d given birth, making her more difficult to handle.

New colour

Despite the behaviour issues, Paula went to have a look and, with the proviso that she’d have to fit in with the existing animals, brought her home. While she remains more aloof, and has a bit more ‘attitude’ than the others, this integration  SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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01/05/2012 10:58

Llama trekking

A pleasurable way to spend time with your animals, but how can you make it pay?

28

Foot trimming

32

Breed spotlight: Golden Guernsey

Practical guide to healthy feet

This small, friendly, attractive milker makes a great house goat

36

40

In the spotlight

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elcome to this 20-page sample edition of Practical Sheep, Goats and Alpacas. This taster is intended to give potential advertisers a feeling for the content of a typical 60-page issue. I’m very excited about this new magazine, not only because it’s all about a subject that’s close to my heart, but because I believe there’s a real need for it among the evergrowing number of hobbyists now keeping these wonderfully interesting and productive animals. While there are a number of general, smallholding-type publications already on the market, none is able to offer sheep, goat or alpaca owners the excellence of coverage that we’ll be providing in this magazine. Each issue will be packed with essential and practical information specifically aimed at helping you get the best from your livestock. Always authoritative and never patronising, our content will be carefully balanced to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for enthusiast keepers anxious to maintain the highest possible welfare and husbandry standards for their animals. To this end we’ll be offering down-to-earth coverage on everything from feeding and shelter to breeding and good health. An experienced group of contributors will include vets and breed experts, and each issue will also include input from the sheep, goat and alpaca societies as well as a breeders listing, an events diary, an RBST update plus an in-depth buying guide and breed focus. But we want to hear from our readers, too. As keepers actively involved in ‘living the dream’, a part of the magazine will concentrate on their experiences. Be that in the form of owners’ tales, readers letters or favourite photographs submitted to the Gallery, Practical Sheep, Goats and Alpacas is guaranteed to feed readers' passion for this absorbing hobby! Rachel Graham Editor Sga.ed@kelsey.co.uk www.sgamagazine.co.uk

We visit the fascinating Seven Sisters Sheep Centre in East Sussex

51

Next issue

Seeking shelter

52

Breeders directory

56

Subscription offer

Discover the best ways of protecting your animals from the elements

42

Breed focus: Manx Laoghtan

46

Pride and joy

48

Events diary

Save money and maximise convenience; have every issue delivered to your door

Discover the practical essentials for keeping this striking rare breed

Alpaca owner Paula Bull has a real passion for the fabulous fibre her animals produce

Discover what’s going on at a showground near you!

32 SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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News

Your guide to what’s new in the world of sheep, goat and camelid keeping

If you have a news story, product launch or some other topical item, email sga.ed@kelsey.co.uk

Sheep worrying by dogs The National Sheep Association (NSA) has put in place a new service to record incidents of sheep worrying by dogs. The aim is to create an accurate picture of cases of sheep worrying across the UK, providing information that can be used to increase awareness and improve responsible behaviour by dog owners. 

The service will be offered to all UK sheep producers, NSA members or not, and will allow categorisation such as area of incidence and levels of seriousness. In addition the initiative will aim to raise awareness of the risks of tapeworm infection due to ineffective worming of dogs. ✽ You can contact the NSA on 01684 892661.

Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the NSA commented:

We hope this new service will provide valuable information to benefit sheep producers. Sheep worrying and dog attacks appear to be on the increase and we are aware that many cases go unreported. It’s important to create a picture of what is really happening and use this to raise awareness among dog owners and authorities.  I would urge any farmer to contact the NSA, in full confidence, and report any cases of sheep worrying they experience.

© Michelle Jones

RBST WORKSHOP

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P6 News.indd 6

This Combined Flock Book Rare Breed Sheep day, on April 21st, is for anybody interested in rare breed sheep; both experienced owners and those new to keeping sheep. The day will include conformation; breed description; card grading; choosing breeding stock; fleece quality; showing and judging. The day’s finale is to be a show of those sheep considered the best example of the breed, competing against each other for ‘Best in Show’. The CFB includes Boreray, Castlemilk Moorit, Manx Loaghtan, Norfolk Horn, North Ronaldsay, Portland, Soay and Whitefaced Woodland. The cost will be £20 per person (non RBST members £30) to include lunch. Children under 12 free and families of four (2 adults + 2 children over 12 and under 18) - £50. ✽ Please contact conservation@ rbst.org.uk or ring 024 7669 6551 to reserve a place. Closing date for entries is 5th April 2012

SNAP HAPPY! If you love rare breeds and taking photos then this is the perfect competition for you! To celebrate the RBST’s 40th year it is holding a photo competition with the winning images to be used in its 2013 commemorative calendar.  

