Yep, you read that right, this post is going to be all about alpacas (and the occasional other farm animal).
After I finished my East Coast trip, I realised I was stuck up in Cairns, a place I wasn’t too fussed on. My aim was to get back down to Brisbane, and if you know Aus well, that’s about a 16 hour drive.. and I don’t have a car. Luckily I had come across Jarravale Alpacas based in Marian, about 20km inland from Mackay, and they were always looking for volunteers.
After 10 very long raing days in Cairns, myself and Amy drove the 8 hours down to Marian to work on the farm for 2 weeks.
Oh my, I was not ready for what I saw. ALPACA’S EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHERE!!
I was in love.
Jolene has been hand reared by Josie since her birth when her mother rejected her. Now aged 10 months, Jolene is the life of Jarravale. When I found out I would be bottle feeding her every morning, I was over the moon. I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to spend their mornings bottle feeding a baby alpaca?
As well as Jolene, there is around another 30 alpacas of all ages at Jarravale. There isn’t just alpaca’s though, they also have 3 miniture horses, a calf, 3 deer, two sheep, two goats, 4 pigs, two donkeys, and loads of birds and chickens (not to forget the 4 cats and one dog).
Initially when I came to Australia I was determined to do my 3 months farm work and stay for a second year. However, after completing the East Coast, I realised that maybe I didn’t want to stay another year. I knew that I couldn’t do my farm work at Jarravale as it’s volunteering rather than paid work, but I wasn’t too fussed. The fact I was going to be surrounded by alpacas was enough to catch my attention.
The average day on the farm:
5:45 – wake up. shower. breakfast. get ready.
6:30 – prepare the bottles for the baby animals aka Jolene, the calf and the two sheep
6:45 – feed the baby animals
7:00 – rack the padocks of poop from the night before (about 5 padocks)
7:30 – feed the rest of the animals
8:00 – change all the water and collect any eggs off the chickens
8:30 – move the animals into different padocks
9:00 – clean the laneways of any poop left from moving the animals
9:15 – break
10:30 – 2 hour tour including feeding animals, photos and information
12:30 – break
1:30 – 2 hour tour including feeding animals, photos and information
3:30 – break
4:00 – move the aninals into padocks
4:15 – prepare dinner for the animals (hay, grass and special nuts)
4:30 – feed the alpacas, and the rest of the animals
5:00 – collect grass for the guinea pigs
5:30 – rack the padocks the animals have been in
6:00 – take the wheelbarrows of poop down
6:15 – finisheeeeeed
This was the average day on the farm, but these weren’t the only chores we did;
Giving vitamin shots to all the alpacas. Fixing the fences after the baby alpacas *cough* Diego *cough* decided to destroy them. Compress the food into barrels (this took about 3 hours and a lot of jumping). Going to the local primary school (only 12 kids in the whole school!!) and weighing mummy and two baby guinea pigs for their school project. Injections in the baby alpacas.
All in all it was an amazing experience. I have never before worked on an alpaca farm, and to be honest I doubt I will ever get the opportunity again. If you are ever in the area, or would like to travel to Marian and volunteer on the farm, I would highly recommend it.
around the world in endless days