Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Business Plan

When we started our alpaca farm in 2007, we had a business plan. It's one of the main things you need when beginning a business adventure.

It's a plan we have put into practice, over the years tweaking our plans to change with the alpaca industry yet stay true to our business goals.

My husband has spent the last couple of years doing a lot of research on farming. I know that's a broad term, but it started out that big and over the course of time he narrowed his focus. In the end, he wrote a business plan for a sustainable farm that is receiving a lot of attention from everyone who is taking a look at it. Several universities are raving reviews of it, along with some farmers deep in the farm communities.

His focus has been on grass fed animals.  Since most of a farm's resources are used to feed animals, cutting costs there is the most effective.  He was really taken in by the idea of Mob Grazing, a type of grass fed management.

This plan of his, focuses on different animals, such as sheep, chickens and cattle (his top choice would be angus beef).  That's a lot of changes for this *alpaca* farm.

Monday, July 29, 2013


We try to go away for vacation every other year.  It is true with a farm it is hard to get away.  You need someone reliable to watch the farm and there is always lots to prepare for ahead of time.  

Last year we did a few days trips so we were never really away from the farm.  That meant this year we left home. 

We decided to tour the northern parts of Michigan. There is so much to see, much of which our kids had never seen. 

Lake Superior:

Tahquamenon Falls:

Of course the bridge to get there:

The Soo Locks:

I didn't get a picture from the day we spent tubing down the river.

Oh and Fort Michilimackinac:

It was a great trip but it's really good to be home. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I am usually not one for big changes. I like a slow and steady and predictable life.  But, life is a journey and it unfolds sometimes in ways we would not predict.

I started this blog in 2007 when we began our adventure as alpaca farmers.  I named the blog "alpaca life" because, well, it's the story of our journey living with alpacas (hence the web address of: lifewithalpacas).  It's about the life of alpacas.  This past year we started to diversify our farm and added sheep.  We are now Oak Haven Alpacas, LLC and Oak Haven Sheep, LLC.

The changes aren't done.  In fact, I see more changes in our future.  So to keep this blog up with all those changes I changed the heading title from: 

alpaca life


alpaca life... on the farm

While we started as an alpaca farm, this has become more and more a farm.  It's about life on the farm, not just the life of the alpacas.  I may phase this into another name down the road, like "life... on the farm". 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


We are in the middle of a heat wave that is miserable for all.  I have been refilling water buckets with cold water multiple times a day and hosing alpacas down.  They are hot and I hate to complain but I feel like I am melting when I go out there.

We were able to shear our cria this past weekend (when we saw the forecast we knew we needed too). 

Irish cream seems to think now that she is shorn she can sun herself:

She was even doing the sun death lay -  which of course freaked me out!  She was perfectly fine, just resting. 

In this heat the cria and elderly are the most likely to have problems.  A concern is that if they start to dehydrate, it can lead to a bowel obstruction.  Having had a beautiful girl die from that a couple years ago (Cheyenne), we are more sensitive to even a remote possibility.  I make sure to hose the girls down to cool them off and put out fresh cold water for everyone.  Can't wait for this heat wave to pass! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ah spit

It appears that's what I get for putting fly repellant on a cria - an angry mom with spit. At least she spit on my hand & arm,  not my face :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Hauling off 240 bales of hay kept us pretty busy the last 2 days.

It is so nice to have hay in the barn!!

I told my kids "the family that hays together stays together."  

Even though hay is a lot of work, the kids pitch in just like we need them to.

Zack had several funny comments. When we were coming home late on Friday after moving some of the hay he said, "I guess hay is going to be our family night."  Yep buddy, by then it was too late to do much else than shower & go to bed. Then today between hay trips we stopped at McDonalds for lunch and we were joking about how we were dirty & full of hay.  Zack says, "we are the cutest family here.". Yep :) 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Cutest Thing

Living on a farm with baby animals I see quite a few cute things.

But the other day I saw the most cutest thing ever!!!

Out of this little lamb came the sweetest, cutest "bahhh" I had ever heard!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Suris on pasture

Maxine & Candy came from a farm with pasture so they knew what to do from the start:

They also have a chance to be bred to Prince:  

He is pretty happy about this!
Pin It button on image hover