More about the alpacas

So we got the alpacas a couple weeks ago. I'd been preparing for that event for several years, and it was certainly exciting to have ACTUAL ALPACAS move into our yard. Now what?

Admittedly, it's anticlimactic. Oh, I don't have any regrets at all, and I'm still happy with my acquisition and long-range plans to get more of them, but, so far, alpaca ownership has not been particularly life-changing. The boys just spend their time standing in the pasture eating grass. Occasionally they pick at the hay in the feed-bag hanging on the fence, but, as long as we have fresh green grass growing in the pasture, they prefer the grass. They do get excited when I bring them pellets daily; yesterday they both came running when I delivered dinner.

Ghost is the older and larger of the boys. His name is an alteration of his original given name ("High on Summertime"), and I think the name suits him well because of his light color. He will eat treats out of my hand; he's accustomed to horse treats, but right now I have him eating fresh persimmons while they're in season. (Yes, I get to use the sentence "An alpaca ate a persimmon out of my hand today," Most people can't say that.)

Fawn Deer is a little younger--he's 4, Ghost is 7; typical alpaca lifespan is about 20 years-- and smaller. He's also more aloof. He does, though, want to be around when there's activity to watch. He just doesn't want to be involved in the activity, which is not at all atypical alpaca behavior.

Our pasture isn't yet connected to the barn, so we set up a tent for shelter. We had found some long pipes in the old barn when we moved here, along with some connecting joints--an elbow, a tee, several 3-ways. Perhaps it used to be a canopy skeleton, but some of the parts were missing. There were still enough there, though, that we could construct an A-frame, and secure a couple tarps to it. It's not fancy, but it keeps the rain and sun off the critters.

Alpacas are low-maintenance animals. They require daily feeding, monthly ivermectin shots (to guard against meningeal worm, a serious threat since we live in white-tail deer country), as-needed nail-trimming, and annual shearing and tooth-trimming. They also require regular observation, so that any health issues can be noticed. (These are prey animals. They don't complain when they get sick.) Other than that, they're content just to stand in the pasture and eat grass.

And I'm content just to watch them.

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