A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 24, 2020

New Beginnings – Think Like a Mother Hen

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 1:47 pm

There was early morning excitement at the farm this week.   The post office called us to let us know our shipment of chicks had arrived.

It’s always fun to go to the post office to collect a shipment of chicks.  These chicks had come from a hatchery in Ohio and with recent reports of delays in the mail we were concerned that the chicks would have a swift journey here.  Fortunately, they did, and our mail carrier Mike handed me a box that had lots of chirping sounds coming from it!

When chicks are shipped from the hatchery there is a little heat pad in the box but of course that heat pad only lasts a little while. The heat pad for our chicks still held a little heat but to make the chicks more comfortable I turned the heater on in the car for the journey home.  Fortunately, the day hadn’t started to heat up yet and I didn’t roast!

Having raised chicks before we had a brood box already set up and the chicks were soon settled into their new home with fresh water with some probiotics added (they were quite thirsty!) and chick feed.  I also mixed up some GroGel that was sent by the hatchery, which is a product that contains lots of vitamins and enzymes to help replenish the chicks after their journey.

When we raised chicks before we followed the standard formula of keeping the chicks at 90-95 F for the first week and then decreasing the heat by five degrees each week.  To facilitate this, we used a heat lamp and kept the brood box in an enclosed room – boy it was hot in there!  When we raised our last batch of guinea keets (baby guinea fowl), I invested in a brood plate to replace the usual heat lamp used to raise chicks, keets and other newborn birds.  The brood plate is a safe heated plate that the chicks can sit under, just like they would sit under a mother hen.  It is less intense than a heat lamp, uses less electricity and the fire hazard risk is considerably less.  With the brood plate the only heated area is right under the plate so the temperature in the rest of the brood box can vary a lot depending on the temperature of the building the brood box is in.

Being located on the high plains and in a dry environment our evening temperatures can take a dramatic drop from our daytime temperatures.  Last night it was particularly chilly and late at night I started to wonder if the chicks would be okay.  Should I have the heat lamp on as well as the brood plate?  I had turned the heat lamp on earlier but at my last check all of the chicks were at the far end of the brood box away from the heat lamp. They looked as if they were having a lazy day at the beach, stretching out, their wings a little bit away from their bodies.  Maybe they were now too hot?

I decided to do a little research and came across a very good article called “How Much Heat Do Chicks REALLY Need? Think like a Mother Hen” (You can access the article here: https://the-chicken-chick.com/how-much-heat-do-chicks-really-need/)

Having read through the article I realized that my chicks probably were too hot with the heat lamp on.  The article points out that baby chicks who are raised by a hen will often forage with the hen in much cooler temperatures than the standard heating formula for baby chicks recommends.  When the chicks start to feel cool under the hen they will go.  Additionally, like people, different chicks have different heat requirements.

So today I have followed the advice in the article. I have turned the heat lamp off and set the brood plate so that one end is higher than the other.  I have also reduced the space in the brood box a little with a cardboard divider and will leave this in place for a couple of days while the chicks learn that the brood plate is a warm place to go when they need it.  During my frequent checks throughout the day the chicks have appeared content and happy.  Sometimes a couple have been under the brood plate, most times all the chicks have been out and about checking out their surroundings or contentedly sleeping. 

While the chicks are enjoying their new beginning at the farm, I am learning a new beginning in chicken rearing.  I am using the new methods I learned during my research last night, thinking like a mother hen.  Of course, I will still be concerned about them like a mother hen, especially during the evenings when the temperature drops, but using my newfound knowledge I can now make sure my chicks are nicely comfortable rather than being baked by a heat lamp!  No roast chickens here!

Read more stories at: https://www.windrushalpacas.com/s/stories

September 11, 2020

The grass is always greener – or is it the water is always cleaner?

Filed under: Alpacas, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 11:01 am

This week saw a sudden change in temperature at the farm – from Summer to Winter overnight! One day it was in the high-90s, the next day temperatures were in the mid-30s and with the strong winds it felt like it was in the 20’s – brr!  We also got a little rain, for which we are always grateful, and that set my mind thinking about water.

When we first purchased alpacas, I remember reading about how alpacas and llamas love fresh water and how important it was to ensure they always had a clean, fresh supply of water.

