Tuesday, August 13, 2013

HSH Miss Marple: The Sweetest Alpaca at Hum Sweet Hum

Miss Marple:  Smart and Cute as Can Be!

When they created Miss Marple, they broke the mold.  She is a one of a kind alpaca.  She came out of the womb curious to explore the world and she liked people.  She is the daughter of my first alpaca Dulcinea who has had quite a few cria and trusts me so she doesn't worry over her children.  She knows when they need her and to when feed them but otherwise, she lets them explore their environment.  Other dams will keep their babies to their side and threaten to spit at me if I come near their baby but not Dulcie.  Within days and weeks of Miss Marple's birth, I knew I had a special alpaca.  She just wanted to engage with everyone.  She would greet guests at the gate with a kiss on their cheek even at two weeks old!  She is very Cosmopolitan about it with a kiss on each cheek too. 

Miss Marple is the smartest baby I have had too.  She was only 3 months old when she discovered she liked carrots.  It was right before I had a farm event open to the general public.  I had a big bowl with cut up carrot pieces and dixie cups for guests to fill up to hand out to my alpacas in the pastures.  I like using this particular bowl because it has a plastic lid.  I can keep the piggie alpacas out of it, or so I thought.  Miss Marple followed the person who had the dixie cup and saw where the source of carrots were coming from.  When there was a lull in the guests providing her carrots from their cups, she came over to the bowl and was checking it out.  Several of us were sitting in chairs visiting by the bowl.  I figured I had nothing to worry about since the lid was on the bowl.  We enjoyed watching Miss Marple play with the lid trying to figure it out.  She found the tab that you lift the lid with.  She played with it using her lips.  They have a split in their upper lip that acts like a finger and it's very dextrous.  It took her just a minute or two when she managed to lift the lid.  Her eyes lit up and she reached in to help herself to some carrots.  We laughed and I got up and let her have her bite since she earned it after figuring out that puzzle but didn't want her to have free access to it either so after two bites, I replaced the lid and shooed her off.  More guests came and she got carrots from the cups but when she decided she needed more, she came back to the bowl and figured out the lid again.  She did this several times and each time, we let her have a bite or two and then replace the lid and shoo her off.  On the fourth trip to the bowl, Miss Marple lifted the lid and slid it to the side but not totally off the bowl.  She reached in, took her two mouthfuls she had been allowed to get and then she took the lid and replaced it on top of the bowl and walked away!  We all sat their laughing hysterically at what she just did and I cringed too because I realized how incredibly smart this little girl truly is!  She was going to take a lot to keep her smart brain challenged in a healthy way and not let her get into destructive behaviors that often come from a smart but bored animal. 

So far, Miss Marple has been the sweetest alpaca.  I am mindful of having a cria and not turning them into a pet.  They need appropriate alpaca behavior and sometimes having such a cute and sweet cria, it is so tempting to cuddle too much with them like they are a dog and then when they become an adult, they seem to get screwed up and spitty and their behavior is no longer cute.  Miss Marple is now 14 months old and still sweet as can be.  Last night I was cleaning their water bucket and bent over scrubbing when Miss Marple came over behind me.  She poked her head through between my left arm that was supporting me as I leaning down scrubbing.  She watched what I was doing and nuzzled me as I scrubbed away.  When I was done and waiting for the bucket to fill, we nuzzled each other forehead to forehead.  I kissed her nose and stroked her chin and cheek how she likes.  She could pull and walk away any time.  I wasn't holding her.  We stood there for over 5 minutes just communing and enjoying each other forehead to forehead.  It was such a special few minutes.  My heart was so full and if you have to do a chores like filling water buckets, it couldn't be more fun than doing it with Miss Marple!

Miss Marple and Friend

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