Okay, so realistically, a lot of planning happens before any clearing takes place. Now that we have a clean slate, though, the final plan is really starting to gel.
Since we are starting with four alpacas, we will not build a big barn right away. We will be building a 12′ x 20′ three-sided shelter that will provide shelter for the girls and the boys. Although it is best for the male and female alpacas to have more space — even to the point of not being able to see each other — we are not going to do that at first.
We have done all the research on whether to build ourselves from a kit or hire a builder, and will probably at least hire construction help for the job!
The next big decision is the grass seed to use. There are a lot of great resources online providing information on the best grass for alpacas. A few of them are:
Since we live in a northern state, we’ve been told that the best pasture grass is orchard grass. For optimal nutrition, other grasses are planted as well, such as clover. Clover is beneficial to alpacas as a forage material; the medium varieties are the most resilient without turning into a hay-like grass.
There are other weeds, grasses, berries, and trees that are harmful to alpacas, causing anything from upset stomach to death. The articles linked above are a great start and the county agriculture extension office is your best friend!
It has been quite an education learning about alpacas — and this is just the beginning!