Today I had a first-hand experience to see a side of alpacas I had not seen. Chet went out to the barn about 8 a.m. to refresh the alpacas’ water, and came directly back to the house to inform me that Okura had miscarried her baby. Still in pajamas, I ran out to the barn.
Inside the barn I found Okura lying beside the cria, still in its embryo sac. Stardust, the ever-doting aunt and sister, was standing by Okura’s side. Usually skiddish to being touched, Okura let me kneel down beside her and stroke her neck, and softly tell her how sorry I was. She moved her head over to mine, as if asking for either help or comfort. Chet scooped up the cria and we placed it in a bag to take for burial. Okura just kept making a mourning kind of hum, as if crying. Her eyes were so sad.
She got up after about 10 minutes and went out into the lot with the others. She did not eat or drink for an hour or so, but just lay in the sun. We took the cria away from the others, broke open the sac and examined the lifeless body. It was a boy, appeared to be perfectly formed, and although we couldn’t see hair yet, the color of the skin looked like he would have been a dark grey. Chet buried him up by the shed.
One time Okura went back into the barn looking for her baby. I followed her in and told her again how sorry I was, but the baby was gone. She then went back out to join the others in the shade, and just layed down with her head on the ground.
After noon, I went down to check on them. All the girls were in the barn, as was their usual routine at this time to nap. Okura and Cheyenne were lying in the corner by the spot where the baby was delivered. All the others were standing on the other side of the room, just gathered there watching her in silent respect.
Although it was all a very sad experience, it was a most amazing show of sympathy and grieving. Okura was experiencing grief. Stardust, Cheyenne and the others were showing compassion and sympathy to her. I have seen a side of sensitivity today in these animals that I’m not sure I was aware of before. They have more intelligence, sensitivity and compassion than I gave them credit for. These character traits are something I will not forget.