Monday, April 12, 2010

How Much Poop Can an Alpaca Herd Poo?

We have spent the last few weeks doing spring cleaning around our farm. We have successfully cleaned up the rubble from the burned up barn and construction materials are on their way to rebuild the barn. We have also cleaned out the main barn and put away all the winter supplies and gotten out all the summer supplies. The last major spring cleaning alpaca chore that we had was alpaca poop. We finally decided to tackle it last weekend.

During the winter, cleaning alpaca poop can be difficult in Michigan. With so much snow and random defrosting and refreezing, things can become messy. Many farms choose to clean their poop many different ways. Some clean, daily, several times a week, monthly...and maybe never. In the winter, we clean out the alpaca stalls in our barn weekly, but do not bother with the catch pen or the pasture because most of the poop gets buried in the snow. Now that all the lovely snow is gone, all the poo piles that have been hidden all winter have surfaced. I think we counted 40-50 piles total in the large pasture where the girls are. They tend to make more piles in the winter because their old piles get buried under the snow so they make new ones. We spent all day last Saturday cleaning the pastures. We have a couple acres fenced in, and of course there was a winter's worth of poo out there, so it was quite the chore. Luckily alpacas have a natural instinct to poo in community piles (except for one of ours who like to poo anywhere and everywhere) so it makes clean up and parasite control easier than most livestock. I went around the pasture with a rake raking the alpaca bean piles into small mountains and Noah followed along with the tractor and front end loader and scooped it up. Luckily, as we were cleaning, a family friend called and wanted to know if she could bring a trailer up and get some poo for her garden and compost pile. Alpaca poop makes an excellent fertilizer. We made a big pile of poo and conveniently loaded it into her trailer when she got there (it filled the entire trailer). We also have a compost pile with more decomposed poo, which she plans to come back for soon (we can't get to it right now, cause the area is too muddy). Here is what the winters worth of alpaca poo from the pastures looks like.
Noah spent Sunday cleaning up the catch pen and alpaca stalls in the barn which had a whole lot of straw and a little poo in it. Luckily, the new tractor made the chore much easier. Now, all the alpaca areas are officially clean for spring! Now its time to split pastures and build the new barn!

1 comment:

cara said...

It's crazy, isn't it! I did notice our compost of poop from last year now has a nice layer of grass growing on it. If only we could use that for a pasture. It is awesome fertilizer, that is for sure. If only it moved itself to my flower beds.