Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Field Trip and Mango Wears a Halter For The First Time

It's 33 degrees, snowy, and breeze outside. I have bronchitis and a sinus infection. Today Rich decided we need to put halters on Mango for the first time. This involves first, herding all of the girls into the barn and closing the door (sounds easier than it is) and secondly, cutting out the designated animal from the herd. The second part is actually the easier part of the operation. Today the girls definitely weren't hungry enough to come into the barn voluntarily when we put out some of their favorite snack, sweet feed. They also seemed to sense that something was up as I sat shivering on the edge of the hay rick with a scoop of sweet feed in my hand, not very patiently trying to coax them deeper into the little red barn. Rich was messing about with the feed boxes just outside the gate. I am convinced they realize when there are two of us hovering about with determined looks on our faces that they will soon be the object of some awkward attempt to corner and restrain one of them for something unpleasant. We tried for about 15 minutes and gave up.

I went inside, took off my barn shoes and prepared to relax on the couch when Rich stuck his head in the back door and shouted, "They're all in the barn." He quickly slammed the door and retreated to the barn without giving me a chance to respond. A very wise move on  his part. He knows me so well.

Muttering some unrepeatable epithets under my breath, I suited up again and stomped out to the barn. This time we were successful. First we haltered baby Mango for the first time ever. She bucked a bit at first and then just stood her ground facing us down. She even took a step or two after she calmed down. We took off the halter and released her. Then we cornered her mama, Took, who calmed immediately when we put the halter and lead on her. Rich was able to lead her around in the barn and out into the snow covered pasture. She clearly was experienced at this.


This morning we took a quick trip out to Amy J's Homestead Alpacas where we purchased our four girls. We needed to pick up a special blend of sweet feed and ask a few questions about alpaca coats, medication and a few other topics. As always Amy was so patient with us and readily and cheerfully answered all of our questions. We were so lucky when we chose to visit her farm during our research phase of this endeavor. She is the best mentor we could have ever chosen. She honestly answers any question we ask from care of alpacas to tax questions. We are so thankful for this association. While there we visited the animals in the barn. I snapped a few pictures of the most darling crias in their winter coats snacking at the feed bin and nursing from their moms.

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