A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 23, 2013

And Then She Walked ….

It’s been a while since I have been able to find the time to write.  I know many are anxious to hear how our Pearl is doing and I am happy to tell you the news is good.

As Pearl has been getting stronger Ric and I have been going out several times during the day and getting her into a standing position.  Initially she wasn’t able to bear any weight on her legs, but as the days progressed she started to be able to put weight on first her back legs and then her front legs.   Soon Pearl was at a point where she could balance on her own for a few seconds.  At times we would catch her trying to push herself up, she was getting stronger and wanted to be up and about but her body was not quite ready yet for that feat.

Our last Open Farm Day was October 12; it was a lovely fall day with blue skies, sunshine and just a little bite in the air.  I monitored Pearl throughout the day making sure she got her medicines and always had access to hay and water. When all of our visitors had gone Ric and I went out to make sure Pearl had hay and water and to stand her up.  Once we got her standing she seemed pretty stable so Ric suggested we let go of her and see what happened.  So let go we did, and then with shaky, wobbly, ungainly steps Pearl walked.  It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t for very long but we could tell Pearl was very excited to be able to move around on her own – and you can bet that we were excited too!

As Pearl tired she grew very wobbly and soon she cushed (sat down) again.  We gave her a lot of praise and made sure she had plenty of hay and water to celebrate her major progress with.

From that point on Pearl’s progress has been quite amazing.  To begin with we still had to help her get up, but once we did she would always walk for a several steps before she had to cush again.  Unfortunately the other alpacas didn’t realize that Pearl had a limited time to be up on her feet, curious to see Pearl up and about they often crowded around her and got in her way so Ric and I had to make sure we cleared a path for our special girl.  Out of the way girls, Pearl is coming!

As Pearl’s legs have gained strength she has gone from not being able to get up on her own to being able to get up on her own and move about at will.    The act of cushing from a standing positing was quite challenging for her to begin with, but as her muscles have strengthened and her joints have got used to moving again she is managing to cush much easier.  It is still a little challenging to her but every day it gets a little easier.

Pearl finds her feet

Pearl finds her feet

I think one of Pearl’s biggest joys, once she was up and about, was when she was able to make it to the poop pile instead of having to poop and pee where she lay.  The instinct to poop and pee on the poop pile is very strong in alpacas, and if you are in any doubt about that you would soon have that doubt removed if you saw how hard Pearl worked to get to that poop pile and do what she wanted to do!

Pearl is a little hunched up at the rear and we can see that her legs are still not quite back to normal, but it is only 11 days since she started walking again and given the progress that she has made in that short time we are optimistic that in time she will walk normally again.  It has been nothing short of amazing to see Pearl’s progress every day.

Pearl continues to be her sweet self with the exception of when I treat her legs with my photonic red light.  Then she tells me that she is not a fan of my light touching her legs, something that is much more the behavior of a healthy alpaca.  A good sign.

When Pearl is walking and starts to get tired she makes rapid little hums as though to say “I want to keep walking but I just can’t do it anymore”  I let her cush wherever she is and allow her to rest before moving her back into a pen where we can feed her away from the other alpacas.

In the mornings now Pearl is sometimes up and walking around when we get up.  The leaves are starting to fall from the trees and on Monday morning I got up to find Pearl up and about looking for fallen elm leaves which are an alpaca delicacy.   On Monday evening Pearl even tried to run a little as the rest of the herd ran towards the hay at feeding time.  Pearl now walks over to join her regular feeding group in the morning.  She can’t quite remain standing for the full time they are eating but she tries and she tries hard.  Step by step, moment by moment Pearl gets closer to being “normal” again.

Pearl is still on medication; probiotics once a day and a homeopathic liquid twice a day.  I continue to use the photonic red light on her but am now treating her every other day.  Pearl also still receives her daily bowl of vegetables along with her regular hay and grain, she gets so excited when she sees me coming with her feed, uttering grunting noises and sometimes flicking her tail up in the air.  At times I get the impression that she feels her waitress service is not quite as rapid as she would like it to be!

