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 Need to board alpacas
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Michelle3

29 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  12:06:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michelle3's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I live up in the mountains of Colorado where bears and lions are rampant, so my alpacas are secured in stalls every night for their safety. Unfortunately this set up requires 2 hours barn chores daily. Due to the economy, I have had to take on a full time job :( Im working 50-60 hours a week, and come home late at night and still have all my barn chores to do. Its becoming overwhelming. My husband (not even remotely an animal person) has been trying to help out, but Ive almost exhausted his generosity. The only solution I can think of is to find a place to board my alpacas. I was thinking of a lion/bear free location where I could "put them out to pasture", thus requiring minimal daily care and reduced quantities of hay and bedding. If any one has any suggestions, or has a the ability to board my alpacas, I would be very grateful. I have 5 males and 4 females and I have the means to transport them.

highpeaksalpacas

1291 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  5:28:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit highpeaksalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What do you have to do that takes 2 hours? Feeding and cleaning up poop for that number of animlas shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes..do you have to move them around? What is your fencing like? Have you seen predators around your farm? Let us know a little bit more about your set-up...maybe it could be less time consuming...

Due to the fact that these animals are "prey" animals..they do warrant protecting..have you considered guard animals? like a llama or some livestock guardian dogs? Give us a bit more info and maybe we can help you.


Debbie Potter
High Peaks Alpacas
Wilmington, NY
www.alpacanation.com/highpeaks.asp

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danimac

936 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  5:29:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Michelle,

Have you considered getting 2 adult livestock guard dogs? They would pay for themselves rather quickly (compared to boarding), and then you wouldn't need to lock up the alpacas.

We have both feral dogs and cougars in the general area and our GP is invaluable.

Cheers,
Dani

Dani McKenzie
Longbottom Meadows
Roy, WA
360-400-0348
http://www.longbottommeadows.com
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Michelle3

29 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  6:25:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michelle3's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have a six stall barn, and each day I turn the alpacas out and rake their stalls completely clean. I also rake their pens daily, (well, now with this job I've been slacking off to every other day). Stalls/pens take about 10-15 minutes each, so about 1-1.5 hours cleaning. Every other day I have to make bedding (soak wood pellets for 30 minutes (while cleaning)...I tried shavings but the shavings got stuck in the fiber). Each stall has two water buckets that I scrub every other day and refill daily. In the winter I have to drag the hose around to fill buckets and then make sure I drain it really well or it freezes. In the evening I secure all the alpacas back in their stalls and feed them more hay and also grain. I have to feed some separately because they were losing weight due to food competition, so that adds a little more time. I double check the buckets are at least 3/4 full and then head up to the house. Every 2 days I haul the manure spreader about 1/4 mile out into the woods to spread the manure...this seems to keep flies and odors around the barn to a minimum. Now with my new job, I now do stalls/ other chores in the evening, and just have my husband let them out and feed them in the a.m.

I have two wonderful GP dogs that are invaluable. (My neighbors donít like them barking all night, so to keep the peace, I bring them into the barn at night with the alpacas and this seems to reduce their incessant barking. They will still bark at a predator, but hey, thatís their job. :) The predators around here pose a serious threat. My neighborís dog was eaten by a lion, another other neigborís goat was eaten by a bear (and they have several dogs). Another neighbor used to breed goats as well, and despite having five GP and Anatolian guard dogs, still lost several goats each year. A lion just killed a deer in my meadow and now there are bears eating it. :( I love my alpacas and am just too paranoid to leave them out, plus that would require leaving the GP's out with them and their barking could result in a neighborhood mutiny. Sigh. Each winter several of my friends put their horses out to pasture on various ranchers lands. The horses seem happy, get fat and there is minimal care involved. It got me thinking about how I could find something similar for my alpacas. I have resigned myself to the fact that being a full time rancher wonít pay the bills and I have to work full time. So, I need to have fewer barn chores/animals in order to not run myself ragged. I have tried to sell half my herd to cut my workload, but have not had any luck, even when I reduced their prices by 60%. I didnít even breed any of my females this year because I lack the space or time to further expand my herd. I hope this doesnít come across as complaining. I love my alpacas, love them in my life, and they bring me so much joy. Itís just now with this horrid job and the long hours, I am exhausted and my husbandís patience is waning. I know I need to figure something out. Sigh.
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Christiane

