When the 4H calls and alerts you of four alpaca that need adopting, you can’t help but investigate. It’s the way of the 4H and of Northern Michigan.
We’ve not been active in the 4H long. In fact, it’s relatively new to us, but that didn’t stop us. My son plans to show one of our alpaca in the 4H fair this summer, so we’ve signed him up for the local chapter and started investigating what we need to do to get ready for the alpaca obstacle course.
Shortly after we started the process of 4H, my husband received a call from the local chapter. There was an older couple who had four alpaca that needed to be rehomed. The couple was simply getting older and didn’t have the health needed to maintain the alpaca and keep them in good health.
When my husband asked me if we wanted to consider adopting the alpacas, I was on the fence about the whole idea. We haven’t had our four alpaca very long and we were still waiting for Adel and Ariana’s baby to arrive. Did we really want or need more alpacas?
In our usual style of embracing adventure, we head north in a slight snowstorm and bitterly cold temperatures. It was 2 degrees with negative wind chills, and I had to pack a bag of snow pants and multiple pairs of mittens to manage the cold.
When we met the four alpaca, the decision was immediately made. The discussion of adoption was over the minute Chico and Stormy walked up to me and started to sniff me head to toe. Stormy was a young black alpaca with an amazing personality. Faith was a very timid alpaca who stayed many feet away and watched closely. Chico and his lady friend were older alpacas and just as friendly as Stormy.
I knew we couldn’t take in all four, since two were already well on in age, but I did want to bring Faith and Stormy home with us. They didn’t have the pedigree and awards of our original alpaca ladies, but they would make nice additions to the herd and they’d be great family pets.
It’s been about a month since the new ladies arrived in January. They fit into the herd nicely, although Ariana and Stormy have had many battles for alpha alpaca status. Ariana always wins and Stormy has evidence of fighting on her at all times.
Stormy has become my new BFF. She runs to me when I enter the barn and generally stays close to me the entire time I’m there. She gives frequent alpaca kisses and tends to show up in every picture I try to take. We’ve made a lot of progress in building her trust in the weeks since she arrived.
Faith has warmed up, but still needs some time to build additional trust with us. She’ll now eat from my hand and she is coming closer and closer with each trip I make to the barn. Building a relationship with her is a slow process, but one that makes continued progress with each encounter.
I’ve learned the trick to making alpaca friends is to simply lower to their level, talk calmly, and always make eye contact. I talk to each one of them and call them by name. I show them love and respect. In return, I have large furry friends and a great lunch date when needed.
I didn’t know what to expect when we adopted Faith and Stormy, but I’m sure glad we took the chance and brought them home. They’ve made life on the farm a lot more fun and they help keep our diva alpacas in check. And now that they are farm residents, I simply cannot imagine what life would be without them.