It’s all a learning experience

Good morning from Fallengrund.
It’s been some time since I have posted, but things here at the farm have been extremely busy. I am extremely happy to say that 4 of our 7 foundation herd are finally here!!!

Ace, Hope, Mousse, and Zorro are settling into the new farm and routines nicely, as am I.

Ace is his always charming self, which including perky ears and throwing kisses when I come to the barn. His kisses become more frantic as I prepare the feed in the morning and at night as well as putting on weight after fighting a bout of worms and slight stress from moving.

Our handsome mascot Zorro is doing great, though he was slightly confused when I put him in the pen with Ace and not with the girls. He has become to used to being with them that in the morning, he and the girls meet out at the fence in the paddock and hum their hellos.

Mousse, who I lovingly call our Diva, has become a mother figure in the barn. She checks on Zorro and also puts herself between everyone and Hope, though Hope also puts Mousse between her and the rest of the world as well…..which brings me to Hope.

For the last week I have been slowly gaining this beautiful little girls trust. I had thought in the beginning, her acting up was due to never being halter trained, giving me a fear that she would be THAT Alpaca in the ring. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the reasons behind her actions and reactions.
She is not fond of me coming into the paddock, but she is so curious as to what I am doing and why I am there. I find myself feeling and thinking that those early months after her birth, due to her medical issues and being handled so much because of it, have caused her to has a slight fear of people.

I go about my morning chores, feeding them all and cleaning up pens, Speaking to them all quietly and moving about them all carefully. The others have little issue with my chores and me moving about, but Hope always has an eye on me. Once she realizes I am not there to catch her she moves a bit closer. By this time, she has finished her feed and is humming to be let into the paddock. This is where Mousse comes into play. I will get ready to open the door for Hope and Mousse is right there watching me, making sure I haven’t harmed or scared her Hope.
Halter training Hope is slightly frustrating for her. There are times I feel terrible for catching her and putting the halter and lead on her. She so badly doesn’t want to be there, but once I have calmed her down, whispering to her and gently petting her neck, she relaxes a bit and will walk for awhile.

My heart breaks a little bit that Hope is so distrusting, but I can understand her fear given the issues with her neck and many visits to the vet. I am sure she had been handled a lot, many blood draws and physical exams were given to her as a new cria. I know with time, she will begin to trust me, and understand I am not going to harm her, that I am her protector as well.

Our Livestock Guard Dogs have determined their roles after going to Doggy Bootcamp up at Alpacas of Indian Point and spending time with the amazing Sion. Thor has decided he is the great protector of the girls. He sleeps at night either in their pen all night or most of the night. Odin has taken the role of the patroller. He moves about the barn checking doors before laying in the middle of the barn to sleep.
Both have gotten so big since we first picked them up! And they are still growing!
Dad and I realized they are able to slip between the bars of the panels, but just barely, so we cut a small hole in the fence and framed it for them.
Neither of the boys understood what this was for, so my daughter Maddie went through the hole a couple of times to show them, and viola! Success!

Each day, the alpacas, dogs, and myself discover something new about one another. We are all slowly building trust as a “herd” and family. I know I have my work cut out for me, and I love every second of it. I look forward to the little milestones and hurtles we will get over, as well as the arrival of the other 3 girls which are pregnant and due with in the next month. Stay tuned for more and thank you for reading.

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