It started with an alpaca, yes one alpaca, full intact male alpaca. Taking your first glance at him by sheer size you would think he looked more llama than alpaca but looking closer you see those distinctive alpaca features. The shorter face and the strait ears give it away along with the amount of white fur covering him. He is tall, strong and way too full of attitude. For several months this fuzzy monster has haunted my sister as she carried grain out to the sheep pen, he never displayed full out aggression as he very well could have, but get to close and bam! He would lash out with a powerful kick from one of his back feet.
However when it came to me, he did not kick me, he lashed out several times only to earn himself a swift smack on the rump from me. To put it simply I was the only one capable of handling this terror we appropriately named Yeti.
While he could where a halter and walk on a lead line that did not make a difference so I chose that I would train him. My mom feared that he would catch me off guard and hurt me, I however was not afraid of this monstrous alpaca. But one night is all it took to put all of this down the drain.
One simple day we walked out into the barnyard like any other day to feed our animals when everything was turned upside down. Yeti was in with the female alpaca! We had plans to get him gelded and did not want to breed the female alpaca who is a suri called Gabby. After I caught him and lead him back into his pen we went about our chores hoping to finish before it became too dark. After milking the goat and feeding her a treat I began to take hay out to the pens.
To my annoyance and slight surprise there stood Yeti once again in with the female. This annoyed me as much as anyone else so once again catching and leading him out of the females pen that she shared with the goats. But this time I did not put him back in his pen that he shared with two other alpaca’s and some sheep. This time I took him to the llama stanchion, this special shoot serves the same purpose as it would for cattle, a person can stand on the outside of the stanchion and shear the llama or alpaca, keeping them more or less still for the process. After tying him there and going to find out what to do with him from my mom, I turn around and this time to my shock and causing me to panic a little I see this alpaca trying to climb the four and a half foot side of the pipe stanchion.
Running back over to him then walking around not wanting to spook him into coming completely over the side, his front legs are already on top of the stanchion his head is being pulled back by the lead line, here I am standing between the front of an alpaca and a cattle panel fence. ‘What to do?’ I think to myself, if I pull the line he is coming over this thing onto me and into the fence! Seeing no other choice in the matter I grabbed his front feet and shoved with all the strength I could muster, shoving him backward until his feet cleared the stanchion and dropped him letting him stand again in the stanchion unharmed.
We chose to put him in the former buck pen where we hoped that he would stay; after moving the goat and her twin doe-lings out of the smaller pen I brought him in. This time only unclipping the lead line from his halter and not pulling it off, I figured I knew what would happen but I was hopeful that the wouldn’t jump this fence as well. Nope, silly me of course he will jump the fence.
Our second to last option appeared, walking him out to the back pen we put him in with the ram and two buck goats. Maybe this time he would stay in, two fences and a gate lie between him and her, perhaps now he will remain where he is supposed to be.
The next day we had decided on our last resort seeing as he had already come through the gate and one fence as we learned that morning putting him back in with the sheep along with the ram and two bucks. Although I was sad to say it, this had to be done, Yeti was too strong, and too wild for us to keep. He was a danger to us and the other animals on the property. It was decided that he would have to be taken up to auction, we couldn’t keep him in and he was causing too much trouble. So while my mom and sister left to talk to a friend about hauling him up to auction like any other day I walked out into the barnyard to feed and milk.
It was already dark so I had to rely on sound to tell me something was wrong, not the kind of wrong that makes you want to call a vet but the kind of wrong that makes you stop and think about what you were hearing. This is exactly what I did; I stopped and thought, ‘the sheep shouldn’t be that close, they are calling from the goat pen…’
So I continued to the gate, and of course standing triumphantly next to Gabby stood Yeti, close by was another one of our alpacas and a large group of sheep and the ram and buck goats, all running together in one giant group….
I sighed, there was nothing I could do in the dark, so I fed them all as one giant group and happily saw that the lambs and goat kids where all able to get to their moms I waited for my mom and sister to return. Time passed and at last they did, I gave them the extent of the damage that I could see, they had confirmed that Yeti the monster alpaca would be leaving the next day. I was part sad and part glad to hear that, sad because I did not want to give up on that alpaca no matter how stubborn he was, and glad because he was dangerous and troublesome to deal with considering that he broke through two fences and a gate to get through to a female and now all the goats and sheep where probably bred for fall baby’s.
That following morning, we all headed over to see the full extent of the damages, after separating the animals back into their respected groups to ensure that they got enough food we captured Yeti and rebuilt the fencing. After retrieving water to refill the stock tanks we now had to wait for our family friend to arrive to take away the monstrous alpaca for good.
The sale went smoothly although loading him onto the trailer was hard considering he thought he wanted to go over the top of the open toped trailer. Selling both him and one goat at the auction gave us enough money for our next grain shipment. The man who bought him said he was going to use him as a guardian animal for his flock of sheep, ‘a good use for an ornery animal’ I thought when my sister told me the news.
That was the last of Yeti, sad in a way but good and helpful in another, he had caused so much chaos it is only funny because I can look back at it now knowing that we survived.
After a dog obedience class and a meeting we came home stopping at Culvers for some ice cream and cheese curds, my sister and I shared 4 chicken tenders, in my mind not a meal but enough to hold till after chores and then I can cook something at home. Or so I thought.
I hoped everything was fine now that Yeti was gone and all the animals were back where they belong…. While everyone was where they should be of course as I enter the hay tent what do I find but two crying newborn Angora goat kids! So I turn right around and run out to find my sister and mom, ‘two healthy kids with possibility of another on the way’, I said.
One hour after feeding had been done and a young goat refusing his bottle for the third day in a row, we at last are on our way home, with two doe-kids happily styling there new coats and their mom feeling tired we figured that it now being past ten o’clock that we too should return home.
So that is where I started, feeling hungry, tired, frustration, sadness, and joy at the birth of two new little goat kids. So much in the last few days and I was just overwhelmed, but that is what we have family for, my sister seeing me there with a baby bunny in my hands just leaning against the rabbit pens.
Now that I look back on all that has happened in the last few days I see that so much of it has happened for good reason, Yeti had to leave, he was dangerous and we needed the grain money, and the two doe-kids, the kids we had been waiting for, for nearly two weeks now we had been waiting on that goat to have the kids, while I wouldn’t have chosen that time exactly I guess we all need some kind of good surprise now and then don’t we?
Hard as it can be to admit sometimes God is in control and will provide for us, the little goats being delivered on that very night when I gave up hope of training that alpaca for good, selling him and a goat for enough to pay for the animal feed, and reminding me that no matter what God and family are always two things you can count on to always be there for you.
-Samantha Bellairs of Bellairs Fiber Farm