2799 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  6:57:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With the low number of animals you have, why don't you just put the males in one stall and the females in another one. That's what I do and I have eight adult males, ten adult females and their four crias, that go into one pen each. That way you only have two places to clean. As far as buckets go, get some of those big tubs that are like muck buckets and fill those up every other day or so. We don't have quite the cold that you do in the winter, but it gets cold enough for the water to freeze in early November and stays that way pretty much until the beginning of March. I am going to wrap my water faucet in the barn(One of the "frost free" ones) with the foam tubing you can find at home stores and also purchase a hose that has a heating tape attached to it, so that I can water them without having to bring buckets from the house. In the past I used a plastic sled to transport the buckets fromt he house to the barn, but I am trying to make it easier for myself too. You probably are being too fanatical about cleaning, although I try to pick it up at least once a day. In the past I have done what is commonly referred to as "deep bedding" It saves a lot of time whent he weather is cold, keeps the animals warm, but is a pain to clean out in the spring unless you have a tractor or small bobcat. Check with Judith about how to do the deep bedding. She is quite an expert at that.

In addition, I have two Anatolian Shepherds that do a great job of protecting my herd. We don't normally have bears, but they are not too far away, and the coyote population is exploding around here. LThere have been rumors about a bobcat around here for years, but nobody seems to have seen one. I'm in S.W. Ohio

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-2533
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Christiane

2799 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  7:00:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I forgot to add that I use heated water tubs that hold about 40 gallons, but they do need to be cleaned out every couple of days. However, I find that they don't tend to get as dirty in the winter as in the summer and you don't have the algae to deal with in cold weather.

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-2533
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Christiane

2799 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  7:03:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OOps, not 40 gallons but they hold about 20 gallons, so quite a bit for your small herd. The smaller buckets hold about 5 gallons,and I have used those in the past as well.

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-2533
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highpeaksalpacas

1291 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2011 :  7:28:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit highpeaksalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
efficiency.
you need to take a moment and think of how to save yourself some time.. I can feed and scoop the poop of 22 alpacas in 30 minutes easily- so you need to re-think your set-up or how you stall them or something... if you just shut them in the barn at night... stall same sexes together..thenyou should have two relatively small poop piles to clean up... why do you soak wood pellets?? we use wood pellets and love their absorbing qualities..we just throw a bowlful in each inside poop are...and THEN they absorb the urine... why would you soak them first??? That would seem to defeat the entire purpose of using them. I bet you can sabe yourself some time... write down your whole routine...and then look at ways to cut some time by being efficient. if you need a hand figuring it out..feel free to give me a call..maybe talking to someone while you are reorganizing your routine will help...I'd be happy to try to help you. cell 518-524-0087

Debbie Potter
High Peaks Alpacas
Wilmington, NY
www.alpacanation.com/highpeaks.asp

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Doubletake Farm

258 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2011 :  06:03:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It would probably be cheaper for you to hire someone to clean your barn than it would be to board 9 alpacas.

Kimberly Brummitt
Doubletake Farm
Orwell, Ohio
330.766.0152
www.alpacanation.com/doubletakefarm
alpacas@doubletakefarm.com
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bobvicki

2960 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2011 :  12:03:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Look at removing the divider between several stalls to create one large stall for each sex. Then try to seed a poop pile at one end of each stall only 2 piles to clean. Don't soak the bedding unless your alpacas won't step on it to poop. If that is the case spread the bedding where you set up the poop area and lightly sprinkle the top with a watering can of a sprayer and then the top will get soft to walk on. You could also make a couple of poop boxes to keep everything together and for your amount of animals you could then clean every other day. Poop boxes work pretty well for small amount of alpacas. You also only have to remove the very wet stuff and the poop, rarely would you have to remove everything. This cuts down on expenses in addition to time.

For the water buckets you can clean one bucket, then pour the top water from the others into it, only throwing out the mucky stuff on the bottom and have a lot less water to fill or carry. You could add another bucket to each area and also use a tropical fish net to scoop out chunks and not have to empty so often.

You might also install motion sensor lights that would come on when there is movement nearby, that may discourage predators from coming up close.