Pearl enjoys some pumpkin

Pearl enjoys some pumpkin

Throughout her recovery Pearl has showed immense strength, determination and will to live, she never once seemed as if she was going to give up, she just fought and fought and fought.  I believe that strength and will to live have been crucial components of her recovery.  We can do all we can to aid an alpaca’s recovery, but if they decide they don’t want to live all the medicine in the world won’t fix the problem.  Pearl wanted to live, and live she has.

We still have a way to go with Pearl, but I feel we are now on the downward slope and that time will be her best medicine from this point on.

I send many thanks to all those who have prayed and sent healing thoughts to Pearl, those who have emailed or called to check on her progress.  All of those kind and good acts have been very much appreciated and just look at the results they have created!

Rosemary

Advertisements

February 25, 2013

Even alpacas like to have friends

A question was posted recently on one of the online alpaca groups I belong to:

“Do alpacas make friends and if so do they remember those friends if they are separated and meet up again?”

The answer from alpaca owners was a resounding “Yes”.  There were many mentions of alpacas who bonded with other alpacas, some were related others not.  Stories of alpacas recognizing past friends at shows or when they met up at farms were also recounted.

Over the years we have witnessed the strong bonds that alpacas form with each other.  Certainly alpacas recognize their own family groups and seem to have stronger bonds with those alpacas (except for our alpaca Queen, for as far as Queen is concerned once those crias are weaned they are on their own!).    But it is not only family ties that bind alpacas together, they definitely also make friends.

We recently witnessed an example of this when we moved the two boys in our current weaning group, Patton and Leo, over to the Junior Males pen.  Patton and Leo were part of a group that consisted of five boys and seven girls.  Three of the boys Sentry, MacArthur and Espresso were moved over to the Junior Males pen a few months ago, but we decided to keep Leo and Patton back in the weanling pen for a little longer.  Patton was small for his age and we were concerned he would receive too much rough housing attention from the other males.  Leo was a tough boy to wean, at our first attempt he became distraught at being separated from his dam Velvet and tried to break through fences to get to her so we put Leo back with Velvet for a little longer until we felt he was able to better handle the separation.  Over time we could tell that Leo had matured more and was ready to be weaned so he soon joined the other weanlings.  This time Leo handled the separation from Velvet much better.  When Leo started to show too much interest in the weanling females (when he matured he really matured!) we decided that it was time to move him and Patton into the Junior Males pen.

Our process for introducing males to a new group is to create a smaller pen within the pen the males are being moved to.  We then put the new boys plus a couple of mellow boys from the existing group in that pen too.  The smaller group can have nose to nose contact with the other boys and will remain in that pen for a week to two weeks.  Usually by that time the novelty of the new arrivals wears off and when we let everyone get together we typically have very few problems.   We also make that final introduction at feeding time so that there is an additional distraction.

When the time came for Leo and Patton to meet the other junior males all went well.   Soon they were wandering around, checking out their new surroundings and new pen mates.  It was then we noticed something else, that Sentry was almost glued to Patton’s side!  Sentry was so happy to meet his buddy Patton again!

When the weanling boys had all been together prior to weaning they all got along well, but we hadn’t realized how much Sentry liked Patton until we saw them together again.  Sentry would not let the other boys mess with Patton and Patton was pleased to have his buddy by his side, even though Sentry is now considerably bigger than Patton.

Patton with his buddy Sentry

Patton with his buddy Sentry (Sentry is the brown alpaca taking it easy in the background)

Alpacas are most definitely a herd animal, which is why we tell people that you should never have a lone alpaca.  We have been fortunate to witness alpacas in our herd group over a considerable period of time and know that they do form bonds.  When they are with their families or their buddies they are happy, separate them and it definitely causes them some stress.

