Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Typical Day

Now that we have had the alpacas here for a few weeks, I'll give an example of a typical day on the farm.

In the morning I walk down to the barn sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. When I open the barn door, Fluffy jumps out at me (often greeting me with a loud "meewww"). Fluffy is very friendly and very affectionate and wants attention. If I don't pick her up she will be under foot the entire time and will climb up the stacked hay to jump on me. I have never met a cat like her :) but she is so much fun.

I greet the alpacas and then get their food together. We had been feeding them all in the barn, but Victoria has become the leader alpaca at our farm, and she was not letting Kateri eat. Snowstorm, being a gelded male, has a tendency to put on weight and does not need much grain, but was pushing his way into eating more. When we did a health check a couple weeks ago we monitored their weight. You can check their weight by feeling their back spine. It should feel like a triangle. If it buldges out too much they are getting too much grain. If it goes in to fast they are not getting enough grain. At our last check Victoria and Snowstorm were on the too heavy side. Kateri was on the too thin side. So to make sure Kateri is getting enough grain and Victoria and Snowstorm are getting less, I have had to separate them at meal time. They are pack animals so they do not like to be separated. I put the grain in the cups and I walk out into the field. Victoria usually follows first, then Snowstorm, then Kateri. I try to get to where I can be between them so that Kateri stays in the pasture but I heard Victoria and Snowstorm out. Some days it takes longer than others but eventually I get Victoria and Snowstorm out of the gate, close the gate and give Kateri her big bowl of food. She eats slowly so I am not that concerned about her choking (we did have an incident when Snowstorm was using that bowl that he choked but he wolfes down his food). I then put Victoria's food on one side of the barn in the cut in half PVC pipe and I put Snowstorms on the other side. I stand between these two and prevent Snowstorm from going over and eating Victoria's share. He tries to get past me but so far I haven't let him.

After the food is gone, I make sure their water buckets have some water and I'm done for the morning. In the middle here I am of course picking up and petting Fluffy as she follows me all over.

I go back to the barn between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (Depending on what else I was doing that day). I greet Fluffy, give her attention (I usually have the kids with me in the evening so they give Fluffy lots of attention). Then I feed the alpacas, again separating Kateri and standing between Snowstorm and Victoria. I make sure the water buckets are full. Then I scoop some poop (usually about 1/4 of a wheelbarrow full).

On the weekends I do additional jobs like sweep the straw in the barn into the corners. And I dump out what water is in the water buckets, rinse them, and fill with fresh water.

None of this has been very time consuming. More often I am trying to come up with things to do so that I can stay down at the barn and watch them.

1 comment:

Paige said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. My whole life I have been around cattle and horses but know nothing about alpaca. Last week my boss purchased 2 females and 1 male. They will be delivered to the ranch next week and we will be expecting our first birth next month, so I have been serching for info on what to expect. Hope they are easier than the heifers we had this year.

Pin It button on image hover