A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

April 15, 2009

There’s Nothing Quite Like A Good Auntie

Candytuft stands between Orchid and Ma Cushla (really girls you need to learn to chew with your mouths closed!)

Candytuft stands between Orchid and Ma Cushla (really girls you need to learn to chew with your mouths closed!)

 It has been interesting to watch the progress of young Candytuft who is here with her dam Orchid who is here for breeding.


When Candytuft first arrived she was very wary of us, not wanting to come near us at all, sticking closely to her dam’s side.  We didn’t force the issue, crias are curious by nature, I knew that if we just went about our business without making an attempt to interact with her that her curiosity would get the better of her.


In a short time Candytuft has progressed from running away as soon as she saw us, to peering around the side of her dam to watch us, to now coming up when we are putting out hay and gingerly taking some from our hands.  Candytuft is coming around and gradually starting to trust us.


Along with learning to trust us, Candytuft has also formed a bond with our grey alpaca Ma Cushla.  Ma Cushla has always been something of a herd auntie, she has never been able to carry a pregnancy to term and so has never had a cria of her own.  Instead Ma Cushla likes to be the auntie to the various crias at the farm.  Something about her attracts the crias to her; in return she is very gentle with them and even joins in with the crias when they have one of their “cria dashes” around the pasture.  Candytuft has been no exception to Ma Cushla’s charms.


While the other alpacas in the quarantine pen would all be at one hay feeder, it was not unusual to find Ma Cushla and Candytuft side by side at the other hay feeder eating together.  Orchid seems quite willing to leave her little one with Ma Cushla and shows no concern that her cria is not at her side as long as Candytuft is with Ma Cushla.


Orchid has now completed her quarantine period and we have put her and Candytuft in with the main herd.  Sometimes with visiting female alpacas we will leave them in the quarantine pen for the duration of their stay along with our two companion females Primera and Ma Cushla, but with Candytuft being the only cria in the quarantine pen we felt it was healthier for her to be able to interact with the other crias in the main herd.


The first day of Orchid and Candytuft being in with the main herd was strange to them, they didn’t know where to go to eat and had to get acquainted with the other girls in the pasture.  Orchid soon discovered which pen she would be fed in, Candytuft preferred to stay outside of the pen initially and on those first few days while Orchid was eating we would find Candytuft seeking out Ma Cushla and comfortably settling in beside her until Orchid had finished her feed.


Now Orchid and Candytuft are more settled in with the main herd.  Most times Candytuft now goes into a pen with Orchid to eat, but other times she stays out and seeks out the company of her favorite herd auntie Ma Cushla, proving that as is the case for many crias there’s nothing quite like a herd auntie for good company.



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