Tag Archives: herding

Shepherd : 4 , alpacas : 0

For the last four afternoons in a row, I have let the alpacas into the front yard to graze. This was not something I did for pleasure, but because there is literally nothing green left in the back.

The alpacas in our small herd have been getting supplementary feeds but that stuff is dry, and they crave fresh, green stuff. With the back so bare, it seemed cruel not to let them graze on the half acre of green out the front. Remember that figure – half an acre.

So, about two hours ago I let the mongrels out the front and began my job as a shepherd. For comfort I had my Kindle, a cup of coffee, a deliriously happy dog and two wary cats. Oh and I also had a light, plastic rake.

Now, for a short description of my front yard. Unlike the back, the front has a gentle slope, and only drops by about a metre and a half over the 35 metres from the front gate to the carport. By Warrandyte standards this is almost flat, unless you’re walking up hill pulling the wheelie bins. Then it feels like Mt. Everest.

The house itself sits in a sort of flat ledge cut into the slope. To soften the site cut, I had a trench dug along the top and filled it with good soil. Into this trench I planted all the beautiful roses I had been carrying around from one rental property to another for the previous ten years.

Three of these roses are very special because three of my most beloved pets are buried beneath them.

Unfortunately, alpacas seem to have an obsession about roses, and my four Mongrels are no exception. I cannot take my eyes off them for more than a few minutes at a time because if I do, they casually browse closer and closer until they can reach the roses.

The Alpha Female is particularly cunning, and marshals the other three to distract me. While I’m chasing one of the other alpacas away from the rose bed, she saunters down and starts tucking in.

Knowing all this, I was prepared, and the Mongrels only managed to snatch the odd rose leaf. What I wasn’t prepared for was that the Alpha Female would learn my patterns of behaviour over just three days. Today, after letting them graze for an hour as usual, I began to round them up. Only this time they were not co-operating.

I think half of Warrandyte must have heard me screaming at the alpacas as I chased them round and round that 1/2 acre. I shudder to think what I must have looked like : grey haired old lady charging up and down, red in the face, yelling at the top of her voice,  and ineffectually waving a plastic rake around like a spear…

I got them into the back, finally, but it took an hour! Now I’m hot, sweaty and exhausted. And not at all happy. The only funny moment in this whole schmozzle was seeing Mogi darting around trying to herd the alpacas. Despite being a pint-sized chihuahua cross, she thinks she’s a sheep dog, and was in her element.

Needless to say the review I had planned for today’s post did not eventuate so you’ll have to make do with this one.

Now I’m off for a coffee, a sulk, and a long hot shower. But at least I saved the roses!



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