A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 8, 2009

Snake Herding

Monday morning as I was happily scooping the poop in the girls pasture I noticed some of the crias paying attention to something outside the fence line.  I couldn’t see what was causing their distraction but thought it was most likely a rabbit.

A short while later though the attention had moved to the middle of the pasture and now along with the crias were Inca (one of the guard llamas) and Cinnamon.  Just looking at Inca and Cinnamon I could tell that something was amiss – they both were dancing, their tails held high and their necks stretched forward toward something on the ground.  At first I thought it was a stick and then I realized it was moving and the stick was in fact a snake.

I went over to see what sort of snake it was; if it was a rattle snake something would have to be done quickly as the attention of the alpacas and llamas would surely annoy it (snakes are not very sociable creatures and prefer not to be the center of attention!).

Fortunately the snake was a bull snake, about four feet long and the brown and tan variety, unlike the black and yellow bull snake I had seen earlier in the summer.  Still I didn’t think the snake would be too pleased about the attention the girls and crias were giving it so I needed to try and get it out of the pasture without the alpacas or llamas annoying it along the way.

Armed with my poop shovel in one hand and the rake in the other I decided that it would be easiest to follow the snake to the fence line using the shovel and the rake to keep any inquisitive noses away.  Of course once word got around the pasture that something different was happening the whole herd gathered to look at the snake.  The snake was very cooperative and made his way across the pasture with me walking behind him and the shovel and rake at either side of him.  Theresa got a little brave at one point and tried hard to get closer to the snake but I was able to guide her away with the rake and keep her from getting too close.  I did have to chuckle though as walked behind the snake guiding him on his way, it was just as if I was using the shovel and rake as we use the herding wands to move the alpacas when we need to, but this time I was herding one well behaved snake.

Soon the snake was through the pasture fence and headed down the driveway, my first attempt at snake herding had been successful and the girls and crias could go back to eating their hay.  I’m not sure my snake herding would be so successful with more than one snake and I am pretty sure that if the snake had been a rattle snake I would be using the shovel for a different purpose than herding snakes!  Let’s hope the rattle snakes stay away from the pasture and I never have to find out!


July 29, 2008

Good Timing or Bad?

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 6:27 am

Snake in a fan

Snake in a fan

I am sure we have all had circumstances when things have happened that make us feel that our timing is incredibly good or incredibly bad.  Over the weekend I discovered that some timing had come together that turned out good for us but not so good for the other party involved.



We recently purchased a new fan for the weanling’s shelter.  As happens with outside fans we had one that was working one day, turned off overnight and then refused to work again.  So off we went to the hardware store to buy a replacement fan for the weanlings.


The new fan was set in place and was working well.  That is until one day last week when I noticed it had stopped working.  I didn’t pay too much attention to it as we had a power cut that day and I thought maybe the circuit breaker had clicked on for some reason.  I had also had to use the power outlet for that fan that same day and had unplugged the fan, so I thought that might be related to the circuit breaker tripping.  When I checked the circuit breaker sure enough it had tripped and so I reset it, assuming that the fan had come back on.


A later check revealed that the fan had not come back on, but by then the temperature had cooled for the evening and so I did not try to get the fan working again.


The next day as I did chores I decided that it was time to take a closer look at the fan and all of its connections to see what the problem was, after all this fan was only a couple of weeks old and surely it should last longer than that.  As I pulled on the fan to get it away from the corner I was thinking about where I had filed the receipt for the fan so I could return it if it really was not working.  With my mind on the chances of returning the fan I wasn’t really paying attention to the fan itself so when I looked down got a surprise – a snake hanging from the fan!  Fortunately I am not too disturbed by the sight of a snake and so was able to take a second look at the snake to discover that thankfully it was dead.


A closer look at the snake in the fan

A closer look at the snake in the fan



A closer look revealed that the poor snake must have been curled up around the motor of the fan, when I plugged the fan back in it must have startled the snake who tried to get away from the fan but instead met an untimely death courtesy of the fan blades.


The snake looks like it was a young bull snake, which is a shame as they are good at keeping the rodent population down, but I guess it’s time was up.  Talk about timing – what are the chances of that happening! 



February 9, 2008

Ssssspring must be coming!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:30 am
The last few days have been a little warmer, still very windy but much warmer with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s.  The weatherman has now resorted to forecasting “breezy” weather; I think he doesn’t dare mention the word “windy” as we have all had enough of the wind.  The winds and warmer weather though is a sign that spring is on its way.

Another spring sign is my first sighting of a snake for the year.  Yes, here we are only just into February and the snakes are showing themselves already.  The snake I saw yesterday was a bull snake, about 3ft long and a little sluggish, but he had enough energy to coil up when I was near to him.  I had Bandit the stray dog with me at the time (we were taking one of our twice daily walks) and fortunately I was able to distract Bandit so that he didn’t notice the snake, had he seen it I am sure he would have tried to do something with it, which is not a good idea.

While the bull snake is pretty harmless to us, I am sure that if one kind of snake is appearing there are others about to emerge too.  Looks like Spring is on it’s way despite Punxsutawney Phil’s recent Groundhog Day prediction!


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