At Weekfield farm I met the dams and their young first. We drove into the field with my children in the back of the open vehicle cooing as excitedly as the herd of young Alpaca they were about to meet. We were immediately surrounded by the dams and their young and as David dismounted to catch up a cria (a baby alpaca), we were watched from a few yards away by an elegant trio of Guanaco, who share the field.
It is immediately obvious when watching Alpaca what a social and familial animal they are; they stay close to each other and communicate comfort and alarm with soft sounds. I wouldn’t want to lower the tone with toilet matters, but it was fascinating to see that they choose a single spot in the field for their communal latrine, all the animals in the herd using it, leaving the rest of the field clean.
The machos are a gentle group – it occurred to me how very South American it was to give them such a name when they are anything but macho. Perhaps I am being a little unfair to the boys, but seeing them recently shorn, with their mop top haircuts, cooing and sniffing, you couldn’t want for a friendlier herd. I think I understand a little of why David and Anila fell in love with them.