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Spring lambs join our alpacas

Get alpacas, they will keep the grass down…

That was our thought too, but our first five lawn mowers has now turned in 19 alpacas (22 by then end of summer) a few more rented fields and the need to regularly top the paddocks.

Over the last few years we have learnt two things:

  1. Alpacas are surprisingly fussy

  2. They can’t eat long grass

As a result this week saw us introducing four Mule cross lambs to the collection.

James takes both full credit and blame for their names. Barry, Brandy, Crystal and Raoule. At least letting him have these name choices mean that they won’t come up in the future as names for children!

Moir plan for these guys is they will be pets, that follow the alpacas round and tidy up the bits they won’t eat.

It also means Alfie has some new friends we can use to up his sheepdog training.

Whilst sheep and alpacas can live side by side quite happily there are a few things we need to do before these guys will be allowed out in the field.

First up we need to plan weaning. Unfortunately these guys lost their mums unexpectedly so they are being bottle fed at the moment. they have started eating hay and corn so (hopefully before we have our fingers chewed off) we will be able to reduce their milk. Having just moved their house, expecting them to come back to the shed for a feed might be a bit much at the moment.

Secondly, whilst they are in the shelter we will be doing some routine checks for parasites. One complication of keeping alpacas and sheep together is that they suffer from and carry similar parasites. However the level they are able to happily cope with is very different. Sheep (surprisingly given their reputation of wanting to try and die) can remain healthy with a parasite burden that could be fatal to alpacas.

Aligned to modern veterinary advise, we do not routinely worm our alpacas. Instead we carry out regular faecal egg counts to monitor levels and if necessary we treat. Luckily for us we have very low parasite levels in our herd currently so by checking the lambs now we can intervene if necessary and avoid any future problems.

Lastly there are a couple of patches in our hedges which, whilst more than secure enough for alpacas with their long necks and legs, some mischievous lambs may be able to easily squirm their way through.

Hopefully though they will enjoy their new home, their new friends and fingers crossed, stay where we put them!

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