There isn’t very much about alpaca farming that we don’t like. But one of the things we dread is relocating males to a different group. This happens most often when we have a young boy who is old enough to bother the girls, but not yet full-sized. Putting him in with older boys always results in alpaca hazing that scares the devil out of the little guy and makes us wildly protective.
This happened last night with our new boy Krypton. We got him when he was thirteen months old, so initially put him in with the girls. The girls will sniff to death a new alpaca, but they don’t haze like the boys do. Krypton has been with the girls for a couple of months with no problem, but last night he started to mount Brownie and was orgling to beat the band. Boys orgle (alpaca singing) only when they breed. Worried that he could be getting fertile, we put him in with our youngest boys, who are adjacent to the girls. They’d seen him and he’d seen them, but it didn’t make much difference. Immediately, Axel, the very randy son of a very randy Sammy, chased him and mounted him, with all the rest of the eight boys in hot pursuit. Add to the pursuit, a very irate Dick, with a plastic rake to discourage such mean behavior. After about a half hour of trying to deter Axel, and about five black fly bites later, we decided that Axel, the oversexed fawn hothead, would have to be moved down to the older male barn. That will teach you, we thought.
The older boys are the more aggressive ones and include Axel’s father Sammy and his grandfather Orion. Sammy, just like his son, immediately started the chase and Orion with the others behind, joined the melee. But Axel is no baby and fought back. In just a few minutes we watched as Axel stood screaming at the top of his voice and the others backed away. I’m sure they thought he was a complete madman.
Ok, we thought, all is set. We went back to the big barn to check on Krypton and wasn’t our young rose gray boy, Guns n Roses, pouncing on the little one. He had him flattened. All the others had been fairly calm after Axel left, but Gunny wouldn’t quit. After both of us tried convincing Gunny to stop, we gave up and moved him down to the other barn as well. Now Gunny is a big boy, so we thought he should be able to handle himself with the older males, since he is just as big as the biggest one down there. Didn’t Axel start the chase when we brought him down! Sammy quickly took over, with Axel mounting Sammy, who was mounting Gunny! All at a run, mind you. But Sammy got tired. After all, Sammy and Axel are short, so it was a reach for Sammy to get up on Gunny, running on the hind legs the whole time. That hazing lasted awhile, accompanied by the high-pitched frantic barking of our collie Luna. She does NOT like when the boys fight. She raced along the fence she shares with the boys, barking hysterically. That and the alpaca screams made it sound like a massacre was happening. Good thing we have no close neighbors.
This morning, all is calm. Krypton hums mournfully and paces the fence between him and the girls, which is heartbreaking to watch, but the other boys leave him alone. Gunny is also crying for his former herdmates, humming at the fence closest to them. Axel seems happy as a clam. Perhaps he knows he’s with others more like himself.
Ah, the joys of alpaca farming…