A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

March 3, 2009

A Matter of Dynamics


Like many species alpacas definitely have dynamics within their herd.   Usually there are one or two leaders, a bunch of middle range alpacas and then some who are bottom of the pecking order in the herd.


With the departure of Anya, Serenity, Opie and Rian I have noticed some changes in the behavior of the herd.  The boy’s pen has been pretty much the same indicating to me that Opie and Rian held positions somewhere in the middle of the herd.


In the girls pen the most interesting change has been in the reaction of the herd at feeding time.  Anya was always the first to greet me at the gate, anxiously pushing her head in any feed bowls I was carrying.  The rest of the herd would be not far behind Anya, but it seems as if they took their cue from her behavior.


When I went to feed for the first time since Anya left there were a couple of minutes when the herd just stood and looked at each other as if to say, “well now what shall we do?”  No one rushed to the gate and there wasn’t the usual vying to get closest to the food bowls.  With Anya being gone they didn’t have her cue to tell them that it was time to eat.  It was funny not to be mobbed by alpacas the moment I walked through gate.


Eventually Ivanna, who usually eats with Anya and Rose Marie, stepped up and took the lead, coming over to see what I had and following me over to the feeding pens and that was enough to kick the whole feeding process in motion.  Once the herd saw Ivanna’s actions they were not far behind her.


Feeding time was definitely less noisy and frantic than usual, not that Anya is a noisy alpaca but I think the herd just wasn’t reacting as usual.  Given time I am sure they will adjust to Anya’s absence, with Ivanna now being the one that the herd will watch for to tell them it is feeding time.  It’s just a matter of adjusting the herd dynamics.



March 2, 2009

Introducing Almost Canyon Ranch

Terri and Anya Get Acquainted

Terri and Anya Get Acquainted




Sunday was a special day as we delivered four of our alpacas to their new owner.  Anya, Serenity, Opie and Rian all made the trip to Amarillo, Texas to the home of Terri Faver.


Terri had contacted us in February and arranged a farm visit, during that visit Opie just fell in love with Terri, allowing her to scratch his neck and asking for more when she stopped.  And so the magical spell of alpacas was cast on Terri and her decision was quickly made to purchase a package of alpacas to establish her new herd.


Terri was very much looking forward to the arrival of her new herd and had spent time preparing their pens and feeding area so that it was perfect for their arrival.  The alpacas were a little nervous at first, which is only natural; it will take them a few days to settle in to their new surroundings.  Rian seemed to settle in the easiest, having found the hay feeder he started to happily munch on hay.  Opie was a little distracted by the fact that he had Anya and Serenity in the pen next to his and was doing a little flirting with Anya and pacing the fence line.


Little Serenity was unsure of what was going on, for her this is her first time away from our farm and the companions she has grown up with, but she is familiar with Anya who will be a stabilizing influence for her.    Anya checked out the hay and water, established a poop pile in her pen and then checked out her new surroundings.  Anya definitely has an alpha female personality and will, I am sure, soon be ruling the roost at her new home.  While she seemed a little disgruntled with me for the move I think once she realizes that at feeding time the only two in line for the goodies are Serenity and her she will change her attitude.  Anya loves her food and also loves attention both of which she will be receiving in plenty from Terri.


In time another of our alpacas will also be moving to Terri’s farm for Terri has also purchased Shiimsa, but as Shiimsa is due to have a cria in June we felt it best for Shiimsa to remain here until her cria is born to keep her stress levels at their lowest.  I am sure that Anya and Serenity will be excited to see Shiimsa once she joins them later in the year.  In the meantime Terri will be making trips to come and visit Shiimsa, spend time with us learning more about herd health and herd management and when the time arrives visiting her new cria – how exciting!


I have enjoyed getting to know Terri over the last few weeks, her love of animals is easily apparent and I soon knew that she would provide a loving and caring home for her herd.

Terri has been thorough in her questions about raising alpacas and starting an alpaca business, with 18 years experience of raising sheep behind her the fundamentals of raising livestock come easily to her and she will soon adapt to the differences between the two species.  Terri has told us that she has learned so much about alpacas in the last few weeks and yet feels there is still so much she doesn’t know – a sentiment I am sure many new alpaca owners will relate to.


As we drove the alpacas over to Terri’s farm it dawned on me that this was the second time I had “delivered” each one of the alpacas in our trailer, as all four had been born on our farm and I was there for each ones delivery into the world.


In a way it is a bitter sweet moment when you sell alpacas off your farm, there is some sadness that they are leaving you but also happiness that they are going to bring joy and success to their new owner. 


Our Congratulations go to Terri on the purchase of her alpacas and the establishing of Almost Canyon Ranch, we look forward to seeing her herd grow and her business prosper!



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