My name is Fargo and I live at Hilltop Farm Alpacas with my Alpaca Family and my owners who I now call my Mama, Dada and Sista's.
I was born on the 18th of June 2020. My mum's name is Bella and my dad's name is Bronson. In alpaca language Bella is my Dam and Bronson is my Sire. Everybody knows my Dad, he is known as Irelands friendliest alpaca. I hope to be just as famous as him some day.
I am a teeny little male Cria. A Cria is the name for a baby alpaca. I was only 4.8 kilograms when I was born. The normal weight for a baby alpaca should be at least 7 or 8 kg. Nobody really knows why I am so small, I just didn't grow properly inside my mum's tummy. My owners tell me I am unique.
My First Few Days
Like any other baby I don't remember anything about the day I was born, but now, that I am older I can understand what I have been told and how scary it was. I was stuck in the wrong position in my Mum Bella's tummy. An animal doctor who is called a vet had to operate on her so I could be born. After about an hour or two my mum was up and about and I was up running around after drinking from her. We both seemed to be doing well. The animal doctor visited each day to see how we were.
A few days later my mum got really sick. She was getting loads of different medicines to try and make her better but none of them were working. At this time my owners started to feed me from a bottle. I didn't really like it at first because it wasn't as nice as my mum's milk but when I saw how sick she was I knew she couldn't feed me anymore so I had to try and take it or I would get sick too. On the 4th day after I was born my gorgeous mum Bella passed away. We were all heartbroken.
My Two Families
Loosing my mum so young was very very sad. But some how it has made me stronger. In the days after she passed I had my Nanny Polly fussing over me. She wouldn't let me out of her sight. All my alpaca family really looked out for me and made sure I was ok . About a week later I don't really know what happened, I began to feel very, very sad, sadder than I had the first day. I just drank my bottle and went back into the shed and sat on my own. My owners saw this and started talking to me, I don't really know what they were saying but after a few minutes they picked me up in their arms and brought me away from the green floor I was on and into the place they live... their house. That's when everything changed for me, that's when I knew I would be ok, I had two families now ..my alpaca family who teach me everything I need to know to live as an alpaca and my human family who give me my bottle and let me go into their house and give me cuddles when I need them. I might be small but I am also a very lucky little boy.
I am much happier now . I have my Alpaca family watching over me in the field , and when I feel a bit sad or lonely, I wait at the gate and one of my owners will see me and bring me into the house for a short while and give me cuddles until it is time for my bottle. They always feed me my bottle outside in the field because that want me to know no matter where I am or which field I am in, I don't have to worry that they will forget me, they always know where I am. It is so cool.....they must have super powers or super hearing or something because, just as my tummy is starting to rumble, I look up and there is one of them bringing me my bottle....magic.
When I was two weeks old something very exciting happened. I got a new best friend. A big-little, girl was born. My owners brought me up to where it was all going on...but I couldn't look at what was happening---- no way I was too squeamish...imagine, alpacas coming out of alpacas. Now that I'm a big boy I understand it better and know that this is all normal. This girl was much bigger than me, she was a normal size I think, around 8.8kg. They named her Foxtrot and her mammy is Blanchett. .....I call her Foxie...but don't tell her. For a few weeks I was scared of her because she was always jumping around the place and chasing me but I now know, that she was just looking for me to play with her as all normal babies do.
Me & My Bestie
The arrival of Foxie changed everything for me. Yes, I was scared of her for a while because I thought she was a bit mad, but I have learned so much from her and couldn't ask for a better friend. She knows that I don't have my mummy here, to look after me, so when she sees me sitting on my own she will come over and sit beside me.....well to be honest she nearly sits on top of me.....sometimes I actually have to move over a bit to let her sit down. Even though she is two weeks younger and still nearly twice my size, she never teases me or says anything to me about it. It doesn't matter to her what size I am and that's what makes her my real friend.
We spend a lot of our time together. During the day we go off and eat grass, roll in the dust, and sit and rest when we get tired. The best fun we have is in the evening. We sprint all around the field. Foxie has been doing this since she was a few days old but I thought she was just a bit bonkers and didn't join in. Then one evening some of the others starting doing it along with her... Oh my god it looked sooooo funny.....even my two grannies were running...I nearly fell over laughing. Then they started to leap and bounce up and down with their tails in the air. It looked so much fun but I thought, as I was the only boy in that field, maybe it was a girl thing and I might look silly.
