Enjoy our Newsletter.

Aerial view
Monarch
Bye Bye Bunny
Naughty Cat
the joy team
Gentle Gosling
Quiet Quail
Bo is back
Xmas Crafts
Creations
Sven
Precious
Waltzes with Lambs
Piglets (guinea)
Designer felt bags
Merry Christmas
10th Anniversary
early days
Barn ready for business
cool memories
creations
Gone but not forgotten
Bo, our new orphan lamb
Warwickz Farm star tourism
Young uns
Weird weather
Indiana
Diamante
Adopt an Animal
Trevor in uniform
Travelling Trev
Trevor at work
Courgette Bread Recipe
Our beloved Rosie RIP
Another first for Lucas
Environmental Award
Goslings
Cayuga ducklings
Cracked rare egg
What a beautiful egg
Polly
Betty Kune
Lambo
Sir Thomas
Awww
Crafty winter
Thank You
Lucifer
Enderby Basket
Dottie Flemish
Creations
Yummy Relish
Autumn Leaves
drought conditions
The Book
peacock parade
peaceful dove
gentle gander
class of 2015
award
ribbons
fingers crossed
rare rabs
cuties
sweater
remembrance poppies
Interesting fleece
Show Team
Faith
Dodgy
Crafting
Flemish Giants
Niki
Susie pup
Uncle Tom
Peacocks
Rosita
Lily
Solitaire and Mak
Royal Palm poults
Teddy wardrobe
Pets for sale
More pets for sale
Kerrassshhhh
Lucas
Ashley
Faith
Cayuga ducklings
Priscilla Waddlebottom
Handsome Bunny
Sally Angora
Frozen stream
Julia
Nelly and Kelly
Flemish Giant kits
Chilli at 2 weeks
Chilli at 4 weeks
Droughtbreaker
River babes
Homespun dyed
Dodgy
Budgies
Owlsla
Bartie RIP
Feed Me
Panda
Ashley
Space Invader
Tunnel House Crime Scene
Jaspar
Potted Starling
Rivers lake
Kumekune scrum
Kunekunes at play
Recognition
Proud Days
Poyal palm poults at large
Royal Palm Tom
Funny Looking eggs
Fleecy young friend
Pixie
Eggstremely interesting
River Warwickz
Harry the tunneller
Slightly bewildered unihorner Pinot
Sassy and the kids
Elegant minutes old alpaca cria
Harvest time yummy
Sassy and lil guinea fowl
Marcus the Enderby
Cute little show guinea pig
Cool kids craft class
Rare gold sebright chick
Proud paca
Ricki the Rasta
Killer kittens
New arrivals
Wascally wabbits
More quake repairs
Rough weather days
Cute
Another Cutey
Sign
Recycled chimney
Autumn colours
Danger Fence
Miss Cybil Silkie
Stylish vest
matching scarf
cute lil fellas
feeding time
Fernando
Piggy Cam
Famous Film Feathers
Goslings at last
Yummy harvest
Gravity defying pumpkin
Heritage Food
Shaky day
Birthquakers
Tracey the Kid
Skinny alpacas
Proud Earl
Flemish Tiny's all grown up
Sebright chick
Disneyland for Ducks
Panda Lambs
Flemish Tiny's
Egcellent Poultry Choice
Black Sheep playing strip
Stalking Xena the Cat
Cool Car Club
Guinea Fowl on patrol
Fabulous Finches
Japanese Quail
Shy Chinese Quail
Relocated Cockateil Tardis
Bunny Buddys
Bens fleece
Thanks Guys
Prepare for winter
visiting wildlife
beautiful babes
cool car tour
honey bunny Marcus Enderby cheeky chicks duckville
Pearl comes home
New boy on the block
Enderby Enclosure
Lil Gobblers
Sassy & Son
Charlie says Hi to his new friends

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter April 2017

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

One of our guests, Ron, who stayed with his lovely family late last year also brought along his new toy, a very clever drone.

Before leaving he put it through its paces and using the inbuilt camera produced a stunning video of Warwickz Farm from the air. The adjacent picture is a still from it. Ron has kindly allowed us to use it and you can enjoy the movie on our homepage www.warwickzfarm.com.

It shows a whole new dimension of the Farm when seen from above. It has also given me an idea about an easier way to round up the sheep and alpacas as you will see from the video.

Childhood Memories

Elaine and I were comparing childhood memories one day and discovered that we had one very special one in common. That was watching in anticipation with awe and wonder as the monarch caterpillar metamorphised into the magnificent monarch butterfly.

In order to enjoy this memory again together we planted a swan plant and the Monarch caterpillers duly arrived and grew fat as they chomped their way through the milkweed leaves.

They then spun a thread of silk to secure themselves to a leaf and hanging head down began to moult slowing forming the pupa, a cocoon where the pupal exoskeleton slowly transforms changing colour.

After 5 to 6 days (it felt like weeks when I was a kid) a weak adult with limp crumpled wings emerges and rests on the leaf as the sun slowly dries it and it pumps blood into its wings before flying away and delighting all who see it.

We were delighted that on two tours as we were passing the swan plant our guests where able to witness butterflys preparing for their first takes offs. The good news it that every spring the butterflys will return to our plant to begin the whole miracle of life again.

Rabbit Ruination

New Zealand has for most of its colonised history been plagued by the destructive impact of wild rabbits on its grasslands. Wild rabbit numbers are huge and over the decades various methods have been used in attempting to erradicate the problem. This included in 1997 the illegal introduction by a rogue farmer of calicivirus which does not differentiate between wild and domestic rabbits and hence all domestic rabbits like ours need to be immunised to spare them from a painful death.

Unfortunatley in the next few months a new highly virulent strain of the virus is to be legally released into the environment for which there is no proven immunisation.

We are therefore preparing to say goodbye to our rabbits as they live outdoors and this airborne virus will inevitably get to them either through flys, mosquitoes, tainted hay and so on.

We urge any rabbit owners, especially the ones who have purchased through us to be aware of what is happening and if they are unable to have their beloved pets indoors than they should use insect mesh to secure the hutch and only feed pellets and hay that has not been exposed to the elements for at least 3 months.

They could also like us lobby their local MPs and the Ministry of Primary Industries (contact us if you would like more details). This is a very distressing time and we implore the Government to hold fire until a proven vaccine can be foud before 116,000 pet rabbit owners are left in tears and despair!

It is always hard when we lose any of our animals let alone the ones that we have special relationships with.

We have only just recovered from Barry the cats several raids on newly hatched chickens which fortunately came out in our favour 12 to 3. Barry was scolded and hopefully has mended his ways however it appears it is harder to reason with bureaucrats than with cats.

Seasons Births

The last few months have seen many new creatures join the farm including ducklings, goslings, peachicks, chinese silkie chicks, quail chicks, guinea piglets, rabbits kits and three stunning white alpaca female cria.

The alpaca girls have tantalisingly luscious fleeces that Elaine just cannot wait to get her creative hands on. She will have to wait until next summer however until we shown them off in the Show Ring.

Meanwhile we are enjoying watching them chasing and racing each other around the paddocks and getting up to mischief together. Gem in particular likes to tease her aunties by sneaking up on them for a free drink before she is chased away I am sure with a smirk on her sweet face. Hopefully they won’t be as mischevous when the halter training begins in a few months time as we prepare them for the Shows.

Our two families of Sebastopol geese gave us the perfect combination of three males and three females which enabled us to sell them as breeding pairs. Sebastopols, originate from the Crimean Peninsula and are flightless. They have strikingly feathery breasts and wings, we call them our bad hair day geese.

Our geese are very good natured and come up for feeding and are quite trusting. However, as I began to gather up their off spring over the months they became very wary. If I approached them in any determined manner both families (who had now merged for better security) would head off to the far reaches of the farm, their little legs pumping like pistons.

We are pleased to report that they all found not just good homes but magnificent new environments and the parents appear to have forgiven me.

Having a few years ago lost our family of Japanese Quail due to old age, we managed to secure some eggs and cranked up the incubator. The result was a good quantity of not just healthy fine looking birds but also very quiet and inquisitive little creatures.

Quail are generally very flighty skittery birds who have a defence mechanism of shedding their feathers for a speedy getaway from the grip your hand. These guys though I have to pick up and move away from the door as I feed them before lifting them back to where they were.

Japanese Quail are the ones you seen on fine dining restaurant menus though you would need a few for a decent feed I feel. The eggs though while tiny are deliciously creamy and have enhanced several of our salads in recent weeks.

Percy Peacock has over the last couple of months shed his magnificent set of feathers which have now been gathered up and await their fate in the craft studio.

Meanwhile he has sired three little creatures to ensure that feather production will continue in the years to come.

Bo

You might remember Bo, our orphan lamb from last season. Normally once an orphan lamb grows into a healthy young sheep we pop her back in with the flock to reunite with their family and after some memorable times with Bo as a lambo this is what we did.

However, Bo was not about to put up with this type of ill treatment. It was bad enough that we had given her to the shearer who violently removed her beautiful locks. It was so funny to watch Bo who when released by the shearer just stood there totally still, looking at us as if asking WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED TO ME!

After patrolling the fence lines for weeks watching our every move and calling us and having absolutely nothing to do with those wooly things she wore us down and she now lives with Tracey and Nellie the goats and has resumed her place as a colourful stop on the Tour.

She is now too big to waltz around the paddock cheek to cheek with me but she is happy to sit on people’s knees and snuggle up and often steal a quick snooze in the process.

Craft Corner

Elaine has been very busy in her new part time job looking after her home care clients which has enabled us to continue our conservation work here on the Farm.

That does not mean though that she has slowed down in her creative pursuits as well as making extra income with her recent commissions for alpaca garments.

Having come up with some great ideas for enhancing Christmas last year and realizing it was too late to get them done in time; Elaine has been on the case in plenty of time for this Yuletide as you can see from the pictures.

She has been busy with an array of creations including comfy cat beds and infants pilches to scarves and handbags.

Elaine along with our friend Brenda from Brenel Alpacas will be manning a stand at the 2017 Creative Fibre Festival taking place at the Chateau on the Park in Christchurch from 20th to 23rd April if you would like to catch up with her.

Tip of the Season

Peanut butter is not only a very tasty spread but it is also a very clever way of baiting your mouse trap, much more effective than cheese, mice just cannot resist it.

It will also rub away the residue left over by price tags on metal or plastic products, ie pots and pans.

It is also very effective in removing messy road tar from your car or your shoes. I think I might get myself a peanut butter sandwich now, all this writings made me hungry, so

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter December 2016

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

SVEN

Those of you who have read our book Canterbury Tails or have visited or stayed with us in past years may remember Bartie, the high-fiving magnificent Buff Orpington rooster we had for many years.

Bartie after entertaining and enchanting, yes and high-fiving many hundreds of people, passed away peacefully several years ago leaving a void on the Farm, particularly during the tour.

Recently we purchased some eggs from a fellow breeder and decided to invest in one of her young Blue Orpington roosters, not to replace the late lamented Bartie but to mate to a couple of Orpington hens we have. The first time we looked at each other I suspected he might be something special; well he was anyway, having won ribbons at Poultry Shows, but since then he has become very special and is a highlight of the tour as he perfects his high fives and waves and relaxes his large body in my hands on his back for cuddles.

PRECIOUS

Another new addition to the tour is Precious the not so spectacular bad –hair day son of our magnificent peacock Percy whose feathers adorn the background of the email version of this newsletter.

Percy and Precious are Blue or Indian Peacocks and members of the pheasant family. The Blue peacock is the national emblem of India.

It takes a few years before a peacock grows into his full glory and Precious has a very long way to go, however that does not mean he is not happy to come and meet our guests and visitors and give the lucky ones a neck cuddle as his father did before he got too big.

BO

You might remember Bo the pet lamb who appeared at the end of the last newsletter. Bo (as in Lil Bo Peep) is the third addition to the tour this quarter, as she gets used to grazing in the house paddock.

Full of personality, she greets her visitors with a mouthful of baaas before being swept up in my arms for a waltz around the paddock her head snuggling into my neck as in all good slow dances.

Bo is one of our beautiful panda lambs that we get from breeding our Arapawa sheep back to their original merino lines.

Guests also enjoy feeding Bo, her now token bottle of milk or watching her self-cater which allows me to get on with my chores.

In the new year she will rejoin her flock as she is getting very heavy and very hungry and I will miss our waltzes.

MORE BABIES

Spring and early summer is full of the joy of new birth and that is certainly the case here. We have goslings, ducklings, poults (turklings), many and varied chicklings along with rabbits kits and guinea piglets.

The kits appear to be the most popular new arrivals, three minilop cuties, full of fun and mischief with lovely natures who will be delighting their new owners in the new year.

If anyone is interested, the white rabbit kit (pictured), the Cayuga ducklings and turkey poults are currently for sale and we also have a couple of Sebastopol goslings left for sale.

CREATIONS

You may have noticed that we have added a new page to the website to acknowledge and celebrate the fibre artistry of Elaine my beautiful wife. http://www.warwickzfarm.com/Fibre-Artist.htm

Often playing second fiddle to the animals and my antics on the Farm Elaine is also the brains of the operation has been busy creating up a storm for the coming season.

Over the years Elaine has focused on creating a range of knitted, crocheted and felted items including sweaters and cardigans, vests, scarves and gloves in the natural colours that our wide range of alpacas, sheep, goats and rabbits supply us with.

Over the last few months I have noticed her using more of her dyes and experimenting with vibrant colours and diversifying her creations into handbags, hats and felted animals and Christmas cards.

In fact the black alpaca (pictured) is modeled on Holly one of our black girls and is made out of her fibre, likewise Pearl contributed her white fibre to make her adorable felted replica.

It was then that I began to fully appreciate that Elaine is not so much a talented crafter but a fibre artist as well and thought (much to her embarrassment) that we should celebrate the fact with the new page on the website but I told her I would not mention it in the newsletter. (ooops)

TIP OF THE SEASON

We have some good news that we would like to share with you. Our book Canterbury Tails (previously self published) has been picked up by a UK Publisher and will be republished internationally later next year in hard back, paper back and kindle formats.

Look for it in all good bookshops

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2016

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

10th ANNIVERSARY

The next few weeks will bring up the milestone of 10 years of Warwickz Farm operating as a farm stay/agri-tourism business a decade of living off the property. So in view of not a lot to report over the winter months we thought we would celebrate the occasion in this newsletter.

The Genesis

In 2006 Elaine and I formulated a 5 Year Plan which outlined pretty much what we have been doing for the last decade which obviously incorporated easing into our new lifestyle over five years. Unfortunately my full time employment came to a rapid conclusion in September 2006 and we decided to launch our new way of life 5 years earlier than planned.

So began our rollercoaster journey of turning our backs on the consumer society and living off the property, establishing a sustainable environment among our wonderful rare breed animals and Elaine' s crafts and sharing it with our many guests and visitors.

Early Days

Our very first guest who was unaware of her status at the time, arrived for a stay of several days from of all places, Antarctica. She was a scientist from the States who wanted to thaw out somewhere clean and green before returning home. This delightful lady thoroughly enjoyed her stay with us which included guided tours around Canterbury and her ethusiasm gave us the confidence that not only could we give our guests a good experience but also really enjoy it ourselves.

The bills were not being covered however so we ventured into catering to tour groups, predominantly seniors who would arrive by the coachload, enjoy a farm tour then have a relaxing luncheon of delicious home bakes and finger food feverishly put together by Elaine and I in the kitchen from 6am.

We find our older visitors tend to get more out of their visits having less stressful lifestyles and more time for memories. These visits would end up in the Barn as they perused Elaine' s creations and hopefully took some home with them.

Working with Nature

One thing we noticed quite early on was that our awareness of time changed quite abruptly. Instead of breakfast and dinner time we considered dawn and dusk, instead of months we thought in terms of seasons. Weather was monitored as much by eying cloud formations as much as weather reports.

Living off the land, adverse weather becomes much more than an inconvenience and we have learned to read the weather and prepare for it' s impact.

It is good to sit in front of the fireplace nice and cosy but that is only after all the animals have been taken care of and when it snows or in drought conditions that means that they have all been fed and watered. This becomes much easier if you have made sure adequate feed and emergency water has been stored to get you through severe adverse weather conditions.

After a tremendous snow storm that hit us so hard it took out our power for about a week and took us a couple of days to clear the fallen trees in the driveway so we could access the road, we have been prepared for the worst.

This stood us in good stead for the earthquake that shook our world in September 2010.

The powerful 7.1 earthquake in the early hours of September 4th while leaving us with $50,000 worth of repairs and emotional scars and with its epicentre only a few kilometres away from us left us much better off than many others. (This earthquake was 5 months before the devastating and tragic Christchurch earthquake).

Our contingency plans worked effectively and things settled down but at the time we were not aware of the longer term affect it would have on the fertility of our rabbits and chickens that took a year to recover and the decline in tourism to the region. After four years of increasing business slowly year after year the earthquake reversed the trend.

Our shock and upset at the time was eased by the surprising number of guests from those first 4 years who emailed us enquiring after our welfare and sending their best wishes. We were humbled that so many of you cared thank you all once again!

Recognition

While business is tracking reasonably well again now, it was hard having to crank things up again post earthquake. Fortunately after four years in business we were starting to become noticed.

The popular animal TV series Animal Academy featured us and many of our cutest creatures on one of their episodes.

We were also featured in a couple of magazines and the Christchurch Press and I was interviewed live on Radio Live about some of our rare breed poultry. We were delighted a couple of years ago to be approached by Orana Park Wildlife Park to supply some of our rare breeds for their revamped Farmyard, now home to some of our guinea pigs, Flemish Giant rabbits and a Kunekune pig.

We have also won for several years Environmentally Sustainable Business Awards, consistently come home from Alpaca Shows with ribbons and have been featured on some popular travel blogs and sales of our book Canterbury Tails have been going well.

Creativity

Over the years Elaine' s range of crafty creations has expanded and many guests and visitors have enjoyed ' having a go' themselves at spinning, felting, weaving, knitting, quilting, sewing and so on.

As our range of rare breeds has grown the increasing range of fibres, fleeces, feathers and furs have provided Elaine with an inspiring and diverse range of raw materials to work with. Which brings us to our wonderful creatures who make Warwickz Farm what it is.... ........ ........ ....

Our Animal Friends

We could wax lyrical for 1000s of words about our cast of animal stars but we thought we would take this opportunity to celebrate some of our dearly departed and greatly missed animals who have touched us and so many of you with a roll call of remembrance.

In no particular order we have sadly fare welled Hoppy the lame Rouen duck, Diamond our very first and much loved alpaca matriarch, Xavier who got us started breeding Enderby Island rabbits, Honey and Keybee our beautiful horses, Mortie the slightly scary vole, Nova the ever hungry but loving ewe, Bartie, the high-fiving rooster, Pinot, the unihorny angora goat, Rosie our gorgeous kunekune sow, Goldie the green spaghetti (grass) eating guinea pig, Daisy the gossipy saanen goat, Hugo the lovable cuddly giant rabbit and Wedge the stunning arapawa ram and over the decade many many more. Gone but not forgotten.

But life moves on and this week we have welcomed Bo who we have adopted due to the ill health of her mother. Her lovely nature, quiet disposition, striking looks and sweet personality will make her as much of a hit with the upcoming seasons guests as she has with us.

TIP OF THE SEASON

A regular challenge we face at Warwickz Farm is surviving the winter months when income reduces considerably while our costs increase, especially animal feed and welfare costs.

We are considering closing off bookings for the Barn farm stay between the months of April and September and leasing the Barn for long-term lets at a substantially reduced rate.

This opportunity would be ideal for artists, writers, crafters etc who are looking for a tranquil setting to concentrate on their work. Also for people convalescing from or dealing with an illness, (Elaine is a retired nurse.) Or anyone wanting to spend quality time away from their crazy world.

If anyone is interested in further information or knows of anyone who could be interested in taking up this offer we would be delighted in hearing from you.

We have also decided to reduce the number of newsletters from four to three per year in order to keep them interesting and informative.

Until Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2016

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

We have worked with and hosted many lovely people since our last newsletter and we would like to especially thank Amber and Val for their thoughtfulness and generosity with the donations of a number of quality animal accommodations. (some of which pictured left)

A big thank you also to Shannon, a travel blogger and intrepid traveller who worked with us to showcase Warwickz Farm to the online world. You can enjoy her work at http://livesabroad.com/farm-stay-and-craft-classes/and http://www.oneweirdglobe.com/guest-post-warwickz-farm-rare-breeds-farm-stay-new-zealand/.

Also our new friends Sharon and Vince from the USA who gifted us a collection of great photos and videos taken during their recent farm stay, that they dropped off to us as they picked up an Elaine creation before they fly home. Some of the pics we share in this issue.

NIGHTSKY TOURISM

Living in the beautiful countryside of the Canterbury Plains we appreciate the glories of nature and enjoy sharing it with guests however one thing we tend to take for granted is our magnificent night sky.

In recent years stargazing has become increasingly popular as evidenced by the number of visitors to Lake Tekapo’s Mt St John Observatory.

It is only when we discovered what is directly above our heads as captured by Sharon that we really started to appreciate this awesome spectacle and try to remember to remind our guests to enjoy it too. Most people around the world live in city’s whose light pollution make such wondrous experiences impossible on a nightly basis.

ALPACAS

Our wonderful herd of alpacas has been enduring the unseasonably dry conditions very well though as you can see from the pic, they do look forward feeding out time.

We have been making progress with our breeding programme for next season. As well as using our handsome stud boys we have been working with a fellow breeder using their champion stud to selectively enhance our genetics and increase the quality of our herd even more.

This season’s harvest of joy Indiana, Diamante and Lewis are all thriving and are growing lustrous fibre along with their endearing and very unique personalities. Lewis the youngest and most mischievous loves teasing his aunties and often tries to sneak a bonus feed off them.

GOLDY

Guinea pigs have been a feature of our tours for nearly 10 years now and along with our many breeds of fascinating cavies, every few years we breed an absolute star.

While we have an up and coming grey crested boy Sid, who could be pretty special unfortunately we lost Goldy recently, who has been delighting visitors with his antics for many years.

He has entertained many guests and hundreds of preschoolers with what we call his green spaghetti eating antics which included racing against other guineas as he swiftly and elegantly slurped his blades of lush green spaghetti before laying down in the crook of my arm for a rest.

Old age finally caught up with Goldy who passed in his sleep after enjoying the attentions and performing for some tourists the day before, a trouper to the end.

CREATIONS

As the leaves turn gold and carpet the lawn in shades of autumn the fireplace is being stoked up and Elaine is finding herself in front of it even busier turning our fleeces fibres and furs into warm and snugly creations.

After a particularly busy season (thank you for your purchases) we have decided that now we have more room as family members leave the nest Elaine will be able to shortly work from her own studio. As well as giving her more space and easier access to spinning wheels, looms sewing machines etc she also wants to work on some new and exciting ideas. Watch this space for further details.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Over the years with such a large community of animals, we have lost many of the ones we have become particularly close too ie Goldy and it is very hard to lose them particularly when you find them deceased.

