A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 9, 2008

Well If You Will Make Him Wear A Dress

Kanika wearing her coat - there was much less fuss with the girls than the boys

Kanika wearing her coat - there was much less fuss with the girls than the boys





Having recovered from our Open Farm Day we decided on Sunday that it was time to start putting fleece covers on the alpacas.   We also need to replenish our supplies of covers so by using the ones we already have it will be easier for us to assess what size covers we need to purchase.


We started with the crias first.  Sometimes it can be a bit unnerving for the crias the first time we put a fleece cover on them, we do it as quickly and as gently as possible.  We also do it in a catch pen so that if one of them really does not take to the cover we can catch him or her easily and calm them down or if necessary remove the cover.  There is nothing worse than trying to catch a panicked cria who is trying to run away from a fleece cover in an open pasture.


The crias all handled their coats well, no-one was panicked and they all seemed more interested in eating hay.  The next step was to let the crias our and see how the dams responded to their crias wearing coats.  All of the dams sniffed their crias, checked out the coats and then allowed the crias to nurse, except TeQueely who would not let Pride anywhere close to her.    We caught Pride and removed his coat and TeQueely allowed him to nurse.  We will try putting a coat on Pride again in a few days, but this time we will put him and TeQueely in a pen to eat together for a while and then put the coat on Pride while TeQueely is present.  Hopefully if she sees the cover being put on her cria she will be more accepting of it.  If TeQueely still will not accept the cover at that time we will leave it off Pride until he is weaned.  It is far more important that he can nurse than it is to get a cover on him.


The weanlings took the process of putting their covers on in their stride, and barely missed a beat in their daily activities.


We then moved onto the adult boys, putting a coat on Cloudy first.  Well that was just too much for those boys, they instantly started jumping on Cloudy and chasing him.  To break up the “teasing session” we then caught Treasure and put a coat on him.  That meant that there were now two boys with coats on in that pen.


Our past experience has taught us that some of the alpacas find the coats fascinating.  They will grab at them, nibble on them and often chase the alpaca wearing a coat until they themselves are caught and their coat is put on.  We have learnt over the years never to put a coat on only one alpaca in a pen (especially in a pen of adult males) and if any chasing should start then catch the leader of the chase and put a coat on him next.  That soon diffuses the situation.


As we watched the boys checking out Cloudy and Treasure’s coats, the rough housing seemed to go on longer than usual.  I voiced my concern to Ric that the boys were not settling down as they should and his reply was “Well what do you expect you’ve made Cloudy and Treasure wear a dress!”


I had never thought of it that way, I guess Ric saw it from a much different and male point of view, in his mind the coats looked like dresses and it was not a surprise to him that the uncoated boys would pick on the coated boys.


We continued to watch the adult males until all of the fussing had settled down.  Fortunately that happened within a few minutes and calm returned to the herd, except that now I can’t stop thinking that my boys are wearing a dress, I had never thought of the covers in that way before Ric’s comment  – men!


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