Bernie versus Beanie

Jack Frost is back and my 100% handmade Alpaca beanie now back on my head. It’s cold here but now my noggin Is toasty and warm. Bernie the sheep is wondering why I am wearing Alpaca..... Bernie mate, it’s a lot warmer than sheep and does not smell of lanolin like you, Matie!

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This fleece was shorn from Allessandro back in 2016. Allessandro is light fawn alpaca with a chocolate kiss on his neck. He is a sweet little thing and our first born.  We love working with the alpaca fleece as its so clean, warm and easy to use without that lanolin smell and oily feel that sheep's wool has. 

You can always purchase fleece from Little Valley Farm either raw, spun or milled. Click on our website for online sales or simply send us an email. 

Who doesn't remember quoits?

We are just about to start the wood-fired pizza oven but a good game of rope quoits is now in play.  It's such a classic game and something we played back in the days! 

Its now available to play in our AirBnB farm stay. 

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We are now taking bookings for Spring 2018 so book now before we book-out again. Spring bookings are now only for 4 pax and a minimum two night stays. 

You can book online at AirBnB for your unique glamping farm stay experience at Little Valley Farm. 

A big thank you to Planet Finska for our fabulous quoits game. Check it out here.  We are having too much fun on this lovely winter's sunny day, with boutique hunter valley wine, gourmet pizza and a lot laughter.... 

 

No Monday Blue's here....

Its such a glorious Monday at the farm. So its time to kick off my oh-so glam boots and get relaxing in that outdoor bath on the famous red rattler train deck. 

The alpacas have been moved to other new paddock so we can now rest the creek paddock for a couple of weeks before they return there.  From the bath, I can see the boys neck wresting the day away. Boys will be boys!  

Check out my glam red boots by Merry People - they are made by an Australian company who produce fabulous, comfy and warm - yes, finally a pair of boots that are warm!  Thank you Merry People Rainwear. We love them. 

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T4615 RED RATTLER

Rustic farm stay glamping style: Satisfying your craving for the outdoors and your penchant for a good meal, nice glass of wine, and a comfortable bed. Its nothing like a hotel, your room does open up to a beautiful landscape instead of a lobby.

Our off-grid farm has a 1950's Sydney Train carriage, the famous Red Rattler plus our petite Shepherd's Hut.

A unique 'glamping' farm stay experience for 4 adults plus its the perfect place for star gazing and so much more.

Read more about our farm stay here 

 

Photo by Daniela at Little Valley Farm

 

PIC - do you have one?

When buying an alpaca or three, make sure you have a PIC for you property.  You will need a PIC (Property Identification Code) if you keep alpacas even as a hobby?

A PIC is an eight-character code allocated by the state department of agriculture (or an equivalent authority in each state or territory) to identify a livestock-producing property. The PIC forms the basis of Australia’s food safety and traceability programs and is used in cases of disease outbreaks, bushfires and animal emergencies.

Individuals must, under law, have a PIC if you own or keep 1 or more cows, sheep, goats, pigs,  deer, alpacas, llamas, horses, ponies, donkeys, or more than 100 poultry (i.e. domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail or pheasants) or 10 emus or ostriches.

In NSW all livestock owners and occupiers of land that carries livestock must have a PIC, regardless of whether the livestock are moved or not. This is a requirement under the Biosecurity (NLIS) Regulation 2017 and Biosecurity Act 2015.  Contact your Local Land Service to obtain your PIC today.   Click here on how to apply.

Watch the LLS video on PIC’s here.

 When purchasing an alpaca from Little Valley Farm please ensure you have your PIC code ready and can be easily obtained from your Local Land Services. Refer to the link above to obtain yours. We will now include your PIC number on our invoice for traceability.  Image above courtesy of Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm.

When purchasing an alpaca from Little Valley Farm please ensure you have your PIC code ready and can be easily obtained from your Local Land Services. Refer to the link above to obtain yours. We will now include your PIC number on our invoice for traceability.

Image above courtesy of Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm.

Spring 2018 Shearing

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Our shearing date has been set and our fav shearer is back - Drew Shearman of Shearman Livestock will be at Little Valley Farm shearing away. 