One thing that we have learned over the years which we would like to pass on (no pun intended) to ease the pain of losing an animal friend or companion is to begin your farewells before the fateful day arrives.

Often you will be aware that due to age your pet is starting to lose condition or might begin showing symptoms of illness. This is the time to begin the grieving process which will hopefully last a long time. A time for cuddles and memories of the good times you have shared together, special times that you can share together with your warm breathing animal friend.

When the fateful day arrives while it is greeted with sadness you will find that the pain is far less than expected and the grieving process will end quickly and without the regrets of not being able to say goodbye.

Until Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2016

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

What a crazy season we have had weatherwise as you an see from the pix. From increasingly serious drought conditions to hail like snow and then tropical rain to thankfully green us up again.

ALPACA CRIA

Having decided not to breed any alpacas the previous year it was with great anticipation and excitement that we awaited the birth of this season’s alpaca cria.

Warwickz Farm Precious Pearl, an experienced mother and the jewel in the crown of our breeding girls was due about the same time as WZF Celebration (Celeste ), a dark fawn girl and first time mother.

Alpacas are one of the few animals that do not lick their young clean and dry and will hold on for a warm sunny period to birth. Due to our unseasonal rainy period, this was the case with both girls who eventually produced the gorgeous WZF White Diamond (Diamante) sired by Aquaviva Hermes and the alluring WZF Indiana sired by our own stud WZF Shyloh.

Esmeralda, an older roan grey girl and first time mother produced the endearing Lewis pretty much on time. It is so nice to see this colourful trio, full of the joy of new life bouncing around the paddocks together.

ADOPT an ANIMAL

People often tell us that they wish they could enjoy the lifestyle we have amongst all our rare breeds.

As a way of raising some funds to continue our rare breed projects while at the same time opening up our world to our friends, particularly those in urban environments we would like to officially launch Adopt an Animal.

Full details can be found on our website www.warwickzfarm.com/adopt-an-animal.htm We have a selection of our wonderful animal up for a yearly adoption for a nominal sum (eg $30.00 per year for Robbie the Kunekune).

For your investment you will receive visiting rights (with notice), an Adoption Certificate, a colour photo of the animal, updates through the year and an information sheet on the breed.

Just imagine how cool it would be to have a photo of Robbie, your Kunekune pig on your desk at work for your friends to admire and you to remember and know you are providing for his welfare.

TREVOR the WETHER

It was a conversation while sheep shearing in early December that sparked Trevor coming to live at Warwickz Farm. David, our shearer a retired sheep farmer also operates the increasingly famous Baa Black Racing Sheep (yes, like race horses, silks, numbers, betting etc) was telling us about an upcoming racing event.

The event was part of an up market Singaporean wedding celebration to be held outside a pub in the skiing village of Methven. Seven Sharp were going to be filming the event to be featured on prime time TV.

David asked us if we would be interested in training a mascot sheep that would meet and greet and mingle with the guests. He assured us it was grain fed and only needed a bit of polish and we could keep him in return.

Well it sounded like a good deal to us and Trevor duly arrived six weeks before the event bouncing around in a trailer. As David drove off we suspected that we might have our work cut out for us.

With his new green halter attached Trevor was placed in a large pen which he immediately jumped over the top of and went exploring the farm. Eventually running him down on our trusty mountain bike we returned this bucking bronco of a sheep back to a more secure pen.

It appeared that Trevor had been grain fed and handled as a lamb but at 4 years old and not having had any handling for the last 3.5 years we were having nightmares about knocked over guests and flying glasses of bubbly, a mad sheep and stressed handlers being featured on prime time TV.

The six weeks flew by and with a combination of sheep nuts, patience and perseverance, interacting with our guests and visitors, trips to the local supermarket carpark and Trevor’s early memories returning, rapid progress was made.

As well as being made people friendly Trevor also learnt how to walk up a ramp into the van from which he travelled happily, licking our necks from the back seat as he took in the passing scenery.

We are very much relieved and delighted to report that Trevor the Wether was a major sensation, posing for numerous selfies and entertaining the 200 guests like a seasoned professional and earning himself a happy retirement at Warwickz Farm where he is also fast becoming a star.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Our very hot but also wet summer has worked wonders in our garden and we have a surplus of huge courgettes (zucchini) which we are finding creative ways to use so we thought we would share the following recipe for courgette bread.

3 cups sifted plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground all spice

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

¼ cup of sugar

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons finely grated orange rind

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

2 cups packed grated courgette (about 500g)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1.

Preheat oven to 180 deg celsius and sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, bi carb of soda, cinnamon and all spice onto a piece of wax paper then set aside.

2.

In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs, oil, sugar, brown sugar, orange rind and ginger until well blended. Stir in the flour and spice mixture then fold in the courgette and nuts.

3.

Pour the batter into two 20 cm x 11cm loaf pans than have been greased and dusted with flour. Bake until a tooth pick inserted into the centre comes out clean- 45 to 50 mins. Cool for 15 mins in the pan on a wire rack, then turn out and allow to cool to room temperature.

This rich versatile loaf, ideal for breakfast, afternoon tea or dessert will keep for one week wrapped in foil and refrigerated or up to 3 months in the freezer.

This recipe makes 2 loaves. We hope you enjoy.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2015

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

In the last newsletter we mentioned the passing of Rosie our beautiful Kunelune sow and how along with Robbie she was our most popular creature on the farm for many visitors and guests. Her untimely passing was a great shock and she has certainly left a vacuum in her wake.

As this is a relatively "slow news" period newsletter we thought we might honour Rosies memory by sharing an excerpt from our book Canterbury Tails of a Rosie moment.

A Special Memory of Rosie

I remember her very first pregnancy, it was a beautiful sunny morning in mid spring and as soon as I finished my morning rounds I checked to see if there had been any developments overnight. I could hear soft grunting coming from Rosies little wooden house as I approached and looking inside found Rosie laying on her side looking absolutely exhausted with six little creatures snuggled up against her belly in a heap.

It really was an enchanting scene, the piglets would have been born in the early hours as they were all warm and dry, they were so tiny and oh so cute. There was a creamy coloured one, a ginger one and two black and white spotted ones and two ginger and black spotted ones, all fast asleep.

Not able to help myself I reached in and stroked the spotted one on top of the heap, his short bristles and wrinkly skin toasty to the touch. It squirmed slightly under my fingers and emitted a soft squeaky grunt. This started a chain reaction as the one below him also squirmed and opened its eyes and within a second the whole heap came to life and eagerly attached themselves to the nearest of Rosie’s nipples for breakfast.

Rosie looked up at me with an expression that seemed to ask me, why did I have to do that. She looked totally spent, it had been a long night for her and I did feel a little guilty about waking up the little treasures. I stroked her face and back as she lay on her side letting the little ones ravish her, after a while I was starting to feel part of the family.

A short while later they finished their slurping and Rosie decided she needed to change her position for a more comfortable one and slowly and carefully repositioned herself looking even more tired than before. Her little darlings went back to pushing and shoving against her though this time not looking for food. I felt so sorry for her, all she wanted to do was sleep and recover a little from her ordeal.

I decided that having interrupted her sleeping earlier I should now make amends, so I eased myself deeper into her house and laying on my side gently eased the piglets over to lay against me for a while to give Rosie a well deserved breather. It was an experience I will never forget that still brings a huge smile to my face whenever I remember it. These six beautiful new born, tiny, gorgeous piglets with their intoxicating new life scent to them were all snuggled up against my shirt and all fast falling asleep. I looked across at Rosie who was snoring loudly and knew she was aware that her newborns were in safe hands and so could rest peacefully for a while.

The warm sunshine was beaming in on us and the rich depth of colours, nestled against me, were illuminated in all their glory. I could feel the warmth and the rhythm of the breathing of the piglets, each as big as my hand, through my shirt. I do not think I have ever felt more content and at peace as I did just laying their with my temporarily adopted porcine family. I was not aware that I too had drifted off to sleep with them until Elaine, who had been wondering what had happened to me eventually, saw my foot protruding through the entrance to Rosie’s house and gave it a gentle nudge.

Smiling down at me, she shook her head and with a sigh said "Chris, you know it's the mother that needs to bond with her young, not the farmer."

"She has", I replied, "and so now have I"

SHOWRING SUCCESS

We are pleased to report another successful alpaca show season. Though to be honest we have only attended one show at this stage. Lucas (pictured) claimed a second place ribbon relinquishing first place to the really outstanding alpaca judged supreme champion at the show, so we were very proud of him.

Solitaire our white girl came home with a first place ribbon and Faith a third, all coming home with a ribbon each to show off to their paddock mates.

We are eagerly anticipating our alpaca babies due in January. Summer just wasn’t the same last year when we gave the girls a year off. This year due to our selective breeding practices over the years and judicious selection of studs we are expecting at least a couple of stunners amongst our new generation of stars.

While we are bragging we can also proudly boast being awarded for the second year running a Gold Award in recognition of the development and implementation of environmentally sustainable business practices at Warwickz Farm.

The award was presented to us by the Mayor of Selwyn at the Ellesemere Responsible Business Awards function.

RARE BREED EGGS

Trying to get a decent handful of free range eggs for a tasty breakfast is pretty hard around here as most of our eggs are from rare breeds and I have been told to not even think about it!

This time of year however we begin to see the fruits of such sacrifice, most recently in our five fast growing Sebastopol goslings and Cayuga ducklings.

As you can see from the photo, mother goose is very protective of her young (so too is the gander, I have a botty bruise to prove it!) The rare Cayuga duck having quite a number of hatched eggs was having trouble looking after and accounting for them all. She now resides along with her ducklings in a luxury secure enclosure which includes a swimming pool and regular room service and housekeeping.

The rarest egg we have ever had now resides in the cottage and it has been transformed into an amazing thing of beauty.

Local egg artist Marion Parkin as a thank you for some goose eggs that we donated to her to use in making her wonderful creations presented us with the pictured egg as a thank you.

Thanks once again Marion, if we knew you would be giving to us such a thing of beauty we would have given you the whole goose.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Freezers are a wonderful invention and not just for food, they can also help with the following.

Sealed envelopes after a few hours in the freezer can be opened and then resealed Candles will burn slower if frozen before lighting Melted candle wax will fall out of the candle holder after being frozen for a few hours Colostrum can be kept in a freezer until required In some cases crashed computer hard drives can be temporarily brought back to life after being frozen (ask Uncle Google for more info) If your painting projected has to be interrupted, instead of cleaning up your brush in water, wrap it in foil and put it in the freezer.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2015

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a big thank you for those of you who have purchased our book.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

Weatherwise our year of extremes has continued, the drought of earlier in the year turned into one of the coldest winters for many years , although with no serious snow on the ground. Temperatures did get down to minus 8 though but fortunately we had plenty of firewood to keep us nice and cosy in front of the fireplace.

LUCIFER UPDATE

The Lucifer, now known as Barry, mystery has developed since our last newsletter. After neutering him it was discovered that not only was he not a kitten but could be 7 or 8 years old and someone had invested at some stage in expensive dental work for him.

We get the feeling from our many hundreds of cuddles since then that he was probably owned by an older person who has probably passed away and somehow he was left to cope for himself in the countryside.

He is a delightful, slightly eccentric fellow who looks very much like a British Shorthair and may even have been a stud (as he was never neutered) in his earlier years and we feel privileged to share our home with him. Unbelievably, just after the last newsletter was sent out we trapped another tabby kitten, definitely a wild one this time and certainly a kitten, quite young and skinny and scared rather than nasty.

While still confined to her quarters for much of the day, over the last three months she has slowly tamed up and now loves her snuggles and cuddles and has a very loud purr-fectly tuned motor. Her name was upgraded from Ceefor (as in C for cat) to Polly once we decided she was a keeper.

BETTY KUNEKUNE

The pick of the litter of Rosies piglets last year was Betty, a big beautiful black girl with a personality very similar to her mothers. When it was time to find new homes for the little grunters we decided that we would keep Betty to ensure that we preserved the wonderful bloodlines of Rosie and Robbie for the future.

It turns out that this was a very wise decision as a couple of weeks ago we lost our beloved Rosie to what appeared to be a heart attack.

Rosie, along with Robbie are at the top of the heap when it comes to the most favourite animals at Warwickz Farm for our guests and tourists. I am pleased that she will live on in our memories both through Betty and in her chapter in our book Canterbury Tails.

We hope to have Betty trained to walk in a harness before the next newsletter and look forward a long and happy future with this adorable Kunekune we are proud to call Rosie’s daughter.

LAMBS

The harshness of the winter along with its relatively low rainfall following on from the drought has put a lot of pressure on the feed budget as once the grass came back post drought it has been very slow growing. This has made for many trips to our hay supplier.

However as the weather gets increasingly warmer now and the paddocks greener we can relax a little and enjoy the sight of our very hardy flock of sheep with its eye catching spotted frolicking lambs.

The harsher conditions also resulted in some fence maintenance as a couple of the gnarly old rams decided that the lush greenness of the neighbours paddocks was just too tempting.

Fortunately this was soon resolved with some extra fencing wire and the good naturedness of the rams who accepted our guidance back to the right side of the fence and in the process revealed their escape route.

NEW ARRIVALS

You may remember Uncle Tom and the many critically endangered Royal Palm turkeys he sired over many years as he regally displayed his tail feathers along Poultry Lane, whose tail feathers that were so impressive that they were requested for use in the Hobbit Trilogy, ah sweet memories. Well the good news is that Sir Thomas has arrived.

Sir Thomas is a Royal Palm Tom who was urgently looking for a new home which we were delighted to offer him. All we have to do now is find some female company for him and then we can continue doing our part in preserving and growing this very precious breed.

Another recent arrival were two minilop rabbit kits the first of the seasons new bunnies who will be delighting our visitors over the next couple of months

.

We hope to have some stunning Flemish Giants arriving next month as we continue to work towards bringing this rare gentle breed of rabbit back into its full glory of long eared giantness.

WOOL CRAFT

Thank you to all of you who have purchased Elaines craft creations from the Barn over the winter.

It is a joy watching the delight in the customers eyes as after making their purchase we are often able to point out to them the animals that have contributed to the creation, especially those that have names and they have met during the tour.

As you can see above Elaine has been busy over the winter with her knitting needles and spinning wheel.

I asked her if she wanted me to feature her roll mops in the newsletter but she informs me that they in fact called rolags.

On further investigation I discovered a rolag is a roll of fibre generally used to spin woollen yarn. A rolag is created by first carding the fibre, using handcarders, and then gently rolling the fibre off the cards. Properly prepared, a rolag will be uniform in width, distributing the fibres evenly. The word derives from the Scottish Gaelic word for a small roll.

We will have some rolags featured on the websites For Sale page in the near future should anyone like to purchase some.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Now that the first buds of spring are starting to appear many of you will be looking forward to enjoying the warmer weather with some quality time spent outdoors.

It is then that you will notice that along with the buds the weeds are also returning, a chore that takes you away from the more enjoyable gardening.

Before you buy weed killer and soak your ground in chemicals it is worth trying the following natural weed killer recipe Elaine has discovered. We have not tried it yet but this natural and inexpensive remedy is worth trying.

Mix 1 gallon of vinegar with 2 cups of Epsom salts and a ¼ cup of dish soap and spray on the weeds in the morning once the dew has evaporated and in the evening you will find that they have according to the recipe, disappeared.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2015

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page.

We were delighted to receive a 100% Guest Rating certificate from Travelbug last month, so thank you.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

LUCIFER

One of the scourges of living on a farm such as ours is pests: rats, stoats, weasels, ferrets and the largest and most vicious of all, wild cats.

Wild cats come in two forms, feral cats born in the wild and pet cats and kittens abandoned by their irresponsible owners to a nice life in the countryside. Woe betides any tame or slow chook, pigeon or duck let alone any native birds when a hungry wild cat comes calling.

Once alerted to the menace the trap comes out and once caught the vicious killing machine is humanely dispatched, well that was the case until Lucifer arrived.

Bruce brought a cageful of hissing spitting green-eyed tabby fury to the garage to verify that it was the same one that I had seen on a couple of occasions crossing the farm. It appeared much smaller, though also tabby but did not have the white tip to its tail on the one that I had seen. We left it to sit on death row while we deliberated.

A couple of days later the wild cat with the white tipped tail was dispatched by a vehicle as it crossed the highway (probably on its way for breakfast at Warwickz Farm) so we had a review about Lucifers fate.

It appeared that this scrawny creature was not just under nourished but only two thirds grown and while it hissed at us it cowered rather than attacked, as is the norm with a feral cat.

It was becoming apparent that Lucifer had been someones pet and had not been abandoned to its fate for very long.

Several weeks later Lucifer is still in the garage but has been upgraded to a luxury cage, he longer spits and hisses and uses his litter box and lets us pick him up for cuddles. It appears however that he has been abused as he cowers in fright and anticipation whenever a hand is raised above him.

This last couple of weeks has seen Lucifer occasionally coming inside the house as he is slowly re-socialised and comes to regain his trust of us crazy two legged creatures.

WALNUT HARVEST

For those of you who have read Canterbury Tails you will recall the dramas we endured in the collecting and processing of walnuts until we finally got it sussed. Well, this seasons harvest as for several years now had been proceeding satisfactorily that is, until disaster struck.

I had been competing for the lion share of the fallen nuts with Tracey Goat and the possums. The fleshy covered nuts had been collected in a safe container close to the tree and then successfully stripped and cleaned and taken up to the garage for drying out and storing.

The approximately 400 walnuts were placed into two large yellow aerated plastic crates which were placed out in the sunshine during the day and stored in the garage at night.

So far so good, a successful harvest or so we thought until on a sunny day after several cool ones when the crates stayed in the garage, I went to take them outside. Lifting the first crate up I noticed the second one it had been sitting on holding half the bounty now only contained twelve.

Some dirty rats had been squeezing through the hand holes in the crate and over a few nights obviously working as a team had carted off half our harvest. Oh well, live and learn I suppose.

WASCALLY WABBITS

While still basking in the glow of our finally successful breeding of the very rare and precious Enderby Island rabbits late last year, we have had another litter, 5 of the exceptionally rare cremes and 1 champagne.

Thanks go to Melissa and Sitereh for once again assisting us with this success. These six will add to the approximately 150 number of this endangered breed.

We are also proud to announce a very successful outing for George and Sid guinea pigs and Louie, Tane, Flemish Giant rabbits and Cedric Enderby at a recent NZ Rabbit Council Show. We came away with two 1sts, two 2nds and a third including the Best Flemish Giant for the rabbits and a 1st and 2nd for the guinea pigs including Reserve Champion for George.

Our new breeding Flemish Giant doe Dottie who came third at the Show is settling nicely into her new home as you can see.

CREATIONS

As the days get colder and shorter Elaine has been even busier working on her creations. Thank you to those guests who have purchased some of her treasures, you are certainly keeping her busy replenishing the display in the Barn.

My personal favourite creation recently though didnt come off her knitting needles but from the kitchen. Apart from her yummy apple and feijoa jam which was very nice it was her Spicey Feijoa Chutney that inspired me to write the following poem.

Delish Relish

Spiced Sunshine and Laughter

Wrapped in Happiness

Is the taste of Elaines Relish

Each mouthful a

Coppery Dollop of Love

Made up of feijoas, apples, onions, garlic, raisins, raw sugar, mixed spice, chilli flakes, salt, and vinegar mixed up in various quantities and boiled it is truly an outstanding taste sensation.

I am sure Elaine will pass on the recipe to anyone who wants to make it if you ask her. It is just too nice to keep a secret.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Autumn is a season of gorgeous colourful hues as the trees prepare for winter in shades of copper and russet, orange and brown. Although after the 100th wheelbarrow full of fallen leaves the novelty does tend to wane.

This seasons tip is about what to do with these supposedly useless leaves apart from let them compost.

We have discovered that they make an attractive and healthy floor for the chicken coops. The chooks love kicking about in it hunting insects and it keeps their houses nice and hygienic as their droppings fall through the bedding.

The beautiful Japanese maple leaves are also perfect for pressing and using for craft purposes i.e. making cards.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2015

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a great thank you for the ones we have received since last time.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

A big thank you to all our many guests who have made the Christmas season our busiest one on record. As we have said before, we are truly privileged that all our guests are such lovely people who leave us as friends. The nature of our situation with rare breed animals and crafts and gardens seems to filter out anyone whose company we would not enjoy.

After the hottest and driest January on record we are now enduring the worst drought we have had in the last 43 years. However while our green and grassy outlook is currently now just a memory and the hay bills are mounting we are pleased to announce that all creatures on the farm are, while hot, also healthy and happy.

THE BOOK

As mentioned in the last newsletter we are now proud to announce the release of Canterbury Tails, the story of Warwickz Farm.

In 2006 Elaine and I developed a 5 Year Plan that over the following five years would see us out of full time work and living off the farm.

We planned pretty much what you see now, our new Red Barn fully utilized as B&B/Farmstay accommodation with a craft and crystal gallery, a small shop with space for classes and workshops.

We would fulfill our dream of doing our bit for the conservation of rare breed New Zealand animals by breeding an increasing range of them along with regular farmyard favourites.

Elaine would use her crafters skills to turn our fleeces, fibres and furs into everything from garments and soft furnishings to cuddly toys and jewelry and teach those skills to others along the way. I would use my writing skills as a freelance writer and improve my fitness as a farm labourer and tour leader.

The Plan was to over the interim 5 years ease out of full time work as we established various income streams from the Farm with the idea of making enough to become self sufficient and while not being wealthy financially still being able to live the lifestyle.

A Grand Plan indeed which not long after its creation faced its first major hurdle. I was made redundant!

After the initial shock, we decided that as at my age I would not be able to find a package anywhere near the one I had enjoyed and decided to bring our plan five years forward and go cold turkey into the future.

This is where the book starts and follows our journey as we pick ourselves up and begin the ride of our lives. The story of survival against adversity and the establishing and evolution of the business is set against the backdrop of the increasing range of rare breed animals and our lovely rural setting amongst the trees and gardens.

Along the way the reader is introduced to a host of animal characters who have enriched our lives and touched so many of our guests and visitors. The book is also peppered with interesting facts and information about rare breed animals and how important it is to preserve these creatures for mankinds benefit as much as their own.

Okay, enough of the hard sell. Canterbury Tails is available through Amazon for $US12.99 and is also available on Kindle. We also have signed copies available for sale in the Red Barn for $NZ17.00. Please feel free to spread the news.

FEATHERS

The peafowl have matured well over the last few months, though the peacocks now resplendent in their iridescent blues and greens still have a while yet before they will be able to stun us with their spectacular tail feathers with those magnificent eyes on them.

Currently the tails are still under construction as we notice when they strut for the girls reminding me of half built suspension bridges.

The peafowl now free range around the Farm, however they let us round them up fairly easily to be put in their enclosure when we need to find them to introduce them close up to our visitors.

One of the males, Sir Percival has always been friendlier than the others and over the last year I have spent a lot of time with him. Percy is now happy to perch on my arm and get close and personal with our guests and enjoys a good cuddle. (see authors pic on back cover of book P.4) He usually leaves a smelly messy souvenir for me in the meantime much to his new friends amusement.