There are six categories: New Arrivals Best in Show The View From Here Working Animals In the Field Winter Wonderland The closing date is midnight on Friday 31st August 2012 ✽ Please send all entries to fundraising@rbst.org.uk or by post to Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), Stoneleigh Park, Nr Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2LG. This competition is only open to amateur photographers, and entrants under the age of 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian. Each entrant can enter a maximum of six photos. Please state which category you are entering. For full Terms and Conditions, visit the RBST website at www.rbst.org.uk

Free catalogue! extended its opening Malmesbury-based Ascott hours, so the public can Smallholding Supplies, now use the warehouse which stocks everything counter between 9am the smallholder might and 5pm from Monday to need to succeed, has just Friday, and visit between published its new spring/ 9am and 1pm summer for our See inside oducts… on Saturdays. catalogue. NEW Pr Mark Managing continued: Director, Mark “We’re always Self explained: happy to talk “The new to our ranges we’ve customers and launched this old i n g hope we can season include mallh s a r o f A large choice provide them paddock with equipment for everything towing behind they need for ATVs and their smallholding, farm compact tractors, new or large garden.” ranges of chicken feeders ✽ To order your copy of and supplements and a the new catalogue, call larger range of butchery 08451 306285, or visit: equipment”.  www.ascott.biz Ascott has also Spring / Summer 2012

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Junior Home Hatchery - See page 4

31/05/2012 13:44


Peter started working as a veterinarian in 2002 in farm animal practice in New Zealand. After graduating he worked there for three years before heading to the UK to work at the Northpoint practice. He has a keen interest in alpacas and together with publishing a guide for vets and breeders in NZ, has been the president of the NZVA camelid branch. He is also involved in lecturing and online courses in alpaca health and veterinary aspects.

Ask the Vet...

Westpoint vet Peter Aitken, BVSc MACVS MRCVS provides expert answers to your livestock questions.

GOT A QUESTION ?

If you’re expe riencing a pr oblem or want some expert advice about specifi health or w c elfare-related issues affect your sheep, ing goats or cam elids, then get in touch and we’ll do our best to help. You can write to sga.ed@kels ey.co.uk

PROLAPSE PROBLEMS

Q

I’ve heard about ‘bearings’ in ewes, what are they and what do I need to do? RS, via email

A

SUNSHINE SUPPLEMENT

Q

I’m thinking of getting some alpacas and have been told that they need additional vitamin D. Why and when would I need to give this? PB, Essex

A

VITAMIN D is given to help in the prevention of rickets, a syndrome caused by an absolute deficiency in vitamin D in growing animals. The symptoms of an alpaca suffering from rickets can vary markedly but can include depression, sore limbs, a hunched stance, ill thrift, reluctance to stand or move, and occasionally angular limb deformities. It’s generally a disease of young, growing animals where growth plates in bones haven’t yet fused. Often the owner will have noticed the animal hanging back and being the last through the gate, moving quite slowly. These symptoms are highly suggestive of rickets, together with age of the cria and weather patterns in the area over the previous few weeks, and this can be confirmed with blood tests. Vitamin D functions with calcium and phosphorous in bone metabolism, and sunlight is needed to make the precursors (a precursor is a substance from which another is formed, especially by metabolic reaction) for vitamin D. The alpacas take up the precursors on plant material as they graze; these are then converted by various pathways in the body, involving the liver and kidneys, into the active form of vitamin D3. Rickets, or hypovitaminosis D, can result from either the failure to take up enough precursors when grazing, or due to liver or kidney damage, which prevents the precursors being converted to the active form. Some cases seen may be too far along to permit treatment and in severe cases euthanasia is the only option. If treatment is decided on, this is best done when the alpaca is still able to move and it hasn’t deteriorated to the point where it can no longer stand. Standard treatment is to administer a small depot injection of vitamin D and repeat this in 10-14 days. There are oral supplements available also but injectable products ensure adequate levels are received. An injection of phosphorus given at the same time as vitamin D also seems to aid in recovery. A word of caution, excessive vitamin D can be detrimental so make sure that you are not overdosing. You should discuss treatment and prevention with your vet to establish good protocols for your farm. As this is most commonly a disease of young, growing animals, this is ...

BEARINGS is a common term for a vaginal or rectal prolapse in ewes. Vaginal prolapses usually occur in the last month of pregnancy with affected ewes often being those carrying twins. Once prolapsed, the colour of the vaginal mucosa changes over time, depending on how long it has been out, from deep red through to a purple/black colour with the membrane drying out and becoming covered in faecal contamination. Some cases will spontaneously cure but the majority, unless treated, will result in death either due to an inability to lamb or to uraemia (a build up of toxins in the blood) and a ruptured bladder from being unable to urinate properly. Prolapses are a problem that need to be addressed as soon as they are seen. There are a number of thoughts as to why this condition occurs:

✽ Ewes being over fat – excess fat in the abdominal cavity ✽ Thin ewes – poor diet and resulting loss of muscle tone. ✽ Feed-related causes – i.e. high levels of oestrogenic substances. ✽ Topography of the land, hill country versus flat land. Treatment is best in the early stages (as with most things), and is achieved by: ✽ Thoroughly cleaning the external portion of the vagina ✽ Raising the prolapsed vagina – allowing the ewe a chance to urinate ✽ Lubricating the exposed areas ✽ Elevating the hind quarters ✽ Careful manipulation and replacement/ correction of the prolapse, taking care not to rupture the vaginal mucosa Once the prolapse is replaced it needs to be kept in place using either ...

WHEN TO WORM?

