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Travel in style, the alpaca way

15.06.10 | Lorenzo and Bruno say er... no!

Lorenzo and Bruno do their thing

For the duration of lambing my friend Ruth loans me Lorenzo and Bruno, two retired male alpacas, to guard the lambs from foxes. And a very good job they do too. They arrive in early April and go back to their home field in June.

After a winter when food was scarce and they were cosseted and fed by Ruth until they'd become tame it was easy to bribe them to get into the trailer to the lambing field. But a few months on the grassy meadow made them a bit feral so treats weren't going persuade them anywhere on the journey back.

Instead we thought we'd be able to herd them into the trailer - no problems - just the three of us (John who helps out with trailers, Ruth and myself). It all went pretty well whilst we were just walking them gently from one end of the field to the other, but as soon as they were within 20m of the trailer, Bruno would put his head up, peer over our shoulders and then bolt between us.

We did try everything. I even talked to them. That has most people backing away slowly. Which they did - but just as we got them to the mouth of the trailer (promising finest alpaca comestibles, on-board entertainment and other undeliverables) Bruno saw the light and sped for the green, green, grass of home. They're quite fast those alpacas. After two hours of this walk, bolt, run regime we gave up. Lorenzo and Bruno looked quite smug. Maybe they knew that on-board entertainment is usually rubbish.

So, a few days later we went back mob-handed. Many thanks to our interns Lilli and Kate, farm lodgers Jenny and Jiveen and to Chipps who all joined our merry band. It all went much more smoothly with just the eight of us.