Blog Archive

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moving Alpacas - Our Redneck Livestock Trailer


As promised, here is the first of several posts about how we packed up a house, garage and barn into storage, farmed out all of our animals, and moved to Hawai'i for the winter.

{No, we're not independently wealthy. Or even dependently wealthy.}

Things I learned from moving our three male alpacas to Wisconsin:

If you don't have a livestock trailer, don't sweat it. There are still other options.  Like, for example, you could put them in your minivan.  Or in your Suburban.  Barring those options, you could also put them in the front end of your 1971 Airstream Travel Trailer.  Put down a tarp, throw some of those interlocking-rubber-mat-thingies on top, and use hay bales as a barricade to prevent wandering past the front area.

When you head to the pasture at O-Dark-30 to collect them, don't expect them to come running to the barn to greet you. They are checking their watches, scratching their heads and thinking, "Something funny's going on here.  Stay as far away from the hoomans as possible."

This hooman-avoidance-tactic will be instigated by your alpha male, but the younger boys, who would normally follow you anywhere, will follow his lead instead.

Although you religiously practice CameliDynamics techniques for respectfully handling your animals, trying to catch a wily alpha male in the middle of a dark pasture after 45 minutes of chasing herding may require some rodeo skills not normally used with alpacas.  Just forgive yourself and move on.

Once you get a handful of fleece wherever you can grab one (even on the back works), work your way up to the head without ever letting go.  You will never catch this male again if you let go or fall off.

Alpacas can do a surprisingly accurate rendition of a bucking bronco. Forgive yourself but DO NOT LET GO! Eventually he will get tired of hopping across the pasture with you attached to his neck.

Once all the halters are on, leading them and getting them into the Aistream is actually quite easy.  It's like Mark Twain said - "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning.  If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first."

Not sure how that is related to wrangling alpacas, but it made sense to me at 6:00am.

Driving through rush-hour traffic in Minneapolis on I494 with three alpacas steaming up the front windows of an Airstream will make you giggle, and will make other observant drivers giggle, too. 

And they'll wonder what the hell is wrong with you, for putting animals in your camper.


Jean said...

I just have to shake my head and marvel at the vagaries of life when I hear what my boy is doing. Who would have thunk?

Victoria Strauser said...

It's probably mostly my fault, but he seems an awfully willing participant. :o)

Tekwrangler said...

Bet you didn't know Airstream made a livestock trailer.

Victoria Strauser said...

Before attempting this stunt, I didn't know either!

Jess said...

You just killed me. I love this post so much! And I need an alpaca or two or three... they are sooo adorable!

Victoria Strauser said...

I would concur - you do need some fuzzy lawnmowers!

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