Saturday 16th December 2017
The weather decided to be a little nicer today for a few seconds (!!) and so we have let the alpacas out into the three-acre field. Out of all our stock, they make the least impact on the land due to their padded (not cloven) feet and the fact their weight is more spread out over a large area (compared to sheep and goats, and definitely cows). They were VERY happy to go galloping off down the field and start tucking into the long grass. But they did still come back to their shelter to poo, thanks guys...!!!
In light of the wet though, and the fact we have been getting a lot of 'weather' from the north this last week, we are going to board up three quarters of the front of the double field shelters and so make them far more enclosed. Last winter the comparative lack of rain meant they did not get too wet inside but this year is very different. The northerly weather has also meant more wind getting into the shelters which is also not good.
They will therefore become exactly like the cow shelters which also face north and as we know they keep fabulously dry, we are optimistic our plan will work. There is still the issue of water coming up from underneath but as with the cow shelters, the matting we use does help here. The cows are now on quite deep litter but as the sheep, alpacas and goats are lighter and the ground underneath the shelters much drier, they hopefully won’t need to be quite so deep in straw – but time will tell!!