Brittany stole our hearts before we’d even really decided we wanted to do this whole alpaca thing. It had taken us years to become horse-people, did we really need a new species? So we went to an alpaca breeder to learn about caring for them. The first thing they did was invite us to meet their animals. Because once you’ve met them, you either love them or don’t quite get them. (Pics and stories after the jump).
Most of their herd was clustered around the feeding troughs, butts to their visitors, with no intention of turning around. Not Brittany. She marched right up to us and began chewing on our clothes. And we promptly decided she was coming home with us, no matter which of the others we also adopted.
Things haven’t changed much, frankly. Mom recently looked out into the pen, where my brother was showing off the herd to his friends, to find Brittany laying on their feet, chewing on their shoe-laces as they scratched her ears! This completely un-alpaca-like behavior is a result of her mama, Bookoo, not having any milk. Our Brittany was bottle-fed (every few hours at first!) and as far as she’s concerned, anything on a person is interesting, and the only way to find how interesting is to chew on it. A common refrain around the ranch, shouted by any- and everyone is “Brit-tan-y! No nibblies!” To which she responds “cluck! cluck!”. Which is how she got her nickname: Cluckcluck.
But our Brittany has had to grow up a little, with Tripoli running around! She is an excellent auntie, always putting herself between strangers and the baby. She even puts up with his nibblies on her! And Brittany’s newly found protectiveness also extends to us. When the vet was giving lessons on syringe use to Mom, Brittany pushed between them, clucking and give Dr. Balsch the stink eye!
As the fiber addict in the family, I love Cluckcluck’s fleece nearly as much as I love her gregarious character. With long, strong, soft staples (locks), of pitch-black fiber, her fleece is one of the first I want skirted (the first step in processing). The color absorbs light in a way only the truest of true-black fiber does, and the yarn I make from it is weighty and warm, perfect for bulky yarns.
Mom says she’s our mascot, and it’s true. No matter how cute the babies are, or how pretty the Mikayla’s eyes are (she looks like she has mascara on), Brittany is the alpaca you will remember when you visit Cliff House Alpacas.