Sometimes though it is inevitable that those bonds are going to be broken.  Male and female crias that grow up together are not going to be pastured together, alpacas that are sold to other breeders will often be sold without their friends (unless we can work out a great deal with the new owners and we will try and do that when possible) and of course at times an alpaca will pass away leaving a buddy behind.   Any time there is going to be a separation we do our best to manage it well; probiotics to keep the alpacas rumen functioning well and to supply B vitamins to help them handle the stress of separation, Rescue Remedy to help them deal with the loss, over time the alpacas do adjust.   It is sometimes a fine balancing act to keep the herd happy and run a successful alpaca business, but we do our best to respect the alpacas while also keeping our business functioning.  Then of course there are the happy reunions we sometimes see, such as Patton and Sentry or a female who comes back to the farm for a breeding and is happily reunited with her dam or her sister for the duration of her stay.

So yes, alpacas do make friends and do remember those friends – and sometimes those friends can also be humans, but that’s a subject for another time 🙂

Rosemary

November 26, 2012

Over the river and through the woods…

Anyone who has visited our farm knows that we are no-where near a river and a long way away from any woods BUT it seems as if someone didn’t let the female alpacas know that on Saturday.

Led by our escapologist alpaca Willow and aided and abetted by a forgetful Ric (who forgot to put the pin back in the latch on the girls gate) the girls executed a swift and playful pasture escape on Saturday afternoon!

Fortunately at the moment that Willow chose to lift the latch on the gate and release the herd I was standing outside with Daisy the dog.  I was also talking on the phone to my mother in England (sorry about the sudden hang up Mum but needs must!).  It took seconds for Willow to flip the latch with her nose and away they went!  You could almost hear them singing the words of the Christmas song Over the River (for those of you who are not familiar with the song you can hear it here:

http://www.links2love.com/christmas_songs_over_river.htm

I think that they were particularly singing the verse –

Over the river and through the woods
And through the barnyard gate
We seem to go extremely slow
It is so hard to wait

but there was nothing slow about them I can assure you.  Bucking, kicking and running they were off like a shot and while they ran in one direction Daisy and I ran in the other to close the front gates so that the girls could not get off our property.   Of course the hay barn and then the boys were their target destination (they were not heading to grandmothers as  several of them had their grandmothers running with them).

It was almost feeding time when the great escape took place so we let the girls stay out and play for a while.  We may not have rivers and woods but we had plenty of open space and the girls enjoyed their frolic on a beautiful, unseasonably warm, New Mexico November afternoon.

Here is a video of the girls enjoying their unplanned afternoon frolic!

Rosemary

PS  Note to fellow alpaca breeders – always position your hay barn at the opposite end of your property from the front gate – it’s a great distraction for loose alpacas

PPS Note to Ric – REMEMBER TO PUT THE LATCH PIN IN THE GATES!!!!

March 23, 2012

Farewell To A Special Boy

ImageThere is much sadness today on the farm as yesterday we had to say goodbye to one of our alpaca boys –Mags.  Mags started to be unwell on Monday, rallied a little on Tuesday but by Wednesday we knew he was really in trouble.  On Wednesday the vet decided to keep Mags at the clinic administering fluids and pain killers to him while he tried to figure out what was wrong.  By Thursday it was apparent that Mags was suffering greatly and that the treatment the vet was trying was not working,  so with heavy hearts we told the vet to euthanize Mags.  Such hard words to say and for us to accept but so necessary to relieve Mags pain.

Mags life had been a challenge from the day he was born, a large cria he got stuck during the birthing process and the owners of his dam had to get a vet to deliver Mags by C-Section.  Despite his difficult birth Mags came out strong and fighting, sadly though his dam Maggie had sustained damage during the birthing process and died the next day.  Mags owners raised Mags on the bottle and loved him dearly but as time went on it became apparent that Mags was starting to develop behavioral issues, something that can happen with bottle fed alpacas, particularly males.  Mags owners did their best to establish correct boundaries with Mags from day one, but his personality was such that he persisted in bonding more strongly with them than other alpacas.  At that point is when Mags made his first visit to our farm.  He arrived here with another bottle cria Song, who had lost her dam at a slightly later stage than Mags and who would not nurse from a bottle.  We agreed to work with both Mags and Song, trying to instill appropriate behavior in Mags and working with Song to get her to nurse.  Song by this time had decided that Mags was her new mother and milk source and would try to nurse off him, much to Mags surprise!  By holding a bottle underneath Mags we were soon able to get Song to nurse from the bottle,  Mags played an important part in Song’s survival.

