Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Alpaca Teacher

Keyla is our oldest female alpaca.  I call her my teacher.
  • She loves to snooze in the sun.
  • She is the first alpaca I have given shots to.  Actually, she's the only one, human, animal or otherwise, I've ever given shots to.

  • She stresses out during shearing so much that she prolapsed the year before I met her.
  • We had a challenging session the first time I sheared her.  So now I keep her nearby all day, then shear her last.  When she's last, both she and the crew know what to expect.  Because of that change, we had an easier shearing last year.
  • She gave birth to our very first cria, Alpacamundo's Augustus.

  • and now, she's taught me that alpacas can and will get their heads stuck in a fence.
When we set up our place to receive the alpacas four months ago, some fencing was already in place.  Since I had always heard that alpacas don't challenge fences, I figured the existing fencing materials would suffice.

The existing fence is a five-foot, welded wire fabric with holes that are 6" x 8". The fence recommended for alpacas is a five-foot "no climb" fence with openings that are 2" x 4".

We used the recommended fabric for our new corrals, and ensured the existing fencing was secure.

All was well until last weekend when my husband and I found her after returning home from a Kentucky Derby party.  She was cushed, calm and enjoying some fresh green grass.  We freed her and figured she was smart enough not to do it again.  But the fresh grass was just too tempting and we had to free her three more times.

I decided to give her an extra portion of alfalfa until we could modify all of the fencing.  We skipped our plans to go to the Great Western Alpaca Show (GWAS) and embarked upon a day of fence augmentation.

We replaced one run of the existing fencing with the recommended 2" x 4" fabric.  Then the weather turned bad.  So we quickly moved some panels and set them offset against the existing panels to make smaller openings.

I am happy to report we have not had to free Keyla since.  So when the wind dies down we will replace the last run with the recommended fabric.


WonderWhyGal said...

I have to chuckle because there always seems to be one alpaca that likes to teach you lessons. At least you have a beautiful teacher.

Kathryn Ray said...

Yes. She is very special. I adore her.