Last year we were given some beautiful ring necked doves that now enhance our gardens. These gentle creatures are naturally very calm and seem to emit an aura of tranquility as we spend time with them.

While doves may not be a rare breed they do have a very unique characteristic. They are the only bird that can drink water without tilting back their heads to swallow.

The throat is constructed much like that of humans and other mammals, enabling doves to swallow without removing the beak from the water supply.

We are in the process of refreshing our Sebastopol geese lines and recently acquired two handsome ganders who will shortly meet their new girlfriends.

So that they can acclimatize and get used to their new home they are currently residing in a large pen where they can safely meet some of our other creatures and make new friends.

On arrival from down country they huddled together in the back corner of the pen for the first day or so. On closer inspection to make sure they were fine and happy I picked one of them up and much to my surprise, instead of the furious honking and biting I was expecting he snuggled against me.

Obviously having been handled and tamed by their last owner they will be an asset here on the farm and hopefully teach some of our other geese such good manners.

Elaine has been busy with her chicken breeding along with the large number of beautiful alpaca garments she has been knitting to fill orders placed by our guests. (last ones will be in the post shortly).

Pictured is the latest class of aracuana, Rhode island red and guinea fowl chicks, posing for a class photo, that have now graduated to accommodations down poultry Lane.

TIP OF THE SEASON

A very effective weapon to have in your armoury for moving on creatures from places that they shouldn’t be is, we have discovered, a pump action water pistol/cannon.

For those frustrating times when peafowl decide to clump over your house roof or piglets forage in your nicely kept garden or roosters decide to face off against each other in the middle of the garage or any similar problem just reach for your weapon.

You will find that the problem is soon safely and effectively solved with no creature hurt in the process and your mood has lightened considerably as you glance around for any passing human to practice your aim on.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2014

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a great thank you for the ones we have received since last time.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

The last three months have been particularly busy with a host of lovely guests including one who was walking most of the length of the country, you are an inspiration Mathew! It has also been piglet season along with the usual spring arrival of rabbits and chicks and so on. We have also won ribbons and awards and have become an official supplier to a zoo.

PIGLETS

Pig farrowing time is always our favourite time of year, well every second year to be exact. I was privileged once again to be up close and personal with Rosie as this miracle of birth occurred. While her healthy litter of four was fewer than previous birthings they certainly made up for that by their size! The cuteness factor though was still there in bucket loads.

Kunekune (pronounced koonykoony) pigs are unlike any other being more akin to dogs than other pigs. Their endearing personalities and intelligence and love of companionship make them a farm favourite with our visitors.

The fact that Rosie and Robbie are miniature Kunekunes makes them even more fun and when it comes to piglet time, well, need I say more? Alas, as Christmas approaches youngsters get excited about the wonderful gifts they will receive while we contemplate saying goodbye to our treasures who will be off to their new homes.

This year though we have decided to ease the pain and ensure the continuity of our wonderful bloodlines by keeping one of the litter with us here on the farm. Black Betty is the largest of the litter and has the same personality and mannerisms as Rosie as well as being a mummys girl.

RECOGNITION

Working on a rare breeds farm and running a farm stay and various events is a lot of fun and also a lot of work but we are passionate about what we do and life goes on.

It is therefore a surprise when you receive recognition for what you do and we have had some pleasant surprises recently.

We were very pleasantly surprised to be approached by Orana Park Zoo in Christchurch recently. The zoos Farmyard was being renovated and they were looking to restock it with some user friendly pure breed animals.

After discussing a variety of options Orana Park decided to take one of our Kunekune sow piglets, a Flemish Giant rabbit, a Netherland Dwarf rabbit, a Minilop and a couple of guinea pigs. Who would have thought that one day we would be a supplier to a world class zoo!

Saturday night the first of November found us wining and dining with some local business people and the Mayor of Selwyn and his wife, guests at the Ellesmere Responsible Business Awards.

Later that evening we were presented by the Mayor with a Gold Award in recognition of the development and implementation of environmentally sustainable business practices. Usually that would suffice for the boasting as we are but humble Kiwi folk, however we were delighted to have read out and received in a letter the following

"Your business is a tremendous resource for tourists and locals alike. You are preserving our heritage breeds as well as our traditions of Kiwi ingenuity and self sufficiency. You are teachers in the true sense of the word because you lead by example and share your wisdom with anyone who comes along looking for it."

The alpaca judging ring at the Ellesmere and Ashburton A&P Shows also brought us smiles of satisfaction. Our Show Team was reduced down to Lucas, Faith and Solitaire and between them they made us very proud bringing home from the two shows five 1st place ribbons and one 2nd place ribbon.

The standard of alpacas in the show rings around the country continues to improve and we are delighted to foot it with the large wealthy breeders out there.

Elaine is a master student of New Zealand alpaca genetics and due to careful and selective breeding; a lot of the time through superior genetics that we have bred we continue to have a successful presence in the show ring. We insist on an extra dynamic with our breeding and that is the kind and gentle natures of our animals so they can fit in with our lifestyle and our visitors.

Well thats enough of the bragging for now, well almost anyway.

RABBIT RAVE

Those of you who are regular readers of the newsletter will have followed our not very successful years of being Enderby Island Rabbit breeders. Well the good news is that as well as being home to one of the rarest if not the rarest rabbit breed in the world we have now the worlds rarest rabbit kits (babies).

Working closely with a fellow Enderby breeders, Melissa and Sitereh, we have been able to get our new doe Marmite pregnant and after a what we thought was a failed pregnancy we have been blessed with six Enderby Island rabbit kits.

Enderbys are a silvery grey colour but the kits are born totally black and over the months they slowly silver up. The wonderful thing with these kits is that two of them are crèmes. The caramel colouring is a genetic throwback going way back to the original rabbits placed on the Island from the Melbourne Zoo in the 1800s and they are especially rare. It has been rabbit central here recently with baby Flemish Giants, Netherland Dwarves and Minilops all running around, along with the Enderbys.

We had five stunning Flemish Giants born that all exhibit the large bodies and big boofy heads that we are striving to recapture in the breed.

Two have gone off to a wildlife park in Hanmer Springs, one is off to Orana Park, another is a 12 year old boy’s constant companion and we have one male still available to go to a new home anytime and two Minilops looking for homes in the New Year if anyone is interested.

The little black Netherland Dwarf featured in the pic is going to Orana Park. The striking colouring on him is known as Silver Fox and he should grow into a stunning example of the breed. With his easy going nature he will be sure to be a Farmyard favourite.

CRAFTS

Thank you to all of you who have purchased craft items from the Barn over the last six months. Having cleaned us out of a lot of our inventory Elaine has been busy crafting up a storm of replacement creations.

Elaine has also picked up a number of commissions to make a range of sweaters, ponchos, scarves and beanies for our guests. Currently, we can reassure those guests that they all appear to still be on track to be posted to you at the times advised.

Just in case she does find a spare moment or two Elaine is also participating with crafters around the country in creating some of the 18,166 crafted red poppys to commemorate each of the New Zealand fallen soldiers of the First World War. They will all be displayed in a memorial at the museum in Waiouru.

TIP OF THE SEASON

This season’s tip is also the announcement of the imminent release of Canterbury Tails, the story of Warwickz Farm, the book many of you have urged me to write.

The paperback of over 200 pages is full of tales of life on the Farm amongst the animals and our visitors and some of the adventures we have had along the way.

We hope to have some copies available before Christmas. If anyone would like to pre order a copy ($US12.99) we can send you a personally signed and dedicated copy.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2014

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a great thank you for the ones we have received since last time.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

While not officially here yet spring is certainly starting to make an apearance here on the farm with the wild plum trees beginning to blossom and some of the hens collecting their eggs ready for sitting. It will not be long before the season comes into its full glory.

LAMBING

Like many sheep farms around the country our lambs arrive well before the first blossoms appear. The first to arrive were from our larger flock of black and coloured and arapawa sheep.

Due to our relatively mild winter with lots of sunshine along with the rain, the grass growth was good enough for us to leave the ewes with their lambs out in the 5 acre paddock instead of having to bring them in to the nursery paddock for regular feeds of hay.

Our usual mix of colours arrived along with a smattering of the beautiful panda lambs with their black and white patches. Unusually we have only had one set of twins in both flocks; currently we have twelve lambs in the large flock and eight lambs in the Gotland paddock.

Hermione, one of our original Gotland Pelts and a real character who loves coming up to us for cuddles was mother to one of the sets of twins (see pic).

The Gotland Pelt sheep share their paddock with pet lambs that we have hand reared over the years and their extended families. This season we have had a most unusual cross bred lamb arrive, as pictured with the white head (when he came inside to visit the humans).

He has since grown into a very chunky imposing looking lamb but the most interesting thing about him is his fleece which is growing in patches of tight curls alongside long silky Gotland like fleece. He is a real character.

THE SHOW TEAM

With the A&P (Agricultural and Pastoral) Shows fast appearing on the horizon we have been busy putting our show team together.

Along with last years 1st and 2nd ribbon winning fawn boy Lucas we will be introducing our three latest arrivals Faith, Solitaire and Mak.

Faith, with her beautiful dark eyes is a roan grey with a very fine fleece. Solitaire is white with a stunning fleece like her parents, River and Pearl and Mak is a brown boy with very dense luxurious fibre.

We began halter training a little earlier than usual to ease these young ones into it nice and slowly and they are coming along very nicely. They all have lovely natures and we all enjoy the many cuddles and kisses along with the working and walking.

An advantage of starting the training nice and early and gently is that it has allowed me to catch them in the paddock rather than having to run them down to the yards to catch them.

FEATHERS

The peacocks are slowly growing into all their glory and it turns out that we have two pair, though it took a while and some research before that became apparent.

Males and females are much the same size and it is only their colouring that really differentiates them. The males eventually grow brown feathers along the bottom of their wings and the iridescence that has been identical high on the breasts of both sexes’ starts to quickly spread downwards on the males. About the same time the beautiful blue fleck starts to appear and spread on the males only.

We still have them enclosed (the longer they are locked up the more chance there is that they won’t fly away on release) but they do get out a little in the mobile enclosure we attach to the doorway so they can safely mingle with the free rangers and get used to Susie dog.

You might remember Dodgy the barred rock chick brought up by Sassy the Silkie?

The one that I was training up to give our visitors high fives and do tricks like the wonderful old Bartie the Orpington rooster used to do. Well he is now full grown and is a magnificent specimen.

Unfortunately he never really made the cut but occasionally when in a good mood and in a firm grip he does give the odd lucky guest a high five greeting.

CRAFTS

Elaine has been using these colder months of winter staying nice and warm indoors but she has still been very busy.

Currently she is busy working on one of probably a number of alpaca blankets commissioned by a visitor from China.

Elaine also needs to get busy replenishing the record number of scarves, sweaters, gloves and hats that have been sold through the Barn to many of our guests (thank you all) over the last few months.

It is always a delight once a garment or craft item has been selected to then show or explain to the purchaser the creature(s), usually by name who have contributed their fleece or fibre to their purchase.

RABBITS

Between now and the next newsletter we will have had a number of rabbits born and probably been to a Show or two. Meanwhile we have had a good result in our endeavours to try and maintain the integrity of the Flemish Giant breed.

With the large amount of cross breeding going on to try to make trendy “designer breeds” particularly with poultry and rabbits some of the breeds are increasingly at risk.

Our beautiful Flemish Giants were predominantly true to the breed but not entirely perfect specimens, well until now that is. Due to selective breeding after a judicious purchase we are now producing as you can see in the pic, Flemish Giants that portray the classic head, the very long ears and the giant body.....yessssssssssss!!!

TIP OF THE SEASON

While our sad little lemon tree is has some small fruit on it we have been lucky enough to have been given a good supply of them from a friend and in the process we have discovered some good tips about lemons.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2014

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a great thank you for the ones we have received since last time.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

As we ease towards the winter season the weather has been kind to us with plenty but not too much rain and enough warm sunshine to keep the grass growing and the animals well fed and content.

RIP NIKI DOG

We were very sad a couple of weeks ago when Niki our beloved and loyal but old rough coated collie passed away after a short illness.

Niki had a big bark and a bigger heart and was as gentle as a kitten that not only looked like Lassie but also acted like her. She was still quite a young dog but no longer a puppy when one early evening she came to the door and started barking excitedly. We presumed we had visitors but there was no one there, so we growled at her and went back inside. Niki however kept up her barking and when we came out again she ran off hoping that we would follow her. When we didnt follow immediately (as we were putting on our shoes) she came back just like Lassie used to on TV and urged us to follow her.

 

She led us down the driveway to where Daisy our dear but naughty pet goat was about to tuck into some highly poisonous to goats, rhododendrons. Daisy had somehow escaped from her paddock and would have been dead in a very short time if Niki hadnt come to her rescue.

 

Niki always looked out for all the animals including the ones she wasn’t particularly fond of like Xena the cat. If we were ever handling an animal be it a chook or an alpaca and they sounded like they were in distress it would be Niki to the rescue, barking her head off every time.

 

She used to accompany me on my rounds of the Farm every day and even the day before she died she insisted on coming with me one last time, slowly hobbling down the driveway behind me this time instead of in front, refusing to rest, she had her job to do. As you can imagine, it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to her. She now rests in the corner of the wilderness she loved to run in, now known as Nikis Corner.

 

Niki would have been very sad to think of me working without a faithful canine assistant and so we decided the best thing would be to find a new friend to fill the void and her name is Susie and she is a Border Collie pup.

 

Susie is known as a Border collie handy pup, which means that she is an ideal family pet but also with very little training can be a working dog. Both her parents are champion sheepdog trialists and she will be trained to round up and work with our two flocks of sheep when she is older. She will really enjoy rounding up the sheep and bringing them to the fence line to parade for our visitors.

 

She is such an intelligent little (though fast growing) thing with a loving nature and is so willing to please. Niki would be very proud of her.

FAREWELL ROYAL PALM TURKEYS

For many years now we have been successfully breeding the stunning but critically endangered Royal Palm turkeys. Uncle Tom strutting his stuff as he paraded along Poultry Lane with his fabulous fan of tail feathers (now seen all over the world in the Hobbit movies) was a sight to behold.

Unfortunately Uncle Tom passed away in late summer but we were delighted that his remaining hen hatched seven poults (chicks) a few days later.

For the last three months we have been carefully monitoring and nurturing these rare little ones as they matured but alas, in the past few weeks as the colder weather approached we first lost Mum and then despite all of our efforts every couple of days one would fail to awake with the dawn and now they have all gone.

After a setback like this you start to question yourself about why you do what you do. Do we have have rare breeds to attract visitors, to show off how clever we are, to make some money, to educate people, probably a little of all of the above but really when you consider all the work that is involved none of those things make it worth it.

What does make it worthwhile is knowing that we are conserving and promoting a rare breed (last time I checked there were only 100 Royal Palm breeding pairs left in their native USA).

In our busy world of sound bites and commercial imperatives we are fast losing our heritage breeds, with their hardiness and wholesomeness and it is extremely important that in our genetically modified world that we still have the original recipes for when and if we need them.

PEACOCKS

While the jury is still out on whether we will continue with the Royal Palms we have invested in a new feathered creature, the peafowl.

Peafowl are a breed of pheasant and hopefully of the four young ones we have, at least one will be a peacock and will replace Uncle Tom as the poser of Poultry Lane as he parades his spectacular train of vivid iridescent blues and greens.

Peafowl have been kept as a domestic ornamental bird since ancient times so I was not too surprised how easy it has been to tame one of them. They have a lot of growing to do yet so I doubt that he will still be roosting on my shoulder when he is in all his glory in December.

They are currently confined to their enclosure for a few more months while they acclimatize to their new home but we look forward to a very colourful Christmas.

ROSITA

Rosita is another new resident of Warwickz Farm, she is a miniature horse like Fernando. Unlike Fernando though she is a rescue horse and arrived unexpectedly one evening as her owners desperately sought a new home for her.

Fortunately she had not been mistreated so much as neglected when she was left in supposed care by her owners while they tried to find another farm to live on.

Rosita has a sweet nature and is well bred and very pretty but due to her recent lack of attention she has become quite shy and untrusting.

The good news is that with a few weeks of TLC (tender loving care) she is fast regaining her faith in humans again and has made great friends with Nelly & Kelly the angora goats, Tracey goat and Fernando (our miniature horse and Pedro the donkey.

We would like to thank once again Praew and her family from Thailand who stayed with us recently and presented us with a lovely gift of two very professional You Tube videos featuring the Barn and the Tour.

You can view them through the following links Barn Tour and Farm Tour

TIP OF THE SEASON

After our recent losses it was natural to take some time out and rethink what we do and how we do it and I have come to the following conclusions I would like to share with you.

Life is relatively short and increasingly busy and full of challenges so to maximise it we should surround ourselves with people we love, do things we are passionate about, enjoy the simple but glorious things like music, good food, art and literature and be true to who we really are.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2014

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page. Also a great thank you for the ones we have received since last time.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

As usual, here we are in late summer wondering what happened to all that lush greenness we were enjoying not so long ago. As you can see from the pic, when the colder days come around we now have plenty of firewood after the big winds of last September.

LILY

Just as there are dwarves in the human species, nature very occassionally throws them up in animals as well. Dwarfism as it is known was something we had never had experience of until the arrival four or five weeks ago of Lily.

Lily was hatched by Sassy, who at last has decided that she is in fact a chicken and not a human after all and is happy now to romance with roosters. Unfortunately she has not been enamoured of the Chinese silkie boy we found for her and these eggs were fertilized by an old English game cock.

Anyway, Sassy hatched five little healthy happy chickies but it didn’t take long for us to notice that one was just not growing after the first week or so.

Usually in these situations it is due to a health issue and in a short time the little creature dies. In Lily’s case however the weeks have gone by and while she hasn’t shown any marked growth she has sprouted feathers and is still with us.

Not only that, she is in robust health, eats her fair share and does not put up with any nonsense from her much larger siblings. Without clinically examining her it appears that every part of her is in proportion which doesn’t quite figure with dwarfism but meanwhile we are just enjoying watching our Lilliputian chick enjoy her new life.

ALPACA UPDATE

We have had two delightful alpaca arrivals since our last newsletter, Solitaire and Mak who were greeted with pleasure by all three mothers in the birthing paddock who have been pestered and teased by little Faith who anxiously awaited some playmates.

Solitaire is an elegant white girl born to Pearl in front of a number of farmstay guests who celebrated her arrival with a dazzling display of flashing cameras. Pearl has been one of the best producers of top quality fleeces in our herd and Solitaire looks to be at least as good as her so we are delighted.

Mak, named after the Waimakariri River as he was sired by our stud, River, also has a lovely fleece of very dense dark brown. Being the youngest cria he is always being led into mishchief by the others. Their current favourite pastime is chasing guinea fowl and wild rabbits across the paddocks.

FAREWELL UNCLE TOM

Many of you will remember Uncle Tom the Royal Palm turkey who elegantly graced Poultry Lane and whose stunning tail feathers were deemed good enough to grace the big screen in the Hobbit movies.

Having lost two of his girls over the winter and becoming most unwell himself for a while, he survived the winter but unfortunately succumbed to old age a couple of weeks ago. The good news is that after a couple of unsuccessful attempts the remaining hen managed to hatch six of these critically endangered rare turkeys a week before Uncle Tom checked out. Hopefully there will be a replacement tom for Uncle Tom to take over his duties of keeping everyone in line on Poultry Lane (geese notwithstanding!)

CRAFTY CREATURES

It has been a busy summer with many guests and tours and the occassional luncheon and Devonshire Tea as well as all the usual farm and animal chores to do so when Elaine was approached by some guests to outfit the teddy bears that accompany them on their travels she was delighted but did warn them it could take some time to accomplish.

I watched Elaine knitting away over the weeks as the couple of vests and scarves that were requested turned into a wardrobe including shorts and beanies and accessories. Having photocopied the teds before their departure Elaine managed to match them sizewise with some we had here. They were all eventually finished and despatched to Singapore. We got as much pleasure from the response and the dozen pics of the modelling teddies as our lovely guests did I am sure.

TIP OF THE SEASON

After many years now of coming up with tips of the season this newsletter I have drawn a blank apart from the following.

If anyone is interested in investing in the perfect starter pet, especially for your children my tip is that if you are quick and live in New Zealand (ideally Canterbury) we have some seriously cute and wonderful natured guinea pigs for sale.

They are a combination of rex, satins and Peruvians and come with instructions

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling.

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2013

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page.Also a great thank you for the ones we have received since last time.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

By September, the cold and rain is generally behind us as we head into the lushness of spring and we can relax a little and enjoy the easier weather.

THE BIG WIND

That was at least until the Big Wind of September 10th struck felling 1,000s of trees around Canterbury with record wind gusts, one of them bringing down an old tree and half demolishing a wool storage shed next to the stables. We had lost seven or eight trees by the storms end.

This was a once in a generation wind and unfortunately Elaine was out driving in it dodging falling trees and downed power lines but fortunately making it home shaken but intact.

Less fortunate was our power supply which we lost for five days along with our water supply as the pump to the well stopped operating. Fortunately the water race was running fresh and clear after the winter rains and we were able to keep all our many creatures hydrated and happy.

At least we will not have to worry about firewood for the next few seasons.

ALPACA ACTION

This season we attended two Agricultural & Pastoral (A&P) Shows, the Ellesemere and Ashburton with two upstanding young boys Lucas and Ashley. Lucas had done well for us last year and Ashley was born early this year. Both Shows were very enjoyable with lovely weather and a good chance to catch up with other country folk and fellow alpaca breeders. We are proud to confirm that our record of never failing to return from a Show without a ribbon is still intact.

Lucas, our handsome dark fawn boy competed well in two strong classes and came home with a second and third ribbon while Ashley our white/light fawn boy in an even stronger class came home with a third ribbon.

Ashley has proved to be a winner in another area as well, being the easiest to train alpaca we have ever had. His first time in a halter Ashley walked rather than fought it and on his second training session, he ended up inside the house, insisting on checking out the rooms and gave our teenage son a most unusual wake up call.

As you can see from the pic, he also caught up with some newspapers as well, on his way out.

Cria

This year we will have several cria (alpaca babies) on the ground as we head into the warmer months and the first to arrive to our and her mothers Angels’ delight is Faith.

Faith is a stunning roan grey female with an adorable cheeky white face, a luxuriously silky coat and and a calm and gentle nature who like her mother Angel enjoys being with and working with her human friends.

She will soon have some playmates to keep her company and we are looking forward to enjoying once again the regular sight, usually just before dusk, of them all racing around the paddock together, jumping and ducking and diving together celebrating the sheer joy of life.

DUCKLINGS & GOSLINGS

Like a number of our creatures, the rare breed ones in particular, the ducks and geese have been a bit out of sorts in the breeding department since the earthquakes. We were pleased therefore to see the Sebastopol goose finally produce some eggs and actually sit on them this season.

We were also surprised and delighted to see one of our Cayuga ducks, who we didn’t realize had been sitting, march across the grass one morning with a troop of fluffy black ducklings in tow.

