Friday, October 29, 2010

I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your shelter down!

  Wow, what a wind storm we had in N. Michigan on Tuesday & Wednesday.  I know it wasn't as bad here as other states where tornados had spawned from this huge storm, but needless to say, it was the worst wind storm that I can remember.  They clocked wind gusts Wednesday on the Mackinaw Bridge at 83 mph. We had lost electricity for a few hours. We are again very lucky as some of our neighbors are still without power as of this post today.
  Here are some pics of a portable shelter that my husband built this year.  He skids this around behind the tractor, to move it to different pastures. This way we can rotate pastures with the Alpacas and they can have some shelter from rain and/or sun.  He had attached it to the tree in hopes of keeping it from blowing away, during the storm.

As you can see from the pictures, technically it didn't blow away, it just blew down!

We also had lost a wall in our straw bale chicken coop. My husband had built this coop about 4 years ago. It has withstood blizzards during past winters. Here are some pictures of it after we tried putting it back together (during the storm).


Well, we do have some work to do this weekend.
But we are very happy that no animals or us were hurt during the storm.  We are very thankful for that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Let's get weighed!

Well it has been over a week since I've posted. I have been very busy here on the ranch and running errands for our youngest daughter's wedding coming up this Saturday, Oct. 23rd. 

A week ago, we weighed our girls, trimmed their nails and did some worming shots.  It is all part of the maintenance of the herd.  Weighing them gives us an idea if they are maintaining healthy weights. Some of the mammas lose weight from nursing, so we like to make sure we keep them at a healthy weight. We also do a preventive worming in the fall.  We need to do the guys next (after the wedding of course).  I have posted a few pictures of the catch pen and Enya getting weighed. I can't take pictures while we are doing nails and shots. So you will just have to imagine that.  We use our catch pen to work on them. It was another beautiful sunny fall day.  
Catch Pen & Scale

Enya weighed

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chickens and more chickens, oh my!

We have about 60 to 70 chickens on the ranch. Why so many?  They help us with keeping the fly population down during the summer fly season.  They also eat the slugs in the pastures. The ranch is on the watershed to the Ocqueoc River. So when the pastures are wet, we can have slugs.  The slugs can carry a worm larve that if ingested by the Alpacas can cause neurological problems or even death in the Alpaca.  So having the chickens helps us with our worming protocol on the ranch.  The chickens are allowed to free range and the eggs taste wonderful. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visitors at the Ranch

Saturday, some ladies from the Spinning Guild Spinners Flock paid a visit to Sundown Alpaca Ranch. 
Gary, I and the Alpacas enjoyed having them visit us.
The following are pics of some of the Alpacas that they were able to visit with. If you have a school group or any other group that would like to come out and visit, please contact me and we can arrange a date.

Fame & Fortune

Yearling Girls

Lou Costello

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Beautiful Fall Morning on the Ranch

Here are some pics of the views from our ranch this morning. I took these while doing the chores.  Fall is so beautiful.  It really inspires me to work on my fiber arts.  Enjoy...

The girls

Some of the boys

Some other boys

The Girls

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our Maremma Guard Sheepdogs

For those of you that did not make it to visit our ranch last weekend, I will introduce you to our 3 Maremma guard dogs.  We are in an area with a large coyote population, a few wolves, black bear and of course the occasional panther sighting.  Living in a remote area we do have occasional visits from those animals.  We like to provide as much protection for our Alpacas, besides good fencing.  We invested in our first Maremma that we named Pan (from Greek mythology).  We placed him with the "girls" at the young age of 8 weeks.

 After a year, we decided we needed at least one or two more to help Pan with the guarding.  He can't be at all places on the 25 acre ranch at the sametime and he needs a rest from his job once in awhile.  Through the Internet we had learned of a litter of Maremma's that were abandoned and in need of good "working" homes.   So to make a long story short, we adopted two of the litter.  Their names are Furio & Meadow.  We received them at the age of about 8 to 9 months.  It has taken quite a bit of work, patience and understanding to make these two into good guard dogs.  They were in wonderful foster homes, but were not being trained for livestock guarding.  They have such a need to guard that I have included a picture of Meadow from this morning. She is guarding an empty beer can that my husband left on the table.  They are awesome guard dogs!  They do take their job very seriously.  We do appreciate them, as they do alert us at night of anything that they feel is a threat to the Alpacas.