Friday, 25 October 2013

B & B for Alpacas

Having survived the terrible winter and summer last year when for the first time we had to keep our alpacas in the barn for several weeks, we have had a change of plan this year.  We have sold off about half the herd this year and are left with just 24 now.   The female alpacas are in the "winter" paddocks which boasts a large shelter in one corner, and the young males are in the home paddocks with the three older stud males free ranging around the farm yard area.

Rather than having to occupy the barn for long periods, thus making it unavailable for any other purpose, we have decided to house the alpacas over night in the shelters.   Whilst it is not yet cold we have had torrential rain sometimes (usually when I am out without a coat) and when it happens during the night as well as the daytime the animals do not dry out.  If this were to be combined with cold weather, they could well get very cold indeed.

At the end of the afternoon, Dolly and I wander down to the winter paddocks and get the girls into an enclosure around the big shelter where they have hay and water under cover.  We then do the same with the males - except that they are shut into their shelters as there are not so many of them.

As they are creatures of habit I am expecting that they will soon be mooching towards the shelters themselves at the end of the day and all I will have to do is shut the gates.

In the morning when I let them out they often do not bother for a while and finally stroll out in their own time, so they obviously enjoy their indoor accommodation with ad lib food.

The sheep just follow the alpacas and the goats, bless them, run for cover at the slightest hint of rain.

The chickens are wallowing around in mud in their pens at the moment and the shorter days are taking their toll on the egg production.  Although they free range during the day, we have to shut them in for safety at night and they come out as soon as it is daylight and so have time to scratch around in the mud.   I have ordered some more grit to spread in the pen in an effort to keep it cleaner.   This will make my job of feeding etc: more pleasant and also help to avoid dirty eggs.

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