A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 25, 2019

Spring into Daylight Savings with a visit to Windrush Alpacas!

Filed under: Open Farm Day — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 1:36 pm

Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas

 

Celebrate the start of longer days with a visit to Open Farm Day at Windrush Alpacas on March 9!

At Open Farm Day you will 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 the personality of many of our alpacas. 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. You may also get to see our llamas, our jersey cow Newark or one of the dogs and cats who live at the farm.

Our Farm Store will be open for you to enjoy refreshments and browse the alpaca products we have for sale. You might find a new pair of soft, alpaca socks or a bright new scarf perfect for Spring.

After spending time with our friendly animals, you might even Adopt-a-Paca while you are there! No need to take it home, we’ll care for it. You can visit on Open Farm Day or by appointment. 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 http://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 7, 2019

The First Open Farm Day in 2019

January 2019 Open Farm Day Flyer

April 28, 2009

One Paca Too Many

 

Sometimes things within the alpaca herd are a fine balance and the smallest of changes can upset that balance and cause problems.

 

Our herd pointed this out to us recently. 

 

When Marti, Orchid and Candytuft completed their quarantine period we allowed them to join the main female herd.  As usual there was much sniffing and checking out of the new additions to the herd.  We then had to figure out where Marti and Orchid were going to eat at feeding time, Candytuft at that time was not eating pellets and so we thought she would most likely go wherever Orchid went.  (Note:  Candytuft has since discovered the pellets and is now not at all shy about pushing her way into a feed bowl!).  Marti has stayed with us before and we felt confident that she would figure out a good place for her to eat.

 

Our custom at feeding time is to have the girls eat in pens in groups of similar need.  We group fast eaters together, slower eaters together, heavily pregnant girls together etc.

 

Orchid went in to eat with Chai, which worked out well as Orchid does not hold back when it comes to getting her share of the pellets and neither does Chai.  Marty started off eating with Orchid and Chai, but after a couple of days decided that she didn’t like that arrangement and instead went in with the eight dams of the fall crias.

 

We didn’t think too much about Marti’s move to a different pen.  The pen the eight girls feed in is a large one, certainly large enough to accommodate nine alpacas at feeding time – or so we thought.

 

A couple of days after Marti had moved to the bigger pen I noticed that Clarissa, who also eats in that pen, had a slight choke.  I made sure that Clarissa was okay and didn’t think too much more about it.  The next day though Clarissa started to choke again at feeding time, this time a bit harder. 

 

Choke in alpacas can be a serious problem; left unattended the choke can cause additional problems and can even result in the death of the alpaca.  Interestingly there is an article about an alpaca that died as a result of a choke situation in the latest edition of Alpacas Magazine.   The article is worth reading and explains the possible consequences of an unattended choke.

 

We were concerned that as Clarissa had choked two days in a row that she might have scratched or irritated her esophagus and so decided that we should feed her soaked feed for a couple of days.  To do this effectively we needed to put Clarissa in a pen on her own to eat, and so utilized a catch pen that we had available.  Clarissa enjoyed her soaked feed and did not choke again, but she also took really quickly to eating on her own in the catch pen.  By the second time of feeding her in that catch pen she ran over to it and was standing waiting for us as we arrived with her food bowl. 

 

Clarissa had not choked at all before Marti joined the feeding group, but apparently the addition of Marti to the group just tipped the dynamics and balance of that group enough to cause a problem.  As far as Clarissa was concerned Marti was just one paca too many.

 

Within a couple of days Clarissa was back to eating unsoaked feed without any problems with choking.  Marti and the other seven girls in her feeding group were getting along well and Clarissa was still running to the catch pen at every feeding time and so we decided to let that arrangement continue, with Clarissa now having what we refer to as “her own private dining area”.  Balance has been restored to the herd and everyone is once again happy.

 

Rosemary

November 19, 2008

The Chai Family – Masters (or Mistresses) Of Distraction

 

Our alpacas never cease to amaze me with their creativity, especially when it comes to getting more food!

 

I have mentioned before how we are fortunate enough to have several family groups of alpacas.  By family groups I mean alpacas who are directly related to each other mother/daughter, sisters, even now some grandmother/grand daughters.  The more I watch the family groups the more I realize how bonded these groups become, how they enjoy each others company and have a relationship with each other that is different from the relationship they have with other alpacas in the herd.

 

Such a group is the Chai family, which consist of Chai and three of her daughters, Cinnamon, Shiimsa and Kaneka.  The Chai family has been taught by their matriarch (Chai) that humans are to be tolerated from a distance and that all food in the immediate area is really just for them, despite what the other alpacas think.  Not one of the Chai family is backward in coming forward when it comes to food.

 

When it comes to evening chore time, certain alpacas get an evening ration of alpaca pellets.  These are alpacas that have a greater nutritional need such as late term pregnant dams or growing weanlings.  Currently none of the Chai family falls under that category and so they are not on the list to receive evening pellets.

