A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 29, 2008

There’s Nothing Like A Piece Of Hay In Your Mouth (if you’re a cria that is!)

Atlas with his never ending piece of hay

Atlas with his never ending piece of hay


As the crias grow and start to experiment with eating hay, they go through a stage when it seems as if they always have to have a piece of hay in their mouth.  If you watch them they chew on it, turn it around in their mouth and carry it proudly, but they never seem to swallow it.  On numerous occasions I have had to take a piece of hay out of Dream’s mouth before she has her bottle, and I can guarantee she is looking for that piece of hay to put back in her mouth as soon as she is finished.


The picture at the top of this post is not as I hoped it would be.  Just seconds earlier Atlas, Pride and Dream had been standing in a line, each one with that “never ending” piece of hay in their mouth.  They looked so sweet as they stood together, but as usual when I went to take their picture they all moved and the only one I captured was Atlas – and even then you can barely see the piece of hay in his mouth.


I don’t know whether at this stage the crias are just enjoying the sensation and taste of the hay in their mouth, or whether they want something to constantly chew on as their teeth develop.  All of the crias can and do eat hay now and have no problem chewing and swallowing it, but a lot of the time they will be wandering around the pasture with that one lone piece of hay in their mouth.


Today our cria group is going to be joined by a couple of new additions.  Not newborn crias (I can’t predict when that will happen and the girls wouldn’t let me anyway), but rather two orphaned crias.  One of them is a male cria “Mags” (not his registered name but that is what we call him) whose dam Maggie unfortunately died following delivering Mags.  We are actually in the process of becoming co-owners of Mags with our friends Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas.  Mags is a striking cria and brings with him some beautiful fleece qualities from his sire Andean Night and his grandsire General Schwarzkopf.  Bob and Regina have put in many hours bottle feeding Mags and feel it is now time that he come and join our cria group and start to integrate more with alpacas closer to his own age.  The other cria coming to our farm is “Song”, a female cria whose dam died following an accident.  Song has been doing well since her dam died and eats some hay and pellets but we are hoping that she will take advantage of our nursemaid llamas to give her some milk in her diet. 


I am sure that the two new crias will enjoy the company of our sociable little cria group, and hope that they will soon be joining in the nightly cria games.  Our crias are just about ready to start on a little more structured handling and halter training, so after a few days to allow Songs and Mags to get used to their new surroundings they too will be joining in cria school – probably each with a piece of hay in their mouth!




  1. Soo cute. I have been wondering about hay and crias. It seems our newest cria, Nevaeh, has been eating hay since she was about a week old. Not just holding it, but my father saw her take a big bunch from the hay bin, chewed it very little and swallowed it down. Luckily, he kept an eye on her, and she didn’t choke. Maybe she felt she needed something a little more solid? Scary though, my parents watched her to make sure everything “came out in the end.” 🙂 Kel

    Comment by Kelly L — August 29, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  2. Hi Kelly,

    Is Nevaeh gaining weight well? For a cria so young to be eating that much hay makes me think that she is hungry and might not be getting enough milk from her dam. Hopefully it was just a case of over zealous experimentation. Glad to hear everything “came out in the end” 🙂


    Comment by alpacalady — August 30, 2008 @ 4:02 am

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