In time Mags behavior did improve and he was able to return to his owners, while Song went on to her new home.  But Mags was always an alpaca who had to be handled carefully and with awareness.

Mags owners later decided to leave the alpaca business; as part of our agreement in working with Mags we had become his co-owners and so Mags returned to our farm.  The change of location threw Mags world in a spin for a while and once again we had to work to establish boundaries and encourage good behavior over bad.  By this time Mags was maturing and testosterone was being added into the mix, but our male herd helped us keep Mags in check, educating him in the hierarchy of a male alpaca herd.  Once again he settled down and even started to bond with a couple of the boys, in particular our black herd sire Champ.

Today Champ is wondering where his buddy went.  Champ is a very intelligent alpaca, described by the transporter who delivered him here as one of the smartest alpacas he has met.  I think Mags was on a similar level to Champ and that is why the two boys bonded.

Throughout his life Mags wanted attention and affection, but he sought in from humans instead of other alpacas and not always in the best way.  We certainly did not want to wrestle with him, but in alpaca boys that is often how they play.  We would have loved to give him the attention he sought, but knew that to do so would only encourage his inappropriate behavior and so we were very much hands off with Mags.

In the last few days of his life, as we cared for Mags we were finally able to hug him and give him the attention he had so longingly sought for all of his life.  His eye contact with us was direct, in times of pain he gained some relief and comfort from our touch and our voices, he put his trust in us completely and was so incredibly strong through some difficult days.

It is always hard to decide to let one of the alpacas go, but in Mags case it was even harder, he was fighting so very hard for his life and we wanted to give him every possible chance, but when suffering is great and there is no chance for recovery all we can do is provide merciful relief.   Mags lived up to his registered name until his final moment – Lionheart.

Sometimes  in life we experience meaningful connections, things happen that seem to be guided by a gentle spirit, not seen but often felt.  As I wrote to a dear alpaca breeder friend last night to inform her of Mags passing, Ric had the television on in the other room, through my tears I could hear the words of a song from the The Secret Sisters.  I have never heard of The Secret Sisters before and while I love music I am not familiar with their work.  The song is from the sound track of the movie The Hunger Games, a movie that has not interested me at all and which I would probably not have planned on seeing.  I had not been paying attention to the noise of the TV, but The Secrets Sisters song reached me clearly and perhaps with a purpose.  The song is titled “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder”, the words could not have been more fitting for the emotions we are feeling.

“Black clouds are behind me, I now can see ahead

Often I wonder why I try, hoping for an end,

Sorrow weighs my shoulders down and trouble haunts my mind

But I know the present will not last and tomorrow will be kinder

Tomorrow will be kinder, it’s true I’ve seen it before

A brighter day is coming my way, yes tomorrow will be kinder

Today I have cried a many tear and pain is in my heart

Around me lies a somber scene I don’t know where to start

But I feel warmth on my skin, the stars are all aligned

The wind has blown but now I know

That tomorrow will be kinder

Tomorrow will be kinder, it’s true I’ve seen it before

A brighter day is coming my way, yes tomorrow will be kinder”

The alpaca business is often joyous, but any time you are raising lifestock there will come a time when you have to say goodbye to those in your care.  It is never easy and though we have been raising alpacas for 12 years and have said had to say goodbye to our dear alpacas before it doesn’t get any easier.

The picture at the top of this post is of Mags when he was young during his first stay at our farm, and that is how I will choose to remember him, full of life, curiosity and wanting so much to be loved.  Dear Mags you were a special boy, we really miss you.   I still feel your presence, can still feel your warmth, wherever your spirit soars I am hoping that for you too today and tomorrow will be kinder.

April 21, 2011

Don’t You Just Love Alpacas?

