Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chaska's big day

On Saturday, during our herd health activities, we decided to wean Chaska, and move him up to the little boy's barn. This meant he had to walk that .16 mile from his current home, to a new place. He not only left his mother, Kateri, but Chaska has been a milk snatcher, stealing milk from Sancha. We've nick named Sancha the surrogate mom.

Chaska weighed in at just under 80 pounds (78.8 pounds), well above the 60 pounds recommended for weaning. He also has been eating grain for quite some time. While he's not quite 5 months old, he is big enough, healthy enough, and perfectly capable of managing on his own, without mother's milk.

I always feel bad for the new weanlings. It must be very scary to leave your mom, the herd you know, the only home you know, and be moved to a new place. I think they look like a deer in headlights when they first get up to the boy's barn. The older boys come to the fence to check out this new alpaca, they are hoping, of course, that it is a girl we have brought them.

Everyone sniffs each other, and sometimes there is fighting to see who is in charge.

Chaska did go up to the little boys barn, where Copper is at, so at least he has one familiar face there. (Copper was Sancha's 2010 cria, born just a couple months before Chaska, they used to run around together before Copper was weaned). I do wonder how well alpacas remember and know each other. I see herd social dynamics everyday (the way the ladies relate to each other is very interesting). I know they each have personalities, and I would think they all know who each other is. But, every time we move a boy into the pen with our gelding Snowstorm, they seem to think he might be Sancha. Both Copper and now Chaska follow Snowstorm around and try to nurse off him. Poor Snowstorm is very tolerant of them, but also lets them know he is not a mom.


Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

What a big day!

Poor Snowstorm . . . Tell him my husband can relate. Once we had a kitten who tried to nurse off Dave. Both of them were terribly shocked and I wish I could have captured both their faces on film!

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

LOL I love the kitten story. Aren't baby animals so fun.


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