Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Birds and the Bees and other Life Lessons

Our 6 year old twin niece and nephew have been staying with us for the past 2 weeks and absolutely love the alpacas.  The help clean the barn, move them from one pasture to the next and give them kisses on the nose when an alpaca allows it.

Of course, it is cria season and with this comes not only babies, but breeding, testing and everything else that comes with it.  The first couple of crias arrived without our presence, being wet and wobbly on their legs when we found them.  Our niece and nephew were excited, but couldn't quite figure out how this came to be.

Then, one sunny afternoon, an expectant mother began her contractions and subsequent labor.  When the nose came out, and their eyes got a little wider - not with total surprise but more anticipation.  They had heard the stories of how this was going to turn out, and have a 3 year old sister that had come into their life, but this was up close and personal.  As the nose progressed and one leg popped out, their interest and understanding heightened.  This was a great, low-key experience on the circle of life.  Their was little to no blood, noise or stress with this experience, just matter-of-fact on how the world works. 

Next, we moved on to breeding. I asked my sister (their mother) to answer the questions about this, and she said to go for it on the explanations.  I oversimplified this explanation to a point, but simply put, the daddy was helping to put the baby in the mom's belly and we left it at that.  The male was quietly orgling to the dam who was sitting there.  Again, a low stress introduction on how the world goes around.

When spit testing the females for pregnancy, there was more noise and more action, but the 6 year olds thought this part what significantly more funny, especially when we were spit on in the cross-fire.

Alpacas are a great way to help kids learn about life - and death - on a farm. We sold a couple of their favorite alpacas and they couldn't understand why they had to go.  Helping them understand that moving animals is a part of life was a harder lesson for them, but helping them learn that other people loved them as well and wanted to take them home help them let go and turn back to the other 130+ alpacas we have in the field.

Alpacas are great for all ages.  Get them involved in all stages of life.