Over the years we have had various water tubs and buckets, along with a few automatic waterers which are great at providing fresh clean water. The automatic waterers require a much more complicated installation than a bucket and come at a higher price than a bucket, but they really do a good job.

We have spent many hours keeping water buckets clean, scrubbing off algae and removing sand that has been added to the water by water loving alpacas sticking their feet in water buckets, as several of ours like to do.

Many alpacas have a love or water. In the hot months they love to stand in it, they beg to be hosed down on their legs and bellies for a cooling “shower” and they also love to drink it. But somewhere along the line the alpacas didn’t read the alpaca manual about fresh, clean water. Over the 21 years I have had alpacas and have observed alpacas I have learned something – alpacas like tasty water and sometimes that means it’s not clean!

When we have a heavy rainfall at the farm, we often get large pools of water forming. I can guarantee that when that happens, the alpacas will choose to drink from those pools of not such clean looking water rather that drinking from the clean bucket of water that has been set out for them. They will stand with their feet in the pooled water and take long drinks. It’s fun to watch the water travel down those long necks as the alpacas swallow. Sometimes in the summer the pools of water even have tadpoles that have hatched in the water, or toads hopping about the edge of the water, or water bugs or mosquito larvae but the alpacas love that water over the water in the water buckets.

There is more to the alpaca/water relationship than taste though. Like humans, some like their water one way, others like it a different way. Cinnamon and Geraint love to drink the water as it is coming out of the faucet before it hits the tub. When I take a bucket of water over for the chickens Black Prince, Choco and Espresso will meet me the door to the chicken coop and will beg to drink that water from that bucket, even though it is from the very same faucet that the water in their own water bucket came from! Coraline loves to stand in the water, mainly in the spring and summer but sometimes even on cool winter days. Black Prince likes to drink the water as soon as it has hit the bucket, pushing the hose out of the way with his nose so he can do so. When we have a sick alpaca, we might have him or her isolated in a pen so that we can monitor food and water intake. Over the years we have learned that we need to ensure that other alpacas can’t reach the water in the sick alpaca’s pen, as when alpacas see another bucket of water it instantly becomes attractive to them. In alpaca land while the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it seems as if the water is cleaner (or tastier) on the other side of the fence too!
While I can provide fresh water every day, I cannot stop the alpacas from quenching their thirst from a puddle, no matter how murky that puddle appears to be. They have the choice between that puddle and clean water and somehow I don’t think my chasing them away form that puddle will stop them from drinking it, after all they know I have other things to do and eventually I wont be there to watch them. 

It’s fun to watch the different alpaca personalities with their different preferences for water. At the end of the day if they are drinking water, and the water they are drinking is safe, then I am happy to let them drink the water of their choice.  As Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “A man of wisdom delights in water.”  Apparently, our beautiful alpacas delight in water too!

Read more Stories from the Farm at https://www.windrushalpacas.com/s/stories

March 9, 2020

C’mon Out to Open Farm Day this Saturday

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:36 am
Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas 03/14/2020 10 am to 2 pm

March 2, 2020

There’s a Hint of Spring at Windrush Alpacas!

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 1:30 pm
Alpacas at Windrush Alpacas

Spring is just around the corner, and our alpacas are certainly excited about the warmer temps and hints of grass that will begin to sprout up in the next few weeks. How about you? Is it time to come outdoors and spend some time with the alpacas?

Shake off those winter blues and join us for our next Open Farm Day on Saturday, March 14, 2020 to learn about alpacas, see their full winter coats (shearing will take place in April and May) and take a tour of our farm. Visit us anytime between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

On an Open Farm Day tour you will get to personally meet our owners and many of our alpacas. You will learn a bit about each one. (They all have different personalities, you know!) We will explain how we care for them and how their soft fleece is turned into the beautiful yarns, garments and toys that are sold in our Farm Store.

Our Farm Store will be open for your shopping pleasure during Open Farm Day! 

After spending time with our friendly animals, you might even Adopt-a-Paca! No need to take it home, we’ll care for your special friend! We’ll tell you all about our program when you visit!

Bring your family, your friends, your co-workers and anyone who needs to get outside in the sunshine and join us for this informative and fun day! And don’t forget your camera! Our alpacas love to take selfies with you!

