Hello again, Biscotti here again and thanks for reading about my life as an alpaca. Once mom got back and was healthy again, life on the ranch was great! Every day all of us boys would run, play and graze and at night we’d snuggle with our moms while we slept. One night before bed, mom said she needed to talk to me about something important. Mom always told me bedtime stories about when she was a Cria or stories about my dad, Dante and my famous grandfather, Brilliance. I really enjoyed these stories and helped me fall asleep. Little did I know; this story did the opposite.
Mom told me how proud she was of me and that I was becoming a big boy. She said soon the people would be moving all the moms to a different pasture and all the boys would stay together. I was trying to be a big boy, but this news brought tears to my eyes. She told me she would be in another pasture, still on the ranch and always in my heart. I didn’t sleep at all that night. The next morning, I ran over to Nico and he told me his mom told him the same story. As a matter of fact, all the boys had heard the same story from their moms. Needless to say, we were all very nervous.
Sure enough in a couple of days, the people herded all the moms to another pasture. Many of the boys stood at the fence, crying and calling their moms. Was this really happening? Us boys had always pretended we were a herd when we played our games. Now our game had become a reality and we were all scared. At night we all slept close, missing our moms and wondering what would happen next.
The next day we noticed that there were new neighbors in the pasture across the walkway. There was a group of older boys. These boys were born the year before us, so they were more experienced in being a boy alpaca. Over the next few weeks, a lot of us would stand by the fence and watch them wrestle and play. It wasn’t long before I started really picking up tips. Some of my herd were afraid of the bigger boys, but Nico and I were not. We spoke with a few of them over the fence and they were nice.
The 12 of us became a real tight herd over the next few months, because there were no real trouble makers and we all got along very well. Our smallest member, Tra could be a pain because he was always in everyone’s business, but the bigger boys usually put him in his place. We all took turns being leader for a day, which gave us good leader experience. Nico and I were growing and learning every day.
One day there was a lot of humming going on around the ranch. Herds of alpacas were being brought in on trailers into the main barn. We were all wondering what was going on. The bigger boys across the path told us it was shearing week. When we were little Crias we experienced our first shearing and it went easy. I remember it was a little noisy and scary because people were holding us, but afterward we all felt cool and clean. Early one morning we watched the older boys go into the barn and come out all shorn. Sure enough, we were the next group to be herded into the big barn. As we came in we heard a lot of humming. It was not just alpaca humming, but humming from the shearing tools. We saw a lot of other alpacas in pens waiting to finish up. We were all a little scared with all the noise and commotion, so we stuck close together! The people came in and haltered each one of us. They took Nico and I was right behind him.
They used a loud machine to blow all the dirt off our bodies, then walked us to a scale to be weighed. A man brought me over to a mat and put ropes around me feet. Before I could figure out what was going on, someone pulled the ropes and I ended up laying on my side on a soft mat. It was pretty comfy and if I wasn’t so nervous, I could have fallen asleep. Two other men came over and I heard the loud hum, felt the warm blade run over my side, it tickled a little and suddenly I felt cool air on my skin. Two minutes later, they flipped me over and did my other side. Then they moved me into a Cushing position, sheared my neck, checked my teeth and trimmed the nails on my feet. Wow, I was getting the full treatment! I felt them untie me feet. I jumped up, shook off and was walked back over to the scale to be weighed again. Nico was waiting for me in the pen and in no time, our herd was done, and we were moved back into our pasture. It felt great to feel so cool with our fleece removed and even better that the scary ordeal was over. We ran much faster, jumped and pronked higher than ever all afternoon long! Our herd looked awesome!
Things were going great in our herd and the weather was getting warmer. Nico and I both noticed, the people opening our gate. They started herding us out the gate. We had recently been weighed and check over so we both wondered what was going on? What new adventure were we going to get into now? To our surprise we were herded across the walkway right into the older boys’ pasture. Some boys were scared, but not Nico and I. The older boys had always seemed friendly and I had chatted with a couple of them over the fence in the past. Our herd sure looked so much smaller compared to these guys. Most were at least a year older than us and we were a little intimidated. You see alpacas continually grow for a couple of years, so most of the older boys were taller and had more muscles than us. Were these big guys going to pick on us or be mean to us? We didn’t know what to expect.
Our minds were quickly put at ease when one of their leaders, Monty came over and introduced himself. Monty was well known on the ranch as a great guy. He had been to many shows and was well respected amongst the elder males as well. Many times, when visitors came to the ranch, Monty would interact with them and they would pet and feed him. Nico and I had watched him in action through the fence and he really knew his stuff. Monty told us that his herd was there to teach us how to become “teenagers” like the older boys taught him. He said our herd was now integrated into his herd going forward. Wow, we went from a herd of 12 boy Crias into a mega-herd of 25+ cool guys. This was very exciting, and we were all willing to learn. I thought this would be our future and I wanted to be the best so one day I could get promoted to herdsire, which is every male alpaca’s dream! I certainly had a lot of changes in the first year of my life. I went from being born, surviving mom’s illness, being taken away from mom, having our own herd to now being moved up the big boy herd. Little did I know there were more exciting changes coming that would completely change my life along with my friends and family! - B