We are now looking for people who would like to help us out on shearing day. Its a whole day of grooming our alpacas from nails, teeth check, fleece sorting and so much more. 

If you are wanting to have your own alpaca farm, this is the best way to learn about alpaca's and also get the confidence and know-how on how to handle an alpaca. 

Our alpaca's range from 6 months up to 10+ years from cria's, wethers, breeding females and of course our working stud. You will find out more about the difference in fleece quality and types and what makes an A+ fleece as well as vaccinations and worming schedules. 

We offer farm stay if you would like to stay in the cabins.  You can book online here

Please note, alpaca day is not suitable for children under the age of 14.  

After shearing has been complete, we will all indulge on the train deck with our famous wood-fired pizza's. 

Please note, spaces are limited: So book in advance with Daniela.   Time: 10am to 4pm. Contact: danielariccio@hotmail.com. we will confirm our address via email. 

Photo taken by Daniela, Shearing 2017

Spring 2018 farm stay

Its not that far away really!  Spring will be here before you know it.

We are now taking bookings for Spring 2018 so get organising and booking away before we book out again! 

Rustic farm stay glamping style: Satisfying your craving for the outdoors and your penchant for a good meal, nice glass of wine, and a comfortable bed. Its nothing like a hotel..... your room does open up to a beautiful landscape instead of a lobby.

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Book here now for Spring 2018
Little Valley Farm Farm Stay

Photo featuring Zoey one of our many sweet sweet girls. 

www.littlevalleyfarm.com.au 

Alpaca Health Winter 2018

Most farms would have enjoyed an extended period, where drenching has been unnecessary, due to dry conditions.

It would be advisable to faecal test, following rain or for those that primarily drench when they consider it necessary, to consider drenching now that the ground is moist.

Most areas have enjoyed some rain lately, drenching for Barbers Pole after a few wet days following an extended dry period may save a stressful and urgent situation, that comes with Barbers Pole burden.

Fluke is hard to diagnose and requires a specific drench, if animals are in very wet paddocks or paddocks that may be affected by swollen creeks or flowing water, then you need to keep this parasite on the radar.

Tape worm can also be an issue following extended dry conditions, in drought there is an increase in wildlife sharing our paddocks looking for food and water, they are renown for bring tape worm with them, please keep this in mind. Keeping a check on dung piles, for tape segments, is the undisputed evidence of tape presence, please check drenches are adequate to treat the parasite you are targeting..

Thank you to Deb Trostian, Animal Health and Welfare.  AAA NSW Region of the Australian Alpaca Association.   Click here to find out more about the AAA. 

 Photo courtesy by Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm

Photo courtesy by Cheryl Warning. Autumn 2017 at Little Valley Farm

Meet Neve-Maria - a very special little alpaca

Meet our one year old, Neve now called Neve-Maria for a really good reason.  Her mother is feisty Bianca and the crankiest one of the lot but she is my favourite as she keeps everyone in-check!  Bianca is my second eldest alpaca and has given us the most wonderful and full-of-personality alpacas over the years.

Usually we have several cria's born at the same time but our mating schedule did not go accordingly to plan so Neve was solely brought up by her serious and stern mother.  We do find it so much better to have several cria's born around the same time, so they can buddy-up and get up to mischief together. 

The interesting thing about Neve is that she is a very shy, quite and non-pushy alpaca - nothing like her mother!  She has never pushed in or spat at feeding time and always kept to herself - a gentle little soul. 

On the saddest day of my life, when we received news a family member has passed, I was down at the feed shed and visibly upset. This little alpaca, Neve, walked straight up to me and put her face in my face.  She then allowed me to hug her. Alpacas are generally not affectionate creatures but are definitely inquisitive creatures and Neve was one never to be touched, so this was really quite out of character for Neve. 

Anyways, after this day, whenever she see's me, she comes up to me and kisses me, sometimes she will cush (sit down) in the paddock and hang out with us mere mortals. 

Here is one of my fav photos taken by guests, @arlie4cake of @mellybic hanging out with Neve.  Looks like it should be a famous alpaca sweater commercial.  

