This weekend we spent time with the animals, as we do many days. Weekends give us the chance to slow down, spend time together as a farming family and love life. Despite the temperamental weather we’ve been having lately, one day warm enough to wear a t-shirt and the next back to snow, we dress for the weather and get our rubber boot stomping feet outside with the kids. It’s these times that we spend teaching and enveloping our little ones with an up close and personal view of life at the barn.
Recently we added two Alpacas to our farm, Piper and Muffin as we so lovingly call them. We have become quite attached to these funny creatures and they seem to be quite happy with us or that could just be the food talking. Interestingly, we noticed how sensitive these cuddly creatures are when Baby Girl decided to throw herself to the ground for a temper tantrum the other day. I remember when someone told me of the terrible-two’s. Laughable. I think 3 and 4 year olds have something called DIVA-tude. Is that a word? If not, it is now. Where was I? Oh right, Alpaca…sensitive…tantrum. Did you know that Alpacas have a warm spot for kids?
You can judge an Alpacas emotional state by the type of noise they make:
- Whining or Humming – Alpacas hum for several reasons. Crias (baby Alpacas) and their mother’s hum to each other continually, almost as a sign of love. If an Alpaca is distressed or separated from another Alpaca, they can hum in mourning. When a mother Alpaca is weaning her cria it is a highly stressful time for both mom and baby they will hum to each other sadly. Alpacas hum for a variety of reasons, worried and fearful are a couple of reasons my Alpacas hum when my toddler gets upset.
- Snorting, Grumbling and Clucking – Alpacas will snort or grumble if another Alpaca is coming too close for their liking or to assert their territory over food. Alpaca mothers often cluck at their crias when they start nursing or sometimes if you get a little too close.
- Screaming, Spitting and Alarm Sound – Like humans, some Alpacas are more high-stressed than others and can be scared easily, especially if you handle their crias. In these situations, some Alpacas will let out a high-pitched scream, at close deafening range, which may proceed to spitting. Most often Alpacas do not spit at their human caregivers, unlike their Llama cousins, and most often save that for another Alpaca they feel is testing their last nerve. Specifically when a predator is in the area, an Alpaca with make a high-pitched rhythmic braying sound, causing the rest of the herd to gather together for safety and alert the humans.
When Baby Girl so politely threw herself to the ground for a spastic temper tantrum, the Alpaca’s sounded the alarm which shocked her out of her crying fit. This was the first time we had heard the Alpaca Alarm and let me tell you, it’s not a sound my ears want to hear often.
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