Polly noticed I was just watching and she came over. She explained that all alpacas even boys sprint around the field sometimes and the leaping and bouncing is called "Pronking". By sprinting and then pronking we bring our body temperature up before dark to help keep us warm on a cold night. I thought this was soooo cool and began to join in. I now sprint around the field with Foxie a hundred miles an hour and we have great fun.
Foxie... really is my BFF and I love her so much.
Four Months On
It has been four months since I was born and I am getting bigger ever day. I am never going to be massive because my bones and frame are very small. I don't mind that because even though I am a bit different I am still treated the same as my family, other than the fact that I drink milk from a bottle. Normally bottle fed cria are being weaned at this stage but as my body is much smaller, so too is my stomach and I wasn't able to drink large amounts daily. It is only in the last few weeks that I has changed and my body is now able to have more less often.
I am eating grass and love the hay we have in the shed. Last week my owners mixed something else in with the hay and we loved it...it was called Haylage. Oooooh.....it smelled so sweet and tasted delicious. At first some of my family didn't bother with it .... but not Foxie and I.... No way, we tucked right in and had a feast. It wasn't long before the others joined in and we were all happily munching away for hours.
We also gets alpaca feed as well but I don't really like it yet. My granny Polly told me that when my mum Bella came to live here she wasn't eating this feed either and she was 10 months old. But she became best friends with Blanchett and when she saw her eating the feed then my mum did too. It's funny the way things turn out, Foxie and I are best friends too just like our mums were.
I am now seven months old and Foxtrot is just two weeks younger. We are both growing very well but as expected I am still a very small boy form my age. A few weeks ago Foxie & I began haltering training. My owners were a bit doubtful about starting me because of my size but they got an extra small halter and tried it on me and it fitted perfectly. For us alpacas to be easy handled and disciplined it is very important that we are halter trained. We need to be handled for vaccinating, nail trimming, worming, teeth trimming and shearing.
As well as that when we are halter trained we also get to do exciting things like go to National Shows where we are judged a long side other alpacas.
At Hilltop Farm we have a lot of visitors who come to see me.....sorry I mean us. We love our visitors and because we have been trained and they get to come into the field and rub us down. The older boys which include my Dad Bronson & Brother Elijah go for walks
It is the end of April now and I am nearly 10 months old. I am still in the field with Foxie and all the girls because I am way too small to go in with the big boys.You might not recognise me now as all my lovely curly fleece is gone, but my owners keep telling I look so petite and cute.
Oh Lord, I didn't know what was going on at all that day... the day of the haircuts. Eureka who is the same colour as me was first to go off on the lead and come back looking totally different. I didn't recognise her at first.. now, she was half the size she was before she got a hair cut which I found out later was called "Shearing". Then..... it was my turn. Eureka told me not to worry that the men were very gentle and that it was for my own health that I had to say goodbye to my beautiful curls. So I walked up to a table and a big material belt was gently placed around my tummy to hold me in place until the table was turned on its side. Then my front and back legs were tied so I couldn't move. I hated this, but I was told after, that this was to stop me from jumping around the places and injuring myself and the men who were cutting my fleece...or sorry... I mean shearing me.
I have to be honest and tell you I was a bit naughty....Oh, Ok...... I was very naughty and spat all over the place and screamed as loud as I could. Looking back now I don't know why I did all that because the men were very kind and caring and one man kept talking to me while the other was shearing me. Before I knew it, it was all over and I was brought back to the others. Foxie didn't know who I was at first but then I said..." Hey Foxie...It's me, Fargo.... your little BFF. She was shocked at first but got used to me in a few minutes.
All of us except my granny Fudge got sheared that day. She is the oldest and has a very short thin fleece so my owners decided not to shear her so she won't be cold or get sick in the winter. She will wait until next year. We are all glad now to be without our heavy fleece. We can run around and roll much better now and the weather is getting warmer so we won't feel like passing out with the heat. It was the first time for Foxie & I so we look so much different now, but we like it.
Shearing is something we have to get done for our own health & welfare, I can't promise I won't scream and spit again next year but I will try my best.
