A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 13, 2008

Cinnamon’s Great Escape

Filed under: alpaca, alpaca handling, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General, guard llamas, llama — Tags: , — alpacalady @ 6:39 am

 The last thing any alpaca breeder wants is to discover that one of their alpacas has ventured into the outside world on its own, but that is the situation we were in on Saturday.


After morning chores we decided to close the front gates and let the girls out for a day of grazing.  They love the freedom of exploring the areas outside of their regular pasture and of course they love the grazing that is available to them. Prior to letting them out we checked all of the perimeter gates and everything looked secure, so we opened the pasture gate and let the girls out, enjoying the site of them galloping, bucking and kicking with joy as then went.  There was the usual initial exploration and then they got down to some serious grazing.  Ric and I went into the house to take care of paperwork and other chores.


Periodically we would check outside to make sure everything was okay with the girls and throughout the morning all appeared to be well.


About 2 p.m. someone was ringing our doorbell frantically.  I was a bit surprised as usually when the gates to the property are closed people do not drive up to the house, but I thought perhaps it was one of our friends or neighbors.  It turned out to be a lady we had never met before and she had come to tell us she had found our three llamas at the top of the road.  This kind lady had tried to herd them back to us, but the llamas had got to one of the neighbors houses and would not go any further.


We immediately went outside and sure enough could see the llamas on our next door neighbors property.  The alpacas were still on our property – or so we thought – and so we started to first find how the llamas had got out so that we could secure it and prevent any of the girls from taking the same route.


Our neighbors have a pretty nice crop of milo growing and one of the gates to the milo field is a panel gate that is latched with a wire gate closure.  That was the gate that was open and looking at it the llamas had leaned on it and pushed it open, probably in an attempt to reach the milo. 


We secured the gate and then headed up the road to retrieve the llamas, but as we looked up the road we got a surprise.  There in the distance stood Cinnamon, one of our alpacas.


Now out of all of the alpacas we own Cinnamon is probably the most skittish, she is also heavily pregnant and to see her standing loose in the middle of the road made my heart sink.  This was not a good situation.


It took us a while to catch Cinnamon.  As we got closer to her she would move away and started to head off into an open field.  Probably a better alternative than standing in the road, but by this time the neighbor dogs had started to chase her and she was scared.  Every now and then she would stop and alarm call, looking around for her herd buddies who by this time were well out of sight.


Fortunately Ric was able to finally get ahead of Cinnamon and get her to move closer to the house.  I made my way to one of the neighbor’s houses and recruited some extra people to help us herd Cinnamon in the direction of home.


We eventually got Cinnamon back to the same property where the llamas were, and we were able to herd her into an alley way by one of their barns and catch her.  As we had thought that only the llamas were out we had only brought llama halters with us, but they were enough to make a temporary halter with.  I then headed back to the house with one of our neighbors to get our truck and trailer and we were also able to let the llamas back onto our property as by this time they had decided they had had enough of the great outdoors and were standing by the gate that they had pushed down earlier.


Poor Cinnamon was very shaken; she had blood coming from her mouth that we think was from a Milo leaf that Ric has seen in her mouth at one point.  Her sides were heaving and we were concerned for her and her unborn cria.  We gave her some Rescue Remedy as we loaded her into the trailer, although just the sight and smell of our trailer seemed to reassure her a little.  Once home we put her in a pen with some fresh water and hay and gave her a shot of Banamine to help control her stress levels and in an effort to stop her from starting to have contractions.


Cinnamon seems to be okay now, we are keeping her under a close watch just in case she starts to go into labor, but for now her mind seems to be focused on getting as much hay as she can from the hay feeders.


In hindsight, if we had realized Cinnamon was out when we left our property to retrieve the llamas we could have haltered one of the alpacas to take with us.  Seeing another alpaca would hopefully have encouraged Cinnamon to come with us rather than run away from us.  Alpacas are very much herd animals and part of Cinnamon’s panic was from her realization that she could not find her herd.


The gate that the llamas pushed down will now get a different latch and next time we let the girls out we will reinforce the latch by tying the gate closed with a secure strap.  For now though the girls are grounded, and particularly the llamas who were supposed to be protecting the herd not leading them astray!


I hope we never have to go through that scenario again, while it had a good ending it was scary and stressful to watch Cinnamon galloping off into the distance


We will keep our fingers crossed that all is well with Cinnamon and her cria, perhaps her wild adventurous streak that led her to follow the llamas will also provide her with a resilience that will mean she and her cria will be fine.



1 Comment »

  1. […] had helped us catch Cinnamon when Cinnamon went on her great escape escapade (See blog entry “Cinnamon’s Great Escape“August 13, 2008).  Tracy was anxious to know that all was well with Cinnamon and her cria […]

    Pingback by Just Protecting Her Baby « A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas — September 30, 2008 @ 6:53 am

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