Shadow, our baby alpaca born on 2nd August, is now 12 days old and doing well.
The last time I posted, she had just been born and we were smug in the knowledge that our paddock was lush, our stocks of food for mum Annabel and mum-to-be Bracken were plentiful and that our field shelter was clean and fresh with good matting and a deep bed of straw. We couldn't have predicted the hideous weather about to hit us that Friday night or that it would return with a vengeance all Sunday too.
Those first few days set us Archers on a steep learning curve and I'm grateful to the help I received over the phone from Unique Alpacas Ludlow, Westcroft Alpacas and BAS. Fortunately, thanks in part to our own prep and to the bits and bobs in the alpaca birthing box we were advised to buy, we were able to gather up our brood and contain them in the field shelter when we noticed that Shadow was shivering in the field. We towelled her dry and, dividing the shelter in two, mum and baby one side, aunt the other, we were able to keep them all fed, dry and warm for almost 24 hours until the mad storms finally wore themselves out.
It seems our time in close proximity to these animals has since paid off: Annabel, Shadow's mum, has decided we are to be tolerated. In the weeks after her arrival to The Larches she would have nothing to do with us. This may have been linked to the discomfort she felt with her imminent birthing or the fact that we were total strangers but she was definitely unfriendly. Now she feeds from our hands and if we call to her she will, casually walk to us and allow us to fuss her. Often she enjoys the fuss so much that she drops to her knees and lies down beside us in order that we might continue our adoration of her in the cool grass.
During these bonding sessions I have told the sproglets to completely ignore baby Shadow. I want Annabel to know that this is not an excuse to grab her baby in order to spay her umbilical cord or weigh her as we do at other times, this is purely a pampering session for mum and aunt. Unfortunately no one has mentioned these rules to Shadow who bounds about playing her own made up game of 'you can't catch me.' When she becomes bored of this game because we won't join in, she will nibble her mum's ear, aunt's nose or, her new favourite tid-bit, the 10yo's soft blonde hair!
We are so fortunate. Our three alpaca girls are happy, healthy and trusting in us. Here's hoping Bracken too has a cria to join our herd.