Saturday, 7 July 2012

New Alpaca's arrive...Hamish and Sherman are fitted with their halters!

Cast - Me (Mum), Husband, 18y.o Daughter, 14y.o Son, 21mth old Son
Starring - Vodka (Voddy), Malibu (Boo), Hamish, Sherman and the two new girls Lucky (7y.o) and Kayjay (2.5y.o).

21mth's helping to clear the paddock

We waited all day for our new Alpaca's to arrive.  They were being transported from Hobart area (Bruny View Stud) and took 3 hours to arrive due to inclement weather and fog.  Meanwhile, we were all busy as Husband chainsawed trees in the paddock, and the rest of the family (21mth old included) all helped load up the car and the tractor with wood to bring up to the woodshed.  Whilst Husband was chainsawing, the Alpaca's decided to keep him company, so despite the noise, they were grazing happily within meters of him!
Finally the girls arrived with the Alpaca Lady.  They were in cush position in the trailer, and despite the long journey Kayjay stood up as the trailer came to a halt in our paddock.  I had closed the other four Alpaca's into the next paddock, to give the two new girls a chance to gain their bearings.  Kayjay was led out on her lead, and I must say I was suprised at how beautifully mannered she was.  She was happy to receive a cuddle and a stroke from everyone, and was not at all concerned that we had all turned out to meet her - maybe she thought it was due? It really emphasised how bad mannered our Alpaca's are! Lucky however, remained in cush in the trailer, trying to ignore the fact that she had to come out.

Alpaca Lady tried a few times to encourage her out of the trailer, but Lucky just ignored her and looked the other way.  Alpaca woman then did a physical lift of Lucky's back legs (to remind her that she had them!) and Lucky stood in the trailer looking at us all.  With another nudge from Alpaca woman, Lucky decided to gracefully dismount the trailer, whereupon she stuck her face into mine as if to say 'and who are you?'.  Lucky stood beautifully whilst her halter was taken off, had a stroke from all of us and then both girls went to have a look around the paddock.

Voddy and Boo - 'who the hell...?'
There was a rumble on the hill in front of them, as four Alpaca's tore down (Hamish almost tripping in the process and causing an Alpaca avalanche) to see who these strangers were.  Over the fence they all had a good sniff of each other, and then Hamish decided to climb under the fence!  Seeing that they were all getting on OK, we opened the gate and they all rushed together.  I thought there would be instant aggression from Voddy as herd-leader, to immediately establish herself as the boss, but apart from a few raised tails and lowered ears, they all continued to sniff each other.   Sherman rudely stuck his nose into Lucky's tail, so she warned him with a raised leg...when he didn't take the hint he received a kick...well, he was warned!

We called to all of the Alpaca's (wow...6 of them - almost a small herd!!) and Daughter and Son had organised a bucket for each of them.  As they were all eating and the two boys were fed in the pen (to be fitted with their harnesses), Alpaca woman saw the blackberry twig entwined in Voddy's back leg just beneath her tail.  She said it had to come out, although personally I would have left it until it grew out rather than face having to hold Vodka!!  But...we had to be professional and look like we (I) weren't scared!!  After watching as Voddy dipped her head into everyone's bucket, just because she could, we enticed Voddy into the pen with the boys.
Getting to know each other.
Kayjay - 2.5years

Lucky - 8yrs - our first registered, pedigree Alpaca!

Alpaca woman got Voddy around the neck and I grabbed her around the body.  Voddy spat forward (thankfully not in Alpaca woman's face - I would have been even more embarrassed) but the wind carried it and it settled all in Alpaca woman's hair!!  I didn't see this as I was trying to pick blackberry from below Voddy's bottom and hoping that I wouldn't get kicked.  No time to be nice as I could hear Voddy spitting (and smell it eeewwwww), and Alpaca woman complaining, so I just ripped the blackberry off her.  Voddy was released, and it was then I saw the green spittle that had settled in Alpaca woman's hair!!!  Now, I was terribly embarrassed as Alpaca woman's girls had been so beautifully behaved and my Alpaca's were a bunch of hysterical monsters!

Voddy was turned out of the pen and I could sense the animosity between her and Alpaca woman.  Alpaca woman then said she had talked to the breeder currently agisting Eclipse (the stud male we are purchasing) about Voddy's spitting, and although they both had experience with spitting Alpacas, Voddy was the worst!  Ohno!  I tried to be optimistic and said that if they thought she was bad, I didn't think she was that bad so that was OK (hey, she hasn't spat on me!), Alpaca woman just looked at me.

Alpaca woman then eyed up the two boys.  I admitted that Hamish had spat during the week, and that I expected him to spit when fitted with his halter.  Alpaca woman said he would be OK, and told me that we would do Sherman first.  I was determined to demonstrate my dominance over these boys, and not get dragged around the pen like an idiot just holding onto fleece.  We cornered the boys and I grabbed Sherman and pulled him off his feet and into my side, he didn't have a chance.  Alpaca woman then fitted his halter as poor Sherman looked woefully at Hamish and wondered what was happening to him this time.  Once fitted, Sherman looked quite tame with his handsome new halter, and as we let him go, he had resigned himself to his usual look of bewilderment.
Sherman (dark brown) and Hamish with halters WooHoo!

Hamish was cornered and I also lifted him off his feet and pulled him into my side, Alpaca woman was impressed and told me that I had demonstrated much more confidence with handling the boys!  I was praised!  Before I could let it go to my head, I worried that Hamish might undo it all by spitting in her face.  Instead, he just stood there, looking decidedly unimpressed, whilst his halter was fitted.  I let him go after Alpaca woman demonstrated how to touch their face and muzzles to get them used to touch and realise that they weren't going to be hurt.  Hamish got a kiss, and he was released.  Hamish went to the ground immediately to try and get the halter off and Alpaca woman laughed at him as we left the pen.

The four girls in the meantime had wondered off and were all grazing happily.  Alpaca woman left after explaining how to halter train and lead the boys and continue the training with Kayjay.  She said that by the end of next week we should be able to lead the three Alpaca's around the farm!!  I was ambitious and said maybe even down the road and she agreed that it was a possibility!  I was so excited imagining two Alpaca's tied to 21mth old's stroller and Daughter leading Kayjay behind for a walk to the mailbox!  I can't wait to have a go at the training tomorrow! 

Tonight, all six Alpaca's have settled in well with each other.  I am looking forward to seeing how they behave tomorrow and if I can stroke both Kayjay and Lucky as they come to their bucket (let alone get Kayjay's halter on LOL!) :)

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