So if you have the chance to stay at the farm, you may also be able to take a photo or three of Neve-Maria my little angel. 

This post is lovingly dedicated to Maria-Adele, Naples, Italy, 2018. Bacci!

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Photo by @arlie4cake featuring @Mellybic and Neve-Maria, the alpaca. 

Small Business Rebate 2018

Last year we applied for the Small Business Rebate for our alpaca farm.  It helped us set up some safety guide lines and have on-stock some PPE (Protective personal equipment), which we should have had from day one. 

Anyways, the rebate had us thinking about the alpaca pens set-up especially at shearing time when there are over 20+ alpacas lined up to be sheared, can be slightly chaotic especially for the couple of alpacas that are slightly nervous and flighty and the 5-6 people that are on-deck helping us out. 

We created five pens to sort and shuffle the alpacas in and out of the shearing bay. The rebate, had us thinking about the safety elements including gates and pens. 

I know its only a $500 rebate but it certainly helped out in the cost of the pens and gates.  

If you have an ABN you can apply for the $500 rebate back to small business owners who buy and install eligible safety items to address a safety problem in their workplace.

You can find out more on how to what to do to apply for Safe work NSW. Click here

A day on the alpaca farm

Well, we welcomed Sir Richmond in our earlier blog post, (view here). And here he is in action! 

The other alpaca's are in a seperate paddock whilst one wether intriguingly watches over and one cria thought it would be fun to join in.  Luckily for us, our gentle stud, does not mind the interference.  He is way to focused "singing" to this maiden. 

As alpacas are induced ovulators they are stimulated to ovulate by the act of mating. The male sings (orgles) to the female during the act of mating and it is believed that this also encourages ovulation. A female ready to accept a male will “cush” (sit down) and allows the male to mount her. One who is pregnant will run from him and spit at him. This is called “spitting off” and is a useful tool in determining whether a female has previously ovulated, or is pregnant.  Otherwise stick to the tried and tested method of ultra sound and/or blood test to determine pregnancy.  And very importantly, record all mating dates as 11.5 months later, you wont be able to recall anything! 

Turn on your sound to hear the famous male alpaca “orgles” love song.

Find out more about Little Valley Farm alpaca's here and when we have them available for sale as pets. 

Welcome Sir Richmond

Well, I wanted to introduce Sir Richmond to you all but Richmond had other things on his mind. So in all his glory.....  Welcome Sir Richmond, our working stud!   He was brought onto the farm and did not disappoint.  Straight to the job and no mucking around with this fella. 

Maiden Merribelle was the first female to greet him and sit down for him very quickly. Too quickly, I thought, but our maiden lady, had been waiting way to long. 

I was once told by a breeder many years ago, that alpaca's like to be pregnant.  Gosh, I thought, that's weird right? Well after nearly five years of breeding alpaca's at Little Valley Farm, I can see, they do like to be pregnant.  The girls temperament changes once they are pregnant and I usually notice the change a couple of months in.  

The breeding girls are usually serious and too busy raising their cria or working out how to steal as much hay as possible from each other.  Well, the herd of wethers we have, are just too entertaining. The wethers are usually rolling about the grass, leg wresting each other or just trying to get involved in the courtship process! (That's another video for later!).   Wethers are fun and entertaining so we usually have a small herd of them, one for protecting our girls and two, because they are just great farm-tv. 

Keep an eye on our page for when we have wethers, cria's and pregnant girls coming up for sale. Our herd is growing ever so quickly and our fleece and genetic's are improving every year. 

They are lovely natured alpaca's and some love a cuddle but mostly they love the bucket of feed.

Click here to see our current Little Valley Farm livestock sales. 

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Moving the 'Red Rattler'; T4615

We are often asked just how our little Red Rattler made it to the farm. At about 30 tonnes and 20 meters long it was not an everyday event. 

Fortunately for us it was stored out near Dunedoo for almost 20 years in dry arid conditions that did not weather it too badly.  

So here we now located at Little Valley Farm in the Wollombi Valley.   Its now a perfect farmstay place and also used a couple of times as year as our garlic planting, sorting and curing deck. 

