Alpacas on Dartmoor! By Steve Weymouth



Click here for Dartmoor Llama Walks and West Webburn Alpacas

Steve Weymouth & Diane Cackett, Ponsworthy House, Ponsworthy, Newton Abbot, TQ13 7PJ

HimmaHow it all began

About a year ago Diane asked me if I thought it was a good idea if we got a dog. She has always kept dogs and after loosing her old Golden retriever I think she felt ready for a replacement. I however was not so keen and very diplomatically tried to point out all the negative aspects to dog ownership and hoped that the matter would rest there. How wrong could I have been! Although Diane seemed to take on board my lack of canine commitment suddenly we seemed to be considering keeping a wholly different species. “What about Alpacas?” she said! After doing our homework and learning as much as we could about them I tried the same tactic which proved very useful for the dog.

The trouble is everybody I talked to had nothing negative to say about them. “They are easy to look after and don’t challenge fences” I was told, “they don’t suffer from foot problems or require special diets” I was told and so the list went on. “They do spit though” (my ears pricked up), “ but only at each other!” It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that perhaps Diane had a point, what about Alpacas? If I couldn’t think of any good reasons not to keep them then perhaps we aught to give it a try.

From that point onwards we did everything possible to avail ourselves of the knowledge and all the necessary skills required. To keep you on your toes Alpacas are definitely different to your more commonly seen four legged grass munchers. They are Camalids after all! related closely to llamas and camels. We discovered most of what we already knew about other animals, almost translated to Alpacas, but not quite.

Next we needed to sort out the practicalities. Where would we keep them, how many did we want, where would we buy them, what age and sex would they be etc etc. The first question answered itself when we happened to mention our plan to like minded friends with a large enough field to accommodate the venture. Things were snowballing!

With the ground work done it was time to book ourselves onto a husbandry course. We attended a day session on an Alpaca farm in North Devon and all thoroughly enjoyed it. Alpacas are definitely infectious, the more you are around them the more you want to be around them. They are very gentle placid creatures who seem to take everything in their stride and are joy to look after.

You can follow the alpacas (and our progress) through the following diary:

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