Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Alpaca Cuties

Manapouri Motorhome & Caravan Park is surrounded on all sides by farming land. Not just your usual run of the mill dairy or sheep farms either, on three sides there are deer farms. This wouldn’t usually pose a problem but on our first night at the park the constant and distressing sound of fawns calling for their mothers & does calling for their babies could be heard. The fawns had been removed from their mothers for weaning that day. What a pitiful sound, I can’t quite describe the noise, it’s very unusual, like a high pitched baby’s cry- check it out here, mutiply that by a couple of hundred and then add a couple of hundred of the deeper mother calls in too and you'll get an idea.

This went on for three days & nights gradually getting less and less until on the fourth day there were only a few heart broken souls left calling. Either that or all the rest had lost their voices! I had figured out what the noises were early on but there were others in camp who didn’t have an idea. One couple thought there was a flock of geese honking all night & another thought rugby practice went on for a very long time! Luckily with windows shut tight overnight you could hardly hear the calls.

Next came the stags. It was the beginning of the “roar” both for the wild deer out on the mountains and their domestic brothers down on the farm. Obviously the fawns had been weaned so the stags would have unimpeded access to their mothers. Have you heard a stag “roar”? That beautiful majestic beast with his great set of 14 point antlers doesn’t have a “deep from the boots” roar. No it’s more like a loud strangulated squeak! If that’s meant to impress the ladies he’s in for a shock. I do believe he gets better as more competitors arrive and the season moves on but if what I heard was meant to scare off competitors the stags on the farm need a whole heap of practice. And practice they did. All night & all day long. Again some of the guests wondered what on earth could be making the noise, it sounded like an animal in pain.

Such is life on the farm. Thankfully most of the year it’s peace, quiet & contented animals.

And when the stags starting roaring the alpacas on the fourth side of the park got a little upset especially the little black male banished down the back on his own. He’s known as a “macho”- yeah right! He was too cute to be a macho. He raced up and down the fence calling to his girls a paddock away. His girls & their babies (known as cria #2 & 4 below) ignored the poor fellow.


There were 4 white adult females (dams) and two babies in the paddock by the road along with a couple of brown females and a few more adults in another paddock way down the back. These guys were soooooo darn cute, I’ve always loved alpacas, they are nearly my most favourite animal. There used to be a mum & baby in a pen near to our stand every year at the Mystery Creek Fieldays; I’d spend my off time in there patting the baby. They make such a cute mewing sound too.

What I'd do for eyelashes like this, isn't she just gorgeous! But she can keep the knock-knees.


When I first arrived at the fence the two babies were playing, running fast, kicking up their heels and spring boarding like lambs around the others. One baby in particular was annoying the heck out of her mother. She kept biting Mum's legs & neck. She would try to grab a feed and Mum wouldn’t let her so she’d bite her.


It took me 15 minutes or so to gain their trust and they slowly moved closer although were very wary. I picked some grass & then some branches and that piqued their interest although I think they were more interested in my camera strap.

"You want to get ahead get a hat"



When they were all huddled together in a group the adults spent their whole time spitting at each other and turning their heads the other way.


They never once directed it at me, I have heard that alpaca usually don’t spit but they obviously do amongst themselves. The little ones kept ducking out of the way although they put their ears back when others got too close.


I can’t imagine the horror for them when they are shorn, I’m sure they must think that it’s so undignified to be laid flat and held tight while they loose their lovely fleece. They certainly wouldn’t want to see themselves in a mirror afterwards.

 


I'm not sure that this one realised that she was on an important assignment & that I wanted to see her best pose.


 
And when they finally lost interest in me some went off for a rest, a couple started stripping the bark of a tree & another had a roll in the dust. They do look rather strange when they buckle their legs to sit on their haunches.
 
 

2 comments:

  1. Lovely to see these animals and a wonderful commentary.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Olwen, aren't they both just the cutest & at the same time, weirdest of animals.

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