Chillin’ with Alpacas

So this post is a bit over due… but I’ve been having fun with alpacas, so you’ll have to forgive me! I’ve been helping out at Cuesta Alpaca for the past couple of weeks. One of my jobs has been to help look after and train their seven baby alpacas.

IMG_20191022_152500 (2).jpg Yes, there are more than seven alpacas in this picture… the one on the far left is Candy, she is the group baby-sitter, and there are a couple looking over from the back paddock to see what’s going on. Here’s another pic of the babies up close:

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You can see Candy standing in front of the majority of the babies. With all the fleece, she doesn’t look that much bigger than them. The babies are around 40 kg right now and will grow anywhere from 80 to 100 kg. Omari is the alpaca closest to the camera, he doesn’t seem to share the shyness that the other babies have.

Shortly after I arrived, we sheared all the alpacas. It made the babies look much smaller. Candy still doesn’t look a lot bigger than them, but it’s easier to tell that she is taller than most of the babies.

Not long after shearing, the weather turned, and we had to put coats on the babies to keep them warm at night. Not all of them were super happy about it, but eventually they all got used to the coats.

As you can tell from the last few photos, some of the alpacas are more willing to pose for photos than others. Oratia lets me take lots of photos of him because he is very curious despite being a little bit of a scaredy cat. He will get super close to you until you look like you are going to try and touch him, then he bolts.

I didn’t realize this before working with the animals, but alpacas are very curious and nosy creatures. Even though they will keep their distance, they still want to know what’s going on.

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The babies are all about 9 months old and need to be trained. Training entails getting them used to being handled (ears, teeth, tail, legs, etc.), getting used to a halter, and dealing with a trailer.  

The trailer is usually the hardest part for the alpacas because they really don’t like going into spaces that they can’t see an escape from. But after a few weeks, the babies are all doing well! Not all of them like having the halters put on (looking at you Othello) but they all behave pretty well once in the halter.

I’ve had an awesome time working with these animals and I’ve learned a lot. Thanks Cuesta Alpaca for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with the alpacas more in the future!

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