My friend Jane has bought a little farm not so far from ours. She runs some alpacas, geese and chickens.
On Tuesday she awoke to discover that an alpaca she’d just bought had died, leaving a baby, Snowflake. It’s not clear why the mum died; possibly snakebite. Snakebite in May seems bizarre, but then it’s three weeks away from winter and we’re having our nicest weather all year.
We helped Jane catch baby Snowflake, and brought her over to our farm where we can feed her more regularly.
At first, Snowflake showed no interest in the bottle, and getting any formula into her involved two people wrestling her, and half the mixture ending up over us. No fun for anybody.
Then one time I had to feed her by myself. I gave her a couple of minutes to get used to my presence, and then she came up and nuzzled my crotch. Being a quick-thinking kind of guy, I fed the bottle between my legs from the back, and Snowflake got the idea and drank furiously.
So this was inelegant and possibly illegal, but it worked. And when you’re a parent, you go with what works. We’ve subsequently discovered that it goes best when she comes in from the back, and we’ve all had turns being mama alpacas. Glad there’s no photos.
Snowflake still hasn’t worked out about the bottle yet, she just probes about until she finds some sustenance.
She’s much more comfortable with people now (since we’ve stopped wrestling her) and she’s decided that humans are better than abject loneliness. So we give her as much attention as we can.
Toby (our only wwoofer) took Snowflake for a walk around the house paddock, and showed her the Wwoofer house. He then curled up with her and a book in the glorious sunshine.
We joined him for an impromptu picnic, and Snowflake had a lovely day.
Our friend Jan warns that getting too friendly with farm animals can cause problems later. But I think that Snowflake is a gentle soul who will end up as a lovely pet for Jane. She goes back in a few weeks, once she can get by on two bottles a day.