Sunday, January 1, 2012
Here's a shot from the back deck of the area we're clearing for the alpacas. Eventually will cover about 3/4 of an acre. After we get the trees out we plan to take down, we'll be putting up a fence and building a run-in type shed. Alpacas are hardy and like the cold so the shed is there to get them out of the wind but is open on one side. They don't like to be penned up with four walls so this lets them get out of the heavy weather but still have an open view- we'll have an overhang on the front of the shed as well. Here's the start of the clearing work. We had other space on the property that could be ready with less work but decided we wanted them nearby so we could seen them from the house!
Second picture shows why one of the trees that we would have otherwise have pulled down is still there.
Donna and I have decided to purchase a few alpacas so we can use the fiber. Planning to learn to spin yarn and use it for various projects and weaving. Should be fun- we bought a small loom and spinning wheel as Christmas presents to each other- will see how that goes. There are a couple of local alpaca farms nearby who have been great to work with answering our questions and filling us in on what it takes to raise these animals. We're not looking at breeding or getting in to anything exotic, just a few pet type animals we can use for fiber. We bought the first two last week, Leonardo and Toby. Both are a few months old and will be weaned in February or March so we have a lot of work to do to get ready.
Here are a couple of pictures. Leonardo is the small one, just over 17 pounds when this was taken, that is being held- he was having trouble getting enough milk from his mother to gain weight but recently another alpaca mom at the farm has started to let him nurse and the pounds are starting to build- good news as we were worried for a while. He has one ear that is crooked so isn't a candidate for further breeding- that makes him perfect for us as his fiber looks good. Toby has had no problem gaining weight and will likely be ready to be on his own early. Toby has bright blue eyes and is at least partially deaf, again, no issue for us and looks to have great fiber. There is a fiber mill where we'll be able to take the fleece (each animal is sheared once a year in the spring) nearby that will turn the fleece in to material that can be used for spinning in to yarn, we'll take it from there we hope.
We're looking for 2-3 more animals to get started, trying to get various colors so we can make yarn without resorting to dye but don't want to pay a fortune for them. Leonardo is a light fawn color and Toby is white. Enjoy the pictures, sure there will be more in the future. We're purchasing our alpacas from Bear Garden Farms.
Next post will be about starting the pasture area.
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