Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eating time and scary sled

As we have added animals to our herd, we have had to adjust how we feed them. We have some alpaca's who are quite skinny, and we have one that tends to be a pig. We know many large farms just put out grain in bowls and let them have at it. We could do that if we could have a "skinny barn" and a "chubby barn" but we can't do that (don't have the space or the number of animals to do a split). So, instead we separate them at feeding. We use to taylor the grain to each individual alpaca, but decided now that we have this many, we only separate out the really skinny ones, and the ones who are just too much of a pig to be able to handle eating politely with others.

Our piggy alpaca is Victoria. She is at a good weight right now (using body scoring), but she could easily put on weight if allowed access to food. We limit her grain to keep her at the right weight. If any other alpaca needs to go on a diet, we put them to feed with Victoria. Right now we are letting Lily eat with Victoria. Lily does not need to lose weight, but she was eating so much so fast she was getting "choke" (which is when the alpaca literally chokes on their grain).

Here is Victoria and Lily in their secluded pen:

Our skinny girls are Sancha and Kateri. They get extra gain and eat in their area:

If you are wondering about the swingset and slide in the alpaca's pasture, yes, it is what you think it is. We joke that they all play on it at night while we are sleeping.

The rest of the girls and cria eat out of bowls set out in the paddock. And Spot eats in our back yard. He LOVES alpaca grain, so we have to make sure he is separated from them. Here he is all done eating and waiting for me to let him back in with the girls:

When I hurt my hand a few weeks ago, I had to come up with new ways to complete the farm chores. Carrying hay was very difficult and I couldn't use both hands, so I couldn't open gates with hay in my arms. I had this great idea to use the kids' sled, and pull the hay out there.

This worked well for me, but the alpacas were scared of the sled. They would jump away, but then watch the sled with suspicion. As you can see in the picture, they are staring at the sled. This is so typical of alpaca behavior. They tend to be scared of things, but are so curious at the same time.

They do run away, especially when they think I am following them with the sled:

But they do love their hay:

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