Saturday, 26 February 2011

Alpaca weaning

Yesterday we weaned last year's baby alpacas.  The way we do this, generally, is to take the babies off to the paddock at the back of our house, while leaving their mothers with the main female herd.  The babies miss their mothers for a few days -- it's important that they can't see the field where the others are -- and then settle down.  The mothers seem if anything rather relieved to have them gone.

Here's my dad catching Jemima, about whose traumatic birth and frisky first day I blogged back in August.  She's actually a tad smaller than we'd like, and my parents were worried that her mother stopped feeding her too soon.  I don't know whether difficult births are linked to that.  She didn't seem very bothered to be caught.  The funny thing here is that Gertrude, who is not Jemima's mother, was in a very pugnacious mood that day, and kept sticking her head in my dad's face as if asking for a fight.
Gertrude wants to be boss -- look how she's treading over my dad's boot
Now we have the five babies running round in the paddock with three of the youngest, wimpiest males, whom we brought down from the male herd to keep them company.  Because alpacas are herd animals they seem to like having other alpacas or even other animals to keep an eye on.  Our last chickens were completely free-range, and the alpacas liked to herd them away from the edge of the paddock.  My parents caught the babies today to start halter training, and the three boys went with them and kept a close eye on everything.  I might put up some video of them all if it stays sunny.

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