With a bit of labor saving you might find that your husband actually enjoys helping you with the farm chores.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
10371 N 2210 Road
Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
641-831-3576
alpaca@htswireless.com
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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vintagealpacas

701 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2011 :  9:54:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit vintagealpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Michelle,

I can board up to 15 alpacas at my farm in Ohio. You can email me at vintagealpacas@aol.com and we can talk details. I would be happy to take on your animals and I have alot to offer. Hope to hear from you! (or anyone else who is looking to board).

Kim Rassi
Vintage Alpacas

Kimberly Rassi
Vintage Alpacas
alpacanation.asp/vintage
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rackapaca

663 Posts

Posted - 11/15/2011 :  11:06:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have 18 alpacas on the side of a mountain in Montana. I am a clean-crazy nut until it starts to freeze, then I give in a little as it doesn't smell as much when it is frozen which is now until mid-April. I use the 5 gallon heated water buckets because to be honest that is all I can carry so I dump those everyday and refill, the girls pen has 12 animals and 3 buckets and each of the boys only one bucket and 3 alpacas in each of those 2 pens. No hoses for me but I did price those heated ones to see if I wanted to try that instead of draining the hose each time. The boys are so neat that I put down some speedy dry from the auto supply store which is diatomaceous earth to help with the smell and top that with wood pellets or wood chips just to make it easy on me. I uncover the boys poop piles every time it snows so they can find the target. The girls have an outside poop "area" to call it a pile would be wrong as it is about 6' wide and 30' long and an indoor litter pan about 6' by 8' which is layered: gravel, sand, landscape cloth, more sand mixed with diatomaceous earth and topped with wood chips and about 97% of the poop ends up in that area. We take all of the poop and pile it up outside the pen by muck buckets or wheelbarrow The big pile is turned several times a year via a tractor. We have hay feeders and hay piles and use pellet pans. Our biggest issue in winter is snow removal. We are not efficient due to keeping 16 gates open and having to spread sand for traction so the animals can move around on the hills as we have had several fall and get stuck on ice patches. But we probably do more than 2 hours per day during the week after work and more on the weekends to catch up. Oh yes, we have mtn lions, wolves, bears and coyotes in the area and an old 1/2 blind LGD that still makes enough of a racket to wake us if there is a problem. Neighbor mutiny, who cares because the life saved by your dogs barking may be theirs or their animals? Good Luck, we all hope that you work something out. The idea of hiring a helping hand is a good one - a local teenager from 4H? I wanted to do that but we are 2 miles back on an unmaintained dirt road so travel isn't safe enough for me to ask someone else to do it. If anyone could make me more efficient I would love it!

Ruthann
Racka Paca Ranch
Kila, MT
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Michelle3

29 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  12:07:27 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michelle3's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you to everyone who took the time to offer suggestions...I really appreciate it. I will definitely remove the dividers between the girls so that I can get down to one poop pile. I had always presoaked the wood pellets to make them fluffy and soft for the alpacas to sleep on. The girls usually don't poop on their bedding area, but the boys are pigs and either they are pooping everywhere, or their pile is getting tossed around when they wrestle. Sigh. Great suggestion about pouring off the clean top water to refill another bucket and then just dumping out the mucky water at the bottom....in this arid landscape it would save water and time. I also didn't know I could "seed" a desired area to get the alpacas to poop in a certain spot...thanks for that helpful hint!
I would like to combine all the boys but worry about fighting. Right now they are separated into three age groups. If their fighting teeth are gone, and I combine them all, will they eventually establish a "pecking" order and only have an occasional fight. It would save SO much time to combine those three stalls, but I was afraid to try it. Also, for heated automatic waterers (if I can get them)...will mice chew through the heat tape...do I need to wrap the pipes with heat tape and then cover them with something else to prevent mice chewing?
I looked into getting some help, but we are over 6 miles up into the mountains on treacherous steep dirt roads...it's tough enough to find a pet sitter for the occasional weekend. Still...I LOVE it out here :) I will be touching base with the folks who offered to board as well and see if that makes more sense. Again, thanks!!!
PS Good point on the guard dogs...maybe that's why my immediate neighbors no longer have a bear problem. Before my dogs arrived, they had a bear in their house on two occasions. They should be thanking my dogs! LOL!
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highpeaksalpacas

1291 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  07:38:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit highpeaksalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Depending on the ages of your boys...I bet they can live together.. I do not think I would put a juvenile in with a bunch of five year olds without doing so cautiously..but I'd certainly put yearlings and above together...introduce them all in an area new to all of them...an area like a paddock or something where none of them feel it is "their turf" or... I have had great success putting them in a trailer and going for a ride..hard to chase eachother in a trailer..and they all get along fine when taken out and kept together..


