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Boys just want to have fun

Posted 8/11/2010 8:40am by Mona.

Coty and Arlo playing

Another wonderful thing about having male alpacas, especially the younger ones, is they play a lot!  They chase each other, climb all over each other, roll around together, nibble each other’s ears and toes, and other general good-natured wrestling.  It’s always fun to watch, another simple joy of alpaca life.  They usually play in the pasture but sometimes in the paddock or barn.  Like most other alpaca activities, it’s pretty darn quiet out there.

alpacas playing in the barn

As they mature this playtime occasionally turns into a bit of actual fighting.  We’ve had our lovely little herd here for just about a year now and up until recently it’s all play.  Julio and Guinness, our geldings, are both 7 this year and watch the goings-on between Bo, Coty, and Arlo in bored amusement, if they watch at all.  Bo is a year older than Arlo and Coty and is now starting to define his place in the herd.  His intentions are usually directed at Coty, who is one very tall alpaca.  I’ll hear the scuffling and heavy breathing associated with playing and go to the window to watch.  Suddenly, it gets serious with loud squawking and grunts and serious rough-housing, complete with pushing and shoving and real biting.  Then, in true alpaca form, some serious spit starts to fly.

Oh my god, my alpacas are fighting!  I holler out the window “Hey boys ~ play nice!”  They’re alpacas and therefore ignore the crazy, hollering human.  I run outside with Stella underfoot, put on my barn boots, and in my hurry usually trip over Stella or my own feet (happens every time!).  As I’m running down the path to the barn I continue to call out to them “Bo ..... Coty ..... No fighting!  Stop that!”  By the time I get to the fence they’ve usually stopped.  I go in anyway to give them a stern stare and remind them that this is a nice farm; we only play nice here.  Thankfully I’ve never had to physically pry them apart and the fighting has only happened a few times.  Coty will look at me like “what did I do?” and casually start eating grass or hay.  Bo will stand there with his lower lip down, drooling green slime and unable to move his mouth for a few minutes; it’s the camelid reaction to spitting.   It’s not pretty.  I remind him that he could be eating hay too if he just stopped being mean to Coty, and that he looks silly and undignified with his lower lip hanging down like that.

Other alpaca people have told me not to interfere, that it’s normal behavior and the boys need to work it out amongst themselves.  And there I am running outside at the first sound of a possible fight hoping to nip it in the bud.  Oh well!

Quote for Today

Never let the odds keep you from doing
what you know in your heart
you were meant to do. 

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