NATURAL PEST CONTROL: KEEP ALPACAS OUT
If your alpacas have taken a liking to your garden, you can try natural pest control methods to keep them out. You want to employ techniques that keep them from nibbling on your garden delights without hurting the animal. In this article we are going to give you a few ideas to try.
The first thing is to build a fence around your garden. We suggest you build it high enough to keep them from stretching their long necks over the fence to eat. Build it sturdy enough that if they lean their neck on the fence it won't push down so they can reach those garden goodies. A 3 1/2 foot chicken wire fence with metal fencing poles probably won't keep your alpaca out. You might get away with it if you use some of the other methods listed below along with this fencing.
A natural pest control deterent that can be used is a mixture of two eggs, ½ cup of milk, 1 cup of water, ½ cup cayenne, 1/2 chili pepper, and some garlic pureed in a blender. Add the mixture to an empty gallon or jug container, and set in the sun until it smells pretty bad. Mix in a 1 to 1 ratio with water in a sprayer and apply around the perimeter of the garden. One thing we have learned about alpacas in the eleven years we have owned them is that they do not like strong smells.
Something else that might offend their sense of smell and keep them clear of your garden is bloodmeal. Bloodmeal is a by product of meat packing plants and can be used for natural pest control. It's dried and flaked blood and prey animals are spooked by the smell of blood, even old dried blood. Even though alpacas are a livestock, their instinct is still that of a prey animal. Bloodmeal is also high in nitrogen and, therefore, pretty good stuff for your garden. Sprinkle it in your garden beds, but don't get it on the plants as it can burn the leaves.
Another attack on their sense of smell involves soap. Since alpaca are not fond of really strong smells, odorous soaps might be an excellent natural pest control. Try Irish Spring. We have heard that it works really well on deer. Drill holes in the soap and string it along the garden fenceline. One or two bars per side should do depending on the size of your garden. If you are concerned your alpaca might nibble on the soap, put it in the toe end of a nylon stocking or some other kind of netting and hang it on the inside of the fence. That way the smell will still be present but it will be unlikely your alpaca will be able to eat the soap.
We're going to continue the assault on their sense of smell by suggesting vinegar or ammonia as a natural pest control. Our alpacas really dislike the smell of vinegar. We haven't tried ammonia, but we're pretty sure they would hate that smell. Bury a few small plastic containers except the tops and put a little vinegar (or for a stronger deterent...ammonia) in them, then uncap them except for when you're watering. Or you could poke some holes in plastic pop bottles near the top and fill the bottle to just below the holes with your choice of vinegar or ammonia (don't mix), put the cap back on, tie a string around the neck of the bottle, and hang on the fenceline. Again, how many you hang depends on the size of your garden.
Remember we said your alpaca still has prey animal instincts? Try coyote urine as a natural pest control. Our alpacas go on alert everytime a coyote passes by our property. We always know when one is out there even when we don't see it at first. They even alert our guard dog to the presence of a coyote sometimes. They are wary of them as their instincts rightly tell them to be afraid. You can find coyote urine online and possibly at garden centers or other stores with garden centers in them. Sprinkle coyote urine every couple of feet around the perimeter of your
garden and we're pretty sure your alpacas would not be wanting to go there. You'll need to replace the coyote urine about once a week, but a bottle should last you for your gardening season.
Use dog hair clippings (not cat hair) around the perimeter of the garden. Alpacas worry about dogs. Dogs attack and kill alpacas and they instinctively know this. Dog hair might not be as effective if your alpacas are used to dogs on your property. Although, if you used hair from a strange dog it might work. Ours still freak out when a strange dog comes by the fenceline even though they live with our guard dog. To keep the smell fresh, you have to replace the dog hair every two weeks.
Use something called scarecrow sprinklers. These are sprinklers with motion detector sensors in them. When something goes by and the motion is detected, they spray a forceful stream of water. They run on a 9 volt battery that lasts up to 4 months. They are very effective and might keep more than your alpacas out of the garden like the neighbors cat or dog (or your neighbor if that is a problem). They cost from $50-$80, but are well worth the price if you want tasty treats from your garden and a humane way to keep out the alpacas.
You might want to plant mint around the perimeter of the garden. Alpacas don't do mint we've heard.
Lastly, keep your alpacas well fed so they don't go looking for more to eat.
Besides a garden, maybe there are other areas that you want to keep alpaca free. Of course, the success of these methods will depend on your alpacas and what they will and will not tolerate. We know our alpacas well and any of the odorous suggestions have a high probability of working on our herd. We already know vinegar works. You may have to try a couple to see what keeps your alpacas out. Maybe you won't like the odors either and would opt for a blast of water. We're just trying to give some alternatives to harsher methods like hot wire.
Using natural pest control to keep your alpacas out of the garden is the humane way to go. If you spent a lot of money acquiring your alpacas it's the smart business thing to do, too. Try a combination of these methods and it's possible for you to have your alpacas and a garden too! May your garden be bountiful and your alpacas happy.
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