Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Barn

For our barn we will be using one that my in-laws had for a horse. This picture shows the barn from a distance plus a lot of the pasture land. It is not a huge barn but will be plenty of space for a few alpacas. Alpacas do not need a lot of barn space. They only need a three sided shelter to keep them out of the rain and wind. Alpacas have survived in very harsh climates and will do fine even with a Michigan winter. By the time winter hits their fleece has grown out enough to keep them warn (it is shaved off in the spring to cool them off over the summer). Cria (baby alpaca) sometimes need a coat if they are born near the end of summer or early fall since their fleece has not had as much time to come in. As our farm grows we likely will add on another barn. One thing to keep in mind is that male alpacas need to be kept separate from females. We plan to start with all females (maybe a gelded male but they can be with the females). We will have to face the issue of males once we start having cria. If we have a male cria, we will have six months to figure out how to manage having another pen. Another thing to think about in regards to alpacas is that they need to be kept in groups of two or more. They are herd animals and need at least two of them to feel secure. So if we have one male cria, we will need another male (gelded or otherwise) to stay in the pen with him. These are things to consider, even in the early stages of our farm since alpaca's are usually purchased while they are pregnant. By next spring we could be delivering a cria and by next year at this time we could be dealing with needing a second pen for males. At this point our pasture area is big enough we could divide it in two. However, barn space would be very limited. Which is why at some point we will be looking at building a bigger barn.

This is what the inside of the barn looks like at this point. It is storing everything from a boat to ladders etc. It is going to be a lot of work to clean this out. Then we will need to section part of it off for the alpacas, a space for their food, and a space to do veterinary care. About every month they need shots and their nails trimmed, and sometimes their teeth grinded down.

Although we need to get started on the inside of the barn, we haven't done that yet. We have the grass planted and have been watching it grow. We have some sprouts started, and are hopeful it will take. I have been spending time learning to knit. Eventually I hope to make things with our alpacas fleece, so I'm starting by learning to knit. Though at this point I'm using cheap yarn to practice on. So far I made a blanket for my son's teddy bear, and I made one mitten. The mitten was a great first attempt, but is a little big, especially the thumb part. I'll get some pictures soon to post, of the mitten and our new grass coming up.

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