Wednesday, October 16, 2013

None For Me, Thanks

As a teenager, I babysat with children in the neighborhood.  I liked them; some more than others, but I liked them.  I grew up and had four of my own.  Now I am babysitting with alpacas and I have learned one thing.  I want none for myself.  Frick and Frack look like fluffy cartoon characters with liquid brown eyes.  Looks are deceiving.  I dislike passing judgement on the entire breed because Frick and Frack are my only up-close-and-personal contact, but they are not good ambassadors for alpacas.  They are cranky and contentious and thoroughly disagreeable.  It may be this is because they are both intact males, but, trust me, I know what parts these boys would lose first were they mine.  I've got to work out a better plan for serving their meals.  Juggling two cups of pellets and an armload of hay and trying to work the thumb latch on their gate while they charge the fence with ears laid back and gnarly teeth showing behind bifurcated lips isn't easy.  Screeching at the top of their lungs is akin to amplified fingernails on a blackboard.  Like goats, alpacas have two toes.  Unlike goats, alpacas do not have hooves.  The toes on an alpaca look like prehistoric claws; horny, curved, and sharp.  They could do some damage.  So far, I've avoided getting hit with a wad of smelly spit (called projectile regurgitation), which is another way they show displeasure.  There was a moment of panic when I couldn't find where Frick had moved his bowl and the boys were pushing and shoving each other trying to get to the feed cups in my hand.  Trying to stave off disaster, I threw all the pellets into the one bowl I could find while I looked for the other.  Immensely territorial, that started an even worse fight.  "Sharing" is not in the alpacas' vocabulary, nor is "play nice."  Locating the second bowl, it was then necessary to snatch Frack's bowl away to give Frick some for his breakfast.  That done (quickly!), I backed out of the pen.  We do this twice a day.  The rest of the animals and fowl are a piece of cake.

Home and my own menagerie never looked so good.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Oh man, that feeding time sounds gruesome! Can you throw the alfalfa over the fence so that they are busy with the "appetizers" before you serve the main course in the bowls??? Good luck!