Cayuga ducks are a rare breed flightless duck that are iridescent black in colour and are originally from Lake Cayuga in NewYork State, USA.

Mother ducks original troop was refined down to three by Mother Nature and as you can see in the pic they have grown rapidly over the weeks. They are regularly seen stalking the humans for any tidbits on offer while they are still cute enough for such exploitation.

Unfortunately the goose situation did not prove as successful with only one live hatching, Priscilla Waddlebottom,as she came to be known.

After a couple of weeks of free ranging happily in all weathers close to the heels of mum and dad we thought everything was fine until we discovered her one afternoon half drenched and stuck on her back, her webbed feet paddling slowly in the air.

We know through harsh experience that you shouldn’t mess with Mother Nature but surely this was merely an accident soon remedied by some warmth and shelter.

Duly returning the now dry fluffy and animated gosling back to her parents it was only minutes before she was once again on her back, her parents ignoring her plaintive squeaks.

Priscilla spent a delightful day and a half in our care waddling and snacking happily amongst the green grass in her daytime enclosure after a cosy night wrapped up in Elaines cashmere jumper. She was a real character and fast becoming a pet.

Alas, Mother Nature called time on her during her second night reminding us once again not to mess with her but also leaving us with some pleasant memories.

BUNNYS

Our rabbit breeding appears to be back on track with Amber producing a litter of four gorgeous kits, including the cheeky faced little fellow in the pic, who are fast finding new homes.

The minilops make perfect pets for kids and Amber with her very sweet and gentle nature always ensures our little guys are easy to train and very calm.

The other addition to our family of rabbits is Sally an Angora doe. As properly looking after an Angora means a lot of time spent on brushing and grooming we will not be using her for breeding purposes as one of them is enough for us at present.

However her silky wispy fur will be gently harvested and will be used by Elaine to blend in with the many other fibres and wools to enhance her ongoing catalogue of creations.

Sally will also undoubtedly enhance the Warwickz Farm Tour experience with her striking and exotic appearance and gentle nature.

TIP OF THE SEASON

With the abundance of beautiful flowers around this time of year in New Zealand, if you are lucky enough to have some nasturtiums and violas on your property here is something to bear in mind.

Not only do they look attractive and colourful in your garden they can also enhance your summer dishes and are edible as well. The violas dipped in egg white and castor sugar are an unusual treat and nasturtiums add a gentle peppery taste to your salads...................... Bon Appetit.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling and have a great Christmas

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2013

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

The ravages of winter appear to be behind us now and apart from a lot of rain and some very cold days it was a more pleasant winter than some we have endured.

As you can see from the pic, not only were our usually dry water courses full, they also froze over on a couple of occassions.

LAMBING

This years lambing season has proved much easier than last years and has resulted in a similar number (16)of lambs being born.

Due to the early autumn rains the paddocks remained much greener, with plenty of feed, which enabled us to leave the ewes with their newborns rather than bring them in to the nursery paddock and having to feed out every day .

Interestingly, the first few weeks of lambing found the smaller flock in the house paddock having all ewes while the larger flock in the large paddock had all rams. Things have evened out now though with our 16 little ones.

It was also interesting that we only had one set of twins but the good news is that they are all very strong and hardy and we have no orphans to look after this season (fingers crossed).

While that might be a shame for our visitors, the good news is that Novas wee girl Julia (pictured) is a real character and comes up to the fence to say hi and brings a lot of her new friends with her.

Once again the majority of our lambs are pandas, being either black with white markings or white with black markings, due to the rare arapawa bloodlines, which also give them their hardiness.

We hope to have some of these for sale later in the year, they make attractive additions to lifestyle blocks and supply lovely fleeces for spinning.

NELLY & KELLY

Pinot, the last of our pure bred angora goats passed away early during the winter so we decided it was high time to get some of these adorable angoras back on the farm.

Nelly and Kelly come from a leading breeder of angora goats in North Canterbury. Rather than bounce them around in the cold in a trailer, they settled down in the back of the van and snoozed their way back to Dunsandel.

They keep Tracey, our angora/saanen cross company in the nursery paddock and at only six months they are still full of the joys of life, bouncing across the paddock to say hi to our visitors. Elaine is also excited about her new source of mohair. Angoras can be shorn twice a year with a single goat producing 4 to 5 kilos a year.

Not being the hardiest of creatures you need to keep an eye on them health wise and a great tip we picked up is to look at the curly little tail, if it is upright all is generally well however if it is hanging down further investigation is required.

RABBIT REPORT

In the last newsletter we introduced Owsla, the very large Flemish Giant doe we hoped would assist us in trying to maintain the integrity of the Flemish bloodlines in New Zealand. She has proved to be a winner.

We are currently in the process of sending four beautiful, long eared prime examples of the breed (as pictured above ) around the country to their new homes. Two of them are going to breeders and two as pets.

At the other end of the spectrum Bella has provided us with two gorgeous examples of the Netherland Dwarf breed. We were surprised with the colours of them. One, Chilli, has a rare chinchilla coat while the other is a beautiful honey fawn.

The Netherland Dwarf breed was first produced in the Netherlands in the early 20th century. The small Polish rabbit was bred with smaller wild rabbits and within several generations a very small domestic rabbit resulted in a wide variety of colours and patterns.

Netherland Dwarfs tend to be quite skittery, timid little creatures better suited to the show ring than as pets however due to the careful maintenance of calm bloodlines and plenty of handling our little fellas are fast becoming wonderful pets.

.

TIP OF THE SEASON

During some recent research on the marketing of bananas I discovered the following helpful facts we thought we would pass on. I am sure that bananas will be in season somewhere in the world hence they are the tips of the season.

AMAZING BUT TRUE THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH BANANA PEELS (AND BANANAS):

Damn, I just used up enough tips that could have lasted for the next three years

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2013

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Canterbury, along with much of the country experienced a long Indian summer. Very enjoyable for city dwellers but for us country folk it was a worrying period as we saw our green farms turn into dry arid lands.

Fortunately we had good supplies of hay to keep our creatures fit and healthy and just as serious consideration was being given to declaring Canterbury a drought zone the clouds burst one cloudy day in mid April. Moonsoon rain teemed down for an hour and the weather has been kind to us ever since.

Warwickz Farm now has a listing on Trip Advisor, so we would like to invite all of our wonderful guests who enjoyed time with us on the farm to share their experiences on the review page.

RIVER BABES

As mentioned in the last Newsletter, River sired Ashley our lovely light fawn boy who has been delighting our guests all season with his antics. Some friends of ours, mutual alpaca breeders approached us last year about using Rivers services as a stud for some of their girls.

We were all delighted when in late February and March the girls produced five stunning cria, two of whom are pictured.

River, the son of one of the best quality alpacas ever imported into New Zealand has never failed to give us the perfect combination of lustrous fibre, gentle personalities and the classic alpaca look. If anyone else would like to avail their girls of his services we would be delighted to talk to you.

CRAFTS

Talking of lustrous fibre, Elaine has been busy at the spinning wheel and knitting needles and during her quieter times (yeah right) has been busy experimenting with dyes.

A few months ago she sorted out four sacks of alpaca fibre which she matched with sheeps wool, mainly Gotland Pelt, to hopefully find some lovely blends of silky wool in attractive natural colours. One of them she added mohair to to give it extra softness and slipperiness.

Obviously with such a large quantity Elaine was not able to spin it herself so we had it done commercially and the results were excellent. Since then Elaine has been knitting it up to restock the barn after our busy season with a variety of hats and scarves and shawls and gloves and socks.

Her experimental attempts at dyeing have also proved a great success. I always find it fascinating how the colours morph from one shade to another together along the single strands of yarn.

DODGY

You may remember mention of the passing of Bartie, the high-fiving star of Poultry Lane in the last newsletter. We really miss him and would love to have another one like him and it looks like we may have one in the future, his name is Dodgy.

Dodgy is a barred rock young rooster who we managed to incubate from a batch of eggs damaged in transit from another breeder. He was the only hatchling and his arrival coincided with Sassy, our broody Chinese silkie hatching out two guinea fowl, one of whom she lost the following day.

We put Dodgy into her care and he loved her at first sight, however, most unusually, Sassy did not reciprocate his affections. She would peck at him and he would dodge and dive adoringly into her undercarriage and out of danger. She would not allow him to eat with her or his step brother when he attempted to between pecks. However when her back was towards the feed bowl out would pop Dodgys head from her feathery rear for a sneaky scoff.

After a couple of days of enjoying his ducking, dodging and diving antics we realized we had a real character on our hands and so too did Sassy who decided she liked him after all.

Dodgy is my new pupil and we hope to have him high-fiving before the busy season.

NEW ARRIVALS

Our two cockatiels live in qute a large aviary that they share with a couple of Japanese quail that reside on the floor. Elaine thought it was time we had a bit more colour in such a large space and that we should replace the budgies that passed away a couple of years ago. So last Sunday we picked by Viola and Diego and they have settled in nicely. We love their shades of blue green and yellow.

Another newcomer is Freddie. He is a rex male guinea pig, white with a striking grey head, it looks like I am strangling him in the picture but Im not really. We needed some fresh bloodlines to increase the hardiness of our rexes and it appears that he is the dude to do it for us.

It was a relief to have some rain while it was still warm enough for the grass to grow as our guinea pigs chomp through a large sack of grass everyday.

Rabbits Large & Small

Our rabbit breeding programme has never quite been the same since the earthquakes and with many of our rabbits getting older we thought it was also a good time to get some fresh blood into the mix in the rabbitry.

The integrity of many breeds of rabbits is being compromised with cross breeding, especially when the crossbreds are on-sold as pure and thus the gene pool for the breed is diluted. As animal conservationists we strive to keep the breeds as pure as possible.

The once spectacularly large Flemish giant rabbit is gradually getting smaller along with their ears and that was why we were delighted to introduce Owsla into our rabbitry.

As you can see from the picture she is a big girl, in excess of 7kgs with lovely true to breed large ears and together with our big boys Hugo and Onyx she should be able to help us do our bit to preserve this wonderful and very gentle breed.

Always trying to keep things in balance we decided to go into bat at the other end of the scale, the Netherland dwarf.

Netherland dwarfs with their tiny ears and slight bodies are one of the smallest breeds of rabbits and you guessed it, their ears are getting longer and their bodies are slowly getting bigger.

The elegant young Bobby has come on board to join with the adorable Bella in making sure this increasingly rare breed is around for a good while yet.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Apart from the obvious one of staying dry and keeping warm, the tip of the season this newsletter relates to something most of us regard as a great nuisance and that is fallen autumn leaves.

However, there are leaves and there are leaves and if you or any of your friends have a craft bent than autumn is the time to harvest an array of beautiful golden leaves for use in craft projects.

The trick is that once you have assembled your collection of leaves you then place them between the pages of a heavy book, the yellow pages are ideal, for them to dry out and preserve. By the following autumn/winter months you will have a beautiful gift from nature to enhance your craft projects as you work at them in front of the fire.

Elaine gets particular pleasure from using the pictured Japanese maple leaves to enhance her cards and other projects, but just be careful if you find yourself flicking through a rarely used old book or an old copy of the yellow pages.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2013

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

After our wet winter and soggy spring, late summer finds us in near drought conditions. The lush green has now faded to dusty shades of fawn. We are not complaining though as we did remain lush for a lot longer than usual and we had plenty of time to get in hay etc to supplement feeding for these drier conditions.

The tourist season has been kind to us enabling us to meet even more animal lovers and creative people this year than in previous seasons. We take great delight in showcasing our farm and crafts to our visitors and ensuring they have a memorable experience and we especially treasure the warmth and friendliness we receive from those that arrive as guests and leave as friends.

On a sadder note, while we do not usually dwell on our losses I must report to his many friends that Bartie the Buff Orpington Rooster who must have given high fives and entertained literally hundreds of people in his time, passed away peacefully sitting in the sunshine surrounded by people who loved him, last month.

Not only was he a great showman at his advanced age, he continued entertaining even after he took his last bow. As I was carrying Bartie crocked in my arm, to his last resting place I noticed a man with a young girl beckoning me at the gate, enquiring about a tour. The little girl reached over and gave the still warm Bartie a stroke and said look daddy the chickens asleep. A real showman to the end and more RIP Bartie.

PIGLETS

On a happier note we are pleased to report that after giving us many hours of entertainment and many laughs all the piglets have now been sold much to Rosies relief.

She is a wonderful mother but as these eight little cuties grew into eight large characters, always hungry, Rosie was starting to look a little weary.

They now reside all around New Zealand in great homes and are each matched to a wonderful group of people who we would like once again to thank for being perfect owners for our babies.

LAMBS

This time of year gamboling lambs are just a memory with the sheep focus being on shearing and drenching in these warmer months. So it was with some surprise that I noticed a black with white spotted lamb keeping in step with its mother as a family of guests and I surveyed the flock.

The following week another ram lamb appeared, this one a white one with black markings, to the delight of our visitors. Early in the lambing season we remembered a couple of Arapawa-merino-cross ewes had lost their lambs which is always a shame as they are so rare. It would appear that an amorous arapawa ram had taken the opportunity to restock the flock.

ASHLEY

We received a late Christmas gift on 29th December with the birth of Ashley, a stunning alpaca cria whose arrival was slightly delayed while Elaine untangled his long front legs from behind his head.

His father is River (featured in the last newsletter in the reflective pic) and his mother is Jolene from whom he gets his unusual light honey colouring from. As a River baby he is named after the Ashley river which now gives us three River babies including Selwyn and Rakaia.

Ashley certainly has stud potential with his superb conformation and lovely long fibre. He is a very independent young fellow who has no fear of leaving his mothers side to go visiting cousins in other parts of the paddock.

INTERGALACTIC VISITOR

An everyday chore involves filling large buckets of water before doing the rounds of Poultry Lane. As you can imagine, over the years many hours have been spent surveying the surrounding area as you wait for the buckets of water to fill and you get to know the spot very well. So it was with some surprise a couple of weeks ago while waiting for the buckets to fill I noticed a rock laying at my feet. It was much heavier than it looked, was blackish grey and pitted with what looked like a variety of different sized wood borer type holes. It was also very smooth in places.

By the time I finished inspecting it the buckets were full so I tossed it back on the ground and got back to work forgetting about it.

Remembering it later that evening I retrieved it and managed to find several lookalikes on goggle images that identified it as a space rock. So far my hand hasn’t started glowing luminously in the dark so I think it is safe and we can now boast that we can offer experiences that are out of this world!!

GOAT GRIEF

This time of year our productive tunnel house full of tomatoes, lettuces, cucumbers, courgettes, chilies etc and our annual plum harvest are usually featured in the newsletter however this is not the case this year.

It was with mounting alarm that my pace quickened towards the tunnel house when I noticed the door was open to the world. The alarm fast turned to grief when I saw the total devastation inside and then anger when I found a bulging bellied unihorn angora buck peacefully sleeping amidst the green debris.

My anger was short lived, exiting my body through my gumboot as it nudged Pinot awake seconds before he shot back out the door, allowing my grief to return.

It was not long after this that we solved the mystery of the disappearing plums. We had been noticing large collections of clean dry plum stones throughout the paddock that is home to our juiciest and most productive wild plum trees.

These many collections of juicy plum residue had been recycled though Tracey Goat who shares the paddock with the plum trees. I eventually caught her in the act, jumping up and shaking the branches allowing the plump ripe plums to fall to the ground for easy consumption by the vacuum mouthed Tracey. Only those high up in the trees survived and the birds traditionally take care of those.

Recently we have heard that goats as well as making tasty curries also make particularly nice sausages, and ......................oh yes, Elaine has just reminded me that we are animal lovers!

JASPAR

Christmas saw the arrival of Jaspar an Indian Rose Necked parrot. He is only a few months into his 30 year lifespan but is settling in nicely. It may take a long time and some parrots never talk at all but hopefully over the years we will be able to teach him some of his potential 250 word vocabulary.

Our favourite bonding experience is shower time. On very hot days we send a fine spray of cooling water just above Jaspars head and he begins his little dance, lifting his wings and thrusting his breast out and so on. I hope to have a video of this joyful fun for your entertainment on the website soon.

TIP OF THE SEASON

First of all, do not keep goats anywhere near a tunnel house that is not secured like Fort Knox. Okay, I think Im over the goat thing now.

If you find yourself faced with a long boring job like clearing the paddocks of alpaca poo or cleaning out rabbit and guinea pig hutches or anything that doesn’t require maximum attention span, an MP3 player and some headphones will help the time pass much more congenially.

Also, in spring it pays to check any outdoor pots for nests. We were preparing the barbeque area to entertain some guests when we discovered these three hungry little fellows.

We are pleased to report that they survived and eventually with a lift up/out from us joined their mother in the trees.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2012

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

It is so nice to be back into the better weather, though all the rain we have had has kept us nice and green. At one stage we had a fast flowing river running through the house paddocks as you can see from a reflective River the stud alpaca musing over his lake.

Spring sprung with all its glory and the gardens are a delight and you do not go too far without seeing little free range chickies following their mothers along the walkways.

The Hobbit movie is being released this week and we will be keeping an eagle out to see if we can recognize any of our Gotland Pelt sheep fleeces and Royal Palm turkey and Sebastopol geese feathers that were used in the movie as mentioned in an earlier newsletter.

KUNE KAPERS

The birth of our Kunekune piglets is always a highlight of the year. We feel like young children at Christmas with lots of new toys to play with, but the novelty of these playthings do not wear off.

Each of the eight piglets has its own personality as well as colourful markings. It is easy to while away a lot of time just hanging out with them. It is during these quiet times that you notice how different they all are and how wonderful each one is in its own porcine way.

Coming up to eight weeks now Rosie is starting to look pretty weary and very soon they will all be on their way to their new homes around the country and our Kune fun will be all over for the season. We will certainly miss Arlene, Charlene, Darlene, Karlene and Marlene, Jed, Ted and Fred the runt. Though, according to Elaine, if Marlene doesnt stop being so friendly and adorable she might just have to stay!!

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

We were somewhat humbled earlier this month to be recognised by Envirotown with a Gold Award for our environmentally sustainable business practices. Warwickz Farm being a rare breeds farm gives us an environmentally friendly profile however it was a number of other factors than earned us the award.

Living off the property has taught us over the years to maximise our resources in order to minimise our costs. Recycling in a number of areas, working with nature (using pine needles for animal enclosure bedding etc), energy efficiencies and so on are just part of what we naturally do on the farm. It came as a complete surprise to be invited to a function and be presented the Award by the Mayor of Selwyn for what seems like doing nothing out of the ordinary.

We proudly accepted the Award though and now feel honour bound to have an extra focus on environmental sustainability and the promotion of this important concept.

ALPACA STARS

Recognition also came our way in the Show Ring with Lucas and Brandi, both coming away with ribbons at the Rangiora and Ashburton A&P (Agricultural and Pastoral) Shows. Lucas won a first and a third ribbon and Brandi won two 2nd ribbons to our delight, in their classes. We are pleased to report that in the decade or so that we have been attending Shows we have yet to attend a show and not come home with at least one ribbon. Anyway, enough of this boasting before you change channels.

The elegant Brandi was one of the hardest alpacas to halter train that we have had. She is a sweetie though and was happy to come up to the fence line for a smooch when not in training.

Anyway, we were a little nervous come Show day, however Brandi made us extra proud by being the best behaved alpaca in the ring at both Shows, and yes Lucas, you were a very good boy too.

ROYAL PALM TURKEY POULTS

Last year, perhaps as a result of the earthquakes our very rare Royal Palm turkeys failed to hatch any eggs. This year we have been more successful, though with a little human input added to the process.

One of the hens hid herself and her nest in the old hay shed and successfully hatched 10 of her twelve eggs and proudly marched them out into the sunshine. They looked so happy grazing in the green grass of the nursery paddock that we left them to free range herding them to a secure pen at night.

Unfortunately over two days she lost five poults so we decided to put her and her clutch into a warm safe enclosure full time. She currently has four left and they have been with her for three weeks now so fingers crossed.

Another younger hen had been sitting on by the side of the driveway for 3 weeks when she decided to abandon her busy locale and her eggs, alas ten days before hatching time. In an attempt to maximise our harvest of Royal Palm poults we collected seven of her eggs and put them in the incubator, leaving one behind in case Mum decided to return. Mum did duly return, however she regularly went awol leaving her cold egg unattended sometimes for days.

The good news is that we successfully incubated all seven poults and the better news is that we scooped mum up off her lone egg, put her into an enclosure and introduced her seven little fluff balls back to her and she has been looking after them in a very maternal way ever since.

Royal palm turkeys are native to the USA where the American Livestcok Breed Conservancy categorizes the breed as critical on its watch list of endangered fowl, the highest priority of conservation.

There are fewer than 100 breeding pairs left in the States according to our latest information. If anyone is interested in helping to preserve this beautiful breed watch our For Sale page next year when these young guys become available.

TIP OF THE SEASON

For all of you chicken breeders who have ever had problems with hens or roosters who eat eggs, Elaine has come up with a brilliant solution to the problem and that is golf balls.

After a very frustrating few weeks finding pecked rare breed eggs and even the occasional culprit in mid egg consumption Elaine purchased a bag of old golf balls and put a handful of them in the suspect coops.

The theory is that your average chook is not too bright, sees a round white thing and presumes it is an egg and then spends a period blunting its beak. Eventually it gives up the concept of eating eggs as a painful waste of time.

This is no loner a theory, it really works. The only drawback is that we have an aracauna hen currently sitting on more golf balls than eggs!

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2012

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

It has been so good to have decent heating over the winter months now the earthquake repairs have been completed. It is very therapeutic to sit in front of a roaring fire and gaze into the flames after a day out in the elements. We have experienced a wild windy and very wet winter.

Along with the winds that have brought down many large tree limbs (now nicely processed through the log burner) and the rising waters (more of that later) we have had a couple of serious snowfalls which though picturesque to visitors put a bit of strain on farm resources including human ones.

Earlier in the season we also had some seriously cold mornings with frost that lasted well into the day and as you can see from the photo, cold enough to freeze a slow moving droplet of water from a tap.

LAMBS

We have had a good harvest of lambs over the period including some of the very pretty arapawa/merino black and white spotted (panda) ones. The arapawa bloodlines really come into play in the harsher conditions as these sheep are very hardy and the lambs quite independent outside feeding time compared to most lambs.

We do though have an orphan that we are handfeeding. Pixie is a tiny little thing who does not appear to be growing at any great rate and could mature into a miniature sheep. She is a real character, highly independent, yet very friendly. She even self caters as you can see from the photo.

Her white helmet is quite striking and she has some long fluffy wool under her throat like a scarf and will undoubtedly be a hit with the upcoming season’s visitors. After feeding, her second favourite thing is riding in the wheelbarrow surveying her world as she sits majestically enjoying the ride.

Elaine is quite excited about some of the potentially wonderful fleeces on the Gotland Pelt and Gotland cross lambs in particular that she will enjoy blending with alpaca fibre to morph into sensational creations to display in the Barn.

