A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 24, 2008

Sometimes It’s Hard To Be A Young Male Alpaca

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:12 am

Blast NursingThe day weaning of Velvet, Blast and Athena has been going well, and the little group now is quite happy to head over to the pen where they spend their day.  They barely pay attention to the location of their dams in the next pen and usually spend most of the day at the hay feeder, with the occasional break for a chase around the pasture or a quick nap.

In the evenings when I let the weanlings back they are less concerned to dash immediately to their mothers to try to nurse.  Poor Velvet lost nursing privileges the very first day of day weaning, she tried, but Queen wanted nothing to do with her.  Athena was able to persuade Rebecca that she still needed milk for the first few days, but of late Rebecca is less cooperative about Athena trying to nurse, in fact Athena’s recent attempts have been unsuccessful.  And then there’s Blast, dear sweet little Blast who finds his dam Clarissa and the nurses and nurses and nurses.   I swear if they were in a cartoon Clarissa would be reduced to a withered little pile on the floor by the time Blast has finished with her.  If that weren’t enough Blast is now so big that he has to cush to be able to nurse from Clarissa.  I hate to tell Blast this but it’s time for the nursing to stop.

The weather over the next two days is supposed to be atrocious, with freezing temperatures, freezing rain and snow.  Not a good scenario for weanlings to spend their first night away from their dams.  I have seen crias spend all night sitting by the fence line when they are first weaned, and that is the last thing I want when the weather is so wintry.  The beginning of next week though is supposed to be warmer, with daytime temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s.  With that in mind I am scheduling those days to do the final stage of weaning by keeping the weanlings away from their dams overnight.  They’re not going to be happy, and I will have an anxious couple of nights watching over them to make sure they are not stressing out too much.  That final step is necessary though.

I am confident the weanlings will be fine with their new situation after a couple of days, but I feel of the three of them that Blast will take it the hardest.  But that is often the case with male crias who seem bound and determined to nurse for the rest of their lives!

Once the final step to weaning has been taken I will leave Blast in with his weanling pals, but then of course in time he will need to be moved over to the pen of young male alpacas.  That will most likely be just as tough on him, as he will then be in a pen of completely strange alpacas.

Usually we have more than one male cria being weaned at a time and so they go to the young males pen as a pair or more.  This year though we were blessed with more girls than boys and so Blast is the only male in his peer group.  Zeus is the next male cria to be weaned, but that will not be taking place until at least March, possibly later, and I cannot leave Blast in with the females for all of that time.

What I may end up having to do is put the weanling girls back in with their dams.  I can then bring a couple of the smallest young males over to be with Blast for a few days before taking them all together as a group back to the young male pen.  At least that will give Blast a little while to get acquainted with a couple of his new pasture mates.  Over time Blast will get used to his new environment and will eventually join in the wrestling and rough housing that takes place between the boys.   It will be a little stressful for him at first though, but sometimes it’s just hard to be a young male alpaca.


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