Friday, 18 January 2008
When we woke up this morning we could hardly see anything. The mist and rain were very thick and the animals all looked bedraggled. I fed the alpacas early as they were in the paddock near the house. Just to reassure myself I lifted the fleece of the nearest animal and found that just below the surface she was absolutely bone dry.
In Peru alpacas have been dying in great numbers in the last few years because the winters have been so severe (climate change once again?) I guess we should be grateful for what we have even though I have concerns for their feet which have been wet constantly for days and weeks this winter and, indeed, last winter and much of the summer!!
We decided that it was time to clear the barn out as in the bad weather it has been used as a bit of a dumping ground. We do all our alpaca husbandry in the barn and so need to keep it clear of sharp and otherwise dangerous objects. We are also thinking that there is a possibility of very severe weather and it would be a good thing to encourage the herd into the barn on a daily basis in case we have to get them in at short notice. Quite a few of the cheeky ones sneak in from time to time to raid the hay stack if we leave the doors open.
Sadly we have had to separate six cria from their mothers today. We have left it as long as possible but as all the mothers are pregnant with this year's babies, they need a bit of a break to build up their resources. Rather than take the cria away, we take the mothers away from the cria. This means that the mothers have the company of other female alpacas and the cria stay with the rest of the herd which makes it less stressful - they still have the company of their aunties and the other youngsters that they usually live with.
Bourree - one of my favourites is a big black bolshy alpaca, but she seems the most sentimental and is looking very sadly over the fence to see her little lad in the distance, who is callously consuming grass and hay as greedily as possible. Perhaps he knows the milk bar is closed now.