CHOOKS

It appears that our chooks are still a little out of sorts after the earthquakes with regard to their laying habits.

As winter approached several of our free rangers decided to get clucky. It was not long before we had twenty odd chicks needing capturing and putting into safe accommodations with their mothers.

If anyone is looking for some lovely young chooks please let us know as I am sure we can help you.

While room servicing one of the aracauna chicken coops we came upon a most interesting egg. It is quite common for a pullet (a young hen) when laying her very first few eggs to produce some interesting ones. They can be quite tiny or maybe round instead of egg shaped and even sometimes with soft shells.

However we have never come across one as featured in the photo with a knob on the end. But then again, I suppose we are a rare breed’s farm.

RAIN

As mentioned, we have had more than our fair share of precipitation this winter.

While the ducks and geese are loving it we have been a little concerned over the last weeks as the dry creek bed that runs through the farm has filled with water so much so that one night we were concerned that it was going to burst its banks behind the rabbitry. The ground floor rabbits were moved up a floor out of danger and fortunately the forecasted heavy rainfall that night was less than predicted so all was well.

With the ground so sodden and the water table so high and several school visits lined up we are looking forward to spring and some drier weather.

MATERNITY WING

As spring approaches we are looking forward to many new arrivals in the next couple of months from the tiny bumble bee sized quail that are about a week away (see the pic of mum on her nest) to the delightful litter of kunekune piglets.

We hope to have lots of bunnies and guinea pigs making appearances and the gander goose and tom turkey are strutting their stuff.

One of the highlights though will be the arrival of the alpaca cria, some of which we are expecting to be particularly striking, watch this space.

TIP OF THE SEASON

As mentioned in an earlier newsletter we use pine needles as part of the bedding for the rabbits and guinea pigs and chooks.

Recently, after pruning the macrocarpa hedge that runs along Poultry Lane we watched the free rangers enjoying pecking their way amongst it and we decided to recycle the macrocarpa which we stripped off the branches and placed in the chicken coops to add to the bedding. Not only do the chooks love it but it smells divine.

We are enjoying the harvest of walnuts from last season but walnuts can be hard to get into if you haven’t got a nut cracker to hand. A simple way to resolve this problem is to place three walnuts in your hand and squeeze tightly. I can assure you that one of them will crack a long time before your hand does.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2012

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

As we head into late autumn and the 10th millionth leaf has been raked up we have been enjoying great weather, though cold temperatures (minus 4 the other night!!) In fact the reason this newsletter is a little late in the month is because I have been waiting for a rainy day to write it. (well that’s my exuse anyway)

We have been living in the Red Barn for the last couple of weeks or so while the cottage has been finally undergoing its repairs after the earthquake and the interior is now nicely painted. Unfortunately however we will have to endure another few cold nights due to a little hiccup with the log burners’ flue not fitting through the roof correctly.

HARRY THE GOTLAND

We decided that if we could find the right animal, it would be good to have a Gotland Pelt ram back on the farm to look after the girls and produce us some more luxuriant wool that blends perfectly with alpaca fibre.

When we say right animal we mean one that is user friendly but most importantly is not a fence jumper as Gotland rams tend to be. We found a prime candidate in Harry who did fit all the criteria and was guaranteed not to be a woolly jumper and hence he came home with us.

As some of you know we have a large sheep farm adjacent to us and it wasn’t long before Harry started pacing up and down the fence line flirting with the hundred or so white ewes that the Mr J the sheep farmer had decided to not to put in lamb this season.

It was nice knowing that we didn’t have to worry about any romantic adventures as Harry was not a jumper so you can imagine our surprise when he turned out to be a tunneller!!

To cut a very long and embarrassing story short we eventually tracked down Mr J and using his dog and his ute rounded up the snowy white flock including the grey guy, ran them to his yards where we separated Harry and returned him home. Mr J was very good about it but we may be purchasing some Gotland cross lambs at the end of the season.

If anyone is interested, we have a very nice guaranteed non jumper Gotland ram for sale currently enjoying a room serviced lifestyle attached by a long lead to a willow tree.

PINOT THE UNIHORN

Pinot, the angora billy goat, the one with the texas long horn type handlebar horns is not quite the guy he used to be, he is now a uni-horner.

We are not sure how he lost it but he is now even more a rare breed. It also means he won’t get himself caught so much on fences when he goes for the supposedly greener grass across the wire.

He has discovered a major advantage to his new look, he can now get into the goat shelters whose entrances were too small to accommodate his horns. In fact over these colder weeks he has thoroughly enjoyed the shelters and some days he will go in and out of them dozens of times, probably making up for lost time.

GUINEA FOWL KEATS

In the last newsletter we mentioned how hard it was to hatch and raise guinea fowl keats. Well it was only a few days afterwards that the guinea fowl in the photo actually lasted the distance and hatched a dozen.

Unfortunately it was early evening and the keats were heading off in all directions and the hen decided to stretch her legs and go for a wander as well.

After a period spent unsuccessfully trying to coax them all back together to settle down for the evening we decided that the only way for them to survive the night which was fast approaching was to collect them all up and add them to Sassy’s (the foster chinese silkie mother) original four.

Poor Sassy, she was coping very nicely with her four junior guinea fowl but now she had 16 to look after and look after them she did. As the original ones got older and larger some of them were able to join their actual mother and her flock and some have been sold. Out of the 16 we only lost a couple and as you can see from the photo, while, now quite large they are still very attached to Sassy.

Sassy has taken up residence in a less crowded place until the keats are old enough to free range 24/7 and leave home. Currently they come back in the evenings for a feed and get looked up safe and secure for the night.

TIP OF THE SEASON

The first tip is to keep an eye on the website because as soon as we can find a suitably rainy day we will add some of Elaines fibre and wool blends and yarns for sale.

The second tip if you enjoy the company of birds who like us tend to keep a low profile this time of year, you can encourage them to come and visit with this simple recipe

Simply combine melted kitchen fat, bread crumbs and sunflower seeds in a paper cup. When the mixture hardens peel away the cup and hang the contents from your favourite tree in mesh bag and enjoy a peaceful interlude with our feathered friends.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling.

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team.

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2012

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

This week commemorates the first anniversary of the devastating Christchurch earthquake and will be a time of reflection and sadness. Images of the catastrophe will be presented across the media and refresh our memories of the tragedy. People who own or work with animals will also recall the impact of the earthquake on their animals.

It is always easy to blame a significant event on many things that it may not have affected but as we recall life on Warwickz farm over the last 18 months we are left wondering about the many odd and unusual things that have occurred or not as the case may be over this period.

While the death of our creatures is just part of the natural cycle when you work with so many animals and such a variety of them it has been upsetting to lose a few whose biological time clock was still ticking and they passed away in what appeared to be a state of robust health. These were some of our smaller creatures and feathered friends, I am referring to.

This year the keruru (native wood pigeon) that comes to stay for three or four weeks each year and resides in the kowhai tree failed to arrive as did the swallows on their annual pilgrimage.

Our larger creatures apart from the sheep have had an exceptionally hard period breeding and/or retaining their pregnancies. The rare breed poultry apart from the geese and the free range chickens have also been off the lay or have been abandoning their eggs before due date.

In discussions with other rare breeders this appears to have been a common occurrence across Canterbury and the only difference this year to any great extent has been the 10,000 or so earthquakes/aftershocks that it appears have not only been affecting us humans.

BRANDI

We were therefore delighted in early January by the arrival of the very elegant young Brandi, daughter of Holly one of our black girls.

This very fine and silky alpaca has quite unusual colouring and appears to be a roan grey when you part the fibre and look at the skin.

Unfortunately she has no playmates but is proving to be quite an independent young lady and has made a lot of friends with visitors to the farm.

HARVEST TIME

After a particularly wet winter season we have been enjoying a harvest of the sweetest, juiciest and plumpest wild plums we have ever had. They haven’t lasted as long as most years but I put that down to the windfall factor and the competition from birds.

As you can see from the picture Elaine has been busy in the kitchen making good use of them in the form of chutneys, barbeque sauce and so on.

Another couple of weeks and she will be busy again with what looks to be a bumper crop of blackberries on the way, to be turned into jams and pies. The tunnel house is also providing us with a healthy supply of tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes.

GUINEA FOWL

Breeding guinea fowl even in ideal conditions is not an easy task. These African creatures were introduced into New Zealand over a hundred years ago and were originally domesticated by the Greeks and Romans so you would think they would have sorted out any breeding problems by now!

Ours tend to lay their eggs communally in a sheltered spot, usually in the gardens and sit on them until they are close to hatching and then get up and walk off much to our dismay. (The one in the photo is currently still sitting so fingers crossed.)

The good news is that we collected some eggs and when Sassy the silkie got broody we put them under her and to our delight she hatched four, three lavender and one pearl. It always fascinates me how when guinea fowl fully mature their cute little heads turn into the ugly helmet heads of the adults.

RABBITS

If any one is looking to purchase a couple of snuggle bunnies we have two still available from Dee’s last litter.

These adorable creatures are mini lops with the floppy down ears. They make ideal pets as they are low maintenance only requiring fresh water, daily feeding, exercise and love.

Buying your pet from a breeder ensures you are getting a pet that has been well handled. There is nothing worse than the all too often situation when a pet goes to its new home and the child goes to pick up for instance a rabbit who is not used to being handled and pushes away, accidently scratching the child who then drops the rabbit. Both of them are hurt and upset and the relationship is never what it could have been.

Our very rare Enderby Island rabbit Marcus did us proud at a recent rabbit show by winning best of breed and scoring some Challenge points which contribute to his gaining Champion status.

Apart from the fun of showing him it is also important to expose this very rare and interesting breed which I think can now be regarded as part of New Zealand’s animal heritage. To discover more about this breed go to www.warwickzfarm.com/rabbits.htm

The rabbit show was run in conjunction with a cavy (guinea pig) show and we also took some of ours along and came away with some quite satisfying results.

The fun of the competition is good but the main reason we attend is to catch up with fellow breeders and enjoy sharing the animals in a social setting.

TIP OF THE SEASON

You increasingly hear the phrase these days ‘working with nature’ and how that is what we should be doing which is very true. But while I was out working a while back I realised that often nature works with us and we do not even notice it.

It was just after I had been stung by some stinging nettle (well not actually stung, it is an injection of a chemical that causes the pain) that I remembered that the antidote for the sting/chemical is found in dock leaves.

I reached across about a foot from where I was standing and grabbed a large dock leaf and rubbed it vigorously along my leg where the pain was and within a minute the pain had subsided.

If you come across some dock or some stinging nettles have a look around the surrounding area and there is a good chance you will find the other nearby, an example of nature working with us.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2011

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

With the end of the year fast approaching, the weather warm and relatively settled making farm work less onerous it is good to settle back and reflect on the year thats been.

This week saw the anniversary of the tragic Pike River Mine disaster which has tended to have been overshadowed by the September and February earthquakes which further devastated Kiwi minds bodies and property.

The last twelve months will live long in our memories. From cruel devastation and heartbreaking loss to heartwarming memories of human bravery and compassion, of snow storms and weather bombs to rugby World Cup victory. A year to remember and a year that has in a subtle way changed our world and the way we relate to it and to each other, a year that has confirmed and contributed to the uniqueness of what it is to be a Kiwi.

Anyway, enough of this farm filosophy.

LIL UNS

The last few weeks has seen the arrival of more new births at Warwickz Farm, most recently with cavies (guinea pigs) and lagomorphs (rabbits). Hugo and Kathy, the Flemish Giants have enjoyed a lovely romantic interlude resulting in 3 not so little healthy rascals and Danny and Dee, the Minilops currently have four blind bundles of fur snuggling together in their nest.

Our new Flemish black stud, Onyx should produce us some nice contrasting colours when Sandy has her kits any day now.

The first of this seasons cavies arrived last week. Compared with rabbits guinea pigs take twice as long for their gestation (63 days) but when they are born they are fully furred, fully sighted and racing around like mad things. It is always a delight to meet these highly animated little characters for the first time.

Last but not least are Holmes and Watson, these kittens will not only be pets but also a highly effective addition in the war against pests and vermin that occasionally visit Poultry Lane. These lean mean ratting machines will be taught to solve rodent and stoat mysteries and bring rodent wrongdoers to justice. Wont you boys...............??!!!

RICKY

There are two types of alpaca, the huacaya that everyone recognises and the suri which is quite rare in comparison and has a totally different style of fleece that resembles fine dreadlocks. A few months ago we thought it would be a good idea to enhance our herd with the addition of Ricky, a suri to better showcase the breed. Ricky was bred by our friends at Brenel Alpacas and is proving quite a hit with our visitors.

Suris can go two years between shearing due to the nature of their fibre and as you can see in the pic, compared to our recently shorn crew he really stands out, and by this time next year he will be Ricky, the Prince of Stringbags.

ELLESMERE SHOW

The Ellesemere Agricultural and Pastoral Show was held in Leeston in October and leant an air of normality to our unusual year, as the rural community came to town to celebrate life on the farm.

We only entered two alpacas, Shyloh our fawn stud male and Earl our grey young boy and a handful of chooks and were delighted to come away with a first ribbon for Shyloh, a second ribbon for Earl as well as a second ribbon for a very proud looking orpington hen.

GOLD SEBRIGHT CHICKY

Talking of chickens, we are pleased to announce the arrival of our very first successful gold sebright hatchling. Sebrights are a rare breed bantam breed with very fine black lacework and are notoriously hard to breed. We have had some success over the years incubating silver ones (hens will lay but not sit) but this is our first gold one.

Note the fine lacework (in the pic) coming out even at this early age. Sebrights are beautiful to look at but have minimal nurturing instincts, which have obviously contributed to their rare breeds status.

SCHOOL VISIT

We have had many successful school and preschool visits over the years which have all entailed tight coordination and organization (you know the saying about working with animals and children), however a recent visit by a mixed age group of children proved a great experience for us as well as the visitors and deserves remarking on.

The group consisted of 30 which we broke up into 3 groups of which one would take the animal tour, another create origami baskets and the third would decorate the freshly baked animal biscuits before joining up for lunch.

The older children worked to ensure the younger ones enjoyed themselves and the overall atmosphere of cooperation, caring, creativity, imagination and good old fashioned fun was truly a joy as we announced to the beaming young faces as we farewelled them.

TIP OF THE SEASON

For those gardeners out there we have picked up a tip that not only will enhance the quality of your garden but also save you a few dollars in the process.

The next time you plan to incorporate some cuttings into your garden, gather together some willow leaves, chop them up and soak them in water for a week. If you are lucky like us you will have willow trees on the property, if not you can usually find some willow trees following a watercourse somewhere not too remote in the countryside.

The water combines with the leaves to create a hormone that is ideal to kick-start the cutting in its new location. A natural and effective way to enhance your garden by working with nature.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2011

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

We have enjoyed a very mild winter apart from a couple of sunny snowy days a few weeks ago, that was until this week. It appears that the Celestial Winter Managers have just noticed that winter is nearly over and they still have a lot of seasonal misery in stock. They now need to urgently use it up if they are to justify the same budget for next year.

WARWICKZ FARM WHITE-OUT

Suffice to say, we are in the grip, along with the rest of the country, of extreme polar conditions. Records are being broken by the day as temperatures plummet and snow drifts build on the already many inches of snow that cover the ground. The frequent storms of snow, sleet and hail are accompanied by at times gale force gusts of chilling wind coming directly from Antarctica.

The majority of sensible people are huddling around their fireplaces and heaters, however animals are not so lucky and neither are the people who care for them. Fortunately we had a couple of days notice and were able to make sure there was plenty of hay on hand and the little creatures had plenty of warm straw in their beds. We also rearranged some of the paddocks to ensure all the animals had somewhere to shelter from the worst of the conditions.

During one snowstorm we had to meet some lovely guests from Hong Kong from their coach at the side of the highway and as access to the Barn by vehicle was impossible we had to escort these luggage-laden visitors from much warmer climes, on foot across our snow buried farm. An experience we are sure they will recall for many years to come.

HOME SPUN CREATIONS

During an early winter visit by a junior boy scout troop(Keas) and assorted parents there was a lot of interest in the items on display in the Barn. Of especial interest were the homespun woollen garments that Elaine has been having fun with needle felting designs on to.

One of the mothers was so taken with them that she commissioned Elaine to create some one-off originals with hat accessories for her children as pictured. The wool is hand spun from wool from our flock of black and coloured sheep and features romney/merino fleece. The youngsters should be nice and warm now until the sun starts shining again.

PANDA LAMBS

Warwickz Farm is proud to announce a bumper crop of ‘Panda Lambs’ this year. Pandas are the name we have given to the delightful Jacob-patterned sheep that we have been breeding for a number of years now.

They are a cross of the merino with the New Zealand feral sheep the Arapawa (which originated from the merino) and regularly produce either black lambs with white markings or white lambs with black markings, some very striking, particularly the eye markings. Such breeding also produces a very hardy sheep which is advantageous especially in the current harsh conditions.

Lambing has gone exceptionally well this year with nineteen on the ground and still counting.

WHATS NEW

After a busy period of selling many of our surplus free ranging Old English Game hens (and yes we should have more to go later in the year) we have just opened the honeymoon suites for the Flemish Giant and Minilop rabbits. While we generally have some for sale to be ready for Christmas the pressure is on as we have been receiving orders even before the courting arrangements have commenced.

So if you are considering a fluffy bundle of fun it would pay to put your name on the list in plenty of time.

For those of you who haven’t visited the website (www.warwickzfarm.com) for a while, we have recently added a variety of videos to the site which will be updated from time to time. For example, a visit to www.warwickzfarm.com/baa.htm will allow you to view the newly born panda lambs in the nursery paddock.

SIGNAGE

One thing that has frustrated us over a number of years is the fact that we are not permitted to have a Warwickz Farm sign on the highway, something that would make finding us so much easier.

We are pleased to announce that this situation has now been rectified using a little imagination, some conveniently located trees and some windfall branches. As you can see, by strategically locating hand built signs made out of recycled materials including some creatively rearranged branches we now have effective signage from both directions.

TIP OF THE SEASON

A tip from a previous newsletter related to being prepared for emergencies and it was something that we had in hand for this snowy period especially in view of the power outages. Following on to being prepared is a very simple thing you can do if the power is off for a long time, it is snowing and you are concerned about the contents of your freezer thawing out.

Simply scoop up a quantity of snow and stuff it into your freezer and your worries are over. It is such a simple and easy thing to do and so obvious most of us would not think of such a “cool” idea.

A last thought. If you collect the lint that collects in your laundry dryer filter you can use it as a very effective fire starter if your kindling is damp.

Until next time stay safe (and warm) and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2011

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

Thanks once again to the many friends of Warwickz Farm who checked on our welfare after the Christchurch earthquake that occurred a week or so after the last newsletter went out. The fault line was different to the September one and while we felt a violent tremor we were far enough away not to sustain any physical damage.

It was as you can imagine a very traumatic and emotional time and we were deeply touched to know we had so many wonderful people thinking about us.

The chimney that came down in the September Quake has been put to good use and is now an attractive part of the Enderby Island Rabbit enclosure.

With late autumn upon us the Farm is a kaleidoscope of colours, reds, golds, yellows, browns and russets predominate and the crunching of leaves underfoot will continue for many weeks before they find their final resting place on the compost heap.

PET FUN DAY

The Saturday before the Earthquake Warwickz Farm was invited to set up a display outside Animates, a Christchurch pet superstore we supply some of our animals to.

We loaded Tracey goat, a kunekune piglet and a variety of chooks, guinea pigs and rabbits and headed for the city. The day was a great success and a lot of fun especially sharing the animals with the city kids.

Tracey spent a lot of the day reclining with Chris in a chair and was a hit with the large crowd gathered around our display adjacent to the busy shopping complex carpark.

Such a hit was she especially the fact that she was relaxing in a very human like way on the chair that Chris decided to grab piggy and let the crowd get nice and close to him too.

The theory was good but the practice not so good as Chris caught his foot on the top of the picket fence, piggy tightly wrapped in his arms. Faced with a split second decision to either release the kunekune to his fate in the busy carpark or hold him safely and securely and experience certain pain, like a true animal lover Chris became the fall guy.

Chris’s limp has now all but gone after a long 10 weeks however he has retained the use of his new farm vehicle, a trusty bicycle enhanced with guinea fowl and turkey feathers from which he flies around the farm.

CYBIL

A frequent passenger on the bike is Cybil a white Chinese silkie teenage chicken who is much like Sassy our buff silkie believing she is more human than poultry.

As you can see, Cybil is very happy to roost on Chriss shoulder and help him as he does the rounds in the evening feeding and tucking in the wee creatures around the house.

Cybil is also becoming a star of our tours and ends her contribution to the fun by hopping off Chriss shoulder and stepping into her apartment.

Cybil has also been helping Chris put together videos that are now playing on several of the website pages. They have given the site an added dimension bringing the animals to life, we hope you enjoy them.

COUTURE CRAFT CREATIONS

With these colder days Elaine has been keeping nice and warm turning our wool and fibre into wonderful creations for sale in the Barn.

The stunning blue vest and scarf pictured were a commission from one of our overseas guests. Well, the vest was, the scarf became a gift as she has become a lovely friend of ours since. They are made from felted wool with a variety of other types of fibre, including mohair, embellishing them. Knitting needles have been clicking and clacking in front of the fireplace during these colder nights as Elaine works on her 2011/12 collection.

A number of these woolen wonders will be featured on our For Sale page on the site for those who are unable to visit the Barn.

GRINNY PIGS

Due to the recent seismological disturbances in the force mentioned earlier and the closure of some pet shops in the interim we have found ourselves with a surplus of guinea pigs.

We have now turned off production of the wee creatures but have 5 cute young boys that require homes. They are available free to the right home(s) if anyone is interested. These rex boys would make ideal first pets and come with a starter kit for new owners.

TIP OF THE SEASON

In preparation for a Dyeing Day with the Dunsandel Spinners Group Elaine thought it could be interesting to experiment with some natural dyes worked into various fibres.

Using onions, blackberries, walnut shells and turmeric she extracted the natural colours ie. Boiling the onion skins, mashing the blackberries etc and the results were very pleasing. Each item had a unique natural colour and some of them like the mohair dyed with blackberry gave a stunning shimmering purple effect.

A combination of imagination and ordinary things at hand can sometimes provide extraordinary results.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2011

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

It has been an interesting few months since the last newsletter. We have experienced some mixed weather conditions, from 40+ degrees Celsius heat last weekend to torrential rains and violent winds all happening against a background of the approximately 4000 aftershocks since the September earthquake. Although we cannot complain as due to all that heat and rain we have had a bumper crop of fruit and vegetables.

We have hosted some wonderful guests in the Barn and entertained many visitors with tours of the farm, have had much delight with our Kunekune piglets and Fernando our newly arrived miniature horse.

Warwickz Farm has also hosted an episode of Animal Academy a popular animal programme on television and have recently become a supplier to The Hobbit movie that is about to begin filming in New Zealand.

Now I think about it perhaps exciting is a better word to describe the period than interesting.

