When I first started looking at goats and alpacas and llamas, I knew I wanted them all together in the same pasture. Some of the alpaca people I talked to were outraged - No! The alpacas always need to be kept separate from those other animals! Well, no, they don't. The goats, llamas and alpacas have been really good together. The llamas are guards, as they are supposed to be, the alpacas are tagalongs and hangers on and the goats are bold and fearless. The makeup of the herd has changed over the years as we have lost some members and added others but it has remained a good mix. Until this summer.
Things changed this summer when I added three aged does to the mix. The plan was 30 days of quarantine then out with the herd. It didn't work that way. Star never did go out with the herd because she was injured and mended but remains very old and fragile. Millie and Morha went out with the larger group after having been here over 3 months. I hoped for the best.
Millie and Morha ran with the larger herd of goats for more than a month without ever really becoming fully integrated. Perhaps they would be ultimately but a couple of things happened that meant I had to move some animals around.
Goats have sensitive skin and are especially vulnerable to injury right after they are sheared. Millie has a sensitive nature, tends to be frantic much of the time and had a very sharp point develop on one of her trimmed horns. In the space a just a couple of days she had cut up both Orion and Morha to the extent that Alu-Spray and Penicillin were required. These weren't cuts into the muscle but most certainly through the skin. Millie just doesn't do well in crowds even when that crowd is well organized and not terribly aggressive. The bottom line is Millie needs to be somewhere else.
Morha has also made my short list. I left her in the barn with Star for an afternoon and she managed to gash Star's underbelly. It might have been a stab wound like she inflicted before except that we clipped off the stiletto points of her horns. The bottom line is Morha needs to be somewhere else if she can't be trusted with one old goat. Not to mention I wasn't about to put Millie out in a pasture all by herself. Isolation isn't good for any animal.
Early last week we caught up Morha, treated her wounds and walked her across the front yard to the front pasture. The we caught up Millie, rasped down the sharp points on her horns and walked her across the yard to the front pasture. Now the girls have a large pasture all to themselves. So far they seem to be doing fine over there. Morha is very attentive when I go out there to feed. She comes up and is willing to be petted. Millie continues to skitter away if I approach her. She would rather not eat if eating means I will touch her. She has been here for almost 5 months and she is still unwilling to be sociable. I think it's not likely to happen. Steele, the pony, is very happy the girls are back over next to him. He was distraught when I moved the girls out of isolation and over to the barn early this summer.
In other news, the new wethers, named Twill and Pi, are still in the barn. They have been here for nearly three weeks and are turning out to be wonderful fun. They bounce and jump across the pens when I let them out. They now spend two hours each afternoon out in the corrals happily eating grass and weeds. They are still a little nervous about me reaching out to pet them but come right up to me if I'm holding roses or leaves of any kind. They went through 5 days of coccidia treatment - medication in their water - and are now in the two week coccidia prevention regimen. By the time that's finished it will be time to put them in with the herd.