A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

December 2, 2009

When the Whole Herd Prongs ….

It’s time to take cover!  Especially if your guard llamas are joining in as well!

With recent snows and falling temperatures the animals on the farm have been a little friskier.  The horses like to have a little buck and kick session as the excitement of feeding time combines with their need to stay active and warm.  The dogs are ready to dash about all over the place, especially puppy Blue who is about as fast as a dog can get speeding here and there as she follows Ric during morning chores.  The alpaca boys like to warm up by taking part in some extra wrestling sessions especially as evening feeding time draws nearer.   We keep an eye on the boys as they wrestle, 90% of the time they are fine but if we see things starting to get a bit too rough then we will intervene.  Usually clapping our hands or whistling will distract them long enough to break up the wrestling match, but if that fails the appearance of more hay or feed usually gets the boys attention away from wrestling.

In the girls pen the friskiness is less aggressive, with the young crias in with the girls it is usually not long before sunset that  a couple of the crias start to race around the pasture, increasing their body temperatures as they gallop at full speed.  Occasionally a few of the adult girls will join in and we are treated to the sight of the adult girls in full prong, bouncing up into the air with tails raised and heads held high.

Tuesday evening though saw a rare event, the site of the whole female pasture pronging together as a herd, from the smallest cria to the oldest dam and our guard llamas too they moved together as one from one side of the pasture to the other and back again.  By the time this happened it was dark, having been delayed starting the evening chores I was later getting to the girls than usual and by the time I was ready to feed them the daylight had gone.  You would think that the site of the feed wagon loaded down with hay and feed would be enough to get the girls to stop, but no they were just having too much fun and the pronging continued.

There was no point in going into the pasture any further to try and stop them, they weren’t paying attention to me and the last thing I wanted was to get mown down by a herd of cavorting camelids – try explaining that to the doctor!   There was nothing else to be done but stand back and watch the site of my happy herd (and yes they finally did settle down to eat but it took a while!).


March 31, 2009

Is It Me Or Are The Winds Getting Worse?

Inca Peeks Around The Corner Of The Shelter During Last Friday's Snow Storm

Inca Peeks Around The Corner Of The Shelter During Last Friday's Snow Storm


We are used to windy weather in the spring in Eastern New Mexico, but it seems as if the wind is getting more extreme.  Yesterday we were treated to sustained winds of 42 mph with the occasional 50+ mph gust thrown in for good measure!  It’s quite something to look out into the pasture and see our feed wagon moving across the pasture propelled by wind power!


Raking up the poop and taking the wheelbarrows out to the compost pile in those high winds was quite an experience.  Putting out hay was also fun as we tried to get it into the feeders before it all blew away.


The alpacas seemed to take the high winds pretty much in their stride.  We did see one or two watery eyes, which is hardly surprising considering all of the dust blowing around.  We will check the herd today and make sure everyone’s eyes look good.  For the most part the alpacas stayed cushed, getting up to eat and drink and make a mad dash between the shelters.


By the end of the day I think everyone was tired of the wind except two of the llamas Maya and Inca who decided to have a pronging session around the pasture.  It was wonderful to see them running and pronging, they looked very elegant and they interspersed their pronging with squeals of delight.  I’m not entirely sure what there was to be delighted about but I wonder if perhaps they were getting some extra lift from the high winds and that is what was pleasing them.  It’s not often that the llamas have a good pronging session so something must have tickled their fancy – either that or the wind had caused them to loose their sanity by the end of the day!



September 13, 2008

Now That’s What We Wanted To See!

 The two orphaned crias Mags and Song have been making good progress.  Song is now quite happy to latch onto her bottle without going underneath Mags first, and drinks her milk with gusto.  Song also is a healthy eater when it comes to hay and alpaca pellets.


Mags has never had a problem taking a bottle (far from it) but behaviorally he has some issues.  Not having ever really bonded with his dam (she died shortly after he was born), he has confusion as to his relationship with humans.  Mags has a tendency to stay away from the other alpacas, and also craves attention from humans – not a good thing for a young male alpaca.   So we are working on correcting his behavior and trying to get him to integrate more with the other alpacas.  Song has actually helped with this as she has buddied up to Mags and she tends to lead the way in showing him how alpacas should behave.


We were hopeful that our group of crias would provide Mags with some good alpaca interaction, the crias now range between two and four months old and so are still very playful.  In the first few days of Mags and Song’s arrival our crias checked them out and tried playing with them, but Mags and Song were still getting used to their surroundings and were not willing to play.


Every morning and evening we pen all the crias up together to provide some time for them to eat without the adult alpacas shoving them out of the way.  The crias all enjoy their time eating and walk into the pen on their own when we call them.  By including Mags and Song in this routine we have hoped that they will pick up on the behavior of the other crias and start to eat more hay and even a little of the alpaca pellets.


Yesterday afternoon I noticed a blur of alpacas galloping across the pasture.  I went over to the window to see what was going on, anytime I see alpacas running around warrants my attention as usually they calmly walk around the pasture.   As I looked out I could see that the galloping alpacas were the crias, it was playtime!  Annochia was in the lead, doing one of the highest prong gaits that I have ever seen; she looked so pretty as she moved.  Right behind Annochia was Pride and next to Pride was Mags!  Yes finally Mags was taking part in the cria games.  Song was there too in the main body of the crias running behind Annochia, Pride and Mags and it was a great sight to see the group tearing around the pasture having fun, but the best part of all was to see two little orphan crias joining in and acting like alpaca crias should.  Now that’s what we wanted to see!



August 17, 2008

A Little Lighthearted Lunacy

Filed under: alpaca, alpaca behavior, alpaca behaviour, Alpacas, Crias — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:28 am

A Full Moon and A Colorful Sky

A Full Moon and A Colorful Sky


Saturday evening we were treated to a full moon.  The moon always hangs over the girls pasture and with our wide open spaces and lack of street lighting we are lucky to be able to enjoy natural moonlight at the time of a full moon.  The picture for this post was taken one evening during the middle of last week, when the sunlight reflected over to the clouds and created a beautiful colorful sky. 


The full moon does have its effect on things; last week was one where we heard of all sorts of odd happenings.  The full moon also seems to have an effect on the alpacas, who become frisky and almost silly in their behavior when there is a full moon building.


Ric had been out on Thursday evening and when he came into the house he asked if I was aware of what was going on outside.  I asked what he was referring too and he told me to go outside to see.


In the moonlight I could see the crias bouncing round, chasing it each other and having their usual evening fun time, nothing unusual there.  Then Ric told what he had been referring too; when he had arrived home he had stopped to watch the crias playing.  As he watched the crias would rush over to the gate that adjoins the weanling pen and at the same time the weanlings would rush over to the gate too.  The two groups would screech to a halt at their respective sides of the gate and then take off running back to the opposite sides of their pastures.  Once at the other side of the pasture the charge to the gate would take place again followed by the dash back across the pasture.  The two groups were just having some fun; you might even say they were enjoying a little lunacy.


By the time I had got outside the “charge the gate” game had finished, but as we continued to watch the alpacas the two groups started to prong around their pastures, in a show of their enjoyment of the evening air and light.  It was fun to watch them prong, that lovely, bouncy gait that alpacas exhibit when they are feeling really good and lively.  Two groups of alpacas, one consisting of the crias, the other of the weanlings bouncing around their pastures, heads up, ears alert and tails arched, showing the world that for them all was well.  A little lunacy perhaps, but a lot of lovely life if you ask me!



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