All Grown Up
Since my last update Foxie and I have had our first birthdays. We are all grown up now. Foxie is still with all the girls but I have moved over to the boys field. I didn't really know what was happening the day I was moved, my owners brought me to the girls to say goodbye then led me over to the boys field. They brought each of the boys out one by one on leads to see what way they reacted with me. Some of them didn't know what I was, they hadn't seen an alpaca so small before, others were running around the place. After a bit of time it was decided that my big brother Elijah & Bruno were the two best boys to put me with. You see some of the bigger boys jump around and play a lot, so, my owners were afraid they might hurt me by accident when playing, they need to get to know me first.
At the beginning I was a little bit nervous and missed the girls, especially Foxie, but my owners kept a very close eye on me. The first night felt a bit strange, I was in a different field with different friends. Elijah kept a very close eye on me and followed me around to make sure I was ok.
The next day the 3 of us were moved into a paddock beside the other five boys. Now that was very funny, they all started running up and down the fence on the other side and smelling me when I got close.A week later and Donnie Darko has now joined us. Eliljah sticks very close to me, he is such a good big brother.
I am happy now to be with the boys. I was starting to annoy the girls a little and go off on my own so it was time for the move.
I am such a clever little boy, you see, when I was with the girls and I heard our visitors, I would fly down the field to greet them before anyone else. I thought that might change when I moved, but it hasn't. I must have bionic hearing, because I still know when they arrive and I run down and wait at the fence, my owners feel sorry for me and bring the visitors to my....sorry.. I mean OUR field first.
I hope my mum is very proud of the big boy I am. I seem to have a bit of her feisty spirit in me.
Rest In Peace Nanny Fudge
Today I am telling you all about my Nanny Fudge Sunday from the day she arrived here, to the day she said goodbye, My Alpaca and Human families have told me all about her.
Nanny Fudge came to live here in 2017 with her daughter Cloud. Her other daughter Bella (my Mum) was living here since earlier that year. When my owners went to see Fudge at her Old Farm there was just something about her that made them fall in love with her. She was very thin and had some health issues but the most obvious one was her limp. The person on the farm told them that Fudge didn't get her Vitamin Injections when she was young and then got injured and her hip never recovered. It was decided there and then that she was coming to live at Hilltop Farm.
Nanny Fudge was never really halter trained or handled much so she was very nervous and a bit feisty when anyone went near her. When she was brought in with all the others for vaccinations, doses and all the other bits and pieces us alpacas need to get done to keep us well, she would spit and growl at everyone and try her best to escape. But over time and with a bit of extra attention like feeding her by hand, talking to her and not given up on her eventually my owners gained her trust. She kept her feisty spirit but was so much easier to manage and was first to the feeders when it was breakfast or tea time. She also became a bit of a leader with the others. Whenever our owners were moving us into a new field all they had to do was call " Fudgie" and she would come running and hobbling along with all the others behind her. She really was well settle in with us.
In 2019 she had a boy named Elijah who looks just like her now. He is my half brother as Bronson is his Dad too. She loved being a mum and was a wonderful mum to her babies. She, herself, had to decide when it was time, to wean them. For this reason she was only mated every few years to give her a rest.
During the hot weather Fudge just loved the water. She was always putting her feet in the water buckets and knocking them over, this use to drive the others mad as their water was gone but then my owners got this cool splashing pool and she would love to splash and sit down it to cool off.
As she was now getting all her vaccinations, drenches and vitamins on a regular basis, Nanny Fudges health was good and she had been mated for what was to be, her last time.
Our fields are so near the house so our owners can keep a close on us. One afternoon last winter, we all noticed she was sitting a bit and when we went over to check her she seemed cold and was shivering. Our owners got her in and checked her over. They decided to call the vet and he told us all she had developed pneumonia. That's the thing with us alpacas, we can be very sick but we hide it very well. After a week of medicine Nanny Fudge seemed to make a good recovery and she was wearing a cool jacket for the rest of the winter.
In March of this year at 8 months gestation my Nanny gave birth to a tiny little stillborn girl. She was gorgeous but for some reason she was too precious for this world. My owners called her Gigi. The vet came out and checked my Nanny over, and we all kept a close eye on her. My owners gave her a bit of extra attention as she was feeling a bit sad.
