Alpaca Farm Life in PA

I’m visiting family, sister and brother-in-law in Pennsylvania, and they have 40 alpacas. When they both worked full-time they also had 40 alpacas. Retired life has left them with the same responsibilities caring for these alpacas, and quite honestly I am not sure how they accomplished all when they worked full-time!

The morning couple of hours involves putting out water basins, new hay and grain, and scooping the poop along with recording and meeting special needs for specific alpacas. It all takes time and there are some things to be done in the evening too! I help in the morning with scooping poop and that in itself takes me hours. If I had the total responsibility, I would still be out there working! So hiring individuals to complete the tasks when my family wishes help or to take time elsewhere, necessitates special people who can rise to the level of expertise and ability to complete the tasks in a timely manner. (Like I said, I would be completing morning tasks in time to start evening ones! I would never be hired.)

Old, dirty hay and poop get dumped in a pile where we saw yellow bugs flying around. With the iNaturalist app, we identified them as golden dung flies. Most appropriate name for it as you will see in the photo below:

Golden dung fly

I enjoyed seeing the birds flitting around the area. My sister noted a couple of nests of birds that return each year to lay eggs. One nest was with 5 dark-eyed junco eggs. Not the most focused photo because it was taken from above the nest, blindly and quickly so as not to disturb the birds.

Dark-eyed junco

And another nest was with 4 Eastern Phoebe eggs:

Eastern phoebe eggs
Eastern phoebe

“No job ever takes 15 minutes”, says my sister as she and her husband leave to accomplish some outdoor project. And that’s the truth! They have been transplanting a tree and a bush for the last couple of hours using two huge different pieces of equipment. Don’t ask me what equipment since I only know a tractor and it wasn’t that one! 

During their work time, I walked the area to observe and photograph birds. I saw or heard 17 different species of birds and was pleasantly surprised to see an American redstart.

American redstart

We all choose our work and hobbies. My sister and brother-in-law obviously love their life on the farm with these alpacas and all the responsibility that goes with it. Kudos to all people who work on farms and/or own farms with projects that undoubtedly take more than 15 minutes to complete!

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