A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 26, 2009

Scoundrels!

The Girls Help Themselves to Hay

The Girls Help Themselves to Hay

 

What can I say?  Leave a herd of alpacas alone long enough with a bale of their favorite teff hay which has been “secured” in a pen and one of them will figure out how to get the pen gate open allowing the herd an “all you can eat” buffet on the bale!

We had one bale of teff hay left and decided to store it in the pen we use for big bales in the girls pasture so that we could ration it out a little every day.  Word soon spread among the herd that the teff hay was there and the girls happily spent their day pulling pieces through the chain link of the pen.  That teff hay tastes so good and our girls wanted more.

Maya the llama was the first to lead the assault on the big bale pen.  Using the chain link material on the gate to the big bale pen she managed to climb up high enough to where she could reach her neck out and just manage to nibble at the edge of the bale.  This wasn’t the easiest feat in the world but Maya was determined despite being told off by Ric for climbing on the chain link gate.

Having been discouraged from accessing the bale by going over the fence there was only one alternative, go under the fence.

We have two alpacas at the farm that are champions at putting their heads under the last rung of any portable panel or gate in order to reach anything that is tasty on the other side.  Carina started this trend, reaching under her feeding pen each morning to steal one of the bowls from the group of girls in the adjoining pen.  Carina also discovered that there was sufficient space for her to get her head and neck under the gate of the big bale pen.

Carina is one of those girls who puts her energy into milk production and tends to be slim, so when we saw her getting access to the big bale by putting her head under the gate we were not too concerned.  We checked to make sure she had sufficient room to get her head in and out of the gap under the gate and allowed her to continue stealing some extra calories.

Glow’s cria Nochi then noticed Carina’s trick and decided that she too could steal hay from under the gate and was soon joining Carina.

Having accessed the hay from under the gate it didn’t take long for Carina to figure out that she could use her head (in a physical way rather than an intellectual way) to push up on the gate just enough to unlatch the lock. 

So it was that yesterday afternoon I glanced out of the window to be greeted by the sight of the herd piling in that gate to help themselves to teff hay – boy were they happy!

While I would love to give them free access to the teff hay, it is the last bale we have and we are trying to make it last.  We do have other hay to feed the alpacas but it will be August before we have access to another load of teff hay.  So for now the gate to the big bale pen has been secured not only with the latch but also with a strap that prevents the alpacas and llamas from maneuvering the gate in any direction – and I have a herd of alpacas who sit longingly outside that pen quietly thinking about how they can once again get free access to that bale of teff hay.

Rosemary

January 1, 2009

It’s 2009 – Happy New Year

Pride, Dream and Atlas Enjoy A Sunset

Pride, Dream and Atlas Enjoy A Sunset

 

The New Year has arrived and as always we wonder what it will bring as it unfolds.  As 2008 began we were not to know that for us it would be a year of losses, the loss of our dear Sandie dog was followed by the loss of our young cat Snuggler, two crias Legs and Beeper were also to leave us and then in November the biggest loss of all, that of my father.

 

But thankfully there were joys too in 2008.   Many beautiful crias arrived at the farm, new friends were made, old friends were revisited and a beautiful grand daughter, Aida, entered our lives.  A little girl who is quick to smile and happily explores all of the new experiences life brings her.

 

I know for many 2008 was a tough year, reminding us to be grateful for what we have, a roof over our heads, food on the table, good friends and family.   Despite the bleak predictions of the media I hope that those who struggled so much in 2008 have some relief and assistance in the New Year.

 

In 2009 some lucky people will join us in owning and raising alpacas.  On this New Year’s Day they may be excitedly planning the purchase of their first alpacas, thinking about the structure of their alpaca business, anticipating their first steps into the alpaca world.  How exciting for us to think that we might contribute to their success, whether it be selling them their first alpacas or offering encouragement and guidance along the way.

 

As the New Year dawns I know that the alpacas will be in the pasture, carrying on oblivious to the significance of the date.  Their steady presence brings a perspective to life.    They appreciate each moment for what it is, and don’t concern themselves with the many “what if’s” that humans have.    As I am treated to a barrage of cria kisses from Nochi, a lingering look from Dream, a dance of expectance from TeQueely and the precious gift of the alpacas trust as I work among them, I am aware of how fortunate I am to have these beautiful creatures in my life.

 

For all who read this I wish a Happy and Prosperous 2009, remember that happiness is often found in the most basic areas of life and that prosperity is so much more than the amount of money in you have in your bank account.

 

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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