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Our Facility and Alpaca Care

Our Facility and Alpaca Care Program

Our alpacas graze on almost twenty acres of lush pasture divided into multiple sections for easy rotation. Most of the pastures roll down the substantial hill that runs through our property behind the barn and house. Alpacas are native to the Alto Plano in the Andes Mountains of South America and therefore love having the opportunity to run, play, rest and graze in hilly areas. We believe these hills provide an excellent source of behavioral enrichment for our alpacas. The view from the house of them on the hillside gives us great pleasure. The psychological health of our alpacas is of the utmost importance to us. Our facility was designed from scratch with the animal as the focus. The custom built, two story barn is centralized so that each alpaca can be observed at any point during feeding or medical procedures. We built the barn on the top of our hill in order to provide an ample breeze during the hot summer months. During the winter, it can easily be closed into an cozy place to sleep.

Our pens were put in place with flexibility in mind and can be reconfigured to accommodate anywhere from seven separate groups of alpacas to two, very large groups to anything in-between! Automatic waterers, an ample supply of hay (and occasional alfalfa!), free choice minerals and twice daily feed supplements make up our nutritional program. We also practice quarantine policies for any animals that are new to our farm. Even the bio-security welcome mats are part of our herd health program. We weigh each animal at least monthly, examine and clean up the “poop” piles daily, disinfect the barn monthly,and use a computerized data base to keep detailed records on the health and well-being of each alpaca recording everything from changes in behavior to routine health procedures. This aids us in having a comprehensive understanding of each individual alpaca’s norms. It also allows us to convey a comprehensive history of an alpaca to their new owners.

Our "tack room" is the nerve center of the daily activity on the farm; chore lists, alpaca information, and a comprehensive supply of maintenance tools and medical supplies for our herd. You will also see the extensive number of erasable white boards throughout the barn that allow us to record observations instantly for later recording into each alpaca's history.

Training and Temperament

We love each of our alpacas dearly and view them as individuals. The herd management philosophy, organization of the pens, pastures and training work is geared to the well being of each alpaca. Abenaki Acres Farm is committed to maintaining a well-trained alpaca herd. We employ a number of training techniques focusing specifically on the Cameldynamics - Marty McGee Method. We have worked with many species of animals throughout our lives and feel that establishing trust and security is of the utmost importance when it comes to having happy, healthy companions! To that end, we view each day as an opportunity to reinforce a common language with our alpacas. With a rotating training schedule, we ensure that each animal on our farm receives focused, personal attention at least once each week. This might mean a walk down the driveway, work in a small training pen or simply a quiet moment of trust. This sort of interaction builds confidence in both the handler and the alpaca. Training is the art of building a language with our alpacas so as to be able to communicate with them. We think it is the most important part of our job as caretakers of these beautiful creatures.

Updated January 24, 2014