April Open Farm Day

Ric conducts a pasture tour during our windy April Open Farm Day

Well of course you do because after all they are adorable, but on top of that they are also adaptable.

Our last Open Farm Day was challenged by incredibly windy conditions, with sustained winds between 25 and 30 mph and gusts up to 60 mph.  All in all the conditions were really not the nicest, but we discovered that the alpacas have some pretty dedicated fans who were determined to visit the farm despite the wind and blowing dust – a big thank you to all those who braved the weather to come out to see us!

Of course windy weather is pretty much the norm in Clovis in the spring, but this spring has been particular windy and very dry.  Our natural grass that we planted in the back field has been a big help in keeping the dust down, but there is still plenty of dust and also tumbleweeds to blow around.

At one point in the day the conditions just became too poor for us to continue with the farm tours, but we didn’t want to disappoint people, especially when they had braved the weather to come and visit.  That is when the adaptability of alpacas came into play, using first Buck and then Champ for our “volunteers” we brought the alpacas into the farm store so that people could see them up close, be out of the wind and actually hear what Ric was saying as part of his presentation.  The visitors could even enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade and a cookie while they listened!

Buck Comes Into The Studio at Open Farm Day

Buck In the Studio on April Open Farm Day - He Saved People From Having to Suffer The High Winds And Dust That Day

Both Buck and Champ did well, Champ wasn’t too sure about lifting his feet to show people his soft pads and decided to cush (sit down) for a while, but apart from that the two boys behaved like stars – the beauty of alpacas!

So now with the April farm day behind us it is time to turn our thoughts to shearing.  We will be shearing this weekend and continue on shearing whenever we get the opportunity until the whole herd is done.  As warm as it is already I am pretty certain that the alpacas are more than ready for their cool summer do’s – mark your calendars for Saturday May 14 our next Open Farm Day and then you can see how different the alpacas look without their fleece – hopefully by then we will be rid of the high winds and Open Farm Day will be a pleasurable time for both humans and alpacas!

Rosemary

March 10, 2011

Preparing for Good Company

Filed under: alpaca, alpaca behavior, alpaca behaviour, Alpaca Care, Crias, General, Open Farm Day — alpacalady @ 8:42 am
Dot and Dash

Dot and Dash - where ever one is the other is not far behind

The week has been busy with preparations for  our upcoming Open Farm Day, tumbleweeds to be cleared away (boy do we have a bumper crop already!), paths to be swept clean, new inventory to be added to the store, signs to be made and ideas to be implemented to make the day the best for all who attend.

While all that is going on there is also the day to day running of the farm to manage – after all we would have a bunch of disgruntled alpacas if we didn’t give them their daily pellet ration and hay.  In addition to daily feedings there are other tasks that need to be attended to as well.  With 70 alpacas at our farm toenail trimming is an ongoing process and as my mother would like to say “Is like painting the Forth Bridge” (I am told the American equivalent of that saying is “like painting the Golden Gate Bridge).   By the time we have trimmed the whole herd it’s time to start over again!  Alpaca ears need to be treated to prevent ear ticks, pregnant alpaca girls need to be behavior tested to verify that they still pregnant and body scores need to be checked to decide which alpacas are eating a little too well and which might need a little extra feed every day.  Life is never dull at Windrush Alpacas!

Spring crias are several weeks away from being born, the fall crias are growing up healthy and strong.  Young Dot and Ditto each born during our December Open Farm Days are now strapping 3 month olds, for those who were here when Dot and Ditto were born the change in the two boys will be striking.  Along with their buddy Dash who was born days before them they make quite the trio checking out new things in the pasture and on chilly evenings  they stir the whole herd into a gallop as they perform their nightly “cria dash” to ensure they are nice and warm before night fall.  Inevitably Dash is in the lead of the cria dash, (hence his name Windrush Luna Dash) a very vivid reminder of how his sire Windrush White Blast chased around the pasture as a cria.

