Early March is the time for weaning, when our baby alpacas from last year - born Summer 2014 - have to leave their mums. This year we had 6 young cria to wean - 1 girl and 5 boys. Cria are normally weaned at about 6 months of age, but it's most practical to wean them all together so this year they varied in age from 6 months (Dexter) to 8 months (Alfie).
Both the boys and Angel (our only girl from last year's cria) stayed together when they were separated from their mums, rather than separating boys and girls. We also brought two girls in to 'auntie' them - its not too nice suddenly being separated from mum, so this helps to smooth the process and reduce the impact of the weaning process.
So it was all change in our two groups of girls on the first weekend in March - through the winter mums and babies were kept together in a group of 12. This has now changed to be just the 6 weaned babies plus Bianca and Columbia who are the aunties to the group. Our second group of girls is quite large, 14 alpacas, and they are now 2 miles away grazing our other field.
We were very happy to see that the babes seemed more relaxed than in previous years. We think because they didn't move location and couldn't see or hear their mums in a nearby field this made things much better for them. They are all happily eating concentrate feed and their hay and 'Just Grass' so dont seem to be missing their daily milk drink. We'll check their condition next week to ensure none are loosing too much weight now the milk supply has been turned off!
Here's a few photos of the two new groups - the mums in their new field and the babes feeding with Dexter being told off by auntie Bianca! Our photo of the shelter shows the six on the day the mums moved out - wondering where they had disappeared to.