A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 24, 2009

Nighttime Antics in the Pasture

A Freshly Shorn Zianna - My Nighttime Pasture Check Companion

A Freshly Shorn Zianna - My Nighttime Pasture Check Companion

As the pregnant girls get nearer to their due dates I make sure I make at least a couple of visits to the pasture during the evening.  Past experience tells me that while the majority of alpacas birth between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. once in a while you will get one who decides to birth at a different time of day and even sometimes at night.

Typically (but not always) nighttime births happen due to a problem with the delivery.  Sometimes a dystocia, sometimes it might be a maiden female who is slower to deliver as her body has to stretch more for the first cria to come through.

Evening pasture visits can be quite interesting.  Most times the alpacas are contentedly cushed in their family groups, chewing their cud and enjoying the cooler night air.  Other times I will find the crias at play, chasing each other around the pasture or pronging with delight.  Rabbits prove to be a source of entertainment for the alpacas, heaven help the poor rabbit who tries to cross the pasture when the alpacas are feeling mischievous and frisky as that rabbit will soon find that it will be mercilessly chased all over the pasture.

The last few nights though I have had a companion on my nighttime pasture checks.   One of the yearling alpacas, Zianna has taken to joining me as I walk between the different groups of the alpacas making sure that everyone is okay.  The first evening that Zianna did this it seemed she was fascinated by the beam of the flashlight that I carried, walking alongside the beam and jumping back when the flashlight beam moved toward her.  By the end of my pasture check Zianna had taken to rushing up to the beam, snorting and then galloping off for a short distance, only to shortly return again.  Zianna’s actions soon had the younger alpacas up and joining in the game, turning a peaceful nighttime pasture into a frenzy of alpaca frivolity.

Now Zianna has got used to the flashlight beam and will trot along behind me “talking” to me with her alpaca clucks as I walk around.  I am not sure what she is saying, but I am pretty certain that it has to do with either wanting more of my attention or a request for food.  What ever she is saying, Zianna makes a good companion on my nightly pasture checks.  When I have finished checking the pasture I make sure I finish up by a group of alpacas, tell Zianna that it is time for me to go and leave her with the herd.  At that point Zianna does not follow me to the gate, she knows it is time for her to stay with her alpaca friends and settle down for the night – unless a rabbit crosses the pasture,  in which case I am sure she is one of the leaders in the rabbit chase!

Rosemary

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