Ian Pike noon, Dec. 5
Welcome to my Life on an Alpaca Ranch blog. My intent is to give updates as to what's happenin' around the ranch. You never know what you're going to see when raising alpacas and everything that goes with it. I liken it to the children's story If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, He's Going to Ask for a Glass of Milk. 1st, you cannot have just one alpaca -- you must have at least two. They are herd animals and would not be happy alone. Along with the alpacas, you need a way to guard them from predators -- neighborhood dogs are the worst predators of alpacas, then coyotes, mountain lions, bears, etc. So, a guard for the two alpacas could be a llama, a donkey, or anything that will give an alarm call if something is amiss. Okay, now we're up to three animals. Then you have to get a "companion" alpaca to stay behind with one of the alpacas if the other must go off for breeding or to a show. Now you have four animals.
We have dogs, too. Why not add a Livestock Guardian Dog (LDGD) like a Great Pyreness or an Anatolian Shepherd to patrol the property's perimeter. Did that. Unfortunately, when the LGD was a pup he was attacked by a predator and almost died. He's an indoor dog, now; however, we still had 5 animals associated with our Alpaca Ranch, among the household pets too numerous to name.
On a ranch, one usually has a barn or some such structure to house hay or equipment. Have you heard of rats or other rodents in a barn? Well...I'm not counting those as animals associated with our Alpaca Ranch. We needed to get rid of those! So, what else did we get? Barn Cats! So, we added a pair of barn cats -- hoping they would breed other little barn cats. They did. Barn cats did a wonderful job in ridding the barn of rodents; however, barn cats attract predators -- coyotes and the local bobcat. After losing over 10 barn cats over the last year, we're down to 3 barn cats, that now live in the house and do not patrol the barn. Darn!
That's it for my first blog. I hope if wasn't too boring. I'll be posting often, and I'm sure the blogs will be different as each days brings something new to think about.