KUNEKUNE PIGLETS

As the last newsletter went to print our 5 adorable Kunekune piglets were born. Poor Rosie was very relieved, she was so big and hot, we had to give her regular showers the weeks before farrowing to keep her cool. It looked as if she had a set of bagpipes dragging on the ground under her.

She gave birth to 2 males, one red and one red with black spots and 3 females, a cream, a red with black spots and one with brown spots like Rosie. We have two boys left and it will sad to see these mischievous escape artists go, although we wont miss the regular ransacking of the garage in their quest to find the apple buckets.

FERNANDO

Keybee our wonderful old horse passed away at the ripe old age of 30 late last year which left us all, especially Pedro the donkey very sad. While Keybee was a very large horse we have found a replacement buddy for Pedro who is a very small horse.

Fernando is a miniature horse who was looking for a good home and at only 2 years old he will be with us for a while. He is very friendly and has settled in very well and Pedro while still having a long face is very happy again.

Fernando has been trained to give rides and to pull a cart and we hope in the coming months to have a saddle and a 4 seater cart so we can offer pony rides and farm tours by cart.

ANIMAL ACADEMY

Animal Academy is a popular television programme that screens on TVNZ hosted by Sarah Ulmer the New Zealand cycling Olympic Gold Medalist and Jeremy McGuire the head ranger at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.

The producers approached Warwickz Farm as an ideal location to host episode 4 of the series starting in March.

Between each of the six segments one of our animals or breeds is featured including Tracey the goatling, Bartie the rooster and of course the piglets.

Filming took close to 5 hours and of course when dealing with animals and amateur humans not everything went smoothly. However the film crew and presenters were a delight to work with and we certainly had a lot of fun.

New Zealand viewers can watch it on TVNZ Heartland on Sunday 27th March at 7.05pm repeated on Mon 28th at 4.05pm, Friday 1st April at 6.06 and Sat 2nd April at 12.05pm. Overseas viewers can see it online at http://tvnz.co.nz/animal-academy after the 28th.

THE HOBBIT

While we were enjoying the bragging rights of being on TV we received a phone call from the makers of The Hobbit.

They were looking for some exotic feathers to use as …..well, I had better not say as it may be classified!

Further discussion about the movie led to us supplying 4 Gotland Pelt fleeces similar to the one many visitors would have seen in the Barn. I wonder if we will get a mention in the credits.

SEBASTOPOL GEESE

At last, after several years we finally have some Sebastopol goslings which as you can see have matured quickly into a fine looking family of 3 girls and 2 boys.

It was not long before the 3 girls and 2 boys identified themselves with their colouring, white for the males and grey/brown for the females.

The proud parents are very protective and have been even more fiesty than usual as I found out one evening as I fed the ducks. Walking past the duckhouse I threw out some feed for the geese not realising how close I was to their family meeting behind the duckhouse. I soon found out as old Seb attached himself to the bucket I quickly placed before me, with his beak.

HARVEST

As mentioned in the intro, due to the tropical nature of our weather these past months, ie wet and warm and the power of alpaca droppings and our magnificent compost pile we have enjoyed a great season for growing produce.

To give you an idea, check out the picture on the left of a pumpkin in our pumpkin patch that has gone aerial. The vine has wrapped itself around a tree and climbed ever upwards with several pumpkins now defying gravity.

Our fat juicy tomatoes are ripening nicely and this is our best ever season for wild plums. We have a dozen or soon wild plum trees growing along the back of the farm with 3 or 4 different varieties of fruit. Some of these trees are very old and they have all been heavy with fruit. Not many of our recent visitors have left without taking home some plums with them.

The wild blackberries are also very abundant though less fun to pick, I average 6 scratched arms a small bucketload.

There have been some seriously delicious aromas coming from the kitchen as Elaine has been turning our harvest into plum and blackberry jams, sauces and crumbles. The dehydrater has also been busy creating sundried tomatoes and dried apple.

TIP OF THE SEASON

While we are a rare breeds farm we are also very concerned about the conservation of rare seeds and the importance of conserving the fabulous fruit and vegetable of old that are full of flavor and goodness. With modern farming methods it is not only heritage animals that are in danger but also heritage seeds.

We belong to a heritage seed exchange and would urge everyone to consider the importance of supporting these endangered plants.

Not only will you eat healthier and tastier but you will also enjoy the visual delights you can grow like the ribbed pumpkins that slice up into cog shapes as pictured left.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Please feel free to respond to this newsletter if you would like further information on anything or just to say hi.

CANTERBURY EARTHQUAKE

As most of you will be aware we had a very shaky start to the beginning of Spring, I am of course referring to the early morning wake up we had at 4.35am on the 4th September as we were rocked by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake.

As the crow flies we are approximately 9kms away from the epicentre and were extremely lucky to only sustain minor damage (see www.warwickzfarm.com/events.htm for further details).

The violent shaking and primal roar lasted for close to a minute which in the darkness seems like much longer. There followed an anxious torchlight check on the family’s welfare and the safety of the house and a tentative check outdoors on the animals. Fortunately no guests were with us that night as it is not the kind of experience we like people to go away with.

So far we have had 3000 aftershocks and still counting.

As far as the animals are concerned I am pleased to report that apart from Shyloh jumping into the next paddock and assorted poultry tending to be off the lay they are all fine.

BIRTH QUAKERS aka the Tremorloes

Not surprisingly, as the earthquake hit, the power went off and in our case stayed off for 36 hours. While the kids were distraught not having access to any plug in devices for the weekend it was Elaine who was most upset as her rare breed eggs in the incubator faced a terminal future.

Being the determined lady she is and refusing to accept anyone’s advice about the futility of a rescue mission she set about clucking over them. Fortunately it was a warm and sunny disastrous weekend and Elaine utilized the constructive hand of nature by placing the eggs on the verandah in the sunlight and as it cooled putting them back in the incubator covering them in alpaca fibre a plastic sheet over the top and then a blanket.

I am delighted to report that 5 days later thirteen of the 20 eggs hatched and became affectionately referred to as the Birthquakers or the Tremorloes.

TRACEY the KID

This is the first year in many that we have not had to adopt an orphan lamb with all the extra care, time, expense and yes delight that goes with it. Just as we thought we were all clear along came Tracey.

Tracey lost her mother when she was two days old and she is a saanen/angora cross which gives her, her floppy ears and ringlets.

Like Charlie when he was a lamb she is a real favourite with visitors with her cheeky grin and the way she follows people around like a lost puppy.

Coming up to six weeks now she is starting to get quite mischievous and will no doubt be getting into all sorts of trouble if we don’t keep our wits about us.

WARWICKZ FARM TRANSPORT

In order to be able to offer a little more comfort and diversity we have traded the family car in on a seven- seater van.

This now not only allows us to offer a better pick up and drop off facility it also allows us to take visitors on more comfortable tours around region.

With very comfortable seating, 5 sun roofs a good stereo and tinted windows we are sure our guests will enjoy it.

The BLACK SHEEP

You may recall in the last newsletter we mentioned the Ultimate Frisbee Team the Black Sheep. (You remember, the one with the famous playing strip)

We are pleased to announce that the Tournament played in Bathurst, NSW, Australia featured 26 teams comprising the cream of Australasian players including the Black Sheep who won the Bronze medal, coming third in the event. Congratulations guys and thanks for the shirt.

ALPACAS

As you can see from the picture we are coming into the warmer part of the year and the alpacas are looking substantially lighter after being shorn.

Our shearer Ron, is a man of many talents, a real man of the land; he is also a country and western singer of repute and we always enjoy a pleasant evening of song and stories after an afternoon of shearing. He has offered to provide some live music on an Open Day we hope to have early next year. Keep an eye on the site for further details.

We only took one of our alpacas to the Shows this year, Earl the grey male alpaca and yes we do enjoy the tea!!

We are delighted to announce that he won a ribbon for second place at both the Ellesemere and Ashburton A&P Shows

BABIES

One of the joys of this time of year is the abundance of new life appearing from turkeys and chooks to rabbits and guinea pigs and very soon ducklings, goslings guinea fowlings(?) and piglets.

Last newsletter had a picture of the just born Flemish Giants so we thought you might like to see what they grew into (at left). These adorable guys all found really good homes.

We also have another new born that is quite special; it is a chick of the very rare and hard to breed Silver Sebights (see www.warwickzfarm.com/poultry.htm for further details).

Silver Sebrights are white bantams with very fine and delicate black lacework on them.

TIP OF THE SEASON

As I write this, on the other side of the Southern Alps on the West Coast we are again in state of crisis with 29 miners trapped in a mine after an explosion. At this moment their current status is unknown and we pray and hope for a speedy rescue.

This coming so close to the Canterbury Earthquake has renewed memories of living through crises.

At Warwickz Farm we fortunately have basic contingency plans to cover crisis situations ie adequate reserves of water to last several days (no power means no water pumps operating); emergency food; emergency lighting; a first aid kid etc etc.

Our tip of the season is for you to consider how a crisis could impact on your situation and start preparing for it today because you just never know when something may happen.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

PS: News just in we have piglets

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2010

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

In fact anything warm is very welcome around these parts at the moment.

As you can see from the pictures we have experienced a wet cold and miserable winter season. Our new waterways may look picturesque and are indeed a Disneyland for Ducks however we will not miss them as winter releases her icy grip on Warwickz Farm.

A frequent comment we hear during our busy season from visitors is how lucky we are to live and work in such a lovely environment surrounded by all the animals. While this is a very true observation it is one that is occasionally recalled with a wry smile after a couple of hours of working out in the freezing torrential rain and sleet as we attend to our cold and hungry creatures. Still we wouldnt swap places for the world.

PANDA LAMBS

Winter is not all doom and gloom though and one of the highlights of this period is the arrival of our lambs especially the arapawa/merino crosses. These lambs tend to come out with black and white spots and are very similar to the Jacob sheep breed found in the UK.

We have seven or eight either white with black spots or black with white spots. Currently we have a total of 16 lambs and so far no orphans which means no pets however it also means no extra cost and time invested in feeding, so a mixed blessing.

FLEMISH TINYS

Probably the warmest wee creatures currently at Warwickz Farm are the 5 gorgeous Flemish Giant kits born this week. Their lovely mother plucked enough fur to line and insulate their nest for at least a dozen babes.

With a solid white mother mated to a solid black buck we were expecting a mix of blacks and whites however we are just as delighted with the fawns and probably blues that have arrived plump and healthy.

EGGSCELLENT POULTRY CHOICE

With a dozen or so different breeds of chicken there are not too many months of the year when eggs are not being produced on the farm. It is however a constant source of frustration to certain Warwickz Farmers (me) that as the eggs are rare breeds they are not destined to the kitchen and thus the eggs that arrive on my plate come from the supermarket or other farms.

This situation will soon fortunately be rectified as we have spent the winter growing on some fine feathered white shavers who should keep us supplied with free range golden yolkers for years to come.

These young chooks have also supplied a couple of laughs and insights which I will cover in the Tips of the Season section.

NATIONAL EXPOSURE

It has been an interesting couple of months aside from the animals with Warwickz Farm being featured on national radio and also featuring on the playing shirts of a New Zealand rep sports team.

We received a phone call one afternoon from Keith Stewart who hosts the Saturday evening slot on Radio Live, a show celebrating food and wine. He was doing some research on rare breed ducks for a feature on where our foods come from before the kitchen.

After discovering more about Warwickz Farm he invited us to be a guest on the show and for close to 30 minutes we happily shared many of our life on the farm stories with the rest of New Zealand.

Earlier this month we were approached by the Black Sheep Ultimate Frisbee Team who are shortly going to compete in a tournament in Australia. We are now proudly featured (well the Barn and Jack the ram are) on their new playing strip.

We will keep you informed on this new and exciting sport and let you know how “our” team, made up of the cream of Canterbury and Wellington players do in the tournament.

Oh, and while we are boasting, we were able to assist Te Papa (the National Museum) with a mystery surrounding the make up of part of an ancient Maori cloak by supplying some angora goat wool to confirm that that was mystery fibre weaved into it.

GUINEA PIGS & GUINEA FOWL

Some of you may remember Dixie our wonderful show quality abyssinian guinea pig with her 8 crowns. Well we are pleased to announce that she has reproduced herself times four.

We have never seen such a fat little piggy before and we were concerned she was about to burst when out popped these four bundles of fur all “whistling Dixie”.

Last newsletter we mentioned the guinea fowl and how interesting this exotic breed is. We recalled on the radio interview the day we discovered how intelligent they are.

After being followed on a regular basis by the guinea fowl as we were putting the ducks to bed they were becoming a bit of a nuisance, scrambling to compete with the ducks for their dinner.

It was with relief that one day they failed to show up and the duck procession proceeded happily to the Dux Deluxe only to find the guinea fowl had planned ahead and were waiting to greet us, in prime positions to begin their feasting on the ducks dinner.

The adjacent photo shows them stalking Xena the cat as she sprawls out enjoying some rare sunshine. They nonchalantly looked elsewhere and steered a new course as Xena rolled over and glared at them. These guys are real entertainers.

TIP OF THE SEASON

I have no real seasonal tip this newsletter apart from to stay dry and warm in winter as much as you can! However as mentioned, a couple of incidents concerning the young shavers have taught me some life lessons.

The first concerns the young rooster who unlike the other chooks who all jumped outside the coop as I opened the door to feed and water them and then hopped back inside again, this young fella took off like an exocet missile.

There was no stopping or even catching up with him and so I reluctantly had to leave him to the elements and for a couple of days he lived under one of the larger chook houses keeping a very low profile and well out of range.

That was until the freezing cold morning when I felt I was being stalked as I crunched my way along Poultry Lane. Opening the door to the shavers I noticed a white blur race towards me before ricocheting off my ankle and into the coop.

The young rooster who had proudly fled to freedom was wise enough and obviously cold and hungry enough to acknowledge his waywardness and come home to the warmth like the prodigal son.

The other incident concerned the polite little hen that jumped out but didn’t hop back in again, though did not run away just stood there at my feet looking up at me until I was done.

After several attempts to shoo her back inside she remained at my foot still happily gazing up at me in spite of my louder exhortations to move.

Finally in exasperation I put down my bucket and went to lift her up over the threshold when she gave a rather indignant squawk as I stretched her leg that was securely stuck under my size 11 gum boot.

Apologising profusely I gently picked her up and took her humbly to her breakfast thanking her for her lesson in patience that she had given me.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder but the memories linger on as we recall the many visitors who have shared time with us at Warwickz Farm this past season.

We waved farewell to the last of the coaches in late April at the end of our busiest season to date. With many Devonshire teas, luncheons (one lunch for 70 guests!) and car club picnics now behind us we are enjoying some down time and preparing for winter. An extra warm thank you goes out to all the organizers from the many groups that visited us providing so many people including us with such happy memories.

GUINEA FOWL

Just when we thought we had reached our ceiling for rare creatures along come the guinea fowl. Guinea fowl originate from the West Coast of Africa (formerly known as the Guinea Coast). Our ones are descended from those imported from India by the Canterbury Acclimatization in the 1860s.

Once old enough to be released from their coop they soon became an integral part of our free ranging fowl. Travelling as a unit they are respectful of the other breeds but also smart enough to come up if a potential feeding situation arises.

FINCHES

Another new but not so rare breed we have acquired since our last newsletter are finches. These four little guys are real time wasters, with their antics and cheeky faces they are real entertainers.

Finches are a breed that is highly evolved as they have had to adapt to their changing environments. An example of this is their large, solid and extremely powerful cone shaped beak that they use for splitting seeds. The hawfinch which weighs a mere 55 g (2oz) can split open olive stones which requires a pressure of up to 11kg/cm2 (159il/sq,in)

FURTHER FEATHERY FELICITATIONS

One of the drawbacks of keeping small feathered creatures is that their life spans also tend to be short.

Over the last year we have lost our Japanese Quail to old age and also had had two widowed Chinese Quail so we thought we had better remedy this situation.

We would also like to incubate some quail eggs to ensure we have a good number of quail. The chicks are referred to as bumblebees as that is exactly what they look like when newly hatched and they are a delight to watch.

During the season we have relocated the quail and the cockatiels’ accommodations to the garden. We had intended to move the budgies out with them too however the hedges have doubled in size since they were put in their present location and it is now impossible to relocate them.

HUNNY BUNNIES

Min lop rabbit kits would have to be one of the cutest looking of the young that we have at Warwickz Farm.

The photo on the right is quite deceiving really as the two in the foreground are siblings pretty much the same size and Mum is the grey one at the rear. However we thought we would share this picture with you.

The black one was posing nicely for me when the harlequin one sneaked through under its ear to have a feed. It is good to see that at 4 weeks old the ears are lopping nicely.

NATIONAL ALPACA OPEN DAY

The week leading up to the 2nd May, national alpaca day was a busy one. As one of a handful of alpaca breeders in Canterbury that had agreed to open for the day, the pressure was on to showcase Warwickz Farm Alpacas.

After hosting the last of our coach loads of tourists for the season earlier in the week we turned our focus to preparing for the day. Paddocks were cleansed of paca poos, highway signs were created, car parking was organized, and the Barn was rearranged to demonstrate the wonderful things that can be done with alpaca fibre. The advertising, press articles and other marketing was firing, we even had a couple arrive the day before by mistake, and all was looking good.

The day arrived bright and sunny. Alpaca breeder friends unloaded their animals and spinning friends set up their wheels and we all had an enjoyable day in spite of the fact that not one person turned up. Oh well

BEN the GOTLAND

Ben the Gotland ram was acting rather suspiciously a month or so back. Isolated from the flock and spending a great deal of time pacing up and down the fence line of the neighbouring sheep farm.

On investigation it was discovered that the neighbouring paddock had a flock of alluring ewes teasing and tantalizing him and he was desperate to find a spot suitable for jumping over. (Gotland rams have a reputation for high jumping) Ben has been tethered until his testosterone subsides.

It was at this time that we noticed how lustrous his fleece was so early in the season. In order not to let it blow out and go to waste we had him shorn and blended the wool with Gateau our black stud alpacas fibre and achieved a stunning result which will be spun into wonderful creations.

As a thank you Elaine needle felted some of the fibre into replicas of Gateau and Ben. (see photo)

TIP OF THE SEASON

To anyone new to keeping animals of any kind it is very important to bear in mind how the seasons can impact on them.

Here in New Zealand we are fast heading into winter and just as we are preparing for a warm and cosy season unpacking our winter wardrobe and collecting plenty of firewood we are also preparing our creatures for the cold as well.

Make sure you have plenty of winter feed available for the larger animals who may have their paddocks covered in snow and also the smaller animals accommodations should be weather proofed and also vermin proofed.

It may take you a little longer out in the cold pulling covers over hutches etc but remember, those creatures are relying totally on you.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

February finds us in the middle of our silly season with never a dull moment. With entertaining farm stay guests, hosting lunches and Devonshire Teas for our increasing number of visitors, selling on our harvest of furry and feathery creatures, greeting and nurturing our new babies and doing all the usual farm duties and maintenance we are finding ourselves sleeping very soundly.

WILDLIFE

With over 40 breeds of animal from over 20 species we have plenty of creatures to keep us more than occupied without having to encourage any wildlife.

Non resident visitors that have dropped or crawled in include another litter of hedgehogs which were fortunately left uninterrupted this year as they had made a home in some straw rather than a hay bale as they did last year.

A baby wild rabbit exploring his new world had decided to investigate the bait in one of our rat traps. Fortunatley it was the one with a ramp that lowers and traps the rats for later disposal and he was lucky that he was spotted watching the world go by from his cell. Wild rabbits are once again becoming a problem in Canterbury but in a weak moment I released the cute wee critter when no one was watching to return home. (Please do not tell the neighbouring farmers).

Feathered wildlife included a sparrow who was lucky that we were handy when it took its first nervous flight and crash landed close to Xena the cat who was far from nervous and a beautiful Kereru, a native wood pigeon who has adopted our Kowhai and Willow trees and is totally freaking out our fantail pigeons whenever he tries to join them.

CRIA

This seasons crop of alpaca cria (off spring) is especially exciting as three of them will have been sired by River our lovely stud. So far one of his is on the ground, Selwyn the brown boy looking back at you from the photo.

Earl, the grey boys birth was celebrated by a drive-by (alongside his paddock) by the MG Car Club that was arriving for a tour which was delayed momentarily while Mother Nature took her course. Not wanting to delay proceedings this very upstanding boy was up on his feet within five minutes of being born to the delight of his admiring spectators.

Esmerelda the chocolaty coloured alpaca is a real sweetie who while a few weeks younger than the boys doesnt let them get away with a thing.

BUNNIES

Last year we had a gorgeous looking dalmatian mini rex rabbit born with a black T marking on top of its head. We decided it was a male and named it Mr T. Well Mr T while looking and feeling beautiful did not have such a beautiful personality and while still tame is the least friendly of our rabbits.

We later discovered she was in fact a female and she was quickly re-christened T Bag. Anyway, the point of the story is that she has recently had some very friendly kits that will soon be looking for new homes. One is dalmatian like her and the other is white with stunning mascarad eyes as you can see in the pic.

We are still having a hard time contributing to preservation of the very rare Enderby Island Rabbit species so in order to address this we have been lucky enough to acquire Marcus a silver buck from a leading New Zealand breeder.

Enderbys are born black and over the weeks slowly turn silver to blend in with their original sub Antarctic environment. You will note from the pic that Marcus has only a little black left on his head and will soon be mature and ready to do his important work to conserve this wonderful species.

CHEEKY CHICKIES

Between the many chicken coops and the incubator we have had many months of feeding and caring for lil tweety birds (not to mention ducklings and turkey poults). One clutch however was a little different to what we had been used to.

One of our free range hens an aracuana/favorelle cross (actually purchased as a pure bred aracuana but thats another story) had been notably absent at feeding time for a few days so we presumed she was sitting on some eggs. On making appearances from time to time for food we endeavored to track her back to her hideaway but she would always choose her moment while we were distracted to make her break.

Fortunately we located her by chance deep in the middle of a patch of overgrown garden a few days before her eggs hatched. We were nervous of losing any hatchlings to our frequent verminous predatory trespassers.

What I didn’t notice was that the neighboring plant, the one she rushed to with her brood to shelter from me a couple of days later when they hatched was punctuated with thorns. I am happy to say that all 11 chickies were liberated to a warm cosy and safe home with a cost of only 3 nasty pricks per chick.

DUCKVILLE

You may remember Club Duck from a few seasons ago; well it has now been replaced by Duckville as the original duck resort complex was overwhelmed by the ravages of snowstorms, grazing sheep and Pedro the donkey.

New fencing, an updated pond and nursery accommodation have been put in place and we now have the luxury of free ranging ducks that can be happily confined when required. It will also enable us to become more scientific with the breeding of ducks to ensure pure bred conservation of each species.

TIP OF THE SEASON

To all you fellow onion lovers out there, we have discovered some good news and some bad news regarding our friend the onion. This is not a crusade on our behalf we are just passing on what we have been told and you can google it for more info.

