A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 26, 2009

Weanling Update

 

Our spring crias are just about weaned, I say just about because we tried putting the female weanlings back in with the main female group this weekend and Annochia still wanted to nurse from Anya.  Annochia’s behavior was not a complete surprise to us; Annochia comes from the close Bjorn family who don’t like to be weaned.  Anya did kick Annochia off but we decided that we would put the weanlings back in their own pasture for a while longer just to make sure that no one brings their dam back into milk.

 

The dams really have taken the weaning process in their stride.  What was interesting with this group of weanlings was that the boys weaned with more ease than the girls.  Usually the boy crias are the most reluctant to wean, not so with this group though.

 

We have now graduated Pride and Atlas into the junior male pen.  After their move they did spend a couple of days hanging around the gate wondering how they could get back to the female herd, but now are starting to integrate well.  Something that was unexpected was that our orphan young male Mags has really settled down since the arrival of Pride and Atlas in the junior male pen.  Mags went over to that pen a few weeks before Pride and Atlas and was still actively seeking human interaction, but with the arrival of Pride and Atlas young Mags is acting much more like an alpaca.  Perhaps he feels he now has some seniority in the herd pecking order and that has given him the reassurance he needed.

 

Stormy has now gone to live with his new owner Abby Dart and we got a lovely report yesterday from Abby and her mother Regina on Stormy’s progress.  Abby already has Stormy going over bridges, jumping over jumps and going through a maze – good job Abby!

 

So now in the weanling pen we have only girls – Annochia, Dream, Serenity, Song, Zianna, Kaneka, Velvet and Carissima.   Kaneka, Velvet and Carissima are yearlings and are already weaned but have provided a good stabilizing influence on the weanlings.  We now take the weanlings (both boys and girls) for walks on their halters several times a week to help them become relaxed at being on a halter and they are all doing well.

 

For us weaning is a process that needs to be handled with care and consideration.  True it takes more time to go through day weaning before final weaning, but it makes for a gentler separation for the alpacas.  It is a stressful time for the weanlings and sometimes for the dams too and it is worth putting extra effort into the process to make it as easy as possible for all involved. 

 

Rosemary

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