Thursday, 29 May 2008
After the dog show was cancelled some of our friends, the Snooks, Bullocks and Lindsay Freeman came down to the farm with their caravans and dogs rather than go home and get back to the day to day chores.
Having said that they seem to love helping with our day to day chores including paddock cleaning and feeding the animals and they are also enjoying walking on the farm and visiting the local seaside resorts.
I rode past them yesterday on my quad bike gaily waiving and yahooing and went through the paddock with our males in it to feed the girls in the next paddock down. As I went through with the bike I left the gate open and headed for the troughs which is normally the cue for the girls to gallop down to be fed. Yesterday, however, they headed through the wrong gate (remember, I left it open) and headed for the males. Total confusion followed as rampant males chased receptive and non receptive females round the paddock, young alpacas were reunited with their Mums and food was entirely forgotten.
My friends were confused at first as they thought I had done it on purpose - obviously an experienced alpaca farmer would not leave a gate open long enough for such a thing to happen.
I explained my error but assured them that I could sort it out by running them into the race and from there into a catch pen to separate the different sexes and resume normal service.
This was not to be, however, as they were all far too excited and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts I enlisted their help and finally Mike noticed what was going on and between us we managed to stop unwanted matings and herd them out of the paddock and separate them back into their respective departments.
Holly, one of our older girls, decided that she would not move in any direction at all, despite bribing with food, pushing and pulling and moving the rest of the females along side her. Eventually we decided to move the males away from her rather than try and move her away and just before we implemented this plan, of course, she got up and ran to join her female friends.
None of the animals seemed particularly bothered - in fact it probably brightened their lives as they have been standing around in the wet for days and had been looking a bit dejected. Once back in their own paddock they all began calmly eating as usual.
At the end of the exercise we had ten males in the boys paddock instead of eleven. I realised immediately that it was Holly's cria who was missing and it was him who had encouraged her to move. As he is still very young we left him with his mum overnight and easily persuaded him to go home this morning with no harm done.
My friends now keep asking me what today's enternainment will be, but I am hoping it will something a little less exciting.