Every year the barn gets a spring cleaning. All the straw and hay used for bedding gets swept out, the hay around the hay bunks outside gets raked up and an effort is made to get the area clean and dry and keep it that way until after shearing. This year we are challenged by lots of snow and weather not warm or sunny enough to melt that snow and ice.
Inside pen – before
Another inside pen – before
There was plenty to be removed inside and out.
Ice along the barn
And the ice was piled up on the side of the barn.
Hay bunks – before
There was plenty of hay on top of and frozen into the ice around the hay bunks. There is always a trade off between leaving the hay on the ice for traction and removing it for speedier melting. When we had warm temperatures and sun, we opted to scrape off all the hay we could and send it to the compost pile! This meant opening the pasture gate to bring the tractor in. The alpacas got to play while we worked.
Annie and Rolly jumping
Spotsie, Annie and Georgie
They all thought it was great fun until….
Carley in the deep snow
Leave it to Carley to jump into the deep snow! She was quite surprised by the effort it took to jump her way back to dry land! Silly girl.
Inside pens – after
The inside pens were all swept pretty clean. As the snow and ice dries up, the floors will be swept over and over to keep the floor as clean as possible until shearing day.
Outside hay bunk
It may not look like it, but we raked up all the loose hay. As the ice melts more hay will be freed, and raking will continue!
Hay bunk – after
Hay bunk on dryer ground
This hay bunk we moved to dryer ground so the alpacas don’t have to stand on the ice and it will be easier to rake up the hay they drop on the ground.
So if we can get a few more days of sunny and warm (although the weather man says it’s not to be) things will start to dry up and the alpacas will be able to roll in sand. I don’t know why they like to roll, but they always start rolling in the spring. If they roll in hay, it sticks in their fiber. If they roll in sand, the sand and/or rolling action seems to remove vegetable matter from their fiber. And clean fiber BEFORE shearing is so much better than cleanING fiber after shearing!