It’s fascinating watching lives
The only alpaca here
who has not been gelded,
Mr. Darcy is also the friendliest—
always offering “kisses”
(soft sniffing
around the neck and nose)
to anyone who comes into the pen.
Eventually, we noticed
he especially was curious
about young men
and then we noticed
that he became quite animated
around young men
and now he is downright assertive
around young men,
kicking up his heels at them—
rearing up and pushing them with his chest!
It took another alpaca grower
to clue us in
that he is in a testosterone phase,
stating his dominance.
Little did we know.
Even in his most lively moments,
he’s harmless:
can’t bite (no front teeth on top),
and his kicks are not hard.
He can knock you off balance.
And his surprising behavior
is intimidating.
We warn every young man
who comes near the pen.

A young visitor encounters Darcy’s shift
from soft sniffing to more assertive moves

Black Orpington hen with soft new crop of feathers

Now we watch as
the black Orpington hen
First, she began losing
her feathers
and growing fluffly new ones.
Then, in the evening,
instead of going into the barn
to roost for the night,
as she always had,
she began roosting
on a bucketful
of alpaca beans (poop)
sitting outside the barn.
So, every evening,
we lift her off the bucket
as she squawks.
We carry her into the barn,
safer from night time predators,
as she mumbles at us.
It’s so interesting,
the stages we go through,
the changes we make,
as our lives