Q

When should I treat my goats for worms? BH, Wales

A

THE WORMING of goats is similar in many respects to other ruminant animals. Instead of worming to a set schedule any decision to treat should be taken when there is evidence of infection, and you should have a strategic plan in place with a long-term view for managing the risk to your animals. The best way to identify if you need to worm, and what level of infection your animals are carrying, is through the use of faecal egg counting – looking for worm eggs in your animals’ droppings. This is a service offered through most veterinary practices or veterinary laboratories and is a relatively cheap and simple way of establishing the worm burden in the animals on your property. Depending on the number of worm eggs seen in the faeces, your vet can advise on what the correct worming program should be, together with when to do further testing, so that a picture of risk periods across the year can be established. Monitoring is the key to good worm control and by allowing for strategic worming it reduces the risk of creating resistance to treatments within the populations. It’s quite common for owners to think of the worms inside the animal as being the problem, and to a point they are. Worms within animals are the visible problem; it’s what we see presenting as scouring, loss of condition and failure to thrive, however, the worms that are causing the damage within the animals are only about 10% of the actual worm population. The remaining 90% can be found in the pasture on which the animals are grazing, either as eggs, or the more...

We’re very grateful to Westpoint Veterinary Group Ltd for its kind help and assistance with the production of these pages. You can find out more about the company by visiting: www.westpointfarmvets.co.uk

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The legal bits

Before you begin keeping any livestock on your land, you’ll need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number that identifies where you’ll be keeping the animals. Your CPH number will be nine digits long; the first two relate to the county, the next three to the parish and the last four identify you as the keeper. CPH numbers are issued by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in England and other government sites in Wales and Scotland (see panel). Although requests can be made by telephone, confirmation may still take a couple of weeks, so make sure you allow plenty of time. Don’t expect to order your sheep and get all the paperwork through before you collect them; it’s important to have it completed before your stock arrives. Next you’ll need to register with your local Animal Health Office (Defra). This will generate a registration document confirming your personal details, CPH number and a unique Defra flock/herd mark. While livestock must be registered with Animal Health within 30 days of arrival on to the holding, it’s probably a good idea to do this before you buy them, just to allow for unforeseen delays and bureaucratic mishaps. For sheep, the flock mark is six digits long and again, this is unique to you. When moving animals you must complete a movement licence (AM1 form), which is available as a download from the Defra website

Starting with

Sheep If you’re thinking about getting started with some sheep, then here’s a practical summary of what you need to know and do.

GOT IT COVERED?  CHP number  Flock number  Movement licences  Ear tags (inc. electronic)  Flock book  Holding register  Medicine record book 8 sga | SAMPLER 2012

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FEATURE | GETTING STARTED

 You can choose how you keep your records (spreadsheet, register, electronically) but the format and order must be the same as this version.

(see panel). The paper form consists of four copies which need to be forwarded/filed appropriately. Eartags will need to be made, displaying your flock mark. There are several suppliers who do this, and turnaround is usually very fast. Flock marks are used to identify individual animals, and where they were born. Details of your flock are kept on a central database, allowing inspectors to trace animals quickly should they need to. Sheep and goats born or first identified after 31st December 2009, must be identified within six months of birth if housed overnight, nine months if not housed overnight and when they move off the holding of birth, if this occurs sooner. Two tags are needed on breeding sheep, or any that are over 12 months old. One of these must be ‘electronic’, and both must have the same flock number. The regulations are subject to change, so keep up to date with more detailed information via the Defra website. All sheep keepers in the UK are required to keep a flock record, detailing all significant events – purchases, births,

If you have more than three or four lambs to bottle-feed, it’s probably worth investing in an automatic feeder, providing unlimited access to the milk. Note the heat lamp keeping these orphan lambs warm.

 Your holding must be secured with stock fencing. Sheep have an uncanny knack of finding, and using, any gaps to escape!

deaths, sales etc. How you choose to do this (on paper or electronically) is up to you, but the records kept must contain information recorded in the same format and order as the version available for download on the Defra website. Similarly, a Holding Register records all movements on and off your holding, and is required for disease control purposes. A medicine book/record is also necessary, and will allow you quick and easy reference to an individual’s health/treatment history, eg what was administered when, the dosage given, frequency and where the medicine came from. These records need to be kept for six years.

2What you need

 Ear tags will display your unique flock mark. Here’s a normal tag (yellow) with an electronic one (green).

The scale of your sheepkeeping will be determined, to a large extent, by how much land you have available. Ideally, your grazing would be split into two or three areas, allowing for periodic stock rotation. This helps to minimise environmental factors such as parasites, and allows the pasture time to recover between grazings. It’s also helpful to be able to set aside an area for lambing. As a guide, aim for a maximum of four ewes per acre during the winter, and/or four ewes with lambs during the summer. However much land you have, it’ll need to be secured with stock fencing. Sheep will quickly learn where there’s a weakness, and squeeze through it – usually on to someone else’s property, where they’ll express a sudden urge to eat prize roses or hurl themselves at a car! Depending on the age of the  SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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FEEDING GOATS

Sarah Bee, BSc (Hons), nutritionist at The Smallholder Range, discusses the most suitable diet for goats.

T

he first thing to know about goats is that, like cows and sheep, they are ruminants. This means that they chew cud regurgitated from their rumen (a part of their digestive system). Goats eat a large amount of food in a relatively short period of time, and swallow with minimal chewing. This means they minimise their grazing time, during which they are less alert and more at risk from predators, which is essential for survival in the wild. The goats then retreat to a secure place, where they feel safe to chew the cud. Goats are also browsers – they wander along hedgerows, eating any twigs and branches that take their fancy. Contrary to popular belief, goats are quite fussy feeders and would choose to starve than eat something that doesn’t live up to their high expectations!