In May we all got our annual haircut or shearing as it is called. Due to everything that had happened the previous winter, it was decided not to shear my Nanny as her fleece was very short and not of good quality. The weather got very very cold a few weeks after the shearing and we all felt it. While we were all sitting in the shed out of the cold my Nanny was sitting in the field all delighted with herself, she still had her fur coat.
About a month ago Nanny Fudge started to breath very fast. The vet came out and told us all she had pneumonia again. Her lungs might have been damaged the first time. After treating her at home for a while there was no improvement so it was decided to bring her up the UCD Veterinary Hospital. A us alpacas are herd animals, she could not go alone so her daughter Cloud was brought with her to keep her company. She stayed up there for almost a week and improved a little but they told us she had permanent lung damage which may have been caused by having pneumonia in her younger years, this meant she was going to keep getting sick and she also had developed arthritis in her hip.
She was delighted to came home and see us all but we could all see she wasn't very well. Her big beautiful eyes were so tired, her body was very weak and after having so many needles put into her every day she was so sore. She was happy to be home with everyone she knew. The next day she was weaker. No matter what the owners put in front of her or gave to her she just wouldn't eat, she just wasn't able. She was getting weaker and weaker and if she went to get up, she would stumble and sit down again. The vet came out and tried one more injection to see if it would help. Then I heard him tell my owners if it didn't help, they might have a decision to make.
This was heartbreaking for us, we did not want to see my Nanny go to heaven. She began to get worse. I was in the nearby field so I could see everything.
Then I saw It.............I saw the way she looked at my owners....... it was like she was asking for their help. Help, to end her pain and suffering, she had gone through enough. Everyone was very, very upset and sad but we all knew for her sake, it was time for my Nanny to be" Put to sleep" .
The vet came back and told us it was the right thing to do, she was just too sick. She looked at him and for the first time in a few weeks she didn't make a sound when she saw an injection. She knew. All the boys had come back into my field, the girls and my owners were all around Nanny, we all wanted to be there for her.
When she was ready and after every one had said their goodbyes, the vet very gently gave her an injection and within seconds she had drifted away peacefully. Nanny Fudge was now gone to alpaca Heaven. We all miss her very much but we know she is in the right place now, at peace and pain free with her daughters Bella & Gigi.
Sleep peacefully Nanny Fudge, we all love you so much and will never forget you. x x x x
Who's a Pretty Boy!
As I write this I am now 1 & ½ years old. I have gotten bigger in the last few months but I think I have stopped growing now. I am still small but my Mama says I am charming and perfect in every way. You see its not like I have a big body and short legs, or a small body and big head or long neck, no, everything is the right…… oh what’s that’s word… oh yeah… “proportion”.
I have even been told by some other Alpaca owners that I am not as small as they thought, I look small in our fields as the other boys are so big especially my brother Elijah……did I tell you he is, HUGE.
Mama told me I have a beautiful fleece, it is lovely and fine, whatever that means, and has a lovely colour and crimp. She even took some photos of me again…..silly Mama.
Most of the time I am a good boy, but sometimes I do misbehave a little and my Mama has to give out to me. She isn’t cross, but if I am bold she will say “Fargo, Stop” and put her hand up, I know then she means business, so I stop messing around. She smiles then and tells me I am a good boy, so I like that.
As you know, us alpacas need different things to keep us well. We have to get vitamins, minerals, doses and all things like that. My owners tell me I am one of the best behaved when it comes to getting these. I stay nice and quiet and just let them do what they need to. I take this placid nature from my Dad. I am not in the same field as him yet but right beside him and we have these little chats now and again. When we have visitors I run down to greet them just like he does. We have a lot in common. My brother Elijah is very placid too and loves visitors but he doesn’t run down like us, no, he just strolls down nice and easy. He is like a big gentle bear.
Maybe someday I can be a Dad too, you know for someone who would like to have small alpacas, I have all the qualities for that. I would still live here and just be studded out. Anyway, at the moment I am too young for all that romantic stuff.
Before I go, you might have heard my Dada was in hospital before Christmas. He had a growth on his brain called a benigh tumour and had to have it removed. He came home on Christmas Eve and is getting better each day. He has to take things very easy for a while but he is able to come out and see us now, so we are very happy with that, we all missed him when he was away.