Our herd has steadily grown in the 3.5 years since we bought our first alpaca, and truth be told our philosophy has been that the more alpacas we have, the more babies we will have, the more we will have to offer customers, the more revenue we will have, and the faster we will get return on our investment. So therefore we have grown faster than most alpaca ranches. Our two newest babies born this month make 41 in our herd, and a comfortable size to maintain. As such Aardwolf Alpacas has evolved into the next phase where we are focusing more on marketing, sales, and additional services.
Coincidentally we were contacted in January, by another ranch we have done business with, looking for a place to board their 45+ alpacas for a year or so until they can sell their house in Colorado Springs and buy another ranch that better suits their needs closer to town. They had been living on a ranch near Trinidad, 4 hours from the Springs, and the husband had been commuting weekly, leaving the wife home to take care of the alpacas, without a working well, and with two small children, one of whom needed an hour ride to the bus stop twice a day. Beautiful place, but too overwhelming.
We are blessed with lots of room, and with Mike contemplating looking for a part time job to supplement our income, this was just the ticket. We already board 1 other alpaca for someone who is trying to get back in the business. So we agreed, got the contracts together, and began to move animals. Since the first of their animals arrived February 1, they have had 3 new babies... more fun for us. The last of the alpacas arrived about 2 weeks ago. We are keeping them (at least for the time being) in our second barn, and have moved our boys from that barn to our big barn. This way there is no bio security issues. Part of our concern was being more tied down (I can convince a neighbor to watch 50 animals when I'm out of town, but how would they feel about twice as many), so as part of the negotiations we included that they will come take care of all the animals periodically to give us a break. A perfect solution to us.
They also breed guard dogs, and found homes for most of those, but really didn't want to give up their two best dogs, raised with alpacas, and didn't want to confine them to a yard in the city. So we agreed to take the two dogs as well, and keep them in with their alpacas. Our 4 dogs stay in with our alpacas. Our 6 (+-) barn cats do not go in the alpaca pens (by their own choice).
Two weeks ago a neighbor of ours bought a mini-horse as a companion for her riding horse that she had been boarding out for the winter. She had found this mini-horse after a previous deal fell through and for about 1/4 of the price of the first deal, and therefore jumped on it. BUT had to go pick it up before she had her fencing ready, or before she had hay, etc. So we are keeping the two horses here for a few weeks, until she can get that all going.
Then last week Mike's son, Dan, called to say his company had a new long term contract nearby our place, and when he was working in the area he'd like to spend weekends with us (yeah!). He has a dog, Nikita, that is by his side everywhere he goes. As such she is very well behaved. But the first week on the job he didn't feel comfortable taking the dog with him, until he got settled in a bit. SOOO, we volunteered to watch him this first week on the new contract.
If you've been counting, including Mike and I, that makes 106 hearts beating on our ranch. I find that just a bit shocking! We have ordered bees that should come the beginning of May. there should be 60,000 of them, once the hive gets up to capacity. Do bees have hearts?