We have ample free parking, it’s free admission for everyone, and we even offer hot and cold refreshments to our visitors. Windrush Alpacas farm is located us 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas. For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca

February 3, 2020

Spend Your Saturday with Alpacas!

Filed under: Open Farm Day, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 9:46 am

January 27, 2020

Warm Up Your Heart with a Visit to Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 9:27 am
Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas

Winter getting to you? Warm up your heart and hands visiting with our herd of friendly alpacas at Open Farm Day! Visit on Saturday, February 8 between 10 am and 3 pm.

During your visit to our farm, we will tell you about our alpacas (and their names!), tour you around the farm and explain to you all you want to know about raising alpacas.

Don’t let cold keep you away! Our toasty, heated Farm Store will be open for you to warm up in and to see (and buy!) all the different socks, scarves, hats and other products made from alpaca fleece. And if we must, we’ll even bring an alpaca inside! You’ll get hot chocolate – the alpaca will get your attention!

Get out of the house and do something different!  If you’ve been here before, come again! There is always something interesting to learn and see at Windrush Alpacas. Stop by anytime on Saturday, February 8 between 10 am and 3 pm!  Make sure your phone or camera are with you too! Our alpacas love for you to take their picture.

Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca .

January 6, 2020

First Open Farm Day of 2020 is this Saturday!

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 9:44 am
Open Farm Day at windrush Alpacas January 11, 2020

December 30, 2019

It’s a New Decade & The Perfect Time to Visit Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas

Filed under: Open Farm Day, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 8:08 am
Open Farm Day Fun at Windrush Alpacas

A new decade means it’s time to find new ways to relax and have fun! Spending time with alpacas is a unique, joy-filling way to do both.  Join us at Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas on Saturday, January 11, 10 am to 3 pm.

Visiting an alpaca farm is a different kind of entertainment and a great way to be outdoors. A tour of our farm is a wonderful way to get in touch with nature! You will learn why we chose to raise alpacas and how we care for them. Our alpacas each have a name, and very different personalities. You’ll get to feed them and feel their soft fleece. A visit to the farm is a true hands on experience.

While here, stop in our Farm Store. We sell toasty, warm alpaca products. Warmer than wool and softer than cashmere, we have luxuriously soft alpaca scarves, gloves, mittens, and hats… and everyone’s favorite, socks and slippers.

Admission is free and refreshments will be served at the Farm Store. If it’s a little too cold, we’ll bring one of the alpacas inside too for you to visit with and feed.

Start your new year in a new way.  And if you’ve been here before, come again! There is always something interesting to learn and see at Windrush Alpacas. Stop by anytime on Saturday, January 11 between 10 am and 3 pm!  Be ready for plenty of picture taking too!

Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca

December 9, 2019

Holiday Open Farm Day this Saturday!

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 8:58 am
Celebrate the Season at Windrush Alpacas Open Farm Day Saturday December 14, 2019.

December 2, 2019

Create a New Holiday Tradition Visit Windrush Alpacas on Open Farm Day

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 7:54 am
Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas

We don’t have reindeer – but we do have alpacas! And visiting with our herd at Open Farm Day is always fun for the whole family! Our Holiday OFD is December 14!

During your visit you can tour the farm, learn, about alpacas, and how we use their fleece. You can interact with and feed the alpacas – even learn their names! Each one is unique and very special to us!

We make holiday shopping easy too! Our Farm Store is stocked with gifts for everyone on your list. Alpaca gloves and hats, scarves and shawls, and unique toys for kids! Imagine how surprised your friends and relatives will be when they open a soft and warm gift made from alpaca fleece.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be served at the Farm Store.

The Farm Store will also be open December 7 & 21, in case you can’t make it to Open Farm Day. Hours are 10-3.

A unique gift idea is to enroll your friends in our Adopt-A-Paca© program. Your gift recipient can have a very special alpaca to visit if they visit the farm! But even if they can’t, they will get an official certificate, a picture of their alpaca and occasional letters from them too! You can choose which alpaca to adopt for them. And why not adopt one for yourself as well?

Create special holiday memories by attending Open Farm Day.  There is always something new to learn and see at the farm, so if you’ve been here before, please come again! Stop by anytime on Saturday, December 14 between 10 am and 3 pm!  Be ready for plenty of picture taking too!

It’s always free admission and free parking. Windrush Alpacas farm is located just 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas. For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca

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