A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 30, 2008

Well – They could be Twins!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, camelids, Cria Care, Crias, General, guard llamas, llama — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:56 am

 

The two orphaned crias Song and Mags have arrived at the farm and are going through the process of trying to settle in.  It has to be strange for them both (although Mags did spend one day here on another occasion).  They have new places to check out, new faces to see and a new routine to their day.  All in all the two did well today, they were a little confused at evening feeding but give them a couple of days and they will soon get the hang of things.

 

Of course our crias were overjoyed to check out the new arrivals, their curious faces looking first from a distance before they charged over to see who the new arrivals were.  Once our crias were nearer it was immediately apparent that we have a problem – Zianna and Song are almost identical!  Apart from the fact that Zianna has fawn fiber on the bridge of her nose and Song has white fiber with a little snip of fawn on the bridge of her nose the two crias look like twins and they are not even related.

 

I wasn’t able to snap a picture of the “twins” today, but will try and get one over the next few days.  One sure way to tell them apart is that Ivanna will allow Zianna to nurse from her but will not allow Song to do so.  Poor little Song had a try but after first thinking that Song was Zianna, Ivanna bent around to sniff the cria nursing from her and realized that it was not hers and chased her away.

 

Song has so far refused to take a bottle, and we are hoping that Inca the llama will take to Song and allow her to nurse, but even Inca seemed confused at the sudden presence of two Ziannas!  Song does eat hay and a little of the alpacas pellets but we are sure some llama milk would please her.

 

Mags in the meantime looks completely different from anyone else in the pasture.  He is a striking male and a beautiful rich dark brown in color.  Mags is not entirely convinced he is an alpaca and tends to pay more attention to humans, so we are working on helping him integrate more with the other crias so that he can learn that he really is an alpaca while he is still young.  As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day” and it will take time for Mags to realize he is really an alpaca, but I am sure over time the chase and play of the cria group will appeal to his alpaca nature and convince him that those four legged alpacas are much more interesting than the two legged humans.

 

Rosemary

August 29, 2008

There’s Nothing Like A Piece Of Hay In Your Mouth (if you’re a cria that is!)

Atlas with his never ending piece of hay

Atlas with his never ending piece of hay

 

As the crias grow and start to experiment with eating hay, they go through a stage when it seems as if they always have to have a piece of hay in their mouth.  If you watch them they chew on it, turn it around in their mouth and carry it proudly, but they never seem to swallow it.  On numerous occasions I have had to take a piece of hay out of Dream’s mouth before she has her bottle, and I can guarantee she is looking for that piece of hay to put back in her mouth as soon as she is finished.

 

The picture at the top of this post is not as I hoped it would be.  Just seconds earlier Atlas, Pride and Dream had been standing in a line, each one with that “never ending” piece of hay in their mouth.  They looked so sweet as they stood together, but as usual when I went to take their picture they all moved and the only one I captured was Atlas – and even then you can barely see the piece of hay in his mouth.

 

I don’t know whether at this stage the crias are just enjoying the sensation and taste of the hay in their mouth, or whether they want something to constantly chew on as their teeth develop.  All of the crias can and do eat hay now and have no problem chewing and swallowing it, but a lot of the time they will be wandering around the pasture with that one lone piece of hay in their mouth.

 

Today our cria group is going to be joined by a couple of new additions.  Not newborn crias (I can’t predict when that will happen and the girls wouldn’t let me anyway), but rather two orphaned crias.  One of them is a male cria “Mags” (not his registered name but that is what we call him) whose dam Maggie unfortunately died following delivering Mags.  We are actually in the process of becoming co-owners of Mags with our friends Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas.  Mags is a striking cria and brings with him some beautiful fleece qualities from his sire Andean Night and his grandsire General Schwarzkopf.  Bob and Regina have put in many hours bottle feeding Mags and feel it is now time that he come and join our cria group and start to integrate more with alpacas closer to his own age.  The other cria coming to our farm is “Song”, a female cria whose dam died following an accident.  Song has been doing well since her dam died and eats some hay and pellets but we are hoping that she will take advantage of our nursemaid llamas to give her some milk in her diet. 

 

I am sure that the two new crias will enjoy the company of our sociable little cria group, and hope that they will soon be joining in the nightly cria games.  Our crias are just about ready to start on a little more structured handling and halter training, so after a few days to allow Songs and Mags to get used to their new surroundings they too will be joining in cria school – probably each with a piece of hay in their mouth!

 

Rosemary

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