A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 4, 2009

And We Do This Because…?

Carissima and Glow

Carissima and Glow

I find it a little amusing that sometimes the alpacas and llamas decide that our good management practices are not really for them.  Too often I have seen one of the herd toss some hay on the floor beside the hay feeder and merrily munch on the hay on the floor.  We do put grids over the hay in our hay feeders but sometimes they still manage to pull a clump out and deposit it onto the floor where apparently it just tastes better.  The llamas are perhaps worse about the alpacas for doing this.  They think nothing of overturning a hay bucket to deposit the contents on the ground, often destroying the bucket in the process. (Note we are now trying flexible rubber hay buckets to see if they stand up to llamas better).

Yesterday morning I was greeted by the site of Carissima (that’s her on the left of the picture that was taken prior to her being shorn) happily drinking out of a muddy puddle that lay just a foot or so away from the automatic waterer.  We had a pretty good storm the night before and as often happens on our hard, dry ground the water accumulated in puddles.  To Carissima this puddle was tasty, she stood and drank heartily from it, while close by stood the Nelson automatic waterer full of cool, clean, fresh water with not an alpaca or llama close by except for Carissima.  I shooed Carissima away from the puddle but later in the day caught her drinking from it again.  Perhaps the dirt gave it some added flavor or better mineral content, whatever the reason Carissima thought the puddle water was worth drinking.

In any herd management seminar you will be told to make sure that alpacas and llamas have fresh, clean water and that their hay is put into above ground feeders.  We are advised to do this to help keep parasites at bay and to make sure our alpacas and llamas have the best and most sanitary feeding conditions possible.  The trouble is that the alpacas and llamas are smart enough (within reason) to rearrange their feeding and drinking arrangements to their wants.

Of course we will continue to put the hay in the hay feeders to keep it off the ground and we will continue to have lots of fresh, clean water available to the herd, but as I watch the alpacas and llamas happily tossing their hay on the floor or drinking from a muddy puddle I do have to wonder “and we do this because…”

Rosemary

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1 Comment »

  1. Ha! Mine do the same thing.

    Comment by Susan Frank — June 4, 2009 @ 12:58 pm


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