Enter the Suri Houdinis. Faramir, on the left- and Sandpiper. Both suri alpacas, both devious and conniving. Always scheming out new and inventive ways of getting into trouble, these boys, although mild mannered in appearance, are in truth hooligans.
On Thursday last week I was in Fresno with my daughter for yet another round of tests for her. I came back Friday afternoon and went outside to see my pacas. It is spring here, and that means green grass for everyone to graze inside temporary fencing enclosures.
Our alpacas are kept on what is called 'dry lot' conditions. No grass inside their enclosures, and all food is therefore easily measured and increased or decreased as needed. So Spring is an exciting time of the year for the pacas. Fresh green grass and extra running space!
When I went outside that day Sandpiper came running up to me for attention.... but what's this? He was out! A quick head count found Faramir to be missing as well. He was found below the pens grazing in the 4" grass trying to hide behind an oak tree with a sheepish expression on his face, and showing no inclination for returning to his enclosure. All the other boys were present and accounted for, and Eclipse, ever the responsible one, was trying to tell me what had happened.
See, some alpacas are very content with their place in the world, they are happy with their hay, alfalfa and pellets. The occasional carrot and apple snack, some fresh greens and rare fruit are treasured. They are comfortable inside their safe, fenced areas, and love their life.
But there is always the "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" crowd.... Enter Sandpiper and Faramir. The only two suris I own. Now I don't know if suris are inherently more devious in nature, or if I'm just the lucky owner, but those two are always in trouble. Well, that's not fair. Faramir is a sweetie, he could only be led astray by a master- that would be Sandpiper.
Now we did all of our fencing ourselves. Nine years ago we started, and over the years we have learned.... that The Blacks pretty much suck at fencing. But luckily Red Brand fencing makes a fence that is Black foolproof. In the last year or so we have replaced almost all of our exterior fencing with this brand, which is alpaca proof. With the exception of the back fenceline. It was still 5' welded wire with a hotline on the top.
Thus follows a recreation of actual events- because, of course, I wasn't here when it happened. Sandpiper, seeing the green grass, was unable to resist. He started by pushing his nose through the 2" gap and nibbling. Pretty soon he figured out that he could pop the horizontal lines if he pushed hard enough, and in no time at all he had his whole head through.
Here is Sandpiper. Is he smiling? You betcha. After he taught Faramir the secret, he quickly realized that all that fence pushing had created a unique situation. The bottom of the fenceline had lifted about 4". What followed must have been hilarious to watch, I wish I had been here.
Sandpiper and Faramir both crawled out under the fence.... I imagine their conversation went a bit like this:
Sandpiper: "Pssst.... Faramir!"
Faramir: "Yeah, What?"
Sandpiper: "I'm blowin this joint, wanna come?"
Faramir: "Uh, I don't know Sand, what will the 2-leggers say? Man, just look at this fence! We're gonna be in so much trouble already... and remember what happened the last time I listened to you? I ended up with a funky hair-do I had to live with all year until the next shearing. And then there was the time you told me what to say to that Hembra I liked, and she spit! Right in my face!! Remember that?"
Sandpiper: "That was cuz she was a huacaya dude. But I don't care, look at all that green grass out there! I'm gonna get out, and eat till I explode!"
Faramir: "Hey Sand, they let us out every day! I heard the nice one who gives us carrots say we could only go out for an hour a day so we don't get tummy aches... I don't think it's a good idea. I'm sure she'll be here real soon to let us out, why don't we just wait?"
Sandpiper: "What are you, a chicken? Why don't you go live up there with the hens, bwuck-gack (makes rude and annoying chicken sounds). Whatever dude, I'm outta here."
Faramir: "I'm NOT a chicken!! Just watch this!!" (he squirms under the fence)
Sandpiper: (grinning like a fool because now they can't say he broke the fence) Woo- hoo! Thatta boy, let's go!!"
And the rest is history. The tragic tale of how an innocent alpaca was boonswaggled into his first criminal act. Faramir came running back when I shook the pellet bucket, and kissed me until he was convinced he was forgiven. He and Sandpiper both had to have probiotics due to their upset tummies. But that didn't stop Sandpiper...
The next day as I was driving away from the house, my daughter and I looked out the car window to see Sandpiper standing at the fence... smirking at us. I knew what he was thinking.
"You may have fixed the fence, but I already have another plan. You won't know when, or where, or what it is, but believe me, it's gonna be good."
Faramir was in the bottom of the pen covering his head and humming.
The girls, enjoying their time on the grass. But's what's this? Is that rosie whispering to Heathertoes?? Uh oh......