Worrisome event at the Alpaca Farm Retreat…Late posting…Too many delightful distractions…

Although a little tough to see with the long lashes, Mont Blanc has blue eyes and was the “cria’ that escaped the paddock yesterday, leaving us in quite a quandary.

As simple as farm life may seem for us casual observers for which no work on the farm is required or expected, it can have a few challenges from time to time. We’re observant guests here for three months to revel in the panoramic scenery and to be close at hand to the alpacas.

Recently moved to one of the two paddocks closest to the house the adorable alpacas are within 20 feet, 6 meters, from the house. As I sit here now, I can see them standing at the short fence. At the moment, a brown mom and brown baby are looking at me through the glass.

The mom, Gizelle, to the left in this photo is worried along with the aunties that the “cria,” Mont Blanc, had escaped the paddock by crawling under the fence.

Getting up to look outside, more often than one would imagine, we’re able to see the approximately 30 alpacas (out of 90) in this side paddock happily grazing on the thick grass, scrubs, and trees. We couldn’t enjoy this any more than we do.

They’ve become used to us now and don’t move away as we approach. This was a gradual process escalating when they were moved to this closer proximity to the house. 

Baby Mont Blanc worried while standing outside the paddock after he’d escaped under the fence. We don’t think he’ll try that again! Mom is looking on along with all the other moms and babies worried as well.

Early this morning Trish and Neil stopped by to drop off an umbrella for the outdoor table and extra linen, pick up our garbage and let us know that there are alpaca treats in a bin outdoors. Pellets? Sound familiar to our long-time readers? In checking it this morning, it wasn’t pellets but a chopped grass mix. Later, we’ll give this a try.

Although at this point we may not need to entice the alpacas with food when they already seem interested and curious about us. Especially…after yesterday’s unusual event (unusual to us, in any case).

After uploading the post, I couldn’t get outside quickly enough to spend time with them. Tom was wrapped up in the NFL football games which were broadcast live on ESPN at 9:00 am Monday (Sunday afternoon in the US). 

He darted about our patio trying to find a way back inside. the paddock.

As soon as I headed out the door, I spotted a new baby, born less than a week ago, had escaped the paddock by crawling under a wire mesh area of the paddock closest to the house. The baby was running back and forth along the fence line crying in a sound I’d never heard before, as the mother stood helplessly behind the paddock also crying her heart out.

My first instinct was to help. What could I do? The babies are sensitive and emotional. Would lifting it up over the fence be too stressful? Would handling it be detrimental to its relationship with its mother?  I just didn’t know enough to make a good decision.
Tom came running outside as I called out. He’d been wrapped up in the football and although sympathetic he wasn’t particularly interested in getting involved in finding a solution. I was on my own.
I’d hoped the baby would see where it had escaped but good grief, its only a week old today. Could an animal of such a young age be resourceful enough to figure this out? The mom and baby continued to race back and forth along the fence line crying and trying to figure out a solution.
Mom is on the other side of the fence hoping Tom will lift the baby over the fence.  Uncertain as to what to do and concerned over a possible injury, we decided to try to find an alternative plan.

No matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find a way to get the baby back inside the paddock. Everything was entirely secure with no unlocked gate or access point anywhere. Plus, there’s an electric fence in areas that Trish explained may be turned on from time to time. Was it on or off?  How would I check without getting shocked?

I’m fairly resourceful. I knew the backup plan would be to call Trish on the number she’d provided (using Skype). She and Neil both work in town. I didn’t want to disturb them requiring a 45 minute round trip drive if the baby found its way back inside while they were on their way. 

The mom was looking at me as if to ask for help. The other moms also cried out loudly along with the mom and baby. They were all obviously distressed. To see the love and concern of these long-necked somewhat odd-looking animals was heartwarming reminded me of the love the warthogs moms expressed for their young.   

Another week-old baby worried about Mont Blanc when he couldn’t get back inside the paddock.

The baby, although shy, approached me several times as if it too knew I could do something. At halftime, Tom came outdoors to see what he could do. Immediately, he noticed the escaped baby was in fact the one the owners had told us has blue eyes, an oddity in alpacas. Looking more carefully, we confirmed it. Its pale blue eyes looked into our faces asking for help.

Short of trying to corner the baby and pick it up placing it back over the fence there were no other options. Lifting an alpaca may be dangerous when on occasion they’re known to bite with their sharp teeth and  also have very sharp hooves. (Neil had mentioned he’d recently been bitten by one of the alpacas).

The moment they were reunited, hard to see but heartwarming.

There was no way we’d risk an injury as opposed to making a phone call. After about an hour with no remedy in sight, I called Trish. I sighed with relief when she explained they were both already on their way home to check on the farm and would soon arrive.

I was relieved and waited outside keeping a close eye on the whereabouts of the baby in fear it could run off to be gone forever. The mom ran back and forth about the paddock, crying loudly while attempting to stay focused on the baby as well.

While the others were busy dining on the green grasses, Gizelle and Mont Blanc lay together like this for hours after he was returned to the paddock.

Finally, Trish and Neil arrived and within minutes, together they lifted the baby over the fence while we watched him, named Mont Blanc, practically leap through the air toward his mother, Gizelle.  Although they were hidden behind a post during the emotional reunion, I made every effort to take a photo.

Only minutes later, I captured several shots of the two of them huddled together where they stayed for hours as I often checked on their wellbeing. They seemed content and at ease to be reunited.

Hours later, when the others had wandered to another paddock where they sleep at night, Gizelle and Mont Blanc remained close to one another. 

It was a hot day hovering around nearly 90F, 32C with high humidity. With no overhead fans, we decided to open all the doors for cross ventilation. By the end of the day, there were no less than 50 big noisy flies in the house. Before dinner, Tom swatted them with a cruise documents filled envelope killing all of them on the glass of the windows and doors.

While he did the dishes, I scrapped the fly guts off the windows and doors, spraying with window cleaner and picking up the dead flies from the slider grooves below,  gagging all the while. 

Another mom kissing her baby.

Afterward, we both agreed that leaving the doors open all day wasn’t a good option. We’d bring down the bedroom table fan for use during hot days, only opening the doors for a few minutes on windy days to cool down the inside air which always seems hotter than outside. After all, it’s midsummer here now and New Zealand isn’t exempt from high temps and humidity.

After hanging clothes on the line this morning, many of the alpacas approached me, now realizing that we mean no harm and that they and their babies are safe in our presence. Baby Mont Blanc approached me as did mom Gizelle, making eye contact with that adorable little smirk they appear to have on their funny little faces. Gee…

Photo from one year ago today, January 26, 2015:

Cloudy skies are not unusual in Kauai, known as the “garden island” where it can rain daily, clearing later. This view was from our veranda.  For more details, please click here.

Comments and responses Worrisome event at the Alpaca Farm Retreat…Late posting…Too many delightful distractions…

  1. liz Reply

    This is better than any television drama of loss and reunion, all enhanced with beautifully composed photos. Thank you.

  2. Jessica Reply

    Liz, I was busy writing today's post of the newest birth at the alpaca farm and I received your sweet message. Your comment made me smile and warmed my heart especially when I was yet to post the story of the newest "cria." What a blessing it is to have friends like you all over the world sharing in our often small stories.

    Thanks, dear one, for writing.

    Jess & Tom

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