Debbie Potter
High Peaks Alpacas
Wilmington, NY
www.alpacanation.com/highpeaks.asp

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rackapaca

663 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  08:06:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have tons of mice and have not had a problem with chewing on the cords. I get the buckets from the feed store and some have a coil of wire wrapped on the cord which protects anything from chewing on the wire. But even if the bucket doesn't have that coil, I still have never had a problem with either the alpacas or the mice chewing.

As for bedding, the used hay is what my girls sleep on and the wood pellets is what they poop on.

Good luck - you will be fine!

Ruthann
Racka Paca Ranch
Kila, MT
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bobvicki

2960 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  09:58:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I would like to combine all the boys but worry about fighting. Right now they are separated into three age groups. If their fighting teeth are gone, and I combine them all, will they eventually establish a "pecking" order and only have an occasional fight.

You may have to keep only 2 pens for the boys, one for the large full grown adults and a smaller one for the young (6 -14 months of age) or small slower growing males. Fighting is not the biggest worry with these males, establishing the pecking order and proving dominance by mating the young boys can cause a lot more damage and even death.

When you open up or rearrange the pens you should really clean them with something to reduce the urine smell on the floor, then seed the area where you want them to go. You might even try some "Barn Lime" in the areas you need to reduce the smell. The time cleaning them up right is an investment that pays off well in the future when you have them using only one area.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
10371 N 2210 Road
Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
641-831-3576
alpaca@htswireless.com
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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Christiane

2799 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  8:11:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have eight adult males that live peacefully with each other most of the time, even with the ten females in the same barn and only separated by about five or six feet. Only three of the girls are pregnant, the others are nursing crias and/or are open. In the summer the girls are in a different barn, but since I don't have water or electric available in the summer barn, they all have to live in the main barn in the winter. Some of the males will go outside to do their business, but not all. Ditto for the females. I have always heard that the more males you have, the better they get along, and I'm beginning to think it's true, because they used to get into "conflicts" much more when there were just three or four.

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-2533
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tortkid43

544 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  9:32:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit tortkid43's Homepage  Reply with Quote
25-30 males here depending on whom is here with me or off with some of my partners..and as some have mentioned I would never put your younger males in with the older ones..Too much can happen and none of it good... I have them seperated by ages and then of course within those groups sometime I have to juggle them around as I see who gets along with whom...Sometimes one just won't like another one for whatever reason and I have to move him to another..My point is seperate them till they are all grown and can defend themselves and then try to put them all together in a new area that none have been in so they will all think..."Hey this is something new."..and if things don't work out then you can try seperate groups...It's all a about age and personalities..At least here on my little ol place..!!

Mike

Mike and Maggie Carabajal
Rancho De La Luz Alpacas
Elgin, Tx
www.alpacanation.com/ranchodelaluzalpacas.asp
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Michelle3

29 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2011 :  11:24:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michelle3's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks! I love the idea of a trailer ride to mix them together first.
I have six males that I think I could blend together...three of them are 3.4 years old and medium built. The other three are 5-8 years old, medium to large build. The two young males that are 1.5 and two years old I will keep separate. I think you might be right....the more males the less fighting (I hope any way). I will have my vet double check all their teeth prior to moving them in together. I will also take the advice on really cleaning the pens so that I can reseed them where I want them to poop. Thanks for the advice on the mice vs wires. I wont even really need to run the heat tape all that often....just on the really cold nights. With everyone drinking, maybe enough water will move through the line and limit the risk of freezing. I will keep you all posted...I really hope I can make this all work out.
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bturner

181 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2011 :  10:19:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit bturner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Maybe you need to house train your alpacas. Nobody poops in our barn. They all go outside. 35 alpacas. Even alpacas that come from other farms to stay a while go outside to poop. Makes cleaning up a lot easier.

Brian.....

Brian and Joy Turner
Our Little World Alpacas LLC
Grafton, OH
http://www.alpacanation.com/ourlittleworld.asp
www.ourlittleworldalpacas.com
(440) 477-4300
(440) 724-7070
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Christiane

2799 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2011 :  10:39:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brian, would you reveal your secret training to get everyone to poop outside the barn? Sure would help a lot of folks.

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-2533
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