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Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Joe

I have to write a little about our Suri alpaca Joe. We purchased him from an auction almost two years ago and he has made great progress from when we first brought him home. Joe is not registered, but I did get some medical records which show his date of birth and supposedly his parentage. I was hoping to use him for breeding, but now not sure if we can use him as he really does not seem interested in the girls.

Joe was in a stall by himself at the farm where the auction was held....this should have been my first clue as to his health and dispostion as the other stalls had 5-12 alpacas in each stall. (Over 225 alpacas) When we tried to halter him and put him in the trailer for the trip home, he immediately cushed down and wouldn't move, so we had to carry him to the trailer...screaming the whole way.

When we finally arrived home, we had to carry him to the pasture where he was going to stay! It was then that I realized how skinny he was. He just didn't want to walk with the halter and lead. I could tell that he hadn't had much in the way of human handling. I named him Joe as his face looks so much like a camel's face! Therefore, Joe Camel!

For the first month, he would lay by the hay bin and would only get up to eat and walk out to poo. He didn't even want grain....just hay. I was afraid that we would lose him. Slowly, he began to get his strength and co-mingle with the other boys. It took almost six months before he even acted like a nomal alpaca. When we sheared him, we found that he had a mite problem which we then had to treat and was probably part of his health problems.

Well, two years later, Joe still doesn't want to walk on a lead. He ferociously guards the hay to the point of screaming at the other boys if they get too close to him. A couple of days ago, I put Joe in 'timeout' because he was screaming at everyone. I guided him out of the shelter where they eat their hay and told him to stay outside for a bit. He did!!! He kept looking at me and crying to go back in, but did not do so until I went over to him and told him he could go back to eat the hay....as long as he stopped screaming. He walked back in, started eating and did not let out a peep for at least the next hour. So....did he really understand that he was in 'timeout'?

I figured out that Joe is very defensive of his food because he had so little for so long. I am hoping that someday he will realize that he doesn't have to worry about that anymore and that he has a forever home with plenty of food to share.