A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 2, 2009

Is It A Snake? Is It A Scorpion?…

No, it’s just a rabbit.  That was what we discovered when first thing Monday morning we were greeted with the sight of all of the girls staying away from one area of the pasture.  With their ears forward, tails up and the occasional jump back from the subject of their attention we decided that whatever they were looking at deserved our attention.

Of course at that time we didn’t know what the girls were looking at.  With our temperatures now on the warm side (low 90’s) the possibility of a snake in the pasture was likely.  We do see the occasional rattlesnake on the property and unfortunately when it comes to a battle between a rattlesnake and an alpaca the alpaca is usually on the losing end of things.  If a snake was out there we needed to intervene quickly.

So Ric was dispatched from the house to go and investigate what was holding the girls attention.  His mission didn’t take him long; one quick glance over the fence was all it took for him to see that a rabbit was sitting by part of the fence line just going about its daily rabbit business.  It wasn’t running, it wasn’t thumping its hind legs as alarmed rabbits sometimes do; it was just sitting there nibbling on a piece of hay.

Who knows why this particular rabbit caused so much interest in the pasture.  Usually the girls are the aggressors when it comes to rabbits, chasing the poor things all over the place.

We will never know why the girls felt this rabbit was worth the attention of the whole herd, that will have to remain one of life’s mysteries.  We will just be content in knowing that it was a rabbit and not a snake or scorpion – we’ll take the rabbit any day over the other two options!


March 16, 2009

The Folly Of Mother Nature

A Scared Baby Rabbit

A Scared Baby Rabbit


Just before our recent snow fall it was starting to look like spring around the farm, fruit trees were blossoming, elm trees were bright green with young leaves, the bluebirds had arrived for their short stay before heading further north and madam skunk had been prowling the property.


Then the snow came and everything was plunged back into winter.  That is the nature of the weather in Eastern New Mexico, extreme and changeable.


While doing chores in the snow on Friday morning I was made aware of how much nature had been fooled by our warmer days.


Putting hay out for the girls is always a bustling time.  They want to be the first to get their head in the hay feeder, or even better get their head in the bucket of hay I am carrying, especially if we are treating them to a little alfalfa as was the case on Friday.


As I put hay out in the feeders in the large blue shelter Griffin the llama was standing by my shoulder trying her best to get her head in the hay bucket.  Suddenly from the direction of Griffins feet came a squealing sound.  The sound was vaguely familiar, I didn’t think it was a cria and hoped it was not as we are not due for any births until May.  The squealing continued and eventually I found the source of the noise.  There under Griffins foot was a tiny baby cottontail rabbit. 


Fortunately Griffin did not have her feet completely on the rabbit, she’s a large girl and that would have been the end of the rabbit I am sure.  I nudged Griffin to move and the little rabbit dashed off to the side of the shelter.  It was then I noticed a ball of downy fur nestled in the straw where the mother rabbit had made a nest out of her own fur.


The dashing of baby rabbit number one had alerted baby rabbit number two who then ran out of the nest to the side of the shelter.  There was no sign of the mother rabbit, but there was enough activity to get the attention of the llamas and the alpacas.  They watched with curiosity as the little rabbits ran around the shelter dashing from one side to the one.  Then, once the rabbits had stopped, Inca (another of our llamas) and Griffin decided that they should check out what these little furry speeding balls of fur were.  Very gently Inca and Griffin reached out their necks and sniffed the rabbits.  Can you imagine what must have been going through those rabbits minds as the large llama muzzles came down towards them?


After a couple of sniffs and some words of reassurance from me that the rabbits were okay Inca and Griffin returned to eating hay.  Two of the alpaca girls Keeva and Ma Cushla though felt they needed to be in on the action and so also went over to sniff the baby rabbits, who by now must have been petrified.


As the rabbits seemed okay, apart from being scared, I decided that the best thing to do was to leave them alone to settle back down and return to their nest in the hope that the mother rabbit would return to care for them.  I moved the girls hay feeder away from the nest to make sure that no one stepped on the rabbits again and left the shelter.


We have seen the baby rabbits since Friday; Ric caught a glimpse of them on Saturday morning.  They seem to be faring well and I am pretty certain the mother rabbit is tending to them when we are not around.


I am glad that the little rabbits and their mother were not scared out of the shelter.  It provides great shelter for them and has some nice deep straw in it where they can stay hidden and warm, provided that is that the girls do not step on them again.  It is early though for such small rabbits and goes to show how Mother Nature sometimes fools herself.



July 11, 2008

Signs Of Summer

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:39 am
A Roadrunner pays us a visit

A Roadrunner pays us a visit


The past few days have been cool and cloudy – not really summer weather for the high plains of Eastern New Mexico.  We have been fortunate enough to receive some rain, a true blessing to our parched earth.  It has not seemed like summer, more like early fall and I have to keep reminding myself that August is yet to come and with it most likely a return to hot dry weather.


Around the farm there are other signs reminding us that it really is summer.  Yesterday I noticed that the barn swallows have returned.  I welcome the barn swallows; they don’t nest in our alpaca shelters, unlike the sparrows who make a big mess if we don’t stop them from building their nests each year. Yes, the barn swallows do still make a mess as they poop all over the patio, but at least we can clean it up easily from the concrete, and the barn swallows are great at catching bugs including those pesky mosquitoes.  I love to watch the swallows as the glide in the air, collecting mud and dirt and then building their mud house nests.  In time they will have some chicks, and the challenge then is to watch for chicks falling from the nest and rescuing them before our dogs Missy and Tripster find them and think they are some new form of dog play toy.


Another summer visitor to the farm is the horny toad, they are funny looking things with their leathery skin and spines, but they are quite gentle unless you are an insect in which case you are dinner.  The regular toads are also back, catching lots of bugs and taking the occasional dip in the dog’s water bowl.


In late spring we were treated to a visit from a Roadrunner, the state bird of New Mexico.  He or she strolled around the property teasing the dogs and intriguing the alpacas.  The picture at the top of this post is of that Roadrunner, who is doing an excellent job of blending into the background.  We have not seen the Roadrunner since, but surely it must be somewhere close by.


Rabbits of course are in abundance, both Cotton Tails and Jack Rabbits, lounging in the shade of the trees, having boxing matches in the evenings and doing what rabbits to best, producing more rabbits.  As much of a pest as rabbits can be, it’s hard to have ill feelings about them, especially when they are tiny little compact bundles of fur.  The alpacas though are not so tolerant of the rabbits and love a game of “chase the rabbit” if one should get into the pasture.  I swear you can hear whoops of joy from the alpacas as they pursue the rabbit, bucking and rearing and chasing the poor thing at a flat out gallop.


Our most unusual visitor of the year so far though has been a deer who ventured on to our property on the 5th of July.  We know that there is a herd of deer about 5 miles from here on the other side of Highway 467 but we have never had deer on our property before.  All we can think is that the fireworks from the Independence Day celebrations of the previous night must have spooked the deer and made him lose track of his herd.  At first I thought he was a horse as he sailed across the pasture, but as I got closer I could see he was a deer, a young buck with a small rack of antlers.  He was a good size and smooth in his gait, clearing our fences with ease.  He made his way to a pasture adjoining one of our pens of male alpacas and for a moment he seemed to think he had found friends, stopping and staring at the alpacas and pulling himself to his tallest.  Then he realized that our boys were not deer.  “Oh dear, not deer!” he seemed to say and took his leave disappearing swiftly and silently, leaving no trace of his presence, making me question if I had really seen him at all



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