 

According to the Chai family though there must have been some mix up in the selection of alpacas who receive evening pellets.  They feel they should get extra pellets and that I am totally wrong to exclude them from the pellet feast.

 

Our alpaca girls are pretty well trained to head into their appropriate pen when it comes to feeding time.  Most of them are standing waiting in place when I walk in with the stack of bowls containing pellets.  I say most of them, because every night without fail, there, in the last pen to be fed, stand Cinnamon and Shiimsa.

 

Cinnamon and Shiimsa are clever girls, they don’t want to stand out and get noticed, so they stand nonchalantly looking around as if they are just meant to be there.

 

So every evening I go through the process of herding Cinnamon and Shiimsa out of the pen, except now they have called in reinforcements to help them with their quest – Chai and Kaneka!  As I herd Cinnamon and Shiimsa out, Shiimsa will hesitate in the gate just long enough to let Chai and Kaneka in, so for me it’s back to square one as I start to herd Chai and Kaneka out of the pen.  But wait, just as Chai is headed out, Shiimsa or Cinnamon will cause a distraction and then bingo, before I know it another member of the Chai family is back in the pen and that family member gets really sneaky and hides from view (there are 3 –4 other alpacas in the pen who are meant to be there and who provide good cover!).

 

I’m probably not describing this as well as I could, but the actions of the Chai family are more than just a casual attempt to remain in a pen with food, it is an organized effort to ensure that at least one of the Chai family outwits me!  Without fail, I just think that I have all of the Chai family out of the pen; I shut the gate and up pops a head from one of the Chai girls!

 

I am beginning to think that the Chai family are actually a highly skilled group of distraction artists, they remind me of the gypsy children in Italy who will surround you and distract you while one of them adeptly removes your wallet, or the distraction burglars who will knock on your door, keep you busy and distracted while another one of the team steals from your house.  The Chai family are skilled at their task and succeed in outwitting me most of the time!

 

I will keep insisting to the Chai family that they are not going to get evening pellets, and they, I am sure, will in turn insist that the evening pellets should be theirs!

 

Rosemary

April 8, 2008

Feeding – When Pen Assignments Change

With the merging of the visiting girls with the main herd of girls we had to decide how to incorporate the five extra alpacas into our feeding routine for the main herd.  As it was the visiting girls and crias figured out for themselves where they should eat.

 

We feed supplement to our girls and crias in various groups within catch pens based on their nutritional needs and their personality.  What’s personality got to do with feeding you may ask, well if we put a timid alpaca in with a group of dominant alpacas we can pretty much guarantee that the timid alpaca isn’t going to get much to eat.

 

The way we feed our alpacas works well for us, some people having watched our morning routine think that it must have taken a lot of time to train our girls to go into the various pens, but alpacas are intelligent creatures who love routine and usually once you have fed a particular girl in a particular catch pen she will head back to that catch pen at feeding time.  Some of the girls even beat me to the catch pens as I am feeding and are patiently standing in the pen by the time I get there.

 

The male groups are fed differently with us placing the required number of bowls on the ground and allowing them to figure out who gets which bowl.  Male alpacas usually have less nutritional changes during the course of the year making their feed requirements simpler, but we do still monitor their weights and observe their behavior.  Should we have a male alpaca in a group that is not being allowed to get to the feed or hay then we would either make an arrangement where we could give him access to feed and hay on his own for a while, or possibly move him to a different group of alpacas.

 

With the visiting girls in the main herd, the first couple of feedings after joining the two groups was a little confusing, but only really for the visiting girls.  The main herd all know which pen they are assigned to, but the visiting girls Celeste, Marti and Cariad plus their crias Skylar and Copper were trying to find their place and so tended to go from pen to pen. 

 

Interestingly Marti, who is a maiden alpaca, immediately headed to the pen where the expectant maiden girls eat, she seemed to identify that group of girls as being similar to her and decided that is where she should eat.  Celeste headed into the second pen of girls that we feed; these girls eat at a moderate speed and are heavily pregnant.  Celeste has only just been bred, but is still nursing her cria Skylar and so is receiving a little extra supplement and it was a good fit for her to eat in that pen.

 

Cariad decided initially that eating with the llamas might be a good idea (Cariad loves her food, perhaps she thought that as the llamas are bigger they would get more to eat).  By yesterday she had changed her mind about having llamas as feeding companions and went into the same pen as Zoie, Chai and Rosie, all three of which are dominant fast eaters like Cariad and that arrangement seemed to work well.

 

The crias Skylar and Copper also did well as they headed over with the other crias to their pen.  They were a little hesitant about going into the pen though and we had to gently guide them in.   Being with a group of crias of a similar age will be good for Copper and Skylar, they were born within a short time of each other and being the only crias at their home farm they are closely bonded.  I hope am hoping that interaction with other crias will help them become a little more independent of each other.

 

We only merged the two groups on Saturday afternoon and by Monday afternoon they had everything figured out – and we think we’re the ones making the decisions.  I sometimes have to wonder!

 

Rosemary

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