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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Strange alpacas

I have decided that alpacas are sometimes strange, unfathomable creatures.

In the past, when the weather has been hot, there is nothing they like more than to stand in front of RMan when he holds out a spouting hosepipe so that he can wet their stomachs.  If a puddle of water forms below them, then they'll cush in that too.

Alpacas radiators are their stomachs.  If the weather is cold, they cush on the ground to keep their tummies warm, and when they're hot, they'll fight to get their stomachs wet.  Or cush in a puddle of water.

But, last week, they totally confused me.

The temperature outside was 36oC - we were safely ensconced inside the house, in front of the fan, luxuriating in a very comfortable ambient temperature of 25 - 26oC.

But, on this hot day, looking out the window, we spied Miranda.  She was just lying on the field.  In the heat of the day.

At first we thought something had happened.  Then we saw her ears twitch.  And her tailed flicked.
We spotted Miranda at the bottom of the paddock -
just lying there in the midday sun
And we realized that she was sunbathing!!  For goodness sake!!
Judging from her expression, she is in absolute heaven.
20 minutes of vitamin D did her good, then she got up
and proceeded to start filling her stomach once again
If you click on the above pic, you'll see her mouth is slightly open, and you can see her teeth.  She's obviously loving it!  :D

Go figure...!!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Softer soap

If you follow my other blog, you'll know that I make our body soap.

Well, looking at all the fleece from the alpacas I decided to have a bit of fun.

I took roughly 5gms of alpaca fleece and carefully wrapped it round a piece of my soap.  Gently wetting it, whilst moving it ever so slightly. I end up with this:

Kris' white fleece was wrapped first, and then
Miranda's brown fleece got marbeled on top.  I
love the end result.
Felted soap :)  A veritable permanent facecloth that also prevents wet soap leaving it's normal sticky residue on the basin / bath or shower soap dish.

When Rae & Dino came to visit, I gave her a bar of the felted soap.  In her subsequent e-mail to me she wrote :

"Somehow you just can't imagine washing yourself with wool wrapped soap but after a second or two it develops a lovely lather and I think because the fibres are so fine, my skin felt positively buffed and smooth, soft as anything afterwards. Great soap too Dani!"  (Thanks Rae - the soap is good because you were so incredibly generous to send me a soap recipe all those years ago :) )

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Vegetarian alpacas

We have discovered that alpacas don't only eat the 12% protein pellets (lucerne, corn, oat seed, +) and the dry lucerne we feed them.
Minky scoffing carrot tops
They also have a penchant for carrots - in their entirety - both fronds, and root section. Judging from the speed with which this vegetable is consumed I reckon they fancy them even more than bunny rabbits do  lol

Searching Google for info on other vegetables that alpacas eat, ours now have a veritable smorgasbord of treats to add to their daily lucerne and pellet intake.
Miranda stretching out her neck to eat grated carrot
Apple - grated.  (Alpacas don't have back teeth so giving them 1/4 - 1/2 apples as shown in some YouTube videos is, in my opinion, downright nasty.  Those owners could also probably be risking choking their alpacas.).
Cabbage - finely sliced as though you are making coleslaw
Beetroot - leaves and grated root section - and what a messy mouth they get when they eat this!!
Pumpkin skin - sliced.  Apparently they also eat the flesh of the pumpkin and the seeds - hmmm - think I'll keep that for us... ;)

They will be fed the pea pods as soon as my peas are harvested too.

We have fed our land, added plenty of mulch, turned it in and have planted oats again this year.  Hopefully this year it will be successful.

Between the oats, the homegrown vegetables, the lucerne and the pellets - as well as whatever grazing grows in their paddocks - they won't be going hungry ;)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

1+1+1-1+2

What could those numbers mean?

1 + 1  Well, in October 2013 we purchased 2 alpacas.

1 + 1 + 1  Miranda, the female, was pregnant when we got her, and gave birth to her male cria, Minky, in March last year.

1 + 1 + 1 - 1  We discovered that the male we originally purchased was related to Miranda so trying to breed the two of them was out of the question.  The breeder was most apologetic and without hesitation told us she would replace the male.

1 + 1 + 1 - 1 + 2  So, on the 27th February we "swopped" out the sibling male for Rupert - a two year old alpaca.
Carlotta a.k.a. Carly on the left,
and inquisitive Rupert on the right
As Minky was trying to misbehave with his mother, he was moved to the male paddock, and Miranda was all alone in her paddock.  Alpacas are very social animals and she was showing sign of distress (constant humming).  We therefore decided that she needed a friend.

So we purchased Carlotta.  Carlotta is such a mouthful, so she is now known as Carly.
Miranda "investigating" her new paddock
companion
The meeting between the old and new alpacas was just too sweet to witness.

Miranda came to the fence to greet Rupert, who was first out of the horsebox.
It's just a kiss to the right...
Minky and Rupert - they decided to meet and greet over a fence - but, what they did was identical to Miranda and Rupert / Miranda /and Carly - and this time my camera was ready...
... and then a kiss to the left.
... they "kissed" on either side of the face :)

Co-incidentally, we now have a brown and white alpaca in either paddock.

Apart from a bit of a testosterone reaction on Rupert's part towards Minky, everyone seems to be getting on happily.

It's really lovely to see two alpacas in either paddock grazing literally right next to each other.

As for Rupert - his testosterone levels will hopefully drop in the next couple of weeks - once he has "done the deed" with Miranda.  Carly - we're hoping to keep her to breed with Minky next year.  No cross breeding will thus take place :)
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