A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 25, 2007

There’s A Head In My Bucket, Dear Liza Dear Liza

Alpaca with head in bucket

Yes I know the words to the song are really “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza dear Liza”, but I felt it necessary to use a bit of poetic license.

The picture at the top of this post was taken at an alpaca show.  The alpaca in the photo had been reaching for a tasty treat at the bottom of the bucket but the owner of the alpaca had not laid the handle of the bucket down flat and “bingo” one bucket stuck on an alpacas head.  The bucket was over the alpacas muzzle and the bucket handle was wedged on the alpaca’s neck. We reached the alpaca soon after the bucket had become stuck, and were able to remove it without a problem.  Fortunately the alpaca had not yet realized that the bucket was stuck on its head, but over time it would have done and could have panicked once it realized it was trapped.

I was reminded of this picture when I was doing chores a couple of days ago and Carina had reached into our beet pulp bucket while I was spooning out the beet pulp.  Before I knew it she had dodged her head under the bucket handle and had the bucket firmly wedged on her head.  It wasn’t too easy getting Carina’s head free from the bucket especially as she was quite content to guzzle the beet pulp shreds inside, but with a bit of wiggling and gentle persuasion I got the bucket free. 

Now to Carina having her head wedged in strange places is not unusual, she often tries to reach the feed bowls in the adjoining pen at feeding time and will push her head and neck under the panels of the pen to do so.  The panels fortunately have enough of a gap that she can do this without becoming trapped but there was one day that she managed to get a little stuck when she gave an extra push and got her shoulders under the pen.

Whenever we do chores we always check that all bucket handles are lying flat against the rim of the bucket to avoid having an alpaca get its head stuck.  I tend to think that we are less likely to get “bucket problems” when we are talking about water buckets as while alpacas enjoy fresh water they don’t go after it with such gusto as when there is a tasty food treat in the bucket.  Still making sure that bucket handles lie flat is not a bad habit to get into, and I really think alpacas do a lot better without a bucket stuck on their head!


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