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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 Alpacas as pets - going on walks
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Posted - 04/17/2017 :  8:04:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I retired a few years ago and decided to have a "backyard" farm as a hobby. I started with chickens and a couple of sheep. A month ago I added two alpacas, a 5 year old and a 7 year old. I want them to go on walks with me and to that end :

I have been walking them almost every day for about a month. At first, we walk just a couple of blocks. Yes, at first they were a bit reluctant and some rewards were needed to encourage them. Now, they walk alongside me without the need for much encouragement in the way of treats. The smaller Suri alpaca (Einstein) is a bit more stubborn and when he decides it's time to head home he starts pulling. Usually, we can walk a mile or some before he wants to go home. TeddyBear, a Huacaya alpaca is much more mellow and will out walk me. We have gone as far a 5 miles. I am the one that has to say enough for today and head home. My goal is to have them very comfortable around people. For this reason, I have taken to walking them on Clear Creek trails, an area walk by a lot of people many of whom walk their dogs. At first dogs definitely made them nervous especially Einstein. But now, not so much. When we pass someone with a dog, we stop, I talk to my alpaca in a calm quiet voice. They now stand quietly next to me and keep an eye on the dog. Many of the people we pass want to talk to me and pet the alpaca. Most of the time the alpaca will stand quietly next to me and allow the stranger to pet them, provide they move slowly and touch them only on the shoulders and neck. I don't want them to become stressed out. They seem to be to be ok with our walks and meeting people. They seem curious about the dogs and occasionally will sniff noses of a curious dog. When they see something new, like yesterday when a kid on a skateboard went by us. TeddyBear just stopped and we watch the kid approach and pass us. He did not try to pull away or run, he just stood still next to and I talked calmly to him. This approach seems to be working. Some people have told me that I am crazy to want to teach my alpacas to go on walks. They say it is just too stressful. My experience so far is that my alpacas seem to have learned not to get stressed by the walks. I don't want to cause them harms. What is your thought about this?

Mara DeBoe

110 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2017 :  11:56:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sounds great what you are doing! They don't seem stressed at all. Good exercise for all 3 of you. And it's a public service, introducing other walkers to alpacas.

Mark & Mara DeBoe
Wibotawot Farm
River Falls, WI
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