Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do alpacas spit?

Do alpacas spit? I get asked that a lot when people find out we have alpacas. Yes, like Camels and Llamas, Alpacas do spit. But they do not spit as much as Llamas (at least that's what Alpaca farmers all say).

In the time we've had the alpacas on our farm, I've witnessed four spitting incidents. The first one was Kateri spitting at a jogger going by on the road (which is through the woods, so some distance off, the spit did not get anywhere near the jogger). Then one day, I think it was last week, Kateri and Victoria got into a fight about something and they were spitting at each other. Last week I also saw Kateri spit at Fluffy (not sure what that was about). Then last night when we fed the alpacas Kateria and Victoria got into a fight and were spitting. I was scooping poop and didn't move out of the way fast enough. Spit came flying and landed right on me. Nice and green and wet. If you've seen the "Dirty Jobs" episode with alpacas, Mike got sprayed too (but the alpacas was mad at him, at least in my situation I was a bystander). The girls kept this spitting fight up even when I yelled at them to stop. Emma yelled and finally got their attention to stop. They were standing in the barn door spitting at each other.

I wonder what they have been fighting about because something is going on between them. Tonight Kateri would not let Victoria anywhere near the feeding area. I had to move Victoria's food for her, but she still would not eat. Kateri kept giving her a mean look. J said that shows that Kateri has to still be pregnant to be that moody. Kateri had been very passive and Victoria was the one who ate first. I think Kateri had enough of Victoria pushing her around and took a leadership role.

It has been a rough few days at our farm due to the loss of Tiger. Zack cried and cried on Tuesday, but now by Thursday seems to be doing a lot better. He had a ton of questions that I answered as honestly as I could. While doing errands on Tuesday he and I bought a box at Hobby Lobby to burry Tiger in. Zack and Emma drew on the box. Zack drew a picture of himself in the box so Tiger would know he was always watching over her. Emma drew hearts around the name "TIGER". J dug a hole by a tree on the side of our house where we burried Tiger in her box (the story is a bit longer in that J burried her before we got home, not knowing we planned a funeral so he went out in the dark to unburry her so we could burry her as Zack and I planned). It was a hard day for all of us. Emma had more questions the next night, I think because she had less time to process it all. Zack was there when I finally admitted Tiger was no longer alive, so he rocked with Tiger and said goodbye while crying. He spent the afternoon alternating between crying and asking questions. Emma did not find out about Tiger until Zack and I came home. She found out and jumped right into decorating the box then outside to burry Tiger. J believes Tiger had a hole in her heart. He says when he puts all the symptoms together it appears she had a heart defect, which he thinks likely was that she was born with a hole in her heart.

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