Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Girl's new home

I think an ideal alpaca farm set up would have several separate areas to segregate different animals. I could see reasons for various different ways to do it. One set up could be having an area for pregnant/birthing moms, a maiden area and a weanling area. Another way I could see is having a "heavy" area for those girls you don't want to have any extra grain, and a skinny area for the ones who have a hard time keeping on weight (you could put more alfalfa in that pen). I have often wanted the heavy/skinny separation being that we have Victoria who will eat anything and everything but doesn't need to, and we have Sancha who got so thin we had to wean one of her cria early. We've found ways to feed her more and Victoria less, but some times that is a pain. We put in a new area this spring, which we plan to use to separate out the weanlings and the un-bred maidens (PoPo, Rosco, Cafe and Tehya). This way the pregnant, birthing, and nursing mothers are not bothered by last years babies and un-bred maidens (on our farm this would mean PoPo, Rosco, Cafe and Tehya in one area, the bred females, Sancha, Victoria, Kateri and Maddie in another area). Well, since this last show, we decided to make a switch on this and move out last weekends show animals.

Another good reason for a separate area would be for the farm's show animals. I have heard of big farms having their show string separated from the rest of the farm animals. This creates a sort of quarantine so that if an animal that went to a show picked up something there, they would not infect the entire herd, especially the young or pregnant girls. This is what we ended up doing. It seems Tehya isn't feeling well (an upset intestines). At this point we don't know that it is even contagious, but since we can separate her out, we will. We don't want to risk any chance of infecting the pregnant girls, or Rosco, who is going to a show this weekend. So we moved Tehya, Cafe and PoPo to the new area. These three were all at the same show, in the same stall. So if Tehya did pick up something, the other two have already been exposed anyway.

They seemed to like moving into the new area. These funny animals love to eat up the woods grass:

The girls have already eaten all the woods grass in their current area, and I expect the small amount that is in this new paddock will be chewed down shortly. I haven't found woods grass to be harmful to them (nothing I've found on-line indicates it to be toxic, and they ate it up last year with no ill effects). Technically oak leaves are toxic to them. When we first had our alpacas I was paranoid about this. But after having them for awhile, I've come to respect the part that it would have to make up most of their diet in order for it to be toxic. I certainly am careful not to let leaves sit in their water (the tannins in the leaves will seep into the water and would be toxic). But overall I find the leaves don't bother them as long as they have plenty of hay to make up the majority of their diet. We always make sure they have plenty of hay.

Here is Cafe with a mouth full of woods grass:

The inside of their shelter is stocked with water and hay and fans:

After Rosco comes back from the show this coming weekend we will put her in with these girls in the new area. That will leave the pregnant girls, Sancha, Victoria, Kateri and Maddie alone in the old area. Sancha is due in less than a month, and Maddie is due a week later. It won't be long and there will be cria roaming about - I can't wait!

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