My 1 Year Old Poops 3-4 Times A Day My Adventures With Farm Animals and Their Antics – What I Have Learned Along the Way

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My Adventures With Farm Animals and Their Antics – What I Have Learned Along the Way

The Alpaca “lifestyle” advertised on television piqued my interest, so I began my research. As a lifelong animal lover, the thought of having a few of these wonderful creatures was too tempting to pass up. I bought ten acres, 6 alpacas, lots of fences and gates, and here I am! The business purpose didn’t work out well, but I didn’t regret getting them at all. (Nice tax shelter, beautiful fiber.) I get such a peaceful feeling when I look at them outside.

My herd consists of 3 boys and 3 girls kept in separate areas. Boys always want to get to girls (surprise!) and once they succeeded. It was funny in retrospect because they made sounds I had never heard before and couldn’t describe. Each has its own unique personality. Like dogs, there seems to be an alpha male (Gianni Versace) and a female (Miranda). By the way, I didn’t name them, since they were already registered. Both Versace and Miranda try to monopolize the feeding bowls and the hose. The other girls are Titania and Lola. The other two males are Gus and Truman. Girls mostly like to run and roll in the grass. Boys are a little more angry. The first time they “fight” scared me, but eventually they calmed down. These outbreaks occur more often when the weather changes and they don’t actually hurt each other. It is a wonderful sight to see them rear up on their hind legs as they are only five feet tall. (Most people who came through think it would be higher.)

Alpacas are fairly easy to keep and maintain. I keep the boys in one pasture, the girls in the other. Each area has a shelter to protect them from rain, wind, hail and sun as needed. Their diet consists of hay, grass and alpaca chews made by Purina. I also give alfalfa and sweet horse feed. They are dewormed with Ivermec once every 6-8 weeks, their toes (there are 2 per foot) 3-4 times a year, as needed. Shearing takes place once a year before the heat and humidity of the summer months sets in. It may come as a surprise to some that alpacas can handle cold better than humidity and heat. They come from South America, but from mountainous regions where it is cooler. During the summer months I keep outdoor shop type fans and they will just coo (the term for kneeling alpacas) in front of them. They also love getting their tummies and feet wet and mine will be fighting to be first at the hose!

During my research, both online and talking to alpaca owners, one of the primary concerns was the protection of my pacas. from predators. There are coyotes and dogs, even a stray mountain lion and bobcat in this area. Some suggested I get a donkey to keep these intruders away and maybe let him run with the alpacas. That’s why I got a donkey.

Miniature Sicilian, about 1 year old when I got it. This turned out to be more of a burden than it was worth (although I loved him and found him a great home.) He would occasionally bark when coyotes were around, but I couldn’t let him run with the alpacas for fear of him “playfully” kicking the their belly, which is their vulnerable spot. (Keeping a separate pen for him and wondering if he was lonely for a donkey pal also played a part in my finding him a better home.) The “last straw,” all pun intended, was when a surprise I had a visitor at Newon. Day of the year. When alpacas see something they don’t recognize and aren’t quite sure about, they make this high-pitched whine to alert the rest of the herd. Well today they were LOUD and to my utter dismay there was a rather large full grown pig 10 meters from the gate to the girls run! The donkey could care less. (The pig’s owner was on the scene quickly to take his ham home, thank goodness.) As it turns out, alpacas are better “guard animals” than donkeys.

The chickens get along better with the alpacas than my dogs. Although I have always had dogs, chickens are a new experience for this farm girl. Again, a neighbor suggested I get chickens to help with the ticks and fleas that make my dogs and I miserable. That’s why I got chickens. Third this year, I’ve had chickens and I’ve already got the ‘new kids’ in a spare bedroom. So far I have 4 Black Sex Links, 3 New Hampshire Reds and 4 Barred Plymouth Rocks. 25 chickens in the last 2 years has really eliminated the tick problem and keeps the alpacas and dogs from getting fleas. I was worried about the cold winter, but chickens are smarter than I thought. They lay on the woolly backs of the alpacas, who don’t seem to mind (although the chicken meat in their rumps does hurt.) While some people say the chickens are messy, I don’t see that as a problem. They are great layers and selling the eggs is a good way to get some gas money! Blue and green eggs are “pure” according to my family, who are used to nothing but the store-bought variety. The downside of chickens and dogs is that the chickens enter the dog’s fenced area. Guess who wins?

Of course, the dogs win the war. I have always had and always will have dogs. Before my dogs (2 King Charles Cavaliers, a rescue Mastiff/Great Dane mix, and 2 rescue Chihuahua mixes) go outside, the “girl check” is done. If chickens (which I thought were flightless birds, but I was wrong) are in the dogs’ area, the dogs stay inside!

Dutchess, my big rescue girl, is the worst offender when it comes to chickens, but it’s pretty funny to see her reaction when one of the alpacas runs towards her. It must have been spot on. Some alpaca owners recommend getting a dog (mostly Great Pyrenees or Anatolian Shepherd) to guard the herd, but that doesn’t work for me. Versace considers dogs a food group (not that he’s offended by them, but he doesn’t like dogs.)

For the most part, my creatures coexist peacefully and are a major stress reliever for me as they seem to do something to make me smile every day. I have found that while advice from others is always welcome, I have to decide what works for me and the animals I keep. What is the next step? More variety and more creatures are definitely in my future as long as my two rules are followed. The first rule is to never have an animal that can hurt or kill you, while the second is to never have an animal that needs to be killed or hurt for profit. I love life on the farm!

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