The bad news, do not use or put part-used onions in the fridge. They will absorb any passing bacteria and then you will transfer that to your sandwich or meal and potentially make yourself ill.

The good news is that a cut onion placed by the bedside of someone unwell or under the weather will pick up and absorb the bad bacteria and either help in your recovery or keep you safe from germs.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2009

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

November is the start of our favourite time of year, the days are warmer, the evenings longer, the gardens are blooming, little creatures are appearing from every corner and we are making more friends every week as fellow animal lovers find Warwickz Farm.

OPEN DAY

October 4th dawned cloudy and the weather deteriorated on our second Alpaca and Rare Breeds Open Day run in collaboration with Brenel Estate Alpacas.

Having said that, while numbers were down on last year we still had 30 odd vehicles parked in the paddock behind the Red Barn and we were able to spend quality time with all our visitors as we shared our knowledge of our rare breeds, alpacas and a variety of crafts.

Several spinners were busy at their wheels and Chris was kept warm with Charlie Lamb draped around his neck for much of the day. Thank you for all who attended and we plan on having our next one in a drier and warmer month next time.

BRIDGET

Some of you may remember Buttons our adorable long haired Chihuahua who passed away two and a half years ago; well we would now like to introduce you to Bridget.

Bridget having recovered from a traumatic operation has found a new home at Warwickz Farm.

As you will note from the picture of her with a juicy bone the same size as her, she is a real character who believes she is a full sized dog in a tiny body and woe betide any creature who treats her otherwise. She is however a real sweetheart to humans.

PEARL

Pearl is a top quality alpaca with a lovely personality who we sold on in 2004 and Elaine who has regretted it ever since has followed her life over the years always hoping to have her back some distant day.

Well, that day arrived last month when we were alerted that due to changing circumstances she was requiring a new home. To cut a long story short, this wonderful alpaca who has touched several hearts has come home, Elaine and Pearl have been reunited and all is well in the world. A huge thank you to all those concerned.

As you can see our alpacas having completed their Show Season (with the Show Team, Cherry, Jolene, Celeste and Shiloh all coming home with ribbons) have been sheared.

We are now on standby for the arrival of six cria (babies) over the next few months including three sired by our home grown stud River.

RABBIT ROUND UP

We are proud to announce that Chris & Elaine are now committee members of the Enderby Island Rabbit Club of NZ. In recognition of this we decided to improve the display area for this extremely rare and wonderful rabbit.

As you can see from the picture we have relocated our Enderbys to a more environmentally friendly area and built a large enclosure for them to frolic in. Hopefully this will put them in a more romantic frame of mind as so far we have seen no kits this season.

Our other rabbit breeds are all doing well, however Jalopeno our elderly mini lop male has been retired from his stud duties. It appears that while the spirit is still willing the flesh appears weak.

We now have a new boy on the block, a lovely and affectionate harlequin mini lop. Quinn will be introduced to some lovely ladies later in the summer however we should have some rex kits available early in the new year.

CRACKLEBERRYS

Eggs have been cracking all over the place with a variety of fluffsters emerging from them. We are delighted to announce the arrival of 8 of the rare Royal Palm turkey poults. Our first experience of raising turkeys has been great. Having laid them in a corner of a dilapidated old barn, on hatching we built a shelter around them and Mum. We later transferred them to more comfy accommodation (see pic)..

Other newcomers include Rhode Island Reds, Aracuanas, Bantam Leghorns, Buff Orpingtons, Frizzles and Silkies. Some of the younger hens who gave up sitting too early had their eggs finished off in the incubator. Currently we have a dozen balls of fluff in the lightbox in a corner of the lounge.

SASSY & SON

You may remember from our May newsletter Sassy the Silkie who thinks she is human, well she is now all grown up and has been helping us with incubating e

Unable to have fertile eggs herself as she is NOT a chook she was absolutely delighted to hatch one of the eggs we put under her. We have never seen a prouder mother and we are delighted grandparents having watched her from her egg days through to motherhood..

TIP OF THE SEASON

Warwickz Farm has recently started selling a series of books on natural health remedies for animals. (These will be on our For Sale page on the site in the future.) They are written by Chris�s Australian based brother Mark Gilberd, a homeopath and medical herbalist and are proving very popular as he has collected and collated a wealth of knowledge from days gone by

Along these lines our tip essentially is to remember to look at the more natural health options for your animals. Used in balance with the more conventional solutions you may well find your creatures healthier and your wallet wealthier.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz FarmTeam

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2009

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Today is the last day of August so I am cutting it fine for the August Newsletter. This is because while it is a quiet time of year for visitors and guests we are kept very busy in many areas. From the construction of new housing for our animals from recycled products to maintaining and improving the gardens and animal enclosures, incubating eggs and the many creative activities that are part of Warwickz Farm, there is never a dull moment. Anyway, enough of the excuses.

FEATHERS

Bertie Wooster, a rather stunning and very gentlemanly Buff Orpington cockerel along with his colourful buddy Rodger the Dodger an Old English Game Rooster have joined our free ranging feathered traffic along Poultry Lane.

Requiring a new home they settled in well and Bertie in particular is proving popular with our visitors whom he allows to feed and stroke him.

Uncle Tom our new Royal Palm Turkey is also proving an attraction. Royal Palms are the smallest domestic breed of turkey and are a rare breed (on the critical list in the USA). With his colour combination of blue white red and black and brownUncle Tom gets the cameras flashing when he poses, opening his large fan of tail feathers framed by a distinctive black band.

While striving to give our rare breed chickens as natural a life as possible, we have to keep the breeds apart to maintain the integrity of each breed, this unfortunately does not allow them to free range together.

Over the winter however we have come up with an excellent compromise. Each breed of chook now enjoys regular time out in our mobile runs which can either be attached to the chook house or loaded and wheeled to a desirable location.

Coinciding with Lucy our Sebastopol goose finally going clucky we have made some enhancements to our feathered water fowl fraternity�s lifestyle. The duck house is now home to the geese, (though Seb is a little skeptical about it Lucy has started laying her eggs in it) and the ducks accommodation has been upgraded to the much grander Ducks Deluxe. New landscaping for the original Club Duck is planned including a new pond and fencing.

WOOLLY BLEATERS

Just when we thought we had survived the lambing season without adopting even one orphan lamb, along came Charlie.

Rearing an orphan lamb is a costly procedure and after a few days of feeding around the clock with constant demands for more and cleaning up after it the novelty can soon wear a little thin.

With Charlie (named after the brand name on the bottle we feed him from) however things are a little different. He is the best mannered, least demanding (well so far anyway) and generally the coolest little lamb we have ever had. For a critter not known for having much in the way of personality he has charisma plus.

When he is hungry he will wait for you to come by, wait until he catches your eye and then bleat once for food. If the milk runs out before he is full he lets out a couple of air sucks just to let you know and then settles down for a rest.

When you talk to him he watches you intently and like all pet lambs Charlie will follow you around and be cuddled. His easy manner and charm make him a delight to have around.

Two other lambs stand out from the flock this season, Tiny and Milly. Tiny we believe may grow up to be a miniature sheep. We were sure he was born prematurely and were ready to assist, however right from the get go he was strong and happy and in the care of a great mum. He is just so so tiny!!

Milly is another one of a kind. She is an arapawa/merino cross, normal in every way apart from her wonderful facial markings. As you can see, she has white markings criss crossing her face and combined with her sheepish smile she is very easy on the eye.

KIDSFEST

July was a busy month with over 100 young people from around Canterbury experiencing close small animal encounters and expressing their inspiration in the creation of wonderfully creative animal masks.

While handling children and animals is traditionally not one of the easiest tasks we are pleased to report that this year�s event proved very successful. It is always pleasing to watch city kids especially interact with animals. We did smile though when one queried if a rooster had laid the egg they were being shown.

OPEN DAY

Our Open Day this year is being held on Sunday 4th October and will be bigger and better than last year�s successful day. (see the events page on the website)

This year we will be featuring pony rides, hands-on craft demonstrations, lots of spinners at their wheels as well as plenty of advice and information on alpacas and other rare breeds. The extremely rare Enderby Island Rabbit will also be on display at a stand manned by the Enderby Island Rabbit Club of New Zealand.

TIP OF THE SEASON

The first tip is to not leave things like newsletters to the last minute!!

The important tip is to find a few moments on a regular basis to stop and smell the roses. Most of us are too busy doing things to stop and notice and experience the wonders of our world.

This was brought home to us recently by the two young people who purchased one of our squiglets. They regularly load up this delightful creature in the car and bring him home to spend time with us and Robbie and Rosie.

You are an inspiration guys, thanks.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2009

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the �Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter�. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a �friend� and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Well the drought has broken, things have greened up again, temperatures are dropping and the leaves are falling in all their rusty glory. We are also still enjoying the fruits of our bounteous summer harvest of tomatoes, walnuts and wild plums in particular.

Alas the squiglets (kunekune piglets) have all found wonderful homes around the country but are very much missed. We were delighted when one of them came back with his enthusiastic new owners to say hi and immediately raced up for a kiss and a catch up.

BUNNY NEWS

Snow the Angora

A long standing goal was achieved recently when we acquired Snow, a nine week old angora rabbit. Still only a young fellow his personality is fast emerging and he is rapidly enchanting everyone he meets.

Angora rabbits have been domesticated since 120AD in the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. This probably accounts for his combination of gentleness, trust and his relaxed interest in his world.

The deal we have with him is that he can live in the house with us on the condition that we can harvest his fast growing fur for Elaine to spin. He is also happy to make guest appearances when we have visitors.

The Cuticles

The Cuticles are the collective name for the 5 lovely Flemish Giant kits that Sandy and Hugo have had.

Three white and two fawns, this quintet have been a highlight of several children�s events we have had in the past few weeks.

It is only fair to warn parents that these hunny bunnys will be ready for new homes around the time of Kidsfest in July. We have over the summer built a new larger rabbit enclosure alongside the Enderby Island Rabbitry to allow the rabbits to run free and exercise in. It also give us a safe environment for their interaction with our visitors.

PALOMA THE PACA

While the majority of our alpacas have been bred on the Farm we occasionally bring in new blood lines but are very selective on whom we share our world with. Thus it is with pride that we introduce Paloma to you.

She is a grey who is pregnant and while being very easy on the eye with her pretty face she also has wonderful fibre. Her previous owners, reputable alpaca breeders of long standing were busy knitting up her recently spun fleece when we picked her up.

Being an older girl she is very wise and her kind nature made the transition to joining our herd an easy one.

MORE NEW CREATURES

We have two more new but smaller creatures that have made an impact on us since last letter, one feathered and one furry, Sassy the Silkie chick and Sly the Peruvian guinea pig.

Obviously we have had quite a number of chicks and guineas born over the time but these two are real characters.

Sassy was incubated as Elaine was experimenting with her new incubator and from the word go she was Miss Personality. Lots of attention was repaid with many delightful hours of great company.

The time came to place her under one of our motherly bantams but Sassy was not going to have a bar of that. What did we think she was��a chicken or something!!!!���.. she demanded to be returned back to her rightful home with us and that�s where she stays.

Sly, while a gregarious young fellow who is happy to be held and played with also likes his privacy and is a good at hiding.

In fact he had probably been born about 3 or 4 days before I finally caught a glimpse of colour streaking into the tube as I approached the cage at feeding time.

I remember Secret Squirrel from my childhood and maybe we have bred a secret guinea the way he hides in the straw and hay and in the pipe in his cage.

LUCKY LAME LAMB

It had been raining for days when we discovered one of our spotted arapawa lambs from last season laying inert in the back paddock. Fully expecting it to be dead I was relieved when it lifted its head slightly as I knelt over it.

Testing the sodden sheep for some warmth in its mouth I carried it to shelter and warmth. Another hour or so in those conditions and it would have died.

The first day I had to rotate it regularly from side to side as it lay still, in the straw, to weak to support itself even to sit. Every day for nearly a week I drenched it with 30mls of Animal Health Elixir (A.H.E).

By the second day it was sitting but could not stand unless I supported it and so on for another 2 days. By the fifth day it could drag itself around (the back legs limp) and even tried to run away from me. The following day it was up and running and on the way to a full recovery to our delight.

What we think had happened was that it had been kicked by Keybee the horse when it probably got between her and some hay and damaged her hind legs and so when the weather packed up she wasn�t able to seek shelter with the rest of the flock and left to the mercy of the elements.

During this worrying week I was truly grateful to Ian who at last years Kidsfest introduced me to A.H.E., this magic supplement that gives our animals every support to heal themselves.

KIDSFEST 2009/SPINNERS GROUP

Which reminds me, Warwickz Farm will once again be involved with Kidsfest in the July school holidays. We will be running an animal encounter event that will include the children creating animal masks.

The Red Barn is also home to the Dunsandel Spinners & Knitters Group that meets the first Tuesday of each month. These informal and relaxing evenings are open to spinners as well as anyone who would also like to learn the ancient art of spinning and knitting.

Check our Events page on the website in the near future for details on both events.

TIP OF THE SEASON

A couple of simple tips to keep you more comfortable over the colder seasons���

If your boots appear to be letting in water as you tend to your outdoor chores, until you get around to replacing them place your feet in plastic shopping bags and then place them in your boots, your feet will remain dry and warm.

When your chores are over for the day you may find your hands chafed or cracked. A good alternative if you do not have any hand lotion is to use shaving cream. Rub it into your hands after you have applied it to your face for shaving if you are a guy or just steal some of his if you are a lady.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2009

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

In fact the welcome is more than warm as it is very hot and extremely dry in Canterbury and the forecast is for another two months of drought conditions. (check out the pic of the candles) The green lush farmland of such a short time ago is now just a memory.

We also have extra mouths to feed during the summer including 2 new gorgeous alpaca cria Celeste and Shiloh, two Royal Palm turkeys, some stunning frizzle bantam pekins, a new very special bunny, some new chinese quail and two tree frogs. We also appear to have been adopted by a very cheeky but possibly unwell opossum that is making herself very much at home and some......................

SQUIGLETS

For any of you who joined us on our Open day on October 5th and were standing with me next to Robbie and Rosie the Kunekune pigs honeymoon paddock and witnessed their romantic performance, I am very proud to announce that 3 months 3 weeks and 3 days later (the traditional Kunekune gestation period) Robbie and Rosie became the proud parents of 6 of the most adorable little creatures you can imagine.

It was an added delight to share the occasion with some lovely farmstay guests from Colorado who were as captivated with Rosie�s new arrivals as we were. I must admit that I spent the whole day feeling like a little person on Christmas morning. In fact the following morning I went AWOL and Elaine found me in Rosie�s house curled up with Rosie and the squiggling pile of silky little piggliness as we all enjoyed a siesta.

GOTLAND PELT PELT

Along with the Arapawa sheep the Gotland Pelt Sheep will when they become fully fleeced start to self-shed their wool and this was beginning to happen as we waited on our busy shearer to get around to our flocks of wooly bleaters.

Crossing the paddock from the Barn to the house we noticed the fleece was pulling away from Hermione�s neck and back in a neat break. Straddling her back I gently folded it back and found it while still tight was coming away in one piece. I suggested to Elaine that if she got some scissors and used the blade to break the fibre we could perhaps peel it off in one whole piece.

While Elaine was fetching the scissors Hermione took me for a short ski around the tunnel house and Elaine was amazed on her return to see me standing next to a shorn Hermione with a complete whole blanket in my hands. Literally a sheepskin rug without the skin, the underside was all felted.

We have since discovered that the window of opportunity for getting the blanket off a Gotland Pelt Sheep in this way and in one piece is about 3 days the condition being right so I must admit it was shear good luck!!

SHOGLETS

A few days before Christmas Bruce was feeding hay out to the alpacas opposite the Barn when from out of a broken piece of hay bale rolled a slightly bewildered hedgehog. Our guests at the time from Hong Kong came to have a look and we were all surprised to discover that the bale was not only home to the hedgehog but was in fact the nest for her four tiny bundles of prickles who soon assumed the name of Shoglets.

We returned the post natal package to the hay barn and settled them back down again as best we could but unfortunately a short while later Ma Hedgehog decided that she had had enough of this insanity and shogged off to parts unknown leaving us with somewhat of a dilemma.

Some quick internet research advised us that the chances of being successful shog parents were remote but provided us with details of what was required if we were brave enough to try and try we did over the Christmas break.

From feeding them every six hours on various mixtures of milk formulas and palpating their little bellies after every feed until they did their little businesses the whole process was a combination of enchantment and education.

Unfortunately, probably due to the lack of colostrum from their mother they slowly after the second day one by one passed on leaving us while sad also enriched by an experience few people are lucky enough to enjoy.

A RARE TREAT

There have been some changes to the Warwickz Farm Rabbitry since the last newsletter. We have split the rabbitry into two locations, the main part is now located in the gardens in a much shadier and environmentally pleasing position among the trees. The Enderby Island Rabbits are located in another shady spot close to the pine and oak trees.

Our new resident in the Enderby Enclosure is Beethoven a cr�me Enderby Island Rabbit which makes him one of the rarest members of one of the rarest rabbit breeds in the world. Of the approximately 300 Enderby Island Rabbits Beethoven is one of the approximately 20 cr�mes (a recessive gene) in existence which makes him very special indeed !

We will breed him with one of our silver does, Sylvia who has cr�mes in her background and hopefully contribute to the numbers of cr�me Enderby Island rabbits. For more information on Enderbys visit www.naturespace.co.nz

NEW ARRIVALS

As mentioned, we have had some charming new arrivals over the last few months including Celeste the baby alpaca born to Holly in December and Shiloh, Rubys new cria born in January, both fawn both two weeks early and both wonderful new additions to our herd along with Girlie, an older alpaca very similar to dear departed Diamond who has come to us to retire.

A frizzle is a genetic throwback that can come out in any chicken resulting in a frizzled appearance to the feathers similar to I imagine plugging the chook into the power mains. A frizzled chicken bred with any other breed will result in approximately half the eggs hatching as that particular breed and the other half a frizzled version of it. The picture on the left is of three of the remaining (unsold) seven hatchings that resulted from a pekin cross hen bred with a frizzled pekin rooster.

We have also recently become home to a young pair of Royal Palm turkeys, the smallest of the turkey breeds and one listed on the rare breeds endangered list. The Royal Palm youngster pictured will grow into the magnificent creature (merged onto the picture) with the black band framing its proud tail feathers.

From a handful of tadpoles we now have two delightful tree frogs that provide us with good sport watching them stalk the flies that are now a large tasty part of their menu.

TIP OF THE SEASON

Ice packs to cool your caged animals especially rabbits, down on those extremely hot days will not only make them feel more comfortable but could also save their lives as heat stress can be a killer. We freeze water in 2 litre soft drink bottles and always have them on standby.

Our friendly possum further has proved the goodness of the Animal Health Elixir mentioned in the last newsletter and chose a container of water laced with AHE over the fish pond. We are finding that using this natural product during this harsh season is proving excellent at maintaining our animal�s health. Once again you can find out more about it at www.healthyanimals.co.nz. where you can order it in 20 litre drums or in 5 or 2 litre bottles direct from us.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2008

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Spring may not be far away however winters cheerless icy grip is still keeping us close to the fireplace. Enduring the harshest winter in years with its snow and torrential rain and threat of floods has not been pleasant.

The ducks and geese though are thoroughly enjoying it especially on their new waterway that today is flowing along the once dried up ancient riverbed that crosses the house paddock.

KIDSFEST

On a brighter note the weather did prove kind to us for the 8 days of Kidsfest activities.

Over one hundred youngsters were entertained and educated by a host of feathery and furry creatures as they sat mouths agape on hay bales in the Red Barn.

Hugo our adorable new baby Flemish Giant rabbit started the fun by leading the little people along to the Barn and introducing them to the poultry and animals along the way including a short stopover to visit two new born pigeons.

Highlights of the Kidsfest included Stan the silkie rooster and Amy the aracauna hen eating out of slightly nervous young hands, Hoppy the duck flapping his way in and out of the Barn and the nursing of the ��h so cute� rabbits and guinea pigs..

It was Pablo the long haired mouse who stole the show for all except the grandma who did an astonishing vanishing act when Pablo suddenly jumped to the ground.

SHEEP SHUFFLE

The aforementioned foul weather delivered to us two black arapawa cross lambs looking for a mother. Just when we thought we might get away this year without having to supply all-weather room service to orphaned woolly guests, Jack & Jill arrived.

While we have made room for these two little tykes we are pleased to announce that we are no longer the home of Zippy the Gotland woolly jumper.(see Mays Newsletter) We were able to find him a much more suitable residence deeper in the countryside with a delightful menagerie of other eccentric waifs and strays.

GINORMOUS GUINEA BABES

Elaine decided that it was time to freshen up her guinea pig lines with some gorgeous lovely natured rex guinea pigs from the North Island.

We were delighted to discover that one female; Bella had arrived in what appeared to be an advanced stage of pregnancy. However after watching her girth expand for several more weeks we were becoming quite perplexed.

Late one afternoon out popped three of the plumpest guinea babes we have ever seen, Fudge (silver agouti pictured),Smudge (silver agouti) and Snowdrop (albino), mother and babes doing very very well.

OPEN DAY

As mentioned in the last Newsletter plans are now well underway for our Open Day in conjunction with Brenel Alpacas on October 5th 10.00am � 3.00pm. (see the website events page to read the Press Release)

The focus of this family friendly day is on education and information on alpacas and rare breed animals and how they and their products can enhance your lifestyle. There will be alpacas and other creatures for sale on the Day and a number of stalls and displays to visit and enjoy.

Bev Tilson, internationally recognized wool crafter and hand spinner will be at her wheel and Ian Sargent from Manna Farm Supplies will have a stand exhibiting his magical Animal Health Elixir.(recommended by Warwickz Farm, more on this in the next letter) The 1st Dunsandel Boys Brigade will be feeding us from their sausage sizzle and some lucky visitor will win the gate prize from Feedworld Hornby.

The Open Day will be taking place whatever the weather and we look forward to seeing as many as our �friends� here as possible.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2008

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the �Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter�. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a �friend� and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Winter fast approaches, the lawns are now lost in an ocean of leaves, the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are beginning their downward slide, however it is nice to watch the football and shell walnuts again in front of a crackling fire and watch the sun set over the snowcapped mountains.

We have had a busy few months entertaining a number of coach loads of visitors to a day out on Warwickz Farm. Many of these have been seniors and an absolute delight to be with and to introduce our animals to and hear their stories of long ago days and animal experiences.

Talking about animals, we have (as usual) some new ones to introduce including Sebastopol geese, Constantin the silkie rooster, Zippy the jumping Gotland Pelt ram, and some gorgeous baby rabbits. But first we have some sad news to share.

DIAMOND

It was a gorgeous early Autumn morning, the sun a golden yoke in the egg blue sky. Chris was organising the buckets of pellets for the playcentre children to use to feed the alpacas on their arrival in another 5 minutes. It was then that he noticed Diamond, Warwickz Farms very first alpaca and the matriarch of the herd lying down peacefully in a corner of the paddock.