Digestion As they have no upper incisor or canine teeth, goats use a hard dental pad in front of the palate, lips, tongue and lower incisor teeth to pull food into their mouths. They swallow their food with minimal chewing, relying on the process of rumination (the regurgitation and chewing of semi-digested food from the rumen) to break it down. Ruminants have a four chambered stomach – the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum.

Balancing act down the small particles of food, The rumen and reticulum have a before they travel to the small very similar function, and together intestine. they make up about 85% of the The small intestine is the site total stomach. It’s here that where the majority of microorganisms supply nutrients are enzymes to break Oesophagus absorbed, down and Rumen although some ferment tough have already fibre. As such, a goat’s diet Reticulum been absorbed Omasum in the rumen. should be highRumen The parts of the fibre and feed that are forage-based. Abomasum indigestible and The third section unabsorbed nutrients of the four-chambered are passed to the large stomach is the omasum, intestine where they are further which is made of many folds of digested and any nutrients tissue that break up the feed absorbed, before being excreted. ingested. Some of the water from the feed is also removed here. Diet The abomasum is often known as the true In addition to grazing, at least half stomach, as it of a goat’s diet should consist of functions in a similar forage (on a dry weight basis), with way to the human a concentrate feed making up the Forage is defined stomach. Additional remainder. Concentrates are as as bulky food such digestive enzymes important as the forage part of their as hay or grass and hydrochloric diet, and a good quality goat feed acid further break will provide the essential balance of

 Despite their reputation, goats are fussy eaters.

DID YOU KNOW?

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FEATURE | FEEDING

WHAT IS SILAGE?

Aside iding from prov ntrate ce n co forage, a to n provided for te of is ed , fe n io it d n tain co help main production k il m or growth ced diet. re a balan and to ensu oncentrate feed’ The term ‘c ed with a low means a fe t, which of fers ten water con tible nutrients es easily dig centrated in a con form.

vitamins and minerals that may be lacking if goats are left to fend for themselves. Although goats prefer to browse on a variety of flora, they will get used to a field that is all grass, although only if there is enough meadow grass present, as they prefer to a selection of many different grasses and weeds. The mixture of grasses that will occur naturally, at the side of a road for example, is well-suited to goats.

Forage Good quality, dust-free hay or silage should be used to provide at least half of the diet. This should be provided in racks, rather than hay nets, as goats are likely to become tangled in them. Hay or silage can also be supplemented with good barley or oat straw, but ideally not wheat straw. Fruit and vegetables also make a nice addition to the diet and provide interest – although vegetables such as carrots should be sliced lengthways rather than into circular pieces, to prevent choking. It’s possible to feed garden waste as part of a goat’s diet, though care should be taken to avoid poisonous plants, decaying matter and

chemically-treated waste. Grass clippings shouldn’t be fed as these can cause choking. It’s important to remember Defra guidelines – no catering waste can be fed, even from your own kitchen. 

 A mixture of grass species provides the optimum grazing

BODY SCORING Score

Silage is formed when a forage such as grass or alfalfa is fermented, to preserve it with a high moisture content. Silage has a higher moisture content than grass and is higher in nutrients, though lower in fibre. The grass is mown, ready to be picked up by a machine known as a forage harvester. It is then fed in to a chopping machine which cuts the grass to the desired length. There are a few different ways to preserve silage, one being to place the grass in a large pile, removing as much air as possible by driving over it until firm to form what is known as a ‘clamp’. The clamp is then covered by plastic sheets to prevent air getting back in. Another method is to bale smaller quantities of grass in plastic sheeting, which will give more manageably-sized batches of feed.

To assess the condition of your goat, use the following guidelines

Spine

Ribs

Loin No fat covering

1

Very thin

Easy to see and feel, sharp

Easy to feel and can feel under

2

Thin

Easy to feel, but smooth

Smooth, slightly rounded, Smooth, even fat cover need to use slight pressure to feel

3

Good

Smooth and rounded

Smooth, even feel

4

Fat

Can feel with firm pressure, no points can be felt

Individual ribs can not be Thick fat felt, but can still feel indent between ribs

5

Obese

Smooth, no individual vertebra can be felt

Individual ribs can not be Thick fat covering, may be felt. No separation lumpy and ‘jiggly’ of ribs felt

Smooth, even fat cover

Body Condition Scoring in Meat Goats. Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences. SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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G G UI D

BUYING

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GUIDE • B N

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Southdown Buying guide:

One important consideration for any smallholder or first-time sheep keeper is how easy your chosen breed is to manage. The worst thing that could happen, having gone into your new venture full of enthusiasm, is to find yourself struggling with the day-to-day business of running your flock. A breed that is docile, friendly and productive is a must, and the Southdown certainly ticks all of those boxes.

