Thursday, March 20, 2008

and then there were Five

Delphi's Disa has joined our herd, from Peaceful Valley Alpacas. She is due in early May with her 2nd cria, so we wanted to integrate her in her new home asap. And since the farm is new to all five of them, they can sort things out.

I go out in the mornings, with cup of hot tea in hand, to check on the girls and let them out in to the pasture. They are all cushed by the nearest corner, and they fairly romp past the gate. I greet them each by name and observe them for a few moments.

Lace is a bit of a clown. She usually has some grass of hay stuck to her in a funny way. She approaches me shyly, and I bend my head toward her in a lama bow. Both she and Nutmeg are brave enough to take an offered carrot bite from my hand. Yet amongst themselves, these two are the least assertive of the herd.

For the first few days, Disa hummed a lot, letting us know that she was nervous. Other than visual checks, we have left them alone so they can work out the hierarchy.

As Barbara, her former owner, puts it, "Disa is a gray girl in a brown dress." She has lots of gray genetics, and indeed, her last year's daughter, Terra, is a lovely rose gray by Aussie Rockford. Disa was rebred to Rockford, so we're hoping for a repeat performance. Of course, having a healthy cria and mom is of foremost importance, but after 10 boys born in a row, a girl would be most welcome! And Disa's will be the first birthing for Aragon Alpacas on our own ranch.

Yesterday the veterinarian came for a preliminary visit, to meet us and see the layout BEFORE there is an emergency. He was very reassuring about our pastures and feeding program, filling in some gaps by recommending minerals, reviewing his protocol for shots, discussing whether or not to get guardian/sentinel animals, mousers for the barn, etc.

We are privileged to be in the area that Dr Pat Long services, and just in time to take his neo-natal class at Oregon State University at end of April. I have attended one of Dr Jana Smith's birthing classes in So CA, but that was well before the responsibility for our alpacas was in my lap. So this will be a heightened refresher for me, and I will listen with new ears. Disa and Sheba and all of the others will certainly benefit.

Mike has been installing new latches on some of our gates. The alpacas are comfortable us being in and out of their pens, and are quite inquisitive as to what is going on. I guess he can always use the assistance!

As if in allegiance to St Patrick's Day, we have had 'soft' Irish weather this week, and lots of rainbows, even double ones. And cheery daffodils are popping up all over. We watched a squall (at least that's what it's called on the ocean) march across the valley, with dry skies behind it. The girls are all two-toned now, wet above and dry below. Often they are out grazing in the rain, but their fleece remains dry next to their skin.

The wild turkeys strolled through our yard again, heading up the hill this time. If this is the same bunch we saw a few weeks ago, they have grown a lot! One tom, and seven hens. At one point he struck a pose, stretching out that fan of tail feathers and fluffing out his wings. Magnificent.

Our neighbor, Joe, said he's counted up to 500 geese at his pond this year. They must be moving northward again, their visits and numbers are fewer this week.

The wildlife is always a nice surprise to this countryfied city girl. But I'm even more enthralled by seeing alpacas in our pastures!

We snapped this one of Nutmeg at a particularly goofy moment...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grounds are looking great! Very nice! No wonder the local wildlife are attracted...