A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 28, 2007

Mmmm – Pumpkins!

Pumpkin EatersWe are just a few days away from Halloween and many houses in the area have pumpkins as part of their fall displays.

Many people do not realize that pumpkins are grown in large numbers in Clovis, New Mexico and then trucked all over the US for sale.  So many pumpkins are grown that throughout the pumpkin picking season you will see semi truck loads of pumpkin culls (the misshapen or damaged ones) being dumped in fields for cows to munch on.  It’s quite amusing to drive past a field of cows and see them chewing away, their mouths stuffed full of pumpkins.

Last fall as part of Ric’s degree course in Elementary Education, Ric and his class mates developed a learning based activity evening for one of the local schools and used pumpkins as the theme of the evening.  Children learned how to calculate the circumference and diameter of pumpkins, how to weigh pumpkins, how to carve pumpkins and all sorts of other exercises involving pumpkins.  One of the local farms very kindly donated the pumpkins for the evening and the evening was a big success.

A week or so ago one of Ric’s classmates who is now teaching full time contacted him to see if he could help her out with finding some pumpkins.   The same farm that donated the pumpkins last year was willing to donate more pumpkins this year and so Ric drove out to the pumpkin field and collected about 50 pumpkins.   Again the pumpkins were culls but many of them only had minor flaws and the children enjoyed working with them.

When Ric collected the pumpkins he picked out six for our own use.  We may carve one or two of them, but the main reason we wanted the pumpkins was for a treat for the alpacas and llamas.

Last year we fed pumpkins to the herd for the first time, some of the alpacas were a bit wary of the pumpkins while others were more willing to try them out.  The llamas were a different story though and zoomed in on the pumpkins, eating them with much gusto and not allowing the alpacas even a sniff at them.  Maya in particular made a point of devouring every scrap of pumpkin that she could find.

 Maya Eating Pumpkin

We had asked our vet last year if it was safe to feed pumpkins to alpacas and he told us that they were safe to feed and were actually a good nutritional source.  He said that while he would not recommend feeding the alpacas a diet of nothing but pumpkins he could recommend feeding the pumpkins as an occasional treat.

This year the alpacas were more aware that a pumpkin is edible and tasty and managed to get a least some of the pumpkin away from the llamas who had made a beeline for the pumpkins as soon as they saw us bring them to the pasture.

As of last night there was not a scrap left of the pumpkins we had fed the girls, the flesh, seeds, skin and stem of the pumpkins was all gone and all that remained was some happy cud chewing camelids!


Blog at WordPress.com.