Theresa and Ditto

Ditto with his dam Theresa - Ditto was also born during our December Open Farm Days

The forecast for Saturday speaks of temperatures in the 60’s, partly cloudy and a light breeze – just perfect for an Open Farm Day.  We are getting excited about the event and look forward to meeting many new people, seeing repeat visitors (alpacas are addictive you know) and introducing our beautiful alpacas to all who come.  See you soon – it’s going to be a fun day!

Rosemary

December 2, 2009

When the Whole Herd Prongs ….

It’s time to take cover!  Especially if your guard llamas are joining in as well!

With recent snows and falling temperatures the animals on the farm have been a little friskier.  The horses like to have a little buck and kick session as the excitement of feeding time combines with their need to stay active and warm.  The dogs are ready to dash about all over the place, especially puppy Blue who is about as fast as a dog can get speeding here and there as she follows Ric during morning chores.  The alpaca boys like to warm up by taking part in some extra wrestling sessions especially as evening feeding time draws nearer.   We keep an eye on the boys as they wrestle, 90% of the time they are fine but if we see things starting to get a bit too rough then we will intervene.  Usually clapping our hands or whistling will distract them long enough to break up the wrestling match, but if that fails the appearance of more hay or feed usually gets the boys attention away from wrestling.

In the girls pen the friskiness is less aggressive, with the young crias in with the girls it is usually not long before sunset that  a couple of the crias start to race around the pasture, increasing their body temperatures as they gallop at full speed.  Occasionally a few of the adult girls will join in and we are treated to the sight of the adult girls in full prong, bouncing up into the air with tails raised and heads held high.

Tuesday evening though saw a rare event, the site of the whole female pasture pronging together as a herd, from the smallest cria to the oldest dam and our guard llamas too they moved together as one from one side of the pasture to the other and back again.  By the time this happened it was dark, having been delayed starting the evening chores I was later getting to the girls than usual and by the time I was ready to feed them the daylight had gone.  You would think that the site of the feed wagon loaded down with hay and feed would be enough to get the girls to stop, but no they were just having too much fun and the pronging continued.

There was no point in going into the pasture any further to try and stop them, they weren’t paying attention to me and the last thing I wanted was to get mown down by a herd of cavorting camelids – try explaining that to the doctor!   There was nothing else to be done but stand back and watch the site of my happy herd (and yes they finally did settle down to eat but it took a while!).

Rosemary

November 26, 2009

A Herd within a Herd

 

The Girls from Dancing Wind Alpacas

Four of the Six Girls from Dancing Wind Alpacas (the other two were too busy at the hay rack to pose for pictures)

 

 

On Sunday our herd was increased by six alpacas – but only temporarily.   We have been given the opportunity to take over the lease of six female alpacas that are owned by Mary Schaare of Dancing Wind Alpacas.

Leases on alpacas can work in many different ways, sometimes a pregnant female alpaca is leased for a fee and then upon the birth of the cria the lessee is the owner of the cria.  It was that type of lease that we did to get one of our first alpacas, Ma Cushla.  We leased Ma Cushla’s dam Plata by paying a fee to Plata’s owners and then when Ma Cushla was born we owned Ma Cushla.  Of course we could not bring Ma Cushla home until she was weaned but it helped us get an addition to our herd at a reasonable price.  Typically the lease on a pregnant female alpaca is less than her purchase price and the cost of feed and care of the dam are paid for by the owners.  The lessee is responsible for any feed and care costs on the cria when he or she is born.  With a lease you do not know the sex of the cria until it is born and so there is a bit of a gamble involved, but it can help you bring fresh bloodlines into your herd without taking on the full cost of the pregnant female alpacas.

Other leases we have been involved in have been structured so that the lessee pays one fee if the cria is a boy and another if the cria is a girl.  I am sure that there are other formats of alpaca lease on the market too.

This particular lease will involve us boarding and caring for the six girls, delivering their crias and then keeping the girls and their crias until the crias can be weaned.  In exchange for our services we will get to keep some of the crias.

