A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 23, 2009

Young Man, Just What Are You Doing?

Open Wide! Atlanticus rubs his dental pad on a fence panel

Open Wide! Atlanticus rubs his dental pad on a fence panel

 

I have been watching young Atlanticus over the past week or so.  He caught my eye because he always seemed to be chewing on the fence panels, except when he was eating that is.

 

A closer look revealed he is not actually chewing the fence panel, but rather rubbing his dental pad on the metal of the panel.  If alpacas grew teeth on their top dental pad I would suspect he is teething, but alpacas do not grow teeth on their top dental pads.

 

Years ago when we first had alpacas someone told us alpacas that chew on fence panels have a mineral deficiency, but I have never found any information to back that up.  We monitor the alpacas diet very carefully so I would be dubious that Atlanticus is lacking in minerals.  So what is Atlanticus doing?

 

The only thing I can think is that Atlanticus is bored.  He does have six other crias to play with, but since his birth he has always been an independent cria and a bit of a loner.  He joins in with the other crias games occasionally but for the most part he likes to explore the pasture alone.  So maybe it is boredom that is leading him to rub his dental pad on the fence panels, or maybe to him it just feels good.

 

I have discovered that if I walk over and put some hay in front of him Atlanticus will stop rubbing his dental pad, this makes me think that if he was hanging out with the other crias spending more time at the hay feeders he would not have his fence panel fixation.

 

Health wise Atlanticus is doing well.  He is a sturdy, active cria with beautiful bundled, bright white fleece so I can’t think that it is a health issued causing his behavior.  He has a good body score and weight and eats well.

 

Perhaps I should find some pasture toys to entertain Atlanticus, I know they make pasture toys for horses so why not alpaca toys? 

 

Hopefully Atlanticus will grow out of his fence panel fixation over time.  He is a beautiful male alpaca and is destined to win ribbons at shows, in time he will probably be used for breeding, although I really hope by then he has stopped rubbing his dental pad on the fence panels, it might make breeding a little difficult and it surely won’t impress the ladies!

 

Rosemary

November 6, 2008

Time for the Winds of Change

 

It seemed appropriate that yesterday, November 5, 2008 the wind blew hard for most of the day.     The election results of November 4 told the world that many in the US are ready for change and it really felt as if the winds of change had physically reached the high plains of New Mexico by Wednesday morning.

 

The alpacas, of course, are not at all concerned with elections or politics; they instead put their attention to chasing the leaves that blew across the pasture.  For some the leaves were even more enticing than their morning ration of grain and I had to go and show them their food bowls before they would take their attention away from their leaf eating quest.

 

During the day the temperature was still in the 60’s and the crias took to cushing in the straw and sunning themselves while they were low enough to the ground to avoid the wind.

 

The fall crias are all developing their individual personalities. Sleeper (Keeva’s cria) still lives up to her name and can usually be found stretched out in a relaxed pose, when not sleeping though she has developed quite the appetite for hay and will let you know her displeasure if you try and move her away from her food.  Chandra (Carina’s cria) can usually be found close to Sleeper, although does not sleep as much as her buddy.  Chandra loves to come up and enquire as to what you are doing, tipping her head to one side and giving you a quizzical hum.   Nochi (Glow’s cria) is a little live wire, zipping across the pasture usually with a buck or a kick thrown in to the mix, she has to check out everything that is going on and often gets into mischief.  Little Man (Clarissa’s cria – not his registered name but that is the name that has stuck for now) is a quiet but determined little guy.  He might be small but he is sturdy and enjoys instigating some of the cria play, usually with Evelyn who is closest to his size.  Evelyn  (Essie’s cria) has just the sweetest of personalities, coming up to you to offer you cria kisses, calmly enjoying her neck being stroked and nuzzling you for attention.  Then there is Atlanticus, who always walks around the pasture with a purposeful attitude, almost as if he has tasks to complete during his cria day – but if he loses sight of his dam he lets out the most heart wrenching cries (I guess he’s really a sensitive boy at heart).  Finally there is Nazca (Kimmie’s cria) the last to be born and already growing like a weed.  Nazca enjoys sitting in the sunshine with a regal air about him, he’s still figuring out the other crias but has already started to join in the evening cria races, usually running side by side to Little Man and Evelyn.

 

By the time the sun set yesterday, the wind was still blowing at 26 mph with gusts up to 40 mph and with the sun’s disappearance the temperature dropped rapidly.  Time to bundle up the crias in their cria coats with the three smallest crias (Little Man, Evelyn and Nazca) and their dams being moved to the stall in the big shelter to give them some extra protection for the night.  With nighttime temperatures being predicted to be in the 20’s it seems as if winter is starting to head this way.  We have been spoiled recently with a beautiful Indian summer but it seems as if the winds of change are bringing in more seasonal and colder days – oh well, it was nice while it lasted and before we know it spring will be headed our way.

 

Rosemary

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