I have wanted new animals for ages. After the pig debacle (they were bit vicious and wild), the farmer said it was a strictly grazing-only-animal farm.
So that narrowed it down to cows, sheep goats or alpacas.
Cows are currently a no-go as the regulations for keeping them are so strict that even I don’t think that would be a good idea. We have hundreds of sheep and, while I plan to tame a couple of lambs as pets this year (the farmer is yet to be informed of this decision), new sheep weren’t really top of my list.
I have two goats now-mum and daughter Chip and Cupcake and I plan to borrow Stud Muffin off the man I sold him to for goat babies so for now, it will remain just the two of them.
Alpacas are so cute and I have been asking for ages for them but no was always the answer I got.
A month or so ago though, I felt the sea change.
No was not the first word that came from his mouth.
Then I found four quite local to us and he agreed we could go and see them. We arranged the visit and hooked the trailer to the back. This was a good sign.
To cut a long story short, we bought the alpacas.
Even as I posted the first photos to my social media, people couldn’t quite believe how I had managed it.
Even I couldn’t believe it and then I waited for the catch.
The catch came.
We originally planned to keep them in the field with the chickens. Alpacas are guardian animal and will deter foxes from your flock. Great, I thought. The only problem with the timing of getting the alpacas was lambing is almost upon us. This was the catch. The farmer wanted them in the field with the sheep to deter foxes from preying on the lambs.
I don’t really mind. It’s just the field they are in now is huge so, while they will come over for food and eat from my hand, the chances of catching them for cuddles and putting a harness on them is slim to none.
I imagine when the inevitable pet lambs go into the front field, we will move them back but for now, we visit them every day and they saunter over as we try to shoo the sheep away from their dinner.
I don’t know what I imagined the alpacas to be like, I suppose a bit sheep-like but they are not. They are a shy and nervous creature and do not like loud noises or sudden movements which with small children is bound to be a problem.
Funnily enough though, they seem to have accepted the children and the baby has been very close to them with toy prams and the like and they haven’t batted an eye lid.
A couple of days after we got them, I booked myself on an alpaca trekking experience to try and pick up some tips.
It seems it is just a question of time for them to accept me as part of their herd and I am quite pleased that when I shout them, they come over-even when they are quite far away. I imagine the bucket of food in my hand helps.
What do you think?