The Fat Ewe Farm 
    and B & B permaculture farmin' 
  for the lazy you's and
 Bed, Breakfast 'n Bale


Alpaca Story

Posted by Fluffy on November 30, 2012 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The Fat Ewe Farm only has two alpacas, both white and neither one particularly well conformed or special. They are also not very friendly, but they can be handled for toenail trimming and shearing. 

In the winter, the alpacas sleep with their legs tucked underneath them, called the kush position and their long necks spread forward. Their thick wooly fibre protects them well from the cold it seems. They do have a shelter, but so far this year have not gone into it and the temperature remains low with snow falling every two days. The male alpaca grows wool over his eyes and the hair has to be trimmed or his vision becomes quite limited. The alpaca fibre is very very soft and warm, warmer than wool without the scratch. Different alpacas have different grades of fibre and neither Dwayne or Ethel of the Fat Ewe have particularly fine grades, however; it is still great for felting. They do not seem to be distressed by the cold though, thank goodness. In some parts of the country alpacas are sheared in spring and again in fall, but in this part of the world, there would not be time to regrow warm enough fibre if they were sheared twice. This spring a gentleman will come and shear the two alpacas and after that, if I have learned enough, I will do it. If I shear 3 or 4 animals per day, with approximately 30 animals, it would take 10 days or so to shear everyone without breaking my back doing so. Dwayne looks kind of like Chewbacca from Star Wars, only he is white. Don't you think so?

Dwayne and Ethel

Posted by Fluffy on October 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Dwayne and Ethel came with the Jacob ewes. There was a third alpaca, a little brown teddy bear, but it died shortly after arriving, overtaken by worms and starving to death, unknown to me. I did not know about worms and alpacas then and that was a hard way to learn. Dwayne and Ethel live with the sheep, not the llamas. They are not much bigger than sheep, actually only taller, but not as heavy. They are sort of endearing, but I am almost positive these two got the short end of the stick when it comes to brains. Maybe all alpacas are that way, but I have never known any others. 

They are quiet, unobtrusive, and somewhat unfriendly. I tried to befriend them for a month when they arrived, catching them several times a day and holding them, petting them and talking to them. It made no difference to them, or to the Jacob ewes for that matter. They came from a place where they had never been handled and they did not change. So, they basically hang around with the sheep, eat what the sheep eat, including the minerals and salt and do not do much else. The sheep shearer refused to shear the alpacas, so they went unshorn, however; I have contacted a local person who  will come to shear both the alpacas and llamas this coming year. In the meantime, Dwayne and Ethel are amusing and a bit cute, aren't they?

Jim Said, "If You're Gonna Have Livestock, You're Gonna Have Deadstock."

Posted by Fluffy on November 24, 2011 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A new friend, a fellow sheep farmer, said that. I looked at him in disbelief. But why does it have to be that way. I surely should be able to care for the animals so they do not die. What sort of farmer would I be if I didn't. And yet, the new little alpaca cria was found dead in her pen this morning. There is no sign of illness or stress or struggle. She was still warm, eyes wide open. I feel so ignorant for not knowing there was a problem. Maybe she was too young to leave her mother or maybe she was sick, something internal that had no outward symptoms, but whatever it was, Jim was right. 

Thank you little cria for your life. I honour you and respect you in your death. You enriched my life for the brief period that I had the privelege to know you. Blessings. 

Bringing the Babies Home

Posted by Fluffy on November 10, 2011 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Alpacas are such soft, gentle creatures and so cute. The animals I picked up were mostly wild in that they had not been handled at all. It took two of us to catch them and get them loaded into the back of the pick up truck. Alpacas and llamas usually lie down to travel and they did, but the Jacob sheep stood the whole way, a 3 hour trip. It was dark when I got home and I devised a chute with two blankets, actually old curtains and made the critters jump out of the truck into their quarantine stall. There I will tame them, worm them, trim their nails and check them over for any signs of deficiencies, prior to being added to the flock. There are now as of today 20 ewew, 2 wethers, and 3 rams, plus the 3 baby alpacas and 3 female llamas and one new male llama. Sheep, alpacas and llamas can cohabit very well together, but the llamas currently have the run of the 160 acres. The male llama prompty jumped the fence as though it did not exist and followed the girls out to the pasture. They do come in daily for water and treats and there is a nice pile of hay for them at all times as well. Welcome my Jacobs and baby alpacas!

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