Alpaca Come Home

My alpacas have grazed the grass in the upper field down to stubble, so today I moved the environmentally-friendly lawn mowers to the lower field. This was a bit of a challenge, because I had to herd them up the road, down the lane, and over a stone wall. I lost a bit of sleep last night, worrying that my animals would become stressed (especially the female, due to give birth next month), worrying that my helpers wouldn't be gentle enough, worrying that the new field was too overgrown, worrying that aliens would abduct them...I wasn't thinking too clearly at 5 am.

There being a shortage of experienced alpaca herders in Donegal, I had the help of some neighbouring sheep farmers. All my worrying was in vain. My helpers were gentle as could be, and the thing was a precision operation. In no time my animals were munching contentedly on the new grass. I made sure the animals had water, and relaxed in the grass for a while to keep them company, just as I do every day. Yes, it's a hard life.

Back home, just as it was beginning to get dark, I heard a knock on the door. A young neighbour had come to tell me "yer alpacas are walking up the road". Sure enough, they were heading back to the old field. If the gate had been open, they might have gone in and settled down for the night, no bother on 'em. But the gate was shut, so they continued on up the road and down another laneway. In the meantime, my young friend, wiser than I, had gone for help. In no time three of my neighbours were helping me to get the animals back... back into their old home, of course. I will shore up the fence before I try putting them in the lower field again.

I enticed them over to the water trough, and also gave them an extra ration of Camelibra (a nutritional supplement). I thought that might help in case of stress, but in fact they didn't seem at all perturbed by the incident. They ate the "nummies" out of my hand, just like any other day. I assume an animal can't be too stressed out if they act normally and eat, especially if they will eat from my hand.

But my nerves will never be the same!