Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My daily chores are fairly minimal. Most often I choose to spend more time out with the alpacas than I really have to. The morning chores I can complete in 10 minutes max, when needed. And the evening chores can be done just as fast. But the truth is that I only rush through the chores in the morning on days I have to get to work. Other days, I take my time. And with the evening chores, I usually hang outside, finding various things to do until dinner time (I get home around 3:30 but never seem to make it inside the house until after 5).

We feed our dams and cria grain twice a day. I know some farms feed them grain once a day, or not at all. We don't feed any grain to our older boys (once they get to be near 2 years old we wean them off of grain). We've found they can maintain their body weight fine on hay and they have access to supliments if they desire. We started feeding our dams grain twice a day when we had a couple very skinny girls. Since then we just got into the habit of doing it this way. And these girls know when it's grain time. It's as if they have a watch, and once they know it's the usual time for me to be out there, they start gathering by the gates.

I feed all the 2010 cria and yearlings in the pen together, putting their bowls down in a line against their fence:

And I feed all the dams along their fence line:

The exception to this would be Victoria and Miss Kitty who are given a very small amount of grain:

Victoria puts on weight easily and being the herd leader, she'll push any other alpaca away from their grain bowl to eat their grain too. Miss Kitty came to us overweight so is on a weight loss plan. So these two girls are in their own pen. We figure Victoria will steal some from Miss Kitty, but Miss Kitty can afford to eat that much less.

Along with grain, I put out hay twice a day. I don't know why, but the hay that was just put out is always the most desired by the herd. It's not "fresh" since all the hay bales are sitting in our hay tent and were grown, harvested and delivered at the same time, but whatever is just put out is considered the best by the herd.

I also check and refill water buckets twice a day. During the evening chores I clean up poop. I try to do this everyday, since then it's not a big chore. It will all fit in one wheelbarrow trip and makes for easy work. When I wait a few days, there's that much more to deal with. And I've read that it's best to clean it up at least every three days to avoid parasites. Though on a busy evening this part of the chores gets passed over.

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