The six girls in question are an interesting group, they have excellent bloodlines and are beautiful girls, but what is interesting to me is their behavior as they are a very tightly bonded group.  I call them the herd within a herd because they really do behave as if they are their own herd rather than part of the main group of girls.  The “matriarch” of the girls is Ms Genevieve and where Ms Genevieve goes the others follow!  They never stray very far from each other and Ms Genevieve is definitely the boss and is respectfully acknowledged by the other girls in the group – Luna, Sierra, Bella, Grace and Mariah.

So for the next 18 months or so the girls will be in our care, it will be interesting to see if their behavior changes over time or if they continue to be their own herd within a herd.  Of course when they all have their crias they will be a much bigger group and hopefully their crias will socialize with our crias and help break down some of the boundaries the girls have put up – but only if Ms Genevieve allows it I’m sure!

 

Rosemary

October 31, 2009

Fall’s First Snow Fall

 

First Snow of Fall

First Snow of Fall

 

 

This was the sight we were greeted with when we did chores on Thursday morning – snow!  You may be able to tell from the picture that this was a wet snow with big, heavy snowflakes.  As fast and as furious as the snow was falling you would think that we would have had a large accumulation, but our ground was still warm and we ended up with just about an inch of the fluffy white stuff.

When I had set out for Blue’s early morning walk at 5:45 a.m. the temperature had been quite mild, but as is often the case in New Mexico within an hour everything had changed.  The wind started to roar, the temperature dropped and then the flakes started falling.

Many of the alpacas remained cushed as the snow started.  They had made a nice warm spot on the ground and didn’t want to give it up.  Theresa in particular did not want to move, heavily pregnant she felt more comfortable staying put, blinking away the snowflakes as they landed on her eyes.

 

Theresa Sits in The Snow

A very pregnant Theresa refuses to budge from her spot despite the snow

 

 

After feeding, the boys soon made a dash for cover and stayed under their shelters until things started to warm up.  The girls ate quickly and then headed for the hay feeders, but some of them were quite happy to stand out in the snow.  Theresa was a little shivery at feeding time, a result of her refusing to give up her spot in the pasture, but a bowl of alpaca feed and alfalfa followed by some hay and warm soaked beet shreds soon had her warmed up.

We usually have a snowfall around Halloween; this one was a little early but not too far off track.  Parts of the state got a foot or more of snow – rather them than me.  Once our Halloween snowfall has arrived we often don’t see snow again until January.

For this weekend the forecast is for temperatures in the 60’s – much better weather for Theresa to deliver her cria in.  As of Friday night it looked like she had a little udder development so maybe we will get more of a treat than a trick this Halloween!

 

Rosemary

September 22, 2009

Oh My Goodness

Well summer is definitely over!  Yesterday it was 88 degrees in the afternoon, by 5:30 pm the temperature had started to drop and then “wham” the cold front hit us with stiff winds, dropping the temperature down to 42 (and that’s without the wind chill).  Ironically yesterday was officially the last day of summer.  Typically we do get cooler fall temperatures, but the days usually cool off a little at a time, not in one fell swoop.

It is not entirely a surprise that fall has arrived so swiftly as there have been little signs that fall would be early this year.  Some of the trees are starting to change color already, berries have already appeared on winter bushes, the tarantulas have already completed their fall migration and different birds have appeared in the area.  (Yesterday we had a Wilson’s Warbler in the garden who would be in the process of migrating from the North West to the south east).  Parts of Colorado and Northern New Mexico received their first snow on Monday.

The alpacas seemed to enjoy the sudden cool temperatures.  Our two youngest crias started off the frisky activities by galloping around their pasture at high speed; they were soon joined by the adult females in their pasture.  Once that group were galloping around the main female herd decided that they too wanted to kick up their heels in the cool, windy air.  Evening chores was interesting as we had to dodge all of those low flying alpacas.  By the time the alpacas had settled down to eat they must have felt nice and warm.

According to the older people of this area the signs are all pointing to a cold, snowy winter.  After yesterday’s dramatic fall arrival I can definitely believe winter is not far away.

Rosemary

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.