After a cheery "Good morning Diamond, we have visitors" failed to achieve the usual response of twitching ears and stretching legs he crossed to her and discovered that the ageing Diamonds peaceful rest had been her last. Minutes later Chris & Elaine managed to switch on their happy faces and were busy greeting their smiling, enthusiastic young visitors.

After the sudden shock of losing Diamond had subsided we realised that we now had an orphan to focus our attention on. The beautiful black 3 month old Jewel mentioned in our last Newsletter stared up at us in hunger and confusion with her mothers elegant face and deep soulful eyes and made our hearts ache. Fortunately due to her age it was only a matter of weeks of bottle feeding before she was able to fend for herself and she is now a totally healthy happy and independent young lady who enjoys an occasional cuddle.

While Diamonds spirit lives on through Jewel, it was interesting to note the impact of our loss on the rest of the herd. For a period, whenever we needed to move the alpacas to the yards or to another paddock confusion would reign as they looked for Diamond to lead the way and take command and she was not there which left them meandering off in groups in all directions. They have now however elected a new leader, Ruby, Jewels much older sister and order has been restored

Farewell Diamond, we miss you.

BRUCE BUILT CONSTRUCTIONS

Having received many favourable comments on the dozen or so chook houses that make up Poultry Lane and receiving requests for similar ones Bruce is now constructing them for sale. (see our website For Sale page).

Made out of recycled materials these henhouses and rabbit/guinea pig hutches combine functionality and security with pleasing design and attractiveness. Best of all, made out of recycled materials they are affordable.

Created to order, Bruce Built Constructions are all one-offs and can be customized for particular requirements. Anyway, enough of the advertising lets go and meet some animals.

LUCY & SEB ASTOPOL

As we head into the colder months and our unpleasant and unwanted visitors (wild cats, rats, stoats, weasels and ferrets) get hungrier and braver the safety of our animal friends becomes an issue.

Having discovered that geese make wonderful guard dogs with their loud honks of alarm and run off intruders, we have welcomed Seb & Lucy two elegant Sebastopol geese to Warwickz Farm. Sebastopol are the breed that exhibit the �bad hair day� look of ruffled breast feathers.

Once they are a little older they will be let out at night to patrol Poultry Parade to enable both us and our feathered friends to rest easier.

On clarifying the ability of geese to protect themselves, their previous owner admitted that one he sold had fatally lost an encounter however, it was with a visitors Bull Mastiff and the fierce battle raged for 20 minutes before the brave goose finally

CONSTANTIN the ROOSTER

Constantin, or Stan as he is affectionately known is a Chinese Silkie and was adopted in March from a lady who had hand reared him and is fast becoming a favourite with our visitors.

It is not uncommon for Chris to greet a coach load of tourists with Stan inquisitively perched on his shoulder like the proverbial pirates parrot. He is also happy to pose for classic photos sitting on baseball capped heads to the delight of their owners.

ZIPPY the GOTLAND PELT RAM

Zippy is a superb example of a Gotland Pelt ram with a luxuriant fleece, wonderful conformation and a friendly personality who produces outstanding lambs. So when the opportunity arose to give him a home we were delighted.

However, Zippy has wanderlust and a wondering eye for any shapely woolly bleater and has honed some excellent athletic skills that enable him to clear standard sheep fencing from a standing start.

Currently he is playing football with the tyre he is tethered to around the paddock. This is not an ideal state of affairs so we have reluctantly decided he needs another home ideally with deer fenced or similar paddocks. So if anyone can offer Zippy a home please let us know.

KIDSFEST 2008

Warwickz Farm is participating once again in KidsFest the school holiday events programme sponsored by TV2 and the local Council during the July school holidays 7th to 17th July.

Our Feathers Fur & Fun events will give young people an opportunity to experience a variety of small animals and birds (also some larger ones depending on the weather) close up, learn about them and how to care for them and have some fun along the way. Cost is $5.00 per child (caregiver free). Details will be on the website soon and also in the KidsFest promotional material that will be distributed through the media closer to the event. We look forward to seeing some old friends and making some new ones over the 8 sessions.

We will leave you with a farewell picture of our autumn rex rabbit babies who are real little characters and are fast finding new homes for the winter with absolutely delighted little people.

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

PS

In our next Newsletter we will have details of what should become an annual event the Alpaca and Rare Breeds Open Day held in conjunction with Brenel Estate Alpacas.

This day will be held in October and will be a family oriented fun day with the emphasis on introducing alpaca (and their products) and rare breeds to people who would like to know more about them. There will be a number of interesting stalls and a sausage sizzle and lots of interesting things to discover.

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter February 2008

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Looking out of the Barn window I am pleased to report the emergence of the first hints of green that along with last nights heavy rain may herald the breaking of our summer drought.

Since we spoke last the number of Warwickz Farm creatures has grown by over 50 in a kaleidoscope of colours and textures. We now have a very productive tunnel house keeping us in a good supply of the most delicious lettuces, tomatoes and cucmbers (thanks Adam). We also have several more chook houses and rabbit penthouses.

This summer has also brought us even more friends as visitors and guests join us to spend time with the animals and enjoy the gardens and craft gallery.

Time now to meet some of the babes��.

ALPACA BABES

The Alpaca Gods were good to us this season and we are extremely proud to introduce you to Jewel, Cherry, Cloud and Jolene all fit and healthy and while adorable (as all our alpacas are) they are all stunning examples of what a patient well considered breeding programme of selective quality genetics can achieve in terms of creating classic alpaca cria.

Jewel born in front of some guests from Singapore in early December and Cherry born late December are black females with fine lustrous fibre. Cherry is a real character who bosses all her cousins and even her aunties about. Her presence along with her dense fibre makes us believe we have a show winner in her.

Cloud is a gorgeous white boy, strutting around like a little Princeling in his coat of long curls and treating his sisters with aloofness if they get too bossy with him. Jolene was born a little early on 9th February and has unusual light caramel colouring and is an absolute delight. While a little premature, her mother Ruby is a wonderful mother and she is thriving.

BUNNY BABES

Sugar one of our minilop doe�s is a first time mum and when she gave birth to 7 kits including 2 runts we really did not expect them all to survive���.. she proved us wrong.

Truffles, the grey one (2nd right in pic) was so strong that at only a couple of hours old he was blindly hauling his grey baldness around the hutch as his siblings all lay in a slumbering heap.

It has been a delight to watch these cuties grow and grow they do, from week 2 they grow a third of their size again each week for the following 3 weeks. Currently 5 weeks old they daily have a turn each in one of Chris�s pockets as he does his evening chores.

This week Bonnie our Netherland Dwarf gave birth to 4 kits and Sandy the Flemish Giant is due to have a litter next week.

As mentioned in the last Newsletter we were delighted to have Abigail a very rare and special Enderby Rabbit born in late November. She has now evolved from a tiny black bundle of fur to a proudly silver member of the less than 300 Enderby Island Rabbit family.

CHICKIE BABES

Poultry production or lack thereof was starting to become of some concern particularly when we had a list of prospective purchasers for the various breeds. Eggs were not the issue it was the broodiness of the chooks that was the problem.

However as December arrived things started picking up and between Christmas Eve and the day after Boxing Day we had 30 chicks hatch leading to an overcrowding problem in the Aracauna, Rhode Island Red and Chinese Silkie chook houses in particular.

OTHER SPECIES BABES

Nestled behind the Rabbitry high in a hedge we discovered a finches nest with 4 hungry hinge-jawed chicks and we paid regular visits to unobtrusively check on their progress. However Mum after a few days abandoned them and by the time we realized this 3 of the 4 had ended their short lives.

With one hungry chick now fast fading we decided we had to do something, anything to give it a chance and decided to try a long shot.

Our flock of fantail pigeons is a little larger than we like and we had found a most obliging pigeon who had agreed to swap her eggs for some Japanese Quail eggs to hatch for us. It was to her we went with our dilemma.

With a very pigeonlike sigh she raised her haunches and made room for the waif whom we desperately hoped she would be able to feed.

We are delighted to report that she did feed and care for it and within a short time feathers appeared the wings were furnished and sometime in the last 18 hours it took its first flight and departed the pigeon loft.

Incidentally the quail eggs are still toasty and due to hatch very soon.

OTHER KIDS

A new babe we haven�t mentioned so far is Friday, a delightful baby billy goat Daisy gave birth to and one of the most independent babes we have had so far. As Mum was hand reared she has no qualms leaving her little charge all alone for long periods knowing that there are human family on hand if needs be.

Friday is more than happy to amuse herself however he did give us some concern as the weather finally broke and we couldn�t find him. We had secured both ends of a hammock to a branch of a willow tree during some high winds and Friday decided that the folded up hammock interior was the warmest and driest place to be and finally we noticed the bulge in its base and discovered the cheeky cocooned Friday.

Gotta go, we have hungry chooks and rabbits calling us. Catch ya next time, till then stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & the Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter November 2007

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Welcome to your Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter. If you have received this you are considered a friend and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm welcome to our old friends and a special welcome to our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have stayed with us, visited us or worked with us since the last Warwickz Farm Newsletter.

Sitting in the rabbits "R&R enclosure (a bush fenced strip of overgrowun lush grassland) surrounded by rabbits, Niki our rough coated collie, Nova the orphan lamb, with Xena the possum-tailed cat looking on as I work on this Newsletter, the hot Canterbury sun flitering through the dappled shade of the oak trees, Louis Armstrongs classic song " A Wondeful World" comes to mind........the bleakness of winter now seems a long time ago.

BABIES

With Spring slowly evolving into Summer our parade of babies continues, though some breeds have not been as productive as we would like.

The first of our bunnies has appeared, a silky grey minilop who at 3 weeks old is such an adorable character, throwing himself (sometimes at considerable risk of falling from his 2nd floor apartment) into our arms for a cuddle when we visit. We hope to be able to report the the birth of our first litter of kits of the very rare and special Enderby rabbit in our new newsletter.

After a very slow start we now have some araucana and chinese silkie chicks skipping around the henhouses as if they owned them. While we have an abundance of eggs, broody hens, or rather the current lack of them are slowing production down. Apologies to those of you on the waiting lists for this seasons chooks.

We have a baby goat (kid) on the ground with twins due anytime now. The kid was from Lacey an angora-saanen cross who had a lovely ringlety coat though not as long as an angora. As Lacey is a first cross we discovered at first with some dismay that she slowly shed her long lustrous fleece in sections starting from the back. A common occurrence for a first cross and not scrambled hormones as we first thought.

Rags, our full angora doe unfortunately lost her kid born, in extreme weather conditions.

We are on standby for the arrival of guinea pigs, alpacas and ducks and in the new year some kunekune piglets.

NOVA the LAMB

Nova was a very late and unexpected arrival born months after our other lambs to one of last years Arapawa crosses who did not want to know anything about her newborn.

As you can see from the photo Mum did not even bother to lick her clean, a duty we performed not by tongue but with the judicious use of 8 buckets of water, soap and a towel.

You may recall in the last Newsletter the Lucky the Lamb story with the message that Nature knows best, well the Nova story shows that Man working with Nature works best of all...........Recalling the sad demise of Lucky when we lost the baby goat, we decided to milk off the colostrum and freeze it for use in future life-saving situations.

Nova is with us thanks to the goats colostrum which undoubtedly saved her life giving her the initial kick-start she needed to become the healthy plump, cute little pet that she is today.

Rags is still being milked every day keeping us in fresh delciious life-giving goats milk.

GOTLAND PELT SHEEP

Talking of sheep we need to introduce you to a new breed of Warwickz Farm Woolly, Pinky the Gotland ewe and her lambs Harry & Hermione.

Gotland Sheep originate from Gotland Island in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden and are a rare breed. (please see our Sheep page for more details of the breed) Pinky and the twins are very gentle though not timid sheep who will eat from your hand. Their inquisitive natures and unusual appearance have made them popular with our visitors.

We hope to have some samples of the stunning possibilities of what you can do with a Gotland fleece as soon as we get a chance to spin some of it.

ALPACAS

As mentioned we are awaiting the exciting arrival of four alpaca cria over the next few months. Every year the quality of our herd has improved due to inspired genetic choices so we are expecting some stunners this season.

Gateaux, Angel, River and Ajwain our new grey alpaca enjoyed a Show Season attending between them the Ellesemere A&P (Agricultural & Pastoral) Show, Ashburton A&P Show and the Royal New Zealand Show coming home with an array of ribbons.

Gateaux our black beauty to our delight came away with a 1st and a 2nd in his class from two of the Shows making us very proud alpaca breeders.

We will close this Newsletter with a quick hi and bye from the newest, smallest and most distinctive members of Warwickz Farm, Pablo the Mouse.

Pablo the long-haired mouse to be exact, yes a long-haired mouse, white with fawn splotches and oh so cute and friendly.

Till next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris and the Warwickz Farm Team

PS as this Newsletter goes live we are pleased to announce the arrival of 2 merino guinea piglets and 1 Enderby rabbit

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter August 2007

The following WZF Newsletter is emailed out to the "Friends of Warwickz Farm". If you would like to become a friend send us an email and we will add you to our growing list.

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the �Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter�. Once again, if you have received this you are considered a �friend� and this is a way of keeping you all up to date with the happenings at Warwickz Farm over the last few months. If in these days of unsolicited emails you would like to unsubscribe from this Newsletter just drop us a quick note (warwickzfarm@warwickzfarm.com) and we will remove you from the mailing list.

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

Anything warm around these parts is more than welcome after a particularly cold and frosty winter. It is going to be touch and go to see what lasts longer, the cold weather or the firewood.

Since our last chat we have welcomed to Warwickz Farm some new furry wooly and feathered creatures including rabbits and guinea pigs, lambs, ducks and Mac the Hamburg rooster. We have however sadly lost Buttons our wonderful long haired chihuahua and loved family member. We have also been busy in the Crafty Barn running school holiday events in July for KidsFest. Evening craft classes are still proving very popular with daytime classes starting soon.You will be pleased to know that much of the plum harvest has been turned into yummy jam and sauce some of which is for sale along with our Warwickz Farm marmalade and pickle.

CLUB DUCK

Warwickz Farm ducks ,originally a flock comprising 3 breeds, rouens, cayugas and swedish blues welcomed to their midst a couple of pekins and 3 tame orphaned wild ducks and also saw the homecoming of a swedish blue and a rouen drake that had left us as ducklings and now needed along with their new friends a home as their owners headed off for life in the city.

Their arrival coincided with the opening of Club Duck, a luxury resort constructed from the creative rearrangement of fallen limbs and enhanced by an assortment of flaxes incorporating a duck class swimming pool, restaurant and quack class sleeping quarters.

It was amusing when the frosts first arrived watching the ducks scramble out of bed and out the door and into the pool and watching their confused expressions when there was no welcoming splash or sinking feeling. Did you know that ducks do not have any feeling in their webbed feet?

We would like to kindly thank those people who donated flaxes to Club Duck.

BUTTONS R.I.P.

It was with much sadness that we fare welled Buttons in May. Our beloved long haired Chihuahua passed away peacefully in our arms after nearly 11 years of loyal devotion succumbing to a cancer that while invasive came on rapidly and spared her pain.

Buttons will also be missed by the many people whose lives she touched though often briefly in their visits to Warwickz Farm. She loved people and inevitably would be found in someone�s warm arms and on occasion would have to be extricated from those arms before the tour coach in particular left the property.

It used to amuse us to wonder what the reaction might be if some of Buttons fleeting friends knew what delicacies she used to enjoy having in her sweet mouth (lambs tails, horses hooves clippings etc )

Farewell Buttons............we miss you

LUCKY (THE UNLUCKY) LAMB

The lambs came early for us this season and unfortunately many of the births coincided with bitterly cold frosty days. We now however have 7 very healthy and strong little wooly critters gamboling around the back paddock, though we lost a few due to the conditions.

This is however the very short story of Lucky the Lamb. Lucky was one of twins born on a freezing day and unlike her strong brother who was busy checking out his new friends and hassling Mum for a feed she was lying down hungry and freezing to death when she was found.

After a couple of days in front of the fire and being hand fed Lucky was making great progress and graduated to a wooden case in the woodshed appearing full of beans.(well warm milk really)

The following day she was faltering and died later that night. The day after that her once active twin brother was also found dead.

Moral of the story : perhaps Mother Nature sometimes knows best.

KIDSFEST

Warwickz Farm was this year approached to take part in KidsFest the annual school holiday events program for children sponsored by TV2 and the local District Councils.

We ran two events for 8 days over the two weeks, Kreate a Kite in the mornings and Learn to Knit in the afternoons. Kites were created from scratch and then decorated; it was fun watching the youngsters personalities emerge in their creations.

The knitting proved very popular with basic beginners knitting being craftily evolved into clever creations including bookmarks, diary covers and various artistic creations.

BUNNYFEST

The Warwickz Farm Rabbitry and Guinea Piggery was enhanced last month with the addition of a rustic enclosure based on the Club Duck theme of recycled fallen limbs. Safe and secure it is a wonderful place to just hang out and chill with these furry little critters. It is a seriously relaxing environment enjoyed by both human and wee critter kind.

Speaking of rabbits Warwickz Farm is proud to be a founding member of the recently created Enderby Rabbit Club of New Zealand and hope to have our first litter of the very rare Enderby Rabbits this coming season.

Regular readers of the Newsletter will be pleased to see from the above pic that we have found gorgeous replacements for the Flemish Giants we lost earlier in the year.


Projects for the next few months include the construction and utilization of a tunnel house that our15 year old son Adam intends to use to keep us in organic vegetables and make a few dollars selling his surplus to local eateries and part 2 of the fencing project that will see a number of new and smaller paddocks and complete the race circuit enabling visitors easier and closer access to our animals. So a busy Spring is coming up.

Till next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & The Warwickz Farm Team

Friends of Warwickz Farm Newsletter May 2007

Hi Friends,

A warm hello to all our new friends from around the world and closer to home who have either stayed or visited us since our last Newsletter.

We have had a busy few months with craft classes starting up for the year, sheep & goat drenching, keeping the grounds and gardens up to scratch for the coach tour visits, alpaca training, dealing with tragedy in poultry plaza and the rabbitry (more on that later), entertaining Seiya a Japanese exchange student and welcoming two new wonderfully cool new members to Warwickz Farm, namely Pedro the Donkey and Rosie the Kunekune Piglet.

PEDRO the DONKEY

Pedro is a grey/white gelding English Donkey who after an unsettled couple of years has made his home with us. It was only after we had reassured him that he would be here and loved by us for the rest of his life that we discovered that healthy donkeys can live up to 40 years. Oh well, octogenarians with an aged donkey could be interesting.

Pedro has settled in very easily and it was only a matter of days before we could enter his paddock and call him to bed (in his yard) and watch him put himself to bed. (Maybe it had something to do with the hay he found there, donleys are very bright.)

Currently we are doing some lead training with him and riding him bareback and he is proving very responsive. What we have not explained to him at this stage though are our plans to put him in a harness and attach a small dray to him. We hope to have doneky cart rides available to tour the farm on by next summer.

HOPPY THE DUCK (update)

We have a little post-script to add to the last Newsletter regarding Hoppy.

While still enjoying his post-traumatic lifestyle (whiling the day away with his fleeter footed feathered companions on the range before returning to his room serviced accommodation) Hoppy has morphed.

Yes, both of these pictures are of Hoppy, now the not so ugly duckling but a very handsome Rouen drake who is treated with greater respect by his fellow quacksters.

It is all so confusing for Sir Francis (our original Rouen drake) who during his moult thought all his worst nightmares had come to life, he though now is once again fully resplendent in all his feathered finery, though still a little confused about Hoppy�s metamorphous.

ROSIE the KUNEKUNE

After a long search we have finally found a fianc� for Robbie our Kunekune boar (NZ Native pig) though he is going to have to be patient as Rosie is not quite 3 months old.

Rosie while maybe not the pick of the litter, with her black and white spots and cute tassels and perky (or is that porky) personality was just what we were looking for.

She was also the personal favourite of the farmer�s daughter whom we bought her off and a tearful farewell ensued as we departed amidst reassurances that she would not lack for love at her new home.

We had forgotten how fast little Kunekunes grow into larger ones and it is fascinating watching her bulk up by the day.

On her first week with us she breached security however minutes after we discovered her enclosure empty she heard us and dug herself out of the straw tunnel she had made in a nearby barn and came running all agrunt for breakfast.

SAD DAYS

We mentioned earlier that we had experienced some tragedies on the Farm. These happened over a two week period in mid March. While we do not like to dwell on unpleasantness we believe it is important that we outline what occurred in the hope that someone reading this may benefit from our experiences by learning from them.

The Chooks

Never be complacent about the state of your chicken coops particularly with regard to stoats. Not only can stoats climb, but they are also very small and flexible and very very deadly as evidenced by our six deceased fowl.

The gutting part is that these losses took place over several nights in spite of the fact that better security had been put in place. We now have very fine netting in place. The saddest losses were two of our broody Chinese silkie bantams in highly sought after colours who were sitting.

The Rabbits

Several years ago in a frustrated and ill advised attempt to reduce the numbers of wild rabbits in New Zealand a farmer illegally imported into the country a virus designed to eradicate wild rabbits. The calci virus has worked well with numbers vastly reducing for a period; however the virus does not discriminate between wild and domestic or rare rabbits.

You guessed it, 3 of our rabbits were exposed to the virus over five days either by wild rabbits passing by or through airborne means ie flies or mosquitos. The disease is now known as RHD and it is very important that non wild rabbits are vaccinated against it as all of ours now are.

Two of our losses were the gorgeous Flemish Giants featured in the last Newsletter. As much loved pets they were laid to rest in a shady corner of our rambling country garden.

MORTIE the VOLE (update)

You may remember Mortie the Vole from last time.

Well, Mortie really was a baby when we adopted him because he just kept growing and growing. Cleaning his cage became a nightmare as he kept escaping at high speed and biting any fingers that came close enough to his sharp teeth.

The noise of his working out on the treadmill at 100mph became a regular impediment to a good nights sleep for the boys whose room he was in.

Which all goes to show the truth of the Warwickz Farm rule that wild animals are not to be kept.

Mortie was quietly liberated into the lush pasture of a neighbor�s field one afternoon while the boys were at school. (Funnily enough there was no drama about the release)���Run Mortie Run

ANGEL

We are proud to announce the arrival of Angel who appeared in early March a little sooner than we expected.

While alpaca birthing is generally straightforward they are very valuable animals and it is wise to be on standby to assist if any difficulties arise. Being early however we were unprepared and arrived home to find this delightful Angel following proudly behind Ruby her Mother.

She needed a once-over though to confirm her sex and clean her up properly so Chris picked her up and in the process felt the full wrath of Ruby who in a most unladylike fashion doused him in a fine mist of putrid green saliva.

Well, that�s about all our news for now, oh before I forget, Robbie the Kunekune pig, Buttons the long haired Chihuahua, Niki the collie and Xena the cat said to say hi to all their new friends.

Till next time stay safe and keep smiling

Elaine & Chris & The Warwickz Farm Team

Contact Warwickz Farm, 3187 Main South Road, Dunsandel, Mid Canterbury Phone 643 325-4116