T

The standard calls for a leg free from fleece on its lower half.

he Southdown’s importance in sheep history cannot be overemphasised. It produces fast-growing lambs with excellent meat qualities in their own right, but when crossed with any other breed it passes these qualities on to the offspring. Its use as one of the premium’ terminal sire’ breeds, not only here but around the world, bears this out. The ubiquitous ‘New Zealand’ or ‘Canterbury lamb’ used the Southdown as the basis of the breed in the late 1800s, and it’s still in use today. This is a breed which will thrive wherever you keep it, and its docile

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BUYING GUIDE | SOUTHDOWN

E

IMPORTANT BUYING TIPS

A F

The face should be wide and level between the ears with no sign of horn. The face, not too long from eyes to nose, particularly in rams. Hair of an even mouse colour and eyes large, bright and clear of wool. The ears should be of medium size and covered with short wool. The nose dark, not pink.

B

The neck is wide at the base and well set on the shoulders. Shoulders should be neither too wide nor too narrow, with the top level with the back.

C

Legs should be well set on each corner, straight and well up on the pasterns. Faults are cow-hocks (turning inwards at the hock on the back legs), and knock-knees (turning inwards on the front legs). The horn of the hooves should be black.

D

Chest and ribs are deep over the heart, but not too wide, with well-sprung ribs (coming out from the spine in a good well-rounded shape).

E

The back is long, wide and level, evenly fleshed and firm to handle. Rump well rounded and not pointed.

F

The tail is broad and well set up and level with the chine (lower spine and flesh either side).

G

A Southdown’s wool should be fine and dense and of even colour. The standard calls for fleeces to be white, covering the whole body down to the hocks and knees. When parted it should show pink skin.

nature makes it very attractive as a starter animal. The ewes are relatively small and very easy to handle, making it an ideal breed for first-time keepers and it does well in both small and large flocks. A stocky, compact body shape means the Southdown can easily be turned onto its back to carry out routine husbandry tasks such as dagging, shearing or trimming feet, and it lambs with ease. Due to the breed’s smaller size, using a Southdown ram with young ewes of other breeds gives these first-time mothers the advantage of confidence; the lambs are born easily and mature quickly, giving the ewe an excellent

With its stocky build, fine fleece and attractively woolly face, the Southdown has a lot to offer the smallholder.

introduction to motherhood. Subsequent matings can then be made with a ram of a different breed, giving a larger lamb, happy in the knowledge that the ewe is an able mother.

Making history The Southdown is one of Britain’s oldest breeds, and was estimated as numbering 1,100 as early as 1341. In 1761, in the village of Glynde in Sussex, nestled at the foot of the South Downs which give the breed its name, John Ellman began work to improve the breed, developing its now distinctive small, compact shape. Its popularity peaked from

around 1790 and the breed became well-known for the quality of its carcass, while it retained a very good fleece, making it an ideal allrounder. By 1813 there were some 200,00 Southdown ewes in and around the South Downs alone, and their presence played a vital role in fertilising the chalky soil of the downlands. Small, docile and easy to handle, the Southdown adapted well to being kept in folds; taken up to the hills to graze during the day, returning to the lower fields to be penned in ‘folds’ at night. This method of folding stock reached its peak in the late 1800s before slowly falling out of fashion.  SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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FIELD SHELTERS

Seeking shelter

In an ideal world it would be great to have a shelter in every field but realistically this just isn’t possible. So what are your options?

F

ield shelters, as even the shortest of drives into the country will reveal, are a common occurrence in paddocks and pastures across the land. You’ll see these adaptable structures being put to a multitude of handy uses; everything from providing shelter in bad weather and offering a convenient feeding station, to giving overnight stabling and much needed security for newborns. Thankfully, they shouldn’t present too much of an issue as far as planning permission is concerned, although it’s worth emphasising that attitude of the local planning department can vary from county to county. Therefore, it’s vital to check the actual regulations in your area before placing an order. Even something as apparently minor as whether or not the shelter is fitted with doors, a gate or nothing at all, can be a key issues as far as the planners are concerned.

Movable feast

Field shelters can be static or mobile. The latter versions are mounted on

skids – either metal or wooden – which allow the unit to be dragged into position, and then easily relocated thereafter, as required. Attaching short chains or straps to eyelets at the base of these units, enables them to be simply pulled around with a tractor or 4x4. The ends of the skids should be angled upwards to provide an easy start to the pull; flat or straight ends will dig into the ground. Overall size will depend on the number of animals intended to use the shelter, and its actual purpose. An open-fronted structure will provide shelter where the animals can eat, either from hay nets or feeders, and retreat from the wind and rain. Do make sure that any gateways are wide enough to allow the field shelter through. It’s a basic issue, but something that can be all too easy to overlook at the ordering stage! Fixtures and fittings should be sturdy, while kick-boarding the interior with 12mm timber sheeting ensures good protection from damage. An overhang at the front of 4ft or so is another useful

Building temporary lambing folds using hurdles and bales is a simple solution for keepers with just a few sheep. The roof can be removed, leaving a wind shelter.

DID YOU KNOW?

Despite fie ld shelters being mob ile, you m ay still need p lanning permission . Check w ith your local council BEFORE yo u buy!

feature, which offers additional shelter from rain. What’s more, a system of guttering and downpipes will direct rain water to where you want it. As far as longevity is concerned, any wooden field shelter from a decent supplier will come pretreated with preservative. However, it’s important to appreciate that this isn’t a once-only treatment. If you want your shelter to perform well for many years, then you’ll have to re-apply a good preservative on an annual basis. Beyond that, these structures should provide an easy-care, longlived, secure and sturdy shelter

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FEATURE | FIELD SHELTERS

Plenty of ventilation is paramount. This Cozee Home shelter has louvred vents at each end.

