Our little farm has grown to 20 alpacas. This little fact now begs the question: are we nuts??
In mid-November we brought home 2 more boys in need of a farm, Soloman and Sam. Soloman is an all-black alpaca with a wild and curly topknot and the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on an alpaca. He is also rather good-natured and doesn’t mind at all when I hug him, usually. He is papa to several of our boys: Cavalier, North, Eragon, and Copper. Sam is a light fawn alpaca, another really nice boy, and a bit high-strung and nervous. He is papa to still very shy Adagio.
Our girls are home!!! Our girls have always boarded elsewhere, and at the beginning of this month, they’re finally home. Dreamer is my older girl, full of spunk for her teeny size, with lovely light fawn fleece. She never lets anyone get in her way and is most likely to spit. She is mama to Guinness, Bo, and Arlo. Then there’s Alana, who is very tall, with the loveliest medium rose-grey fleece. I first saw her when she was a cria and knew I had to have her. Even now, in the right sunshine, her fleece has a pinky glow. I wish it would spin up that way! She is mama to Coty, Henry, and Copper.
Our girls came home with a couple of friends. First there’s Christina, who is a medium brown gal, and mama to Desi. Christina seems to be the lookout for the girls and often sounds the alarm call, especially when she sees Stella. Their other friend is Shiloh, who probably has the best disposition of any alpaca, ever! She has a dark brown blanket of fleece across her back, and the rest of her is white and brown splashes of color. This little gal’s unique coloring stands out in any crowd. She wears a red coat all the time because she hasn’t been feeling well [more on that in another post]. Christina and Shiloh are very well loved by their owners, who enjoy spoiling their alpacas as much as we do.
Dreamer looks incredibly small compared to the other 3 gals, who are all rather tall.
Dan refers to the four of them as ‘The Ladies.’
At first the girls were very nervous of their new surroundings. They were definitely unsure of what to make of me and Dan. The good thing is that they have lived together for years and are very bonded. The four stay together and move together as a group, as a herd should. I’d come walking into the paddock announcing ‘hello girls!’ and they’d all run into the barn and out their big door. They’d stop and turn to stare at me wide-eyed wondering, who is this new 2-legger who’s always singing our names? And what’s with that little dog? The boys have always greeted me at the gate with kisses so to have alpacas actually run away from me was rather upsetting.
Thankfully, they only took a few days to get used to me. At first I used the universal language of alpacas: I offered them hay. I slowly held out hay from my hand towards their noses. They all stared. Dreamer, very obviously the alpha, was the first to take a teeny step towards me and sniff the hay. Then she had a bite. Yeah! The others then felt safe and ate hay from my hands too, even very shy Alana. It took me little effort to offer them minerals from the feed bowl, and then the cup. I’ve been greeting each of them by name, staring right into their eyes. I call their names from the back door of the house. That has gotten them running out of the barn to look! Now I can scratch all of them on their beautiful, long necks. They stay in the barn while I work around them and ask to drink water from the bucket before I walk it over to the boys’ side.
The girls also quickly adapted to our routine of being in the barn at least twice a day to put out hay and fresh water, and to rake up all the paca poo. All of a sudden it seems like we’re raking up an extreme amount of poo, a never ending amount of paca poo. There seems to be poo everywhere, on the boys’ side that is. The Ladies are very, very neat, never pooing inside their barn, and only creating one, sometimes a small second, poo area.
Hey boys, are you paying attention??? Of course not; boys will be boys.
Dan and I spent all summer and early fall deciding on how best to divvy up the pasture and barn safely for the girls’ arrival. We built gates, and more gates, dug holes for fence posts, and put up the fencing. We built ourselves a Fort Knox system to ensure that the boys can’t wander over to the girls’ side, or vice-versa.
There is some humor to all this work. The boys sniffed at the girls upon their arrival with the usual gusto. They ran up and down the fence line trying to acquaint themselves with the new alpacas on the other side. After a few days, that was it.
The boys are much more interested in me bringing them hay than in the girls on the other side of the fence. Silly boys.
We had an unfortunate incident amongst the boys about a week or so after Soloman and Sam arrived, and Sam is no longer here on our farm. We wish him well. On our farm now, including our beloved Julio, are twenty.