Sweet Harmony Farm

  (Deerfield, New Hampshire)
Simple joys of the alpaca life ...........
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Chasing Arlo

It’s springtime so it’s time to work on the pastures again.  Dan had done such a good job last summer, york raking up the ground to smooth it out for us to plant grass seed.  They say the best seed for alpacas is orchard grass, but we planted a horse pasture mix which includes orchard grass and many other grasses.  Alpacas are browsers while they graze, and isn’t variety the spice of life?

The grasses did come up again this spring and after a long winter of just hay, the alpacas are loving it.  Pastures are continual maintenance, and the healthier the pastures, then the healthier the alpacas.  First things first, we separated the east side of the pasture in half with a zig-zag.  We used some temporary sheep fencing, those plastic poles, and 2 strands of wide electrical tape.  There’s no need to electrify the fence as it is just temporary, to divvy up the pasture for resting and re-seeding.  We’ve also used this fencing near the main gate, separating off an area of about 10 x 20 feet, as added assurance when we enter and exit that no alpacas will suddenly decide to wander off.  It’s worked just fine.  Until now!

Last weekend it wasn’t very windy and with on again, off again showers it was perfect for adding lime.   Dan spread about 40 pounds of lime onto that separated, little pasture area.  I’m sure we could probably use a ton more on our clay soil.  Lime is great.  It helps to alkalize the soil, the first step in growing good soil and healthy grass.   In another week or two, we will re-seed, and keep the alpacas off until the new grass is in and several inches tall.  Already the grass on that side is greener.  Alpacas generally respect fencing but two things will get them to find a way to the other side:  open females, and greener grass.

Arlo is still small for his age, but he’s a brazen little dude and all personality.  One day doing barn chores I realized that he wasn’t with the herd.  A quick look around, and there he was, just on the other side of the temporary fencing.  I couldn’t figure out how he got over there.  The fencing hooks up to the barn wall with handles so I undid the handles and walked over to him.  He kept grazing.  I put my hands on him and coaxed him gently, ‘C’mon Arlo.  Let’s go back with your brothers.’  He wouldn’t budge!  I continued to coax him and with every couple of steps, he’d take another bite of grass.  We were only a few feet away from the fence line but it took me almost 5 minutes to get him back!

Coaxing Arlo out of the fenced-in side is now a daily ritual.  Although now, instead of staying up by the barn, he obstinately goes right into the middle part of the pasture.  And he’s a spunky little guy!  He does the same thing with Dan, takes a few steps, takes a bite, takes a few steps, takes a bite, and then he scoots under the lower tape, doing the limbo.  So that’s how he’s getting in!  We’ll have to put up a third strand of fencing or the new grass won’t stand a chance.        

 
 
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