A polytunnel with mesh sides and open ends makes an excellent lambing facility and can also be used year-round as a barn.

option for field-based livestock. Prices vary but, as a guide, Cozee Homes’ shelters start at £1,060 for a static, 12x12’ unit.

Temporary folds While llamas and alpacas will need to be brought under cover during periods of prolonged wet weather, generally speaking, sheep and goats are a good deal more resilient. Typically they won’t require anything more involved than something that shields them from the wind and driving rain. A sturdy hedge-line, or even natural dip in the ground, can be enough to offer this degree of protection, although plenty of keepers at the domestic end of the scale feel happier providing something a little more substantial. The one exception to this general hardiness rule is when there are very young lambs or kids around. If the

weather is very bad at this time, then the youngsters and their mothers should be kept under cover for the first 24-48 hours. After this, though, they can go out into a field although it may still be advisable to provide some sort of effective windbreak, such as a fold, or an X-shape made from straw bales. The latter will allow the animals to lie-up in the lee, whichever direction the wind is blowing from. A fold can be built simply, quickly and cheaply using hurdles and bales of straw. Such a structure can be used for lambing as well as providing shelter from bad weather for young stock. All you need to be sure of is that you assess the prevailing wind direction accurately, and site the fold so that its entrance faces away from it.

Tunnel vision

Sturdy bolts and latches are essential for keeping stock secure.

DEFRA RECOMMENDATIONS Category of sheep

Floor space allowance

Lowland ewes (60-90kg live weight)

1.2-1.4m² per ewe during pregnancy

Lowland ewes after lambing with lambs at foot, up to six weeks of age

2-2.2m² per ewe and lambs

Hill ewes (45-65kg live weight)

1-1.2m² per ewe during pregnancy

More commonly associated with growing plants, polytunnels can also double-up as very useful animal housing, if built with mesh sides and large doorways at each end. The mesh acts as a windbreak, while still ensuring a good throughput of fresh air, thus preventing undesirably high humidity levels. The added advantage of a tunnel is its size, which allows for yearround use; it can double-up as a barn and store for feed, hay and equipment. Of course, there will be an on-going cost associated with a polytunnel, as the plastic will need replacing periodically (it becomes brittle and splits with age). Polytunnel sizes vary, both in width and length, and so there may be planning consent issues to contend with. Once again, don’t forget to check with your local authority before taking the plunge. As far as price is concerned, Premier Polytunnels’ sheep tunnels start at £1,505, for a 16x30’ version. Extra length can be added in 6-foot increments, while widths can be varied up to a maximum of 30 feet. As an example of stocking densities, an 18x30’ tunnel could 

Hill ewes after lambing with lambs at foot, up to six weeks of age 1.8-2m² per ewe and lambs

USEFUL CONTACTS

Lambs up to 12 weeks old

0.5-0.6m² per lamb

www.defra.gov.uk

Lambs and sheep, 12 weeks to 12 months old

0.75-0.9m² per lamb/sheep

www.cozeehomes.co.uk

Rams

1.5-2m²

www.premierpolytunnels.co.uk

Defra

Cozee Homes

Premier Polytunnels

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FEATURE | OWNER’S TALE

We discover how Paula Bull’s herd of six alpacas satisfies her love for these productive creatures as well as her active interest in spinning and weaving

s ’ a l u a P

passion! T en years ago, alpacas were still quite exotic and cost thousands of pounds each. Paula Bull would go to agricultural shows and drool over those she found for sale there, never dreaming that one day she’d own one; let alone six! The big attractions for her were not only the apparent gentleness and air of curiosity these animals display, but their wonderful fleeces. Access to the fibre they produce was a real bonus for Paula and, as things have turned out, it’s proved pivotal in kick-starting her successful handicrafts business.

Getting started

In 2001 Paula and her friend, Tina, went to an alpaca auction ‘just for a look’. Almost inevitably, though, they returned home with a full trailer. Tina got several animals, while Paula bought just a single, five-year-old, dark brown, pregnant female. Called Tessa, it was this animal which formed the basis of her now six-strong herd. Paula’s initial requirements were for a good, soft fleece that was an attractive colour, which she could spin into usable yarn. She used her knowledge of sheep to look for animals that ‘stood right and looked healthy and tidy’, and marked a few possibilities in the catalogue. Showing a great deal of trust, she left her husband to bid on the last lot she’d earmarked, while she nipped out for a moment. When she returned she was delighted to find that he’d been successful! Being a herd animal, Tessa lived with the animals that Tina had bought, until she gave birth to ‘Paddington’, back in 2002.

Baby Basil is a beautiful dark chocolate brown

Frosty, the only Suri alpaca in the herd, was a birthday present. He has taken over as head of the herd!

Then she and Paddington were moved to their own enclosure with the sheep at Paula’s house. Tina already had a herd of llamas, so was aware of any special requirements for their animals, over and above the usual husbandry issues. They discovered that alpacas don’t have any lanolin in the fleece, so can suffer during prolonged periods of heavy rain (a week or more); shelter is required under these conditions to avoid the risk of water-logged fleece and pneumonia.

Being herd animals, alpacas should never be kept singly, so always budget for two or three.

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Alpaca advice FEATURE | owner’s tale

For anyone who is considering keeping alpacas for the first time, Paula has the following suggestions;  Make sure your vet is happy to take on alpacas; many aren’t familiar or comfortable with camelids.  Being herd animals, alpacas should never be kept singly, so always budget for two or three. You can keep alapcas at 4-5 per acre.  Breeding females need a clostridial jab annually. Cria need to be injected at six weeks, then again 3-4 weeks later.  It is advisable to give your alpacas a vitamin D and E supplement (see Vets Q&As, p7) to help guard against rickets.  Worm regularly, using a faecal egg count service to establish the timing of doses.  Consult local breeders and take a hands-on husbandry course before you start with alpacas.  Most important of all, keeping alpacas is contagious! They come in lovely colours and are great characters.

Having kept sheep and cattle, Paula was confident that the husbandry aspect of alpaca-owning wouldn’t be too dissimilar and, in actual fact, has found them very easy to keep.

Easy option

These animals are classed as ‘domesticated’ and, as such, don’t require the paperwork typically associated with productive livestock such as sheep, cattle, pigs and goats. You currently don’t need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number, and alpacas can be moved without a licence. Paula’s animals are halter-trained, and the youngsters accompany her to farmers’ markets, and have taken part in village parades where they are always a popular attraction. Paula has however chosen to keep

stock records – a habit instilled from her sheep and cattle experience – and there is a pedigree registration system for those who want to show and breed seriously. However, for Paula, it’s the fibre which is the most important aspect as far as her alpacas are concerned. Her animals have never had a female ‘cria’ (young alpaca), so she’s only ever had to sell gelded males, which means that the pedigree registration system hasn’t been needed so far. Three years on, Paula heard that Tessa’s original seller was having another sale and, being anxious to increase the range of colours being kept, she returned and bought a little weanling, subsequently named ‘Marmaduke’. Her first three alpacas were Huacayas, with fluffy coats and, for

Top: A selection of fibres and yarns from Paula’s animals Left: Dyed alpaca fibre and Jacob’s sheep wool drying in the sun. Paula likes the variations in colour that her animals’ fleeces give her Right: Paula has a loom which she uses to make beautiful, soft scarves and throws

her birthday five years ago, she was given Frosty, an 18-month-old male Suri, with a cream-coloured, dreadlocked fleece. Breeding from Tessa involves sending her away for mating and, of the male crias produced, one was swapped with a friend for ‘Constance’, a jet-black female. Then, last year, Paula heard of someone wanting to re-home an eight-year-old female called Honey. This animal’s character had apparently changed after she’d given birth, making her more difficult to handle.

New colour

Despite the behaviour issues, Paula went to have a look and, with the proviso that she’d have to fit in with the existing animals, brought her home. While she remains more aloof, and has a bit more ‘attitude’ than the others, this integration  SAMPLER 2012 | sga

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BREEDERS’ DIRECTORY A FREE SERVICE AT ENTRY-LEVEL,THOSE WITH INCLUDED THE OPTIONS TO LISTING UPGRADE A FULL ENTRY, HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS ARETO ALL BPA-REGISTERED BREEDERS LISTING OR BOXED ENTRY.

ALPACAS This is an example of a full text entry

WHITE PEAK ALPACAS Mobberley, Cheshire. Various ages for sale at very reasonable prices. Full after-sale service. BAS registered stock. Tel: Adrian/Joanna 01565 872012 / 07932 160382 www.whitepeakalpacas.info

LIVANTI APLACAS Herts/Beds/Bucks/Oxon borders. 13 years alpaca experience. Advice & training. Stock for sale & at stud. Tel: BAS judge Liz Barlow 01296 682605 / 07976 671701 www.livanti-alpacas.com

RUSHMERE ALPACAS Herts/Beds/Bucks borders. Prizewinning alpacas for sale. Stud services. Reasonable prices, range of colours. Small friendly breeder, full training given, extensive after-sales support. Tel: 01525 237416 www.rushmerealpacas.co.uk

MARSHLAND ALPACAS North Lincs. Good natured, wellhandled, excellent flock guards & pets. Studs also available. Advice & back-up included. Viweing, pre-chats welcome. Tel: Julie 07919 263446 www.marshlandsalpacas.com

LLAMAS This is an example of a starter-level entry; contact details only

MOTCOMBE ALPACAS

WATERTOWN LLAMAS

Selection for sale: Starter herd; 3 pregnant females, 1 weaned cria. £8,500 no VAT. Tel: 01225 891201 www.motcombe-alpacas.co.uk

Umberleigh, Devon. T: 01769 540840 www.watertownllamas.co.uk

PIPLEY COURT ALPACAS Upton Cheyney, Bristol. BAS registered quality alpacas for sale from pets to prize-winners. Choice of pet colours. Friendly, no obligation advice. Full after-sales support & husbandry instruction. Planning guidance available. Visitors welcome. Tel : Pauline 0117 9325561 www.pipleycourtalpacas.co.uk