You can now enjoy this rustic and unique farmstay experience online click here 

 

Perfect match - Hut & Train to accomodate 2 couples or 4 people

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Hut & Train

Perfect pair when a group of upto 4 people book at Little Valley Farm. 

Our Train and Shepherds Hut each provide a bedroom with different advantages. 

During Summer the Hut is mostly under the shade of Eucalypts by the creek line. This spot is cool during the day and makes the most of the long days and summer grasses. 

During Winter the days are short and the making the most of the Hunter's brilliant sunshine is far more important. At this time we'll move the Hut by the Train, closer the amenities and shared deck and bathroom. 

This only leaves our guests with one problem; where to sleep? 

The Hut: we love sleeping in the well insulated cosy hut with brilliant barn doors and classic old windows. The small space warms up nicely with two people, and the cosy double bed and quality mattress always ensures a good night sleep.

The Train: uses the end compartment of the train, with frosted glass and old shutters. The comfy bedhead is made up of the old SRA train seats. With a queen mattress and plenty of donna's or blankets even the uninsulated train keeps you very warm. 

 

Little Valley Farmstay

A lot of work has gone into our little farm stay. Rustic and definitely charming is our old timer Red-Rattler train.   A perfect getaway for guests to enjoy the wood fire pizza oven and the hammocks. Glamping at its best! 

I am usually sorting out the turban purple garlic on the train deck. The garlic planting season is now all done and the next garlic session on the deck will be November 2018.  In the meantime, guests get to enjoy watching our herd of frockling alpacas. 

Watching our video on the train

Australian Alpaca Association

Australian Alpaca Association

The Australian Alpaca Association are coordinating the 2018 Australian Alpaca Weekend over 5-6 May!

It’s a great opportunity, whether you are interested in joining this growing agricultural industry, thinking of owning just a few alpacas as pets, or simply want to learn more, visit a farm and talk to a breeder in your area.

Visit: www.alpaca.asn.au/alpaca-info/australian-alpaca-week to find an alpaca farm near you!


Alpaca Grooming Day

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the next Grooming Day. You will be taught how to handle, hold and cut alpacas toe nails. We do this every three months and if it has rained, its even better as their toenails are lovely and soft to cut, making the whole process nice and swift. It’s also the day to check their fleece, teeth, eyes and give them a cuddle or two. 

 

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Daniela with Bianca, Sophia and Zoey taking a casual walk around the paddocks. 

Fun fact: Alpacas come in two types: Suri and the huacaya . The huacaya has a wooly, dense, crimped fleece — like a teddy bear, giving it a very wooly appearance.  The suri's are long, shiny and dreadlocked looking.  At Little Valley Farm, we specialise in the huacaya.  (Pronounced wah-KI-ya).

Photo courtesy of Jim Merchant

2012 video on Visit Wollombi Valley

Sitting down with my cuppa and scrolling through video's of Wollombi Valley. All I can say is that there is a lot of talent in this valley.  Totally enjoyed the video created by photographer John Harrison back in 2012. 

Beautifully put together with great music. Just a simple reminder why we loving living here and why you should come and visit us in the Wollombi Valley. 

Watch John Harrison's video here

 

Meet Sophia and Loren

Our beautiful girl, Sophia arrived at Little Valley Farm about over four years ago.  She was so pretty with her glamorous fluffy ears and long skinny legs. She was glam but over the years, she become goofy and oh so playful. She went from Sophia Loren to Lucille Ball! 

She was soo goofy in fact, we wondered what she would be like as a mother.  Well, our girl did not disappointed.  She produced a lovely little fella named Loren and then a second male, one year later. She is now feeding and caring for her new cria and loves being a mum. I do have to say, these animals are wonderful with their young and all day and night long you hear mum calling for her bub when they wonder to far. Its just simply lovely having little cria about. I think Sophia, would agree with me. 

 

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Here is Sophia and her bub. 

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Lilly and her bub born around the same time. So we have double trouble pronking about the farm. 

Contact Little Valley Farm for alpaca sales from wethers, females with cria-at-foot and pregnant females.  Training days on how to care and maintain alpaca's can be arranged. Simply email us your requiremnets and we will send you a quote.