Lesson learned... Don't shear too early. At the
end of March 2007 the temp. in our part of WV was 74°.
We head to FL in our customized livestock trailer to pick up our animals,
determined to treat them royally with every
comfort. In FL we learn that we can
have them sheared before the move. So naturally we thought that
would be a great idea.
April 1st we reach WV to find the temperature is
dropping, and dropping some more. By the next day
it was a freezing 19°
We did everything we could to heat our large barn.
Since we had taken their coats we decided to give them
Here is a brief
video of Damien and Mr. Chip neck wrestling, this is about as
"vicious" as it gets. Notice our guardian dog,
Memphis, has had enough of the rough house in what she
considers her pasture.
Living with alpacas is both relaxing and exciting. Their
daily activities provide an evolving insight into their
social interaction. They are herd animals and live and
function as a group, but within that group, which at
first may seem to be homogeneous, emerge many different
and diversified characters and personalities. There is a
hierarchy which includes the dominant animals, the
mothers’ group, and the youngsters, all easily
discernible as they execute their respective roles.
Young ones spend a lot of time with their mothers but they also find time to play, running and chasing each other. Their run usually starts with a hop or sideways skip before they break into a breakneck helter skelter. They seldom run in straight lines, instead they zig-zag, bouncing like gazelle, and, at times, seeming to float over the ground, so elegant and effortless are their strides. Then they play neck wrestling; each trying to press down the neck of the one they are playing with. This can go on for an hour or more and in the summer evenings there is nothing more restful or entertaining than watching the early evening capers of the herd as the younger members run and play their games of catch and take-down.
Early each morning we feed them their grain and mineral supplements; each
has his or her own bowl set down. In this way we monitor how much each animal receives. Nursing mothers, heavily pregnant mothers, and breeding herdsires get extra rations. As we open up the storage
stall and begin to fill the bowls, we are besieged by a pressing mass of alpacas, each attempting to ensure that they don’t miss out on the ‘goodies’. The center aisle of the barn fills with animals that press forward making it difficult to squeeze through them as we take the bowls
outside. We could, of course, stop this from happening, but we find it so much a part of what the animals are all about that we love it.
The following are videos of
Snoball giving birth to Mr. Chip's Angela Rose (Rose).
This is the first birth at our ranch and we were blessed
that I was there with the camera for the event and happened
to be in the pasture from the start. We googled many
times looking for an alpaca birth video so that we would
know what to expect but didn't find any. In sharing
this we hope it helps prepare others who also may be nervous
about the big event. Please excuse the shaky hand on
the first video, it took me a bit to calm down. Allen
was out of town and I was alone counting on Snoball's
experience. The cria, Rose, was born on July 18, 2008
at about 10:30 at a healthy 17.5 lbs. There are
several short video segments and it might take a few days
for me to get them all up. on our
there are pictures of Rose taken that afternoon. We
hope you find these videos informative and useful.