CATANGER LLAMAS Midlands. T: 01327 860808 www.llamatrekking.co.uk

BLUECAPS LLAMAS East Sussex. T: 01892 785119 / 07711 663800 www.bluecapsllamas.co.uk

GOLDEN VALLEY LLAMAS

Hereford. T: 01981 240208 www.oldkingstreetfarm.co.uk

SHEEP (Hampshire Down)

ASHWOOD LLAMAS

Bideford, Devon. T: 01237 451524. www.ashwoodllamas.co.uk

GOATS Example of highlighted entries

PENBORN GOATS Pedigree Golden Guernsey & Pygmy goats. Ideal for smallholders/pets. Courses/ goat-keeping book. National collection Mentha and Melissa. T: 01288 381569 www.penborngoats.com

HONORWOOD ANGORAS Angora stock usually available. Easily handled. Peter & Christine Everitt, Cefn Llanfair, Llanfair Rd, Llandysul, Ceredigion. T: 01559 362890. www.honorwoodflocks.co.uk

ANGORA GOATS Plymouth. Excellent prize-winning fleeces. Young stock for sale, very reasonable prices and friendly help. Mary & Richard Yonge. T: 01752 880252

Examples of boxed entries

ADAMS, MIKE Gloucestershire. T: 01454 261072 / 07909 924528 E: mikeadams@warners-court.com

ASHWORTH, JACK Cheshire. T: 01829 760246 E: hamiltona@hotmail.co.uk ATKINSON & SMITH, MESSRS JENNIFER & DAVID, Lincolnshire. T: 01652 678121 E: kelseyflock@talktalk.net www.kelseyflock.co.uk

BAKER, JANICE, Durham. T: 0191 3733580 / 0791 8940133 E: janicebaker29@aol.com www.hampshiredownsdurham.co.uk

BARNARD & MCPHERSON, MESSRS JONATHAN & JUSTINE, Dorset. T: 01963 362261 / 0777 56 85 480

TOPKNOT HERD Boer goat herd (100%) based on blood lines imported from New Zealand. Many photos on the site and information about the accommodation and management of the goats. Stock available for UK or abroad. Nicola Knott T: 01449 737951 www.boer-goats.co.uk

BECKLEY, MESSRS A BROWN & G, Somerset. T: 01963 370276 / 0793 21 41026 E: gillbeckley@gmail.com

British Sheep Clubs Our useful listing of the British sheep clubs, societies and associations. Each club has comprehensive breed information, membership and breeder details, show dates and club news. Why not sign up now and benefit from all that they have to offer? BADGER FACE WELSH MOUNTAIN SHEEP SOCIETY

BLACKFACE SHEEP BREEDERS’ ASSOCIATION

CASTLEMILK MOORIT SHEEP SOCIETY

DARTMOOR SHEEP BREEDERS ASSOC.

Peter Weale E: Busy.bee@howey.plus.com www.badgerfacesheep.co.uk

Aileen McFadzean E: aileen@scottish-blackface.co.uk www.scottish-blackface.co.uk

Sue Roberts E: Sue_J_Roberts@hotmail.com www.castlemilkmooritsociety.co.uk

Patrick Aubrey-Fletcher E: secretary@greyface-dartmoor.org.uk www.greyface-dartmoor.org.uk

BALWEN SHEEP SOCIETY

BLUEFACED LEICESTER SHEEP BREEDERS’ ASSOCIATION

CLUN FOREST SHEEP BREEDERS SOCIETY

DERBYSHIRE GRITSTONE SHEEPBREEDERS’ SOCIETY

Helen Carr-Smith E: info@blueleicester.co.uk www.blueleicester.co.uk

Sandra Williams E: sandrahw66@yahoo.co.uk www.clunforestsheep.co.uk

Susan Coppack E: susan@pmcoppack.com www.derbyshiregritstone.org.uk

BORDER LEICESTER SHEEP BREEDERS

THE COTSWOLD SHEEP SOCIETY

DEVON CLOSEWOOL SHEEP BREEDERS’ SOCIETY

Eleanor Stokeld E: borderleicester@btconnect.com www.borderleicester.com

Lucinda Foster E: info@cotswoldsheepsociety.co.uk www.cotswoldsheepsociety.co.uk

Ron Smith E: ron@holtomandthomas.co.uk

BRECKNOCK HILL CHEVIOT SHEEP SOCIETY

DALESBRED SHEEP BREEDERS ASSOC.

Peter Francis E:info@brecknockhillcheviotsheep.co.uk www.brecknockhillcheviotsheep.co.uk

Jean E Bradley T: 01729 822228 www.dalesbredsheep.co.uk

Anne Groucott E: secretary@balwensheepsociety.com www.balwensheepsociety.com

BEULAH SPECKLED FACE SHEEP SOCIETY Dennis J, Jones T: 01982 553726 www.beulahsheep.co.uk

BLACK WELSH MOUNTAIN SHEEP BREEDERS’ ASSOCIATION Fiona Sloan E: enquiries@blackwelshmountain.org.uk www.blackwelshmountain.org.uk

DEVON & CORNWALL LONGWOOL FLOCK ASSOC. Melvyn Britton T: 01884 266201 www.devonandcornwalllongwool.co.uk

DORSET DOWN SHEEP

18 sga | SAMPLER 2012

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