Welcome to Secluded Wood Alpacas blog.
This part of our website is a chronicle of setting up and running our new alpaca farm in Sooke, BC. We started with a house on 4 acres of forested land and needed to end up with a property suitable for raising alpacas and assorted other critters.
This is our journey.
|Posted on April 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM|
Alpaca breeders are often asked; "Why alpacas?"
The Short Answer:
1) Alpaca are relatively easy and inexpensive to care for.
2) Almost every part of the alpaca, including its excrement, is usable.
3) They are gentle, loving creatures that will warm your heart.
1) Alpaca are relatively easy and inexpensive to care for.
- You don't need tractors or fancy farm equipment in order to maintain a small herd. We have a modest herd of 14 alpacas and get by quite easily with a leaf rake a shovel and a wheelbarrow.
- Unlike cows, horses and many other livestock that often deliver their young in the middle of the night and require assistance from the owner or a vet, alpaca have relatively care free deliveries and it is uncommon for a baby alpaca, known as a cria, to be born in the evening or during the night. They are often born mid morning, allowing sufficient sunlight and warmth to allow the cria to dry.
- They have fewer veterinarian needs than many livestock, and many of the tasks they do require can easily and safely be done yourself, saving you big money.
- Alpaca are also relatively inexpensive to feed. They only require about 2.5 pounds of hay per day, while a horse could eat ten times that amount or more daily.
2) Almost Every part of the alpaca is usable.
- Fibre: Alpaca fibre is considered one of the world's "luxury" fibres, along with cashmere, angora and mohair, and is known worldwide for its excellent comfort, warmth and durability.
- Meat: While it is quite taboo for many people,and we do NOT use alpaca in this way at Secluded Wood, alpaca were created by the pre-Inca people not only as a constant and renewable supply of amazing fibre but also as an excellent source of lean, healthy protein. Alpaca meat ranks as one of the healthiest meats available.
- Manure: Because alpaca manure is relatively low in nutrient content (N-P-K), as compared with other manures, it can be used, even in large quantities, without the fear of OVER fertilizing or "Burning" your plants. Because of its non-burning quality, alpaca manure does not need to be composted prior to spreading on the garden. Landscapers love alpaca manure because it can be mixed in with soil to add bulk and conditioning, thereby increasing the soils ability to retain moisture. Alpaca manure comes in pellet form, much like rabbit or dear, making it easy to spread thin for broadcast fertilizing, or pile high as a nutritious mulch that will help protect from weeds. Then as the "mulch" breaks down you get a good slow release of low level, non-burning N-P-K. It is fairly odorless and can be used on outdoor or indoor plants.
3) Alpaca are gentle, loving creatures that will warm your heart.
- Well, a picture says a thousand words:
So when someone asks me; "Why alpacas?", I simply say "Why NOT!?"
|Posted on April 5, 2014 at 10:15 AM|
The first thing that came for us was the desire to have fresh, farm raised eggs, from happy, non-genetically modified chickens. And it grew from there.
O'Natural. No dye required. Eggs from Cochin, Naked Neck and Easter Egger chickens.
We built our first chicken coop soon after we moved into the new farm, so we could produce our own eggs.
We started with a variety of heritage breed birds.
After several months of the new flock settling in, we had our first egg.
Soon, the six hens we started with were giving us a few eggs every day.
Heritage breeds don't lay as frequently as the gmo birds so we needed a larger flock for the amount of eggs we wanted to produce. We decided to grow our flock ourselves, so we borrowed a primitive incubator and started breeding.
We only ended up with 2 hatch-lings that year. These are our very first eggs successfully hatched. Paris and Nicole.
Paris became Perry when we finally figured out he was a rooster. That little hatch-ling is now the "Main Man" for the flock.
We wanted better success with breeding so we bought an incubator and got at it.
Matt with a group of chicks; Naked Necks, Cochins and Easter Eggers.
|Posted on February 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM|
This is NOT normal alpaca behaviour. Alpaca are "herd animals" and like to be close together, however, when feeding they generally want enough space between themselves so they don't feel they are in competition for the food. This goes for trough feeding or when grazing on pasture.
Our herd has grown up to learn that hay is fed "Family Style", where everyone has to get along at the dinner table...and a small table at that. We started our herd with 3 female alpacas and using outside males at first for studding, their offspring have grown our herd to 13. Since they have all grown up together as a family they have had to learn to get along in the space provided, which at times can be a bit cramped. But by doing a bit of behaviour modification we have been able to train our animals to get along better than the average herd at meal time. Don't get me wrong, we do have the occasional squabble over who gets to the table first, but nothing worse than the family style dinner at my house growing up as a kid.
Being herd animals, alpaca form strong bonds and can have difficulty being removed from one herd and introduced into another. The new herd can often be anything from stand-offish to downright aggressive to the new member of the herd. Prior to coming to our farm, Allegria, a 5 year old, had never been away from her mother. We have a couple of fairly strong, dominant females in our herd so were not sure how Allegria was going to fit in. So the fact that within a few short weeks Allegria feels comfortable enough in her new herd to be crammed in at the table is a testament to our herd as well as to Allegria's gentile disposition and prior excellent training.
|Posted on January 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM|
This is Allegria, which translates into "JOY". She is the newest member of our herd and comes to us from Bella Cria Alpacas in Cowichan Valley.
|Posted on December 6, 2013 at 2:10 AM|
Here is a sample of the new products NOW available at the "farm gate" and soon to be available in the webstore.
Fringed Design Scarves
Fashin Cable